How to Prepare and Cook Quinoa

Learn all about quinoa and our top tips for preparing quinoa perfectly on the stovetop, in the microwave, in the pressure cooker, or in the rice cooker.. Head over to the quinoa recipe or read on for all of our tips.


What is quinoa?

Pronounced “keen-wah,” quinoa is a nutritious, nutty-flavored seed native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Although quinoa has been enjoyed for thousands of years, it’s growing in popularity here in the United States.

Quinoa is very nutritious. It’s high in protein and surprisingly provides all the essential amino acids that we can’t make ourselves. Because of this, quinoa has exploded among vegetarians and vegans. They may be small seeds, but they have nutritional value. There are 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup uncooked.

There are different types of quinoa. Here we are showing white (or golden) quinoa, which is beige in color, but you can find quinoa in a variety of colors. Look for orange, black, red, and even purple varieties. They’re all delicious and interchangeable in your favorite quinoa recipes.

Another note: Since quinoa is a wheat-free seed, it is gluten-free. However, if you’re gluten sensitive, it’s best to check the packaging before purchasing quinoa in case gluten contamination occurs during processing.


Our delicious and filling quinoa salad recipe is packed with superfoods. It’s vegan, easy to make and tastes amazing.

How do you prepare quinoa for baking?

Quinoa is easy to prepare. It is cooked similarly to rice but takes a little less time. There are also There are many ways to prepare it, including on the stovetop, in the microwave, and in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. We will cover all methods below.

Before that, let’s talk about how to prepare quinoa for baking. Don’t worry; It is easy!

It’s best to rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can give cooked quinoa a bitter or soapy taste. Rinsing well before cooking reduces saponins and creates a delicious nutty flavor. Some packages are marked with the words “pre-rinse”. Since we are quite sensitive to saponins, we flushed anyway.

Instead of rinsing, you can place the raw quinoa in a bowl of cold water and stir several times. Drain the water and repeat the process.


You can also use our tutorial on how to cook dried chickpeas.

How to cook quinoa

Now that you’ve rinsed the quinoa and are ready to cook it, it’s time to cook.

For most cooking methods, you need two parts liquid to one part quinoa. That means if you cook 1 cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of liquid. The liquid can be water, but try a broth/broth for even more flavor. Although not necessary, you can add a pinch of salt to the liquid to flavor it. We like to use our vegetable broth to cook quinoa.

For even more flavor, you can try toasting the quinoa in a dry pan for a minute or two before cooking. This enhances the nutty taste. You can also add some fat like butter or olive oil to the pan, and adding fresh herbs to the pan is always a great idea. I especially like to add some butter and a bay leaf.

When deciding how much to cook, keep this in mind 1 cup of quinoa makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

Cooking on the stove

Cook quinoa in the pan, rinsed quinoa and liquid (water or broth) in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering.

Most packaging recommends covering the pan at this point, but we’ve found that you can leave the pan uncovered and the quinoa is delicious. You could even make it a little tougher.

Cook the quinoa over low heat until all the liquid is absorbed. It takes 10-15 minutes. Once the liquid has been absorbed, remove the pot from the heat and cover with a lid for five minutes. After five minutes, use a fork to fluff up the cooked quinoa, then use in your favorite recipes.


Cook quinoa in the microwave

The microwave method takes just as long as the stovetop method, but I love that it’s possible to reheat quinoa in the microwave! Would have been useful in my college dorm.

To do this, mix 1 cup of rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water (or broth) in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a microwave-safe plate, then microwave until about half the liquid has been absorbed. It takes about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave, stir quinoa, then cover again and let sit for another 5-10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir with a fork, then enjoy!

Cooking Quinoa in the Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

Just like using the microwave, cooking quinoa in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot isn’t much quicker than cooking it on the stovetop. However, you can get other things done in your kitchen with these two alternative methods because they are so convenient.

To do this, spray or wipe the bottom and sides of the pressure cooker with a little oil (this will prevent sticking). Then add 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 1 cup liquid such as water or broth. Stir well so the quinoa doesn’t stick to the bottom, then close the lid. Set the pressure cooker to cook on HIGH for a minute, then naturally let it go for twelve minutes.

**You will find that we use less water with the pressure cooker method than the other methods. There is less evaporation in a pressure cooker, so you only need one cup of water for one cup of quinoa. If you’re following this method and the quinoa seems too chewy, consider increasing the liquid from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

Cook quinoa in a rice cooker

If using a rice cooker, simply treat the quinoa as you would rice.

To do this, spray or wipe the bottom and sides of the rice cooker with a little oil (this will prevent sticking). Then add 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of liquid such as water or broth. Stir well so the quinoa doesn’t stick to the bottom, then close the lid. If you can, press the button used to cook white rice, otherwise just press start.


How long does it take?

Cooked quinoa will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to two months.

What to do with quinoa?

Quinoa has a multitude of uses and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner! When cooked, it has a mild nutty flavor. Here are some of our favorite uses of quinoa:

How to prepare and cook quinoa

  • COOK

You can prepare quinoa in a variety of ways. We share how to cook quinoa on the stovetop below, but methods for using a microwave, pressure cooker, and rice cooker are covered in the previous article.

Makes about 3 cups


    Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, then rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, place quinoa in a bowl and cover with cold water. Swirl the quinoa around in the bowl, drain the water and repeat the process one more time so the quinoa has been rinsed.

    Shake off excess liquid from the quinoa. Combine the rinsed quinoa and water (or broth) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the quinoa absorbs the liquid, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re preparing a large batch of quinoa, it can take close to 20 minutes.

    Remove the pot from the stove and cover for five minutes. This extra time allows the quinoa to steam and “puff.” Uncover the quinoa and fluff it up with a fork.

Advice from Adam and Joanne

  • For even more flavor, add a little olive oil, coconut oil, or butter to the cooked quinoa along with some freshly chopped herbs like parsley, chives, or cilantro. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice is also good.
  • Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, take a picture and use the hashtag #inspiredtaste. We love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutritional value per serving: Part 3/4 cup cooked / calories 156 / total fat 2.6g / Saturated Fatty Acids 0.3g / cholesterol 0 mg / sodium 45.6mg / carbohydrates 27.3g / fiber 3g / total sugar 0g / protein 6g

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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