Quinoa makes for a delicious and simple salad, on its own as a side, or even as a base for a delicious main dish. Learn how to cook perfect quinoa every time with this quick and easy foolproof recipe.
Quinoa is versatile and has become a popular substitute for starchier rice in recent years. While it's technically a seed, not a grain, it's used in all the ways that
How to cook quinoa
Quinoa is easy to make, making it the perfect addition to any meal -- roasted or grilled vegetables, curries, salads (like my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad), breakfast or even smoothies! I love making a batch every weekend and then using it throughout the week in my meals.
After making quinoa countless times over the past few years and numerous failed attempts when I first started, I've learned a few tips:
- Use 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water ratio. This will give just the perfect amount of water. It's also way easier to remember.
- Cook the quinoa uncovered until the water is absorbed. This prevents it from getting mushy.
- Once the water is absorbed, turn off the heat completely and cover the quinoa for 5-10 minutes so it can steam. This is when the magic happens and the quinoa turns into a fluffy pot of goodness.
Scroll down for the complete recipe on how to cook the perfect quinoa every time! If you have an Instant Pot, use my recipe for Instant Pot quinoa instead.
How to rinse quinoa
Quinoa has a natural coating, which is called saponin. Saponin is what makes the grain taste bitter and soapy once cooked. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to get rid of this coating. Just be sure to rinse the quinoa for a few minutes before cooking it. You can also soak the quinoa but I haven't found it really making a difference.
I always use a fine metal strainer to rinse my quinoa under cool running water. Rinse until the water runs clear, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you don't do this, the quinoa is more likely to taste bitter.
If you don't have a strainer, a nut milk bag or cheesecloth works as well but may take a little longer as it takes longer to remove the quinoa once it's been rinsed.
How to Add More Flavor to Quinoa
What I love most about quinoa is just how versatile it is. It has a neutral, slightly earthy taste. This allows you to add flavor and customize it to what you're in the mood for. Here are some ways I like to add some flavor to my quinoa:
- Cook it in vegetable broth: Cooking your quinoa in vegetable broth instead of water will instantly add more flavor to your quinoa. Or you can just do half and half (a cup of water and a cup of broth). This is by far the easiest way to add more flavor to your quinoa!
- Add fresh or dried herbs: Another easy way to add more flavor to your quinoa is by adding fresh or dried herbs to it while it's cooking. My personal favorites include bay leaf, sea salt, and cracked black pepper.
- Add flavor from other ingredients: Sauté minced garlic or chopped onions and add them to your quinoa once it's been cooked. Add chili peppers for some heat or fresh chopped cilantro or parsley for added flavor and texture.
How to Store Quinoa
Uncooked quinoa: I store all my quinoa in glass mason jars, tightly sealed. Store them in a cool, dry place, preferably in your pantry. I try to use all the quinoa I purchase within a year.
Cooked Quinoa: Let the quinoa
Recipes that use quinoa
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- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Rinse the quinoa for 3-5 minutes under cool running water.
- Combine the quinoa and water in a pot.
- Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
- Once the water is absorbed, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot. Let the quinoa steam for 5-10 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
I needed this recipe! My quinoa finally turned out perfect, thanks to this recipe.
Sapana Chandra, MS, CHC says
So happy to hear, Riley!