How To Prepare and Cook Quinoa

What is Quinoa?

Pronounced “keen-wah,” quinoa is a gluten free nutritious seed, high in protein, with a nutty flavor and has recently become popular in many vegan and healthy recipes..

There are quite a few varieties of quinoa. They are all delicious and are interchangeable in your favorite quinoa recipes.

How to Prepare Quinoa for Cooking

Quinoa is easy to prepare. There are a variety of ways to cook it including on the stove, in the microwave, and in a pressure or rice cooker. See below for stove top cooking instructions which is my preferred method.

Before cooking it however, let’s talk about what needs to be done to prepare the seeds before cooking it.

It is best to rinse quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which can make cooked quinoa taste bitter or soapy. Rinsing well before cooking reduces the saponin Some packages are labeled with the words “pre-rinsed.”, but I rinse anyway….just because.

The quinoa seeds are very tiny and can easily seep through even a small strainer; so as an alternative to rinsing, you can also place the uncooked quinoa in a bowl of cold water and swirl it around a few times. Drain the water, then repeat.

How to Cook Quinoa

Now that the quinoa is rinsed, it’s time to cook it.

For most cooking methods, you need two parts of liquid to one part quinoa. That means if you are cooking 1 cup of quinoa, you will need 2 cups of liquid. The liquid can be water, but you can also use your favorite broth/ or stock for added flavor. While it isn’t necessary, I recommend adding a pinch of salt to the liquid for seasoning.

When you’re deciding how much to cook, keep in mind that 1 cup of quinoa will yield about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

To cook quinoa on the stove, add the rinsed quinoa and liquid (water or broth) to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat so that the liquid is at a low simmer.

Cook the quinoa in a covered saucepan at a low simmer until all the liquid has absorbed. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. When the liquid has absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for an additional five minutes. After five minutes, use a fork to fluff the cooked quinoa then use in your favorite recipes.

How Long Does it Last?

Cooked quinoa will keep, if stored in a tightly sealed container, for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. It will last in the freezer up to two months.

What to do With Quinoa?

Quinoa has a variety of uses. Here are some of my favorite ways to use quinoa:

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You can cook quinoa a variety of ways. I'm sharing a basic recipe to cook quinoa on the stovetop.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Rest5 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 156kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or stock
  • Pinch fine sea salt optional


  • Add quinoa to a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, add the quinoa to a bowl and cover with cold water. Move the quinoa around the bowl,drain the water and repeat this with fresh cold water.
  • Shake the quinoa of any excess liquid. Combine the rinsed quinoa and water (or stock) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cook, covered, until the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to sit covered for another five minutes. This extra time allows the quinoa to steam and “fluff up”. Uncover, and then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 156 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 8mg0%
Potassium 239mg7%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Protein 6g12%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.