How To Cook Quinoa

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Cooking with quinoa is so healthy, easy and delicious!  Here is a simple tutorial for How To Cook Quinoa.

How To Cook Quinoa |

It has been far too long since I have posted a tutorial on Gimme Some Oven.  So today’s the day.  We’re talking QUINOA!

I imagine many of you already know how to cook quinoa.  But for those who are new to this ancient grain, and those who might just need a little reminder about how to make quinoa (was that darn ratio 2:1 quinoa to water, or water to quinoa?), hopefully this little tutorial will be helpful.

After all, 2013 has been named the International Year of Quinoa.  And what’s not to love about quinoa?  We all know that it is super delicious, versatile and packed with protein, fiber, and other great nutrients.  But I especially love serving quinoa when I am entertaining friends with special diets or allergies, as it’s gluten-free and cholesterol-free (and of course, vegetarian and vegan).  Such a great grain!

But I especially love how simple it is to cook a batch of quinoa.  All you need to remember is a simple ratio, and then the sky is the limit if you’d like to customize with your own flavors and extra ingredients.  Here’s the how-to!

How To Cook Quinoa |

Ingredients Needed:

There are two basic ingredients that you need to cook quinoa: dry quinoa and water (or broth).

  • Quinoa: There are countless varieties of quinoa available at grocery stores now.  Most people stick with a basic white quinoa, although red and black varieties are also very popular.  Always rinse your quinoa before cooking to help remove the bitter taste.  If desired, you can also toast the dry quinoa (after it has been rinsed) for an extra toasty flavor.  Just saute the quinoa in a skillet with a little oil (2 tsp. per 1 cup quinoa) over medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes, stirring often, until it turns slightly golden and fragrant.  Be careful not to burn the quinoa when toasting.
  • Water or Broth: Quinoa just need to be cooked in some sort of liquid.  Water is perfectly good, and will let the pure quinoa flavor come through.  (Although I definitely recommend adding salt if using just water.)  I usually prefer to cook my quinoa with a broth — chicken, vegetable, beef, you name it.  You can also use wine, although since wine can partially evaporate I typically only substitute in wine for half of the liquid.  Whatever your liquid, just be sure to check how salty your broth is, and adjust your amount of additional salt if needed.
  • Salt: I typically add in a good pinch of salt (about 1/2 tsp.) per cup of dry quinoa that I am cooking.  It will help bring out the flavor, but salt is definitely not required.  (And definitely leave it out if you are on a low-salt diet.)
  • (Optional) Additional Seasonings: Just like in a soup or rice broth, you can add all sorts of other seasonings.  Fresh or dried herbs,

Equipment Needed:

  • Fine-Mesh Strainer: Quinoa always needs to be rinsed with water prior to cooking.  A fine mesh strainer is my favorite way to rinse the quinoa.
  • Saucepan or Rice Cooker: If cooking quinoa on the stove, you need a saucepan.  If cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, you need a rice cooker.
  • Fork: You can use a fork to stir the quinoa while cooking, and then again to fluff the quinoa once it is cooked.

Cooking Methods:

Quinoa can either be cooked on the stove or in a rice cooker.

  • On The Stove: Stir together the quinoa and water/broth in a saucepan, then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.
  • In A Rice Cooker: Stir together the quinoa and water/broth in a rice cooker.  Then cook according to the rice cooker instructions, as if cooking rice, until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Quinoa |


How To Cook Quinoa |

Here is also a little handy photo tutorial, in case you’d like to pin it to jog your memory!

How To Cook Quinoa |

What do you think?  Are you ready to go make quinoa?

How To Cook Quinoa |

Happy quinoa cooking!

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100 comments on “How To Cook Quinoa”

  1. This is awesome! I’m always afraid of opening that lid to some soggy quinoa, but this is perfect. Sooo easy too :)

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  5. I LOVE quinoa!  yes! thanks <3

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  13. I cook quinoa in the microwave. I use a glass dish, and put the quinoa and water in the microwave for about 6 minutes on high power without a lid. This basically brings it to a boil. Then I put the lid on, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes on half power (my microwave has a setting for power level – High is 10, so I cook it on power level 5).

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  18. Hi, Ali!  I’m new to your site but have really enjoyed and shared several of the recipes you have posted.  Your photography is lovely!  Sorry to ask a rather dumb question as my first contact with you, but I really liked the idea of toasting quinoa and was wondering if it needs to be thoroughly dried after rinsing and before toasting.  Water and hot oil don’t play well together.   : )
    Thanks for listening!

    • Hi Cheryl! Thanks for commenting! Ali is actually in New Zealand, so I’m responding to comments on her behalf. This is not a dumb question at all! We think toasting quinoa is great, but we don’t think you need to worry about making sure it’s thoroughly dry first. We’ve had good results with rinsing it, shaking out all of the excess water, and then adding it to the pan with a little butter/oil. We hope this helps! :)

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  20. Thank you for this nice how to article… I use to cook my quinoa with broth till i got my hands on Miriams Earthen Cookware pot for cooking grains, since then my quinoa has turned soft, fluffy and delicious just with water.  The heat cooking in these pots is different and does not make the food harder or chewy so i didn’t have to use broth (which in most cases is preserved with a ton of salt).  You do not need to even fluff it with a fork afterwards!

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  22. Actually, quinoa is not a grain, but rather, a seed. Even better for you.

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  25. Do you have to refrigerate the quinoa after cooking it

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  29. Hey Ali,

    What a great site you have here. I love your recipes. For me, quinoa was only ever “okay”. That was until I learned a new way to cook it. Traditionally, I would cook it 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. Like I said “okay” and I felt like the leftovers were less than “okay”. Now I cook 3/4 cup of quinoa with 7/8 cup of water (you can double or triple). I toast it first — just dry with no oil — until it starts to crackle. I typically use quinoa that has already been rinsed, but if I have to rinse it, it just takes a bit longer to toast. Then, add the liquid, bring to a boil cover and cook for 18 minutes. Yum, yum, yum.

    If I am making it for breakfast, I add spices. If I am making a savory version, I might cook it in water or stock and then add good frozen mixed veggies for the last 5 minutes of cook time. Try it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It gives the quinoa a much better texture — not so gelatinous — particularly when it is left over. Keep those recipes coming!

    • Hi Sandy! Thank you for your sweet comment, we’re so happy you enjoy the blog! And we love the idea of dry toasting the quinoa — that’s a great idea! :)

  30. Can you tell me what vegetable broth (store bought) you prefer? I have tried one and hated it.


  32. It’s so good and healthy

    Rating: 5
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  38. Hmmm….my quinoa still turned out soggy. Should I have left at low heat for longer or removed with lid off and let cool? Figured keeping lid on would keep moisture in too long?

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