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How To Cook Quinoa

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There was a time when I thought I hated quinoa; that its chewy and almost-crunchy texture just wasn’t for me. Over the years, however, I’ve experimented to find the perfect quinoa-to-water ratio and cooking time for the foolproof method of how to cook quinoa that actually turns out soft and fluffy every single time.

If you like crunchy quinoa, this quinoa recipe is probably not for you!

How To Cook Quinoa: here's everything you need to know.

Yes, today’s how to cook quinoa recipe might not be the most interesting recipe ever posted… but it’s the base for a few other more exciting recipes I hope to post soon: breakfast quinoa, quinoa chocolate chip cookies, and quinoa pancakes.

EDIT: The Breakfast Quinoa and Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies are now both up on the blog!


This basic quinoa recipe can be eaten on its own as a simple side dish, or spice it up by stirring in a little garlic powder and oregano, tossing it into a stir fry, adding a spoonful of tahini or some tomato sauce. Let your imagination run wild.

You can even use it for my favorite Quinoa Pizza Bites!

How to cook quinoa

How To Cook Quinoa

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  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa (80g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt - optional
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • optional 2 tsp oil
Total Time: 1h
Yield: Yields 2 Large Servings


How to cook quinoa: In a strainer, rinse quinoa and drain. Bring a small pot with the 1 2/3 cup water to a boil, then add the quinoa and all optional ingredients. Lower the heat to the lowest simmer, and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes, covered, then do not open the lid but turn off the heat completely. Let sit an additional 20 minutes, covered. After this time, the quinoa should be light and fluffy. If it’s still too liquidy for some reason, simply turn the heat back on and stir for a few minutes until fluffy.

NOTE: When found in nature, quinoa has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins. These occur naturally in the quinoa to prevent insects from eating the plant. Most packaged quinoa will be pre-washed; however it is always a good idea to wash the quinoa again just in case.

View Quinoa Nutrition Facts

EDIT! How To Make Quinoa – The Quick Way!


  • 1 cup raw quinoa (160g)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water


In a strainer, rinse quinoa well. Drain. Now combine the raw quinoa with the other ingredients and bring to a boil uncovered. When it starts to boil, cover and simmer (or cook on low if your “simmer” is too gentle like mine is) 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy.


Questions of the Day:

Do you have any favorite quinoa recipes?

Oddly enough, I think the only quinoa recipe posted on this blog so far is the Healthy Tator Tots. Be on the lookout for more healthy quinoa recipes to be posted in the near future. Also, in your comments please feel free to leave links to your own favorite quinoa recipes if you wish.

Link Of The Day:

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Trish says:

    I actually make mine in a rice cooker with chicken stock, onions and green peppers. It’s so easy and such a delicious side dish. I sprinkle a little feta on top too 🙂

    1. Lisa says:

      Ooh, that is an awesome idea! Do you use a 2 to 1 ratio of liquid and quinoa?

      1. Trish says:

        Yep! It’s so easy I haven’t even bothered trying to make it any other way 😉

  2. Kelly J. R. says:

    Quinoa recipes are hit and miss for me. Sometimes I love them and sometimes I don’t. One of my favorite quinoa recipes is Zucchini-Quinoa lasagna:

  3. I love quinoa! I am trying to cut down on grains and convert what grains I do eat to powerhouse ones like quinoa (which, like amaranth, isn’t even a true grain). I had to buy a super fine mesh strainer specifically for rinsing it because the seeds are so small!
    Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

    1. Jule says:

      Thank you! I just came across your recipes. I so appreciate your posting these great-sounding recipes for quinoa!

  4. I used to think I hated quinoa too. Just recently I have been experimenting with it and now I have grown to totally love that chewy and crunchy texture!

  5. Cindy says:

    We’ve been eating quinoa on & off for 5-7 years now. I have a quinoa pancake recipe I use 1-2 times per month, and a few weeks ago I made a quinoa & oat flour blueberry muffin recipe. I cook my quinoa in our rice cooker now.

    1. Ashley says:

      Hi Cindy, your recipes sound yummy! Can you share how to make them?

