How To Cook Quinoa | The Definite Guide

Today, we are going to be taking a look at how to cook quinoa perfectly. Quinoa which is pronounced “Keeen-wah” is a delicious side that can be used in a variety of different recipes. It’s gluten-free and is extremely high in protein which is why it’s become one of the most popular foods among health-conscious people around the world. Quinoa is often used as a substitute for rice and is preferred by many because it has twice as much protein.

How to Cook Quinoa

The Definite Guide

Today, we are going to be taking a look at how to cook quinoa perfectly. Quiona which is pronounced “Keeen-wah” is a delicious side that can be used in a variety of different recipes.

It’s gluten-free and is extremely high in protein which is why it’s become one of the most popular foods among health-conscious people around the world.

Quinoa is often used as a substitute for rice and is preferred by many because it has twice as much protein.

Another way it can be used is as a protein boost in salads or soups. When it’s cooked, it has a fluffy and even a little creamy texture, alongside a delicious taste.

It’s not only high in protein but also in:

  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins B
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Calcium

As you can see, Quinoa isn’t just delicious, it’s extremely nutritious too.

When cooking quinoa you have the option between three methods. Firstly, you can cook quinoa in the saucepan, this is the most popular method.

Alternatively, you can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker or instant pot.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Quinoa?

Quinoa is ready in just 15 minutes if you cook it in a saucepan. In a rice cooker, it takes a little longer, usually between 30-55 minutes, but the quickest way to cook quinoa is with an instant pot as it only takes 11 minutes. 

The short cooking time makes quinoa perfect for busy cooks. 

Cooking quinoa is also extremely easy, even easier than cooking rice.

How To Cook Quinoa In a Saucepan

The first way you can cook Quinoa is in the saucepan. This is the easiest and most popular way.

We have explained how to cook quinoa in a saucepan below, but alternatively, you can also cook quinoa in a rice pot or instant pot which is explained later on. 

What Do You Need?

Cooking quinoa is quite simple, so you don’t need any special utensils.

The only utensils you need are:

  • Saucepan
  • Fine-mesh strainer

Other than that, you will just need your cooker and you will be ready to start cooking your quinoa. Unless you choose to cook Quinoa with one of the other methods explained later on.

1. Rinse The Quinoa (Optional)

The first step is optional. You may wish to rinse the Quinoa depending on your preference.

Some people prefer it, some don’t.

What’s the difference?

If you don’t cook the quinoa, you can toast the quinoa in a frying pan before cooking it which has the benefit of a more complex, slightly bitter flavor. On the flip side, if you don’t want this flavor, you can rinse the quinoa to remove the natural coating called saponin.

However, by rinsing the quinoa first, you will not be able to toast the quinoa in a frying pan.

The choice is yours, either method works completely fine. When rinsing the quinoa put 1 cup of quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse the quinoa under running water for 30 seconds.

2. Combine With 2 Cups of Water

For each cup of quinoa, add 2 cups of water, this will give you the perfect mixture of quinoa and water. Once it’s cooked, this will turn out 3 cups of cooked, fluffy, and delicious quinoa.

Start boiling the mixture on top of medium-high heat, but once boiling lower the heat to simmer (so that it maintains gentle bubbling) and add the lid onto your saucepan.

3. Cook Until The Water Is Absorbed

Once you have completed the previous step, leave your quinoa to cook for around 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Usually, if you started with 1 cup of quinoa, this timeframe should be 15 minutes, but it may vary a little.

Once the quinoa starts getting fluffy this is a sign that it’s ready. You can also usually tell that the quinoa is ready when the endosperms (the little tail-looking bits) start to pull away from the seed.

4. Remove The Lid & Check

Lastly, you need to remove the lid and check. Take a fork and dig it into your quinoa, if it’s fluffy and all the water is absorbed, it’s ready.

Make sure there is no water at the bottom of the saucepan. If there is, leave it a little longer.

How To Cook Quinoa In a Rice Cooker

One alternative way is to cook quinoa in a rice cooker. For this approach, all you need is your rice cooker. 

This approach also works great and is much more effortless than the others. Again, use 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa, choose the white rice setting, and let your rice cooker do the rest. The cooking time depends on the model of your rice cooker but is expected to be anywhere from 30 to 55 minutes. 

When the rice cooker beeps, just open the lid and wait for 3-4 minutes until the quinoa has cooled down. 

How To Cook Quinoa In the Instant Pot

Cooking quinoa in an instant pot is a little different than the other methods mentioned. The main difference is the quinoa to water ratio, as you need a lot less water when cooking quinoa in an instant pot. 

Using this approach, you will want to just use 1 cup of water and 1 cup of quinoa. So, the quinoa to water ratio is 1:1

Now, combine the quinoa and water into the instant pot and cook on high for 1 minute. After 1 minute, let the quinoa sit for around 10 minutes, as this will release the heat pressure naturally. 

Once you have let the quinoa sit for 10 minutes, you’re ready to dig into the fluffy quinoa! 

5 Best Quinoa Recipe Ideas

Need some more inspiration before you can start cooking quinoa?

No problem, we have gathered our 5 favorite quinoa recipes to help you get ideas.

  • Tuna, Avocado & Quinoa salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites
  • Quinoa Black Bean Tacos & Avocado Sauce
  • Crunching Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad
  • Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach

1. Tuna, Avocado & Quinoa Salad

Our first Quinoa recipe idea is tuna, avocado, and quinoa salad.

This meal is extremely healthy as it has the high-protein of the quinoa combined with the healthy fats from the avocado.

Not only is it healthy, but it’s delicious too.

2. Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Another mouth-watering quinoa recipe is the buffalo chicken quinoa bites.

Due to the buffalo chicken, they do take a little longer to prepare, but the fantastic combination of flavor makes up for it.

3. Quinoa Black Bean Tacos & Avocado Sauce

Our third tasty quinoa recipe you can try is quinoa black bean tacos with avocado sauce.

Just like our previous recipe, this one has a great combination of flavors.  The quinoa black bean tacos and the avocado sauce are in a league of their own in terms of flavor.

4. Crunching Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad

Crunching Thai peanut and quinoa salad is also an irresistible quinoa dish that you just wouldn’t want to miss out on.

The flavors of the vegetables inside of the salad combine perfectly with the quinoa to give the meal a delicious taste.

5. Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach

Last but not least, we have the colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach, another extremely attractive option.

This is a salad that contains a large number of superfoods, while also being full of flavor.

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