How to Cook Quinoa
How to Cook Quinoa

Tired of lumpy, wet quinoa? Don’t worry anymore! Cook the lightest, fluffiest quinoa in 20 minutes; then add it to salads, bowls and wraps. It keeps well in the fridge, so make a large batch and use this gluten-free, high-protein “cereal” all week long!

In this recipe

  • What is quinoa?
  • What Makes Quinoa Bitter?
  • How to make fluffy quinoa
  • How to use quinoa
  • How to store cooked quinoa

Quinoa is nutty, earthy, and packed with fiber and protein. It’s a healthy grain that you can use in pilafs, soups, casseroles, and salads. Add your favorite milk and a spoonful of honey to a bowl of quinoa for a great breakfast cereal, too.

This grain is so versatile that if you cooked quinoa every week, you could never use it twice in the same recipe!

Quinoa “grains” are actually the seeds of an annual flowering plant in the amaranth family, most closely related to spinach.

Well-known grains like rice and wheat are seeds of grasses and have a different structure (bran, germ, and endosperm), so quinoa is technically classified as a pseudocereal, as it is neither a grain nor a grain.

Quinoa cultivation originated in the Andean region of South America but is now cultivated all over the world. Its short cooking time, high mineral content, and protein value (8 grams per cooked cup) have made it a desirable alternative to other grains. Quinoa is too Gluten freewhich is another reason for its popularity.

You can find quinoa in many colors, from white to brown to red and purple. They are interchangeable in cooking, and it would be difficult to tell the difference in flavor between the many colors.

What Makes Quinoa Bitter?

Quinoa’s natural coating, called saponins, makes the grain taste soapy or bitter. A quick, vigorous rinse under cold running water will remove the bitterness.

Even if a package says the quinoa has been rinsed, it’s always a good idea to rinse it anyway. A fine mesh strainer and the spray nozzle on your sink should do the trick.

How to make fluffy quinoa

Because it is a seed, quinoa absorbs water differently than other grains. To make it fluffy, cook uncovered over low heat. Once it’s soft and there’s no water left at the bottom of the pot, cover it.

Let it steam with the lid closed to soak up excess water. Cooking with an open pot allows some of the water to evaporate, so the cooked quinoa doesn’t become mushy or lumpy.

How to use quinoa

I like to make quinoa early in the week and use it in a salad with veggies or leftovers I have in the fridge.

I love cooked quinoa for a healthy hot or cold breakfast, mixed with almond milk and some maple syrup and topped with berries. I’ve also used cooked quinoa in turkey meatballs instead of breadcrumbs. Or simply serve with your favorite chicken, fish or steak recipe.

How to store cooked quinoa

Leftover cooked quinoa stored in an airtight container will last up to five days in the refrigerator and two months in the freezer.

Try these delicious quinoa recipes

  • Quinoa bowls with sweet potatoes
  • Mexican quinoa salad
  • Quinoa, arugula and feta salad
  • Turkey Quinoa Black Bean Casserole
  • Stuffed Peppers with Cheesy Quinoa and Black Beans


Learn how to cook delicious quinoa

How to cook quinoa

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
20 minutes

total time
25 minutes

3 cups


  • 1 cup quinoa, any variety

  • pinch of salt (optional)


  1. Rinse quinoa:

    Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain well.

  2. Cook quinoa:

    In a small saucepan, combine the drained quinoa, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a steady, gentle simmer.

    Simmer uncovered for 12 to 16 minutes or until the sprouts (tiny spirals) separate and twine around the seeds and the water is absorbed. Dig down to the bottom of the pot with a spoon and see if the water has evaporated. If not, cook a few more minutes.

  3. Steam the cooked quinoa:

    Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes.

  4. Surcharge:

    Remove lid, fluff quinoa with a fork and place in a serving bowl.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!