How to Cook and Prepare Quinoa

How to Cook and Prepare Quinoa
How to Cook and Prepare Quinoa

Quinoa is a quintessential ingredient to have in the kitchen…at least in MY kitchen! This post is dedicated to all things quinoa. Quinoa is just as simple to cook as rice, and generally takes half the time to prepare. Learn some basic facts about this superfood and simple and easy instructions on how to cook and prepare quinoa, along with some delicious and nutritious recipes to get you started!

Lately everyone seems to be obsessed with so many “new” superfoods and more natural ingredients such as kale, palm sugar, hemp hearts, the list goes on and on.  On the contrary, many of these have been around for quite some time and only seem to have become mainstream overnight.  Rightfully so, cooking with these ingredients can be quite intimidating, especially for someone who is not uber-confident in the kitchen! I’d like to think that quinoa falls under this list. Firstly, the name itself is difficult to pronounce (it’s KEEN-wah…or “ke-mah” as my son says it!).  Secondly, it’s been dubbed a “superfood” which makes it seem even more daunting.

How to Cook and Prepare Quinoa

Over the last few years quinoa has made its way into almost every mainstream grocery store. It’s a popular gluten-free substitute to pasta and rice and is packed with protein and fiber. Its popularity has been steadily increasing as people discover its nutty flavour and versatility. Quinoa is flavourful, packed with protein, high in iron and fiber, and not to mention, very easy to prepare! Do you want to add quinoa to your recipe repertoire but just don’t know where to start? Here is some helpful information to get you started!


How long does it take to cook quinoa?
It takes about 20 minutes to cook (covered) depending on the desired texture. (Cooking it uncovered will reduce cooking time to 12-15 minutes)

How much does 1 cup dry quinoa yield cooked? 
It yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa (depending on the amount of cooking liquid added).

What is the liquid to quinoa ratio?
The recommended ratio is 2:1, so 2 cups liquid yields 1 cup cooked. (If you’re making quinoa porridge or want a softer consistency, increase the ratio to 2 1/4 cups broth/water: 1 cup quinoa)

Why and how should I rinse quinoa?
Rinsing quinoa removes its bitter coating, called saponin.  Rinse it thoroughly with water in a fine-mesh strainer for a few minutes then drain.  (Be sure to check boxed packages as most have been pre-rinsed and are ready to cook, saving you that extra step!)

How do I season quinoa?
Quinoa, like pasta and rice, is a blank canvas.  Cooking it in vegetable broth instead of water adds much more flavour.  Also, you can add salt (1/4 tsp. per cup of cooked) or other herbs and spices during the cooking process to enhance the flavour.

Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa?
I’ve never used a rice cooker to make quinoa myself but it can be done!  Follow the 2:1 ratio and the instructions on your rice cooker!  Also, I would reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes just to be sure not to overcook it!  (As it sits in the rice cooker it will continue to cook.)

Cooking Instructions:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups broth or water
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1.) Rinse quinoa thoroughly with water.
2.) Add broth or water (and salt if desired) to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.


3.) Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, add quinoa and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes (or a few minutes more or less, depending on the desired texture).


4.) Once the water has evaporated, remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.
5.) After letting it sit, fluff it up gently with a fork (as you would with couscous) before mixing with other ingredients and serving.


47 thoughts on “How to Cook and Prepare Quinoa”

  • Amby Felix 8 years ago

    I love using quinoa in veggie burgers! It’s such a diverse product!

  • Camesha 8 years ago

    I’m so trying to get my kids to like this. Perhaps I need to try some of these recipes.

  • Kelly Hutchinson 8 years ago

    I have always wanted to know how to make quinoa but never knew how. Thank you so much for this helpful post. I would love to make the Caramelized Onion Lentil and Raisin Quinoa.

    • I just made that one a few weeks…I actually haven’t made it in almost a year. I don’t know why I waited for so long because I love that one!

  • We actually have a package of quinoa in the cabinet but I’ve avoided cooking with it because A. I didn’t know how to and B. I didn’t know how it would taste. I might try this the next time we’re going to use rice in a dish.

    • You can make a huge batch on the weekend and then use it to prefer a few different recipes during the week! It keeps really well (plain) in the fridge for up to 5 days.

      • That’s even better! If I had known that this past weekend I would have already started using as several of our dishes this week had rice in them!

  • Thanks for this post. I’ve heard about quinoa but never knew much about it or how to fix it. I may use this as a change up to brown rice.

  • This is really great info! I love quinoa, but I have no idea how to cook it! Thanks for the tips!

  • Ann Bacciaglia 8 years ago

    I have been wanting to try Quinoa for a while now. These look like great recipes to try it in. I will have to try making a few of these this weekend.

  • Chrystal M. 8 years ago

    I am starting to get in to quinoa more. I purchased my first bag last summer and it took me until fall to actually use it.

  • Liz Leiro (CaliforniaPretty) 8 years ago

    I’ve been using quinoa since I discovered I had a gluten allergy. It can be a little scary at first, but once you learn how to season it there’s really nothing to it. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes you’ve provided!

  • SwaRai 8 years ago

    Thanks for these tips, I’ve always wanted to make it but was afraid I would mess it up. I’m going to try it now.

  • Jay Simms 8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this I have had a lot of trouble with preparing this and it seemed like all hope was lost. I really want to give the muffin pizza’s a try I think I could trick my kids into eating these since they wont notice its healthy.

  • Fi Ni Neachtain 8 years ago

    I’ve never had quinoa before. I’d love to give it a go though, thanks for the tips on how to cook it.

  • I’ve never eaten it but heard so much about it on MasterChef. I’m so curious about it! Definitely want to try it now.

  • celebbabylaundry 8 years ago

    Amazing post, I love using quinoa and it is so healthy for you; it’s perfect to add to any diet!

  • I never tried nor made one before – thanks for sharing this – worth a try for me.

  • Mistee Dawn 8 years ago

    You know I have never had Quiona. Thanks so much for sharing these tips and recipes .

  • Jeanine 8 years ago

    This is great. I’ve just started using Quiona and including it in more things. It’s pricey but it’s awesome so healthy and good!

  • Rochkirstin Santos 8 years ago

    Quinoa is really great and healthy however it’s hard to find quinoa tagged with a more affordable price here in our local supermarkets. It’s a great substitute for rice for those who want to live healthy.

  • Cherri Megasko 8 years ago

    The story of quinoa truly amazes me. One day I’ve never heard of it, and the next it’s on every food and cooking website in the country! I’m glad though, because I love it. It is one of the most versatile superfoods I’ve tried.

  • Tiaras & Tantrums 8 years ago

    I agree – I always use chicken stock to for flavor. I also add lemon zest or lemon juice!

  • Alli Smith 8 years ago

    I’ve been using quinoa for a while and you’re right, it’s as easy as making rice. Thanks for sharing all the great ways to prepare it.

  • Christy Maurer 8 years ago

    We do use quinoa in my house! It is so good for you and so delicious! Thanks for sharing these other ways to use it!

  • blm03 8 years ago

    Did you know I have quinoa and I had no idea how to make it! Thank you for helping me plan dinner tonight!

  • Robin Rue 8 years ago

    I’ve eaten it, but never knew how to make it. I will have to make a dish with it one of these days.

  • I’ve never tried quinoa before – thank you for the different suggestion ways to prepare it 😀

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing this. The last time I tried to make quinoa it was… less… than successful.

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