      1. Cindy says:

        This isn’t the exact same place I got my recipe – but it IS the same recipe, for the pancakes:

        For the muffins, I lightly toasted the quinoa before grinding into flour, then used this recipe:

        Happy cooking!

  6. Teresa says:

    Thanks for posting. I have heard so many good things about Quinoa but have not been happy with the texture so far. I will give this a try and look forward to your future recipes.

  7. Katie,
    I have always cooked quinoa in the traditional, 2 to 1 ratio of water to dry quinoa, and never thought to add an extra bit of water. Great idea! My family likes it fluffy, but they might like it better, moister, so I’m trying your way, today! Our daughter turned vegetarian almost 1 year ago, and that has me always looking for more healthy protein recipes, so I am looking forward to yours! Thank you!

  8. Rebecca says:

    I love Almond-Quinoa muffins from ‘Veganomicon’ by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. Most of the time I end up cooking quinoa as a sort of rice substitute. When I have time to go all out, I like to dry toast the kernels in the bottom of the pan, then add vegetable stock and cook. Add some carmalized onions and grilled veggies and it sure is delicious! I will definitely try using a little extra liquid and see if I too enjoy the more fluffy texture! Thanks for all the great posts!

  9. I like experimenting with quinoa when I get a chance. I’ve been playing around with a “rice” pudding and some other things. I usually just serve it like rice under veggies, etc., but two of my favorites uses are …

    Quinoa Eetch (Red Tabouli)

    Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad

  10. I love quinoa. My favorite way to eat it is stir fried with shrimp, veggies, and Asian flavors like soy and teryaki. Your pics look fabulous, thanks for sharing your tips!

  11. Tammela says:

    I do like quinoa; I don’t buy it too often but always enjoy it when I do. My favorite way to use it — and other grains — is by making the grain the base for a salad.

    1. susan dunn says:

      Does anyone have the recipe for energy bars with quinoa, flaxseed, and sunflowerseeds with peanut butter and honey?

  12. Elizabeth B says:

    I love quinoa… but I like it prepared some ways much better than others. My favorite are the sweet recipes, like with raisins & cinnamon cereal or quinoa pancakes, but I also like a Mexican flavored recipe with beans & salsa… I’m looking forward to your future recipes. =)

  13. Rebecca says:

    I only eat small amounts of quinoa at a time (1/8 cup dry) so I microwave it with 3 times the amount of water for 10 minutes.

    1. Renata says:

      @ Rebecca – I don’t know if you will see this, but thank you for sharing this tip. This is exactly what I was looking for. I can take this with me to work on days I haven’t had time to pack a good lunch. And if I used sprouted quinoa, I won’t even have to rinse it.

  14. Quinoa is the BEST! I never rinse mine though. I know they say you should, but I’ve never understood why. 🙂

    1. Alli says:

      The reason you are supposed to rinse it is because it had a soap-like residue (saponins) on the outside of it. Try saving the water after you rinse it–it’s fascinating! You can put it in a container, shake it, and see the suds start to build up.

    2. mk says:

      You should rinse the quinoa first because the outside is layered with an unhealthy substance that prevents absorption of the great nutrients you want to get from eating the quinoa in the first place! it’s also not good to ingest it in general, so you want to always rinse that off first.

  15. Lulu says:

    I love quinoa! I love it as replacement for rice 🙂 and will there be a quinoa pizza crust?? Just outta curiosity 🙂

  16. Cindy says:

    Oh yes – we also do a quinoa patty (side dish) that we really enjoy. I don’t think it is intended as a side dish, but we don’t use it as a “burger”:

  17. Jane says:

    I do like it, my favorite is with Moroccan chickpea stew. I used to serve it with cous cous but switched to quinoa to make it even more healthy. I also use vegetable broth instead of water to make it a little more flavorful.

  18. Monica P says:

    I like quinoa and I can cook it .. it’s just flavoring is that perplexes me at times.


  19. I love quinoa! I do need help when cooking it, however. Thanks for the tips!

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