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How To Cook Quinoa

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!

Do you have any favorite quinoa recipes? I still have a ton more quinoa recipes that I still need to publish on the blog, so 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.

How to cook quinoa

How To Cook Quinoa

How To Cook Quinoa

Total Time: 1h
Yield: 2 Large Servings
Print This Recipe 5/5
How To Cook Quinoa


  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa (80g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt - optional
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • optional 2 tsp oil


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

Instructions: 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.


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Published on September 16, 2013

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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 🙂

  2. Sarah @ Well Dined says

    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:

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. [email protected] says

    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!

  6. 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!

  7. Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says

    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

  8. 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.

  9. 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. =)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Lady Jennie says

    When I lived in Asia, I learned to swirl the grain in the pot (in that case rice, but I use it for all grains) and use my fingers to swish it through the water, then slowly tip the pot and pour the excess water out. Then I repeat the rinse. The grains that float on the surface of the water are no good and they get tossed when you pour the water out.

    For quinoa, I often make it as I do brown rice – measure and wash the quinoa in a separate bowl, then fry minced garlic and/or onion in olive oil before adding the grain. I add some bouillon and stir fry it until all the water is absorbed. Then I add basil and the measure of water (I do 3 cups to one, but 2 1/2 is good enough), and finish cooking it as you do.

  12. OilLadyLaura says

    My biggest problem with cooking quinoa is rinsing it! I use a mesh strainer, and some always gets stuck in the rim of the strainer when I dump it out. I try and try to get it all out, but then some gets left in, dries, and falls out next time I pull out the strainer. Not world-ending problem by any means, but annoying!

  13. Lisa says

    If I will be making a sauce to go with it, I use the same recipe you do EXCEPT, I only simmer until the water is just below the quinoa and then shut it off and let it sit (covered) for about 5 min to allow it to just absorb the last of the water. I cook rice thius way ‘as well. If I am cooking it to go with something that has no sauce, I will use veggie stock instead of water.
    My favorite recipe is a much changed version of a Thai quinoa – cook quinoa with 1/2 veggie stock and 1/2 coconut milk instead of water. Saute green onions, garlic, tofu and green peas. Add some ginger, shoyu (or soy sauce) and lime juice at the end. Mix saute and quinoa together.
    Can’t wait for your quinoa cookie recipe!!

  14. Lisa says

    I love quinoa. Between that and oats, it’s hard to choose which one is my favorite of the two!
    I have this quinoa vegan mac and cheese that I adore. It’s pretty much a weekly staple over here.

  15. Laura says

    I love me some keen-wah. It’s like rice’s sophisticated older brother. It cooks quickly, has tons of protein and iron. But ditto on the “Make Sure to Rinse”. I have TOTALLY ruined dishes by not rinsing my quinoa. One main dish quinoa recipe I like is simple … involves sauteing some chickpeas and garlic in olive oil, pouring over the cooked quinoa along with the juice of one lemon and a generous amount of parsley. So good. If you are ever in Chicago or Washington DC, check out The Protein Bar – they are a quick serve restaurant that uses quinoa as the base for their meal bowls. Love.

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