Learn how to cook original quinoa recipe to fluffy,not mushy or bitter, but delicate nutty perfection by following these five simple steps.every time. I’ve tried all the other quinoa cooking methods and this one works best.
What Is Quinoa?
Did you know quinoa was a staple in the diet of the ancient Incas? Although it’s technically a seed, quinoa is treated like a whole grain and cooks up much faster than most others — and anyone who’s stood watching a pot of brown rice take its sweet time to become tender can appreciate that. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch. Quinoa becomes light, fluffy, nutty and the ideal canvas to showcase intense flavors, rich textures and your favorite veggies, meats and sauces. Plus, quinoa boasts a solid 8 grams of protein per every uncooked 1/2 cup — and it’s gluten-free. It comes in different varieties, with different colors as well (white, red and black are the most-common), which can be a lot of fun to play with, visually. You can cook a big batch at the beginning of the week and use it for days, enjoy it cold or reheat it for dinners, adding vegetables for a portable salad and more. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started. (Cooking times vary from type to type, so check package directions.)
Which Quinoa to Buy?
I’ve read that there are 1,800 (!) varieties of quinoa, but there are three main types found in markets in the U.S.: white, red, and black. White quinoa has the most neutral, easy-to-love flavor — start with this one if you’ve never tried quinoa before. Red and black quinoa both have their own distinct personalities, and I find them to be a little bolder and earthier in flavor than white quinoa. They’re fun in salads or other dishes where their color really pops!
The standard cooking method outlined below will work for any kind of quinoa you find.
Why Rinse Quinoa?
Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, that can make the cooked grain taste bitter or soapy. Luckily, it’s easy to get rid of this coating by rinsing the quinoa just before cooking. Boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, but it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home. Some cookbooks suggest soaking the quinoa, but in our experience this is unnecessary
Basic Quinoa Facts :
- How much cooked quinoa does one cup dry quinoa yield? One cup dry quinoa yields about three cups cooked quinoa.
- How much liquid do I need to cook quinoa? To cook one cup quinoa, you need 1 3/4 cups liquid.
- How long does it take to cook quinoa? One cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.
- How do I make quinoa less bitter? Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa’s outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.
- How do I make better-tasting quinoa? Quinoa is really excellent when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to each cup dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices and aromatics during cooking as well, like a clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, or a dash of black pepper.
- Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa? Yes! Just use the same liquid-to-quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.
Quinoa can be stored in the pantry for 4 months and in the freezer for 8. Whole quinoa ﬂour can be kept in the pantry for 2 months and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
To cook quinoa, cook one cup of dried grain with 2 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes yielding 3 cups of cooked grain.
Quinoa has a pleasantly ﬁrm chew when chilled, making it great for both warm and cold grain salads. Quinoa is also popular in side dishes and pilafs. With hints of grassiness, quinoa pairs well with almost anything you can ﬁnd in your pantry. It’s especially suited for pairing with Latin American ingredients like corn, black beans, avocado, citrus, and cilantro. Be sure to rinse well before cooking to ensure the bitter saponin coating has been washed away. One serving of cooked quinoa (¼ cup, uncooked) has 160 calories, 3 grams of ﬁber and 6 grams of protein.
Try out these quinoa recipes below!
How To Cook Perfect Fluffy Quinoa Recipe !!Learn how to cook perfect quinoa, every time. I’ve tried all the other quinoa cooking methods and this one works best. It’s easy to cook fluffy quinoa when you know the right way to do it!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (any variety — white or golden, red, or black)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3/4 cups water or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Step 1: Rinse Quinoa
- Some quinoa has already been pre-rinsed (the package should indicate if it has or not), but this is a necessary step to remove the saponin, which is the bitter coating that occurs naturally as quinoa grows to protect it from being eaten by random wildlife. An additional rinse doesn’t hurt, so when in doubt, rinse. Use a fine-mesh sieve so you don’t lose any of the grains down the drain, and let cold water run over the grains for a few minutes, shaking the sieve and using your hand to move the quinoa around and make sure all of the grains get a good rinse.
Step 2: Toast Quinoa
- This step is optional, but it really brings out the flavor in the quinoa. You simply place the quinoa in the saucepan over medium-high heat and give it a shake and a stir every few seconds, for a total of about 4 minutes, until it is golden — watch carefully that it doesn’t burn. You can also heat up a couple teaspoons of olive, vegetable or grapeseed oil (per cup of quinoa) before adding the quinoa for even more flavor.
Step 3: Add Liquid to Quinoa
- Add the liquid to the pan, and add the quinoa if you’re skipping the toasting step. The basic ratio is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. You can use water (season it with a bit of kosher salt), or you can use any kind of broth (we like to use low-sodium broths and add any extra salt to the finished dish as needed). You can also add a bit of dry white wine to the liquid for another layer of flavor.
Step 4: Simmer Quinoa
- Turn the heat to high, bring the liquid to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer gently until the quinoa is cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. The liquid should all be absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender and have sprung a little tendril-y shoot — which is actually the germ of the kernel — indicating it’s done.
Step 5: Fluff Quinoa
- When the quinoa is cooked, give it a stir and a fluff with a fork to loosen it up, then cover the pot and let it sit for another 2 minutes or so. You can serve it hot, or you can spread it out in a rimmed baking sheet and let it cool for use in salads and other room temperature dishes.
How to Cook Quinoa In a Rice Cooker
- Simply put your quinoa in the rice cooker, turn it on and forget it. No timer, no temperature adjustments and no boiling over. For more info, follow these easy steps. 1- Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. 2-Grease the inside of the rice cooker with butter or cooking spray. 3-Add quinoa to the rice cooker in the ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. 4-Turn on the rice cooker, setting it to the white rice setting. 5-When the rice cooker lets you know the cycle is finished, open it up and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Unlike rice, you can’t let quinoa stay in the rice cooker to keep it warm. Take the quinoa out of the rice cooker right so it doesn’t get mushy.
How to Cook Quinoa In an Instant Pot :
- There’s almost nothing that cooks faster in the Instant Pot than quinoa. We’re talking a 1-minute cook time under pressure (although the entire cycle takes about 15 to 20 minutes). Just follow these steps, being mindful about the ratio of liquid to quinoa: this method calls for equal portions of quinoa and liquid.1-Rinse the quinoa thoroughly.2-Grease the inside of the Instant Pot with butter or cooking spray.3-Add quinoa to the insert in the ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1 cup liquid.4-Close and lock the lid.5-Set the cook time to 1 minute.6-Allow the steam to release naturally.7-Open the Instant Pot, fluff the quinoa and remove it from the Instant Pot.
How to Cook Quinoa In a Microwave
- Cooking quinoa in the microwave is the fastest method we’ve found. Start to finish, including rinsing, you’re looking at 10 to 12 minutes. Be extra careful when taking the bowl in and out of the microwave: there’s a lot of steam that can burn you.1-Rinse the quinoa thoroughly.2-For 1 cup of quinoa, you’ll use 2 cups of liquid, so be sure to use a bowl that holds at least 4 cups so it doesn’t boil over.3-Put the quinoa in the bowl and cover it with a plate.4-Microwave for 6 minutes. Carefully open and stir the quinoa, then cover.5-Cover again and microwave at 80% power until the water is absorbed, about 3 more minutes.6-Fluff with fork, serve or use in a recipe.
NotesStorage: Leftover quinoa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
Where there is a will, there is a way.