Learn how to cook quinoa so it turns out fluffy and perfect every time!
If you’re not already aware, quinoa is a wholesome gluten-free grain that is rich in protein, dietary fiber, and B vitamins. As a vegetarian and lover of whole foods I’ve made quite a bit of it in my kitchen.
Here you’ll find all my favorite tips and tricks for how to make quinoa that is fluffy, tender, and ready to be incorporated into your favorite recipes.
What is quinoa good for?
Quinoa makes a delicious addition to salads, casseroles, and other nutritious meals. A few of my favorite recipes using quinoa are:
Can you eat raw quinoa?
Eating raw quinoa is not recommended as it may cause digestive discomfort. I recommend cooking quinoa as directed below, although you may want to experiment with how to make puffed quinoa.
Can you eat quinoa without rinsing it?
It won’t hurt you to not rinse your quinoa, but it is highly recommended. Rinsing removes the quinoa’s natural coating which can give it a bitter taste. Even if your quinoa is labelled as pre-rinsed, put it in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes.
How to cook quinoa
- Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for two minutes. Drain thoroughly.
- Heat one teaspoon olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa a cook, stirring frequently until the quinoa begins to pop.
- Add water, vegetable stock, or a combination of the two. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is thoroughly absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork, and season as desired before serving or using in your favorite recipe.
How long is quinoa good for?
Cooked quinoa will last 3-5 days covered in the refrigerator, making it an ideal meal prep food that you can batch cook one day and enjoy for days. Uncooked quinoa will keep for months in an airtight container on a dark shelf or in the freezer.
Top tips for how to prepare quinoa
- Always rinse quinoa
- Toast the quinoa in a bit of oil before adding the liquid
- If doubling or otherwise increasing the basic recipe, use slightly less liquid than the double amount
- Let rest 5-10 minutes covered after cooking
Quinoa is endlessly customizable! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add seasoning with the liquid such as Italian seasoning, curry powder, or chili powder
- Toss with pine nuts and lemon juice after cooking
- Mix cooked quinoa with chopped veggies such as cucumber and tomatoes for a fresh salad served cold
- Use as a replacement for rice or other grains in recipes and buddha bowls
How to Cook Quinoa
- Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse throughly with cool water for at least two minutes. Drain.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about three minutes. The quinoa should begin to dry out and pop a bit.
- Add the liquid, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving or using in your favorite recipe.