How to cook quinoa so that it comes out fluffy every time. Rice cooker, microwave, pressure cooker (instant pot) and stove top directions. Learn what quinoa is, why it’s healthy and how to eat it. Know exactly how much water to use when cooking quinoa so that it comes out perfect every time.
🍚 What is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced Kee-nwa) is actually a seed, but it gets treated like a grain. It’s grown mostly in the Andes of South America, but recently the U.S has been growing it in the Rocky mountains of Colorado.
It comes in many different colors like white, black, red or a mix. Each variety cooks the same way. If you're new to eating quinoa, stick to the white quinoa since it has the most mild taste.
Quinoa - any quinoa will do. You can use white, tricolor or red. I love buying it in bulk online or at Costco to save money.
Broth - Quinoa is pretty bland on its own, so to make it taste good it's important to cook it in vegetable broth. You can also use a veggie bouillon cube or paste.
Seasonings - To make quinoa taste good, season with your favorite seasonings like garlic powder and onion powder. More on that below.
Olive oil - This is optional, but if you want to make the quinoa moist and add a little more flavor, add some olive oil to the broth when you're cooking the quinoa.
🏃♀️ Nutritional powerhouse
- Quinoa is high in protein and is a complete protein with all essential amino acids. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein.
- full of fiber & gluten free
- full of trace minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and copper
- it's a complex carb, so it has a low glycemic index. This means it digests slower, raises your blood sugar less and keeps you fuller longer.
- It also cooks a lot faster than most grains.
💧 Expert tips
- Always always rinse quinoa with a fine mesh strainer before cooking. Even if the package says pre-rinsed. It will taste a lot better. Rinsing quinoa gets rid of the outer coating ( a natural insecticide called saponins) on the seed that makes it taste bitter.
- Quinoa is a great to meal prep at the beginning of the week. It can be used just like rice. Make a big batch and store in the fridge all week.
♨️ How to cook quinoa
1 - Rinse - To cook perfect quinoa, make sure to rinse it in a fine mesh strainer. This helps get rid of its bitter flavor. Even if it says it's pre-rinsed, still rinse it.
2. Season - Put quinoa in a pot on the stove. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth to 1 cup of uncooked quinoa. If you'd like quinoa to be less mushy, only use 1 ¾ cups of broth.
3. Simmer - Cover and bring to a boil. Then immediately turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
4. Wait & fluff - Take pot off the stove and let it sit for 10 minutes more. Take the lid off and fluff with a fork after 10 minutes.
🥄 Pressure cooker instructions
Quinoa cooks perfectly in a pressure cooker or instant pot. I love how hands off it is.
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.
- Add it to the instant pot with a liquid ratio of 1:1 so for every cup of quinoa use 1 cup of broth. Season with your favorite seasoning.
- Cook on high pressure for 1 minute then let it slow release for 12 minutes. The slow release allows the quinoa to steam.
- Fluff with a fork and serve. Sprinkle a little salt on top and enjoy.
🧂 How to season
Quinoa has a very bland taste, so unless you spruce it up with some seasonings, it's going to taste underwhelming.
Some tips to help make quinoa taste good:
- Instead of cooking quinoa in water, cook it in vegetable broth
- Season it with your favorite seasonings, like garlic powder and onion powder.
- My favorite way to eat quinoa is to drizzle some high quality olive oil on top and a few pinches of salt.
🍛 Serving suggestions
Quinoa is great in:
- veggie grain bowls
- quinoa black bean salad
- added to yogurt with some berries or apples as a morning parfait
- formed into veggie burgers
- quinoa veggie stir fry
- cooked like oatmeal and eaten as a morning porridge.
🥣 How to store
Fridge - Cooked quinoa can last in the fridge for about 5-7 days.
Freezer - You can also freeze it and thaw it out if you made too much and need to save it for later.
Quinoa will start to smell once it goes bad, so as long as it doesn't have a smell, feel free to eat it.
I like making a big batch of quinoa because quinoa freezes well.
If you find you made more than you will eat in the next few days, you can always freeze the rest.
It keeps really well and all you have to do is pop it in the microwave or warm it up in a pan.
1 cup of dry white quinoa = 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Keep this ratio in mind to know how much you’d like to prepare. I always make about 2 cups dry.
I love making a big batch of quinoa and having it on hand to throw in salads, grain bowls and breakfast porridge.
If you’re going to take the time to cook it, might as well make a big batch.
The water ratio for quinoa in the instant pot is 1:1. So one cup of quinoa with one cup of liquid. The water ratio if cooking on the stove or in a rice cooker is 1:2 (one cup quinoa, 2 cups liquid). Some people find success with using only 1 ¾ cups water for every one cup of dry quinoa to prevent it from getting mushy.
Bring the quinoa to a boil, then immediately turn it down to a low simmer and cover it with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed. After 15 minutes, keep the lid on, take it off the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork.
🥄 Quinoa recipes to try
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How To Cook Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1¾ cups vegetable broth (if cooking on stove top, rice cooker or microwave)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (if cooking in instant pot)
- 1 teaspoon seasonings of choice
Instant pot directions
- Rinse the quinoa with a fine mesh strainer (otherwise it will taste dirty and gritty)
- Put the vegetable broth or water and quinoa in your instant pot. Add any seasonings you’d like. Quinoa definitely needs seasoning, since it’s pretty bland, so make sure you either season with salt or cook in vegetable broth.1 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon seasonings of choice
- Close the instant pot and set the valve to seal. Cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Let it slow release for 12 minutes.
- Take off the lid and fluff up the quinoa. My favorite way to eat this is to drizzle a little olive oil on top with some salt.
Stove top directions
- Rinse the quinoa with a fine mesh strainer (otherwise it will taste dirty and gritty)
- Put the vegetable broth or water and quinoa in your sauce pan. Add any seasonings you’d like. Quinoa definitely needs seasoning, since it’s pretty bland, so make sure you either season with salt or cook in vegetable broth.1 cup quinoa, 1¾ cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon seasonings of choice
- Set stove to high and bring quinoa to a boil. After getting the boil, immediately turn heat down to medium low until you get a gentle simmer, add a tight fitting lid and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, or until water is mostly absorbed.
- After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and set the quinoa aside for 10 minutes without taking the lid off or touching it.
- After letting it sit for 10 minutes, take the lid off and fluff the quinoa up My favorite way to eat this is to drizzle a little olive oil on top with some salt.
Rice cooker directions
- Rinse the quinoa with a fine mesh strainer (otherwise it will taste dirty and gritty).
- Put the vegetable broth or water and quinoa in your rice cooker. Add any seasonings you’d like. Quinoa definitely needs seasoning, since it’s pretty bland, so make sure you either season with salt or cook in vegetable broth.1 cup quinoa, 1¾ cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon seasonings of choice
- Close the lid and set the rice cooker to cooking white rice
- Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes after it’s been cooked, then open the lid and fluff with a fork. My favorite way to eat this is to drizzle a little olive oil on top with some salt.
- Rinse the quinoa with a fine mesh strainer, otherwise it will taste dirty and gritty.
- Add the rinsed quinoa and vegetable broth to a large microwave safe bowl that is big enough to fit 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Add any flavorings you’d like, such as garlic powder or onion powder or some salt. Quinoa definitely needs flavoring, as it’s pretty bland.1 cup quinoa, 1¾ cups vegetable broth
- Cover the bowl with a microwave safe plate. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 6 minutes. Carefully take the plate off with some oven mitts and stir, add the plate back on and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes with the lid on after cooking. Take the lid off and fluff with a fork.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.