How to Cook Quinoa

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

A Guide on How to Cook Quinoa, several delicious recipes and many tips for cooking perfect quinoa. It’s so easy to do, you’ll be done in 15 minutes!

A bowl of cooked quinoa with the text how to cook quinoa in the photo.

Happy Saturday! If you keep up with my blog you know that I’m a quinoa fanatic. Ever since learning the best way to cook it I have made Mr. Jessiker Bakes and my family super fans of this magical seed too. I have however, received many questions from readers as to how to cook their quinoa properly and complaints that theirs were too dry, or too wet, bitter or undercooked.

I have put together this post as a more in-depth look on how you too can become a fan of quinoa and know how to cook quinoa. First, some basics on the questions I receive about quinoa.

What exactly is quinoa?

IN short, Quinoa pronounced KEEN-wah is a seed that has been around for at least 5,000 years and originated from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru. I look to think of it like couscous in texture or even oats in the way it absorbs the liquid it is being cooked in.

Quinoa seeds are actually really really good for you. They contain essential amino acids like lysine and great amounts of calcium, iron and phosphorus. Quinoa is also high in protein AND is gluten free!

What quantity of quinoa should I cook at a time?

1 cup of uncooked dry quinoa seeds produces 3 cups of cooked, fluffy quinoa. I wouldn’t recommend doubling this, as I did once, because the quinoa got very soggy and took forever to cook. It’s best to do it in batches. 3 cups of cooked quinoa gets you a long way!

How to Cook Quinoa

To cook quinoa, you want to add the dry quinoa seeds to a pot of water. Bring it to a boil, then to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The key is to set the pot cover to the side so that you allow liquid and steam to escape. When it’s finished, you want to fluff the quinoa with a fork, which gives it a great fluffy texture!

Anything else?

Quinoa is very versatile and can literally be used in every meal of the day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, in casseroles, in desserts, in salads…the possibilities are endless. I will be sharing a few quinoa recipes from my blog and around the web that are particularly great for quinoa. All other tips are in the recipe itself so that when you are cooking it you should save the recipe!


Savoury Quinoa Recipes

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers with Strawberry BBQ Sauce (Vegan + GF)

Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Honey & Lime Quinoa Salad Bowl with BBQ Chickpeas

Buffalo Quinoa Chicken Bites with Homemade Healthy Blue Cheese Dressing by Jessica in the Kitchen

Eggplant Rollatini Quinoa Casserole by Cookie Monster Cooking

Tandoori Cauliflower with Indian-Spiced Quinoa by Oh My Veggies

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa ‘Fried Rice” by Blahnik Baker

Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad by Damn Delicious

Sweet Quinoa Recipes

Cinnamon Apple Maple Quinoa by Jessica in the Kitchen

Quinoa-Chia Freezer Bars by The Colorful Kitchen

Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Cookies by Cooking Quinoa

Quinoa Protein Power Waffles by A Bakers Wife

Coconut Quinoa Granola Bars by My Sequined Life

Coconut Macaroon Waffle with Chocolate Coffee Syrup, For One by Veggie and The Beast

Chocolate Quinoa Cream Cake by A Bakers Wife

Quinoa Greek Yogurt Pancakes by Making Thyme For Health

Close up of a pink bowl full of quinoa.

How to Cook Quinoa

A Guide on How to Cook Quinoa, several delicious recipes and many tips for cooking perfect quinoa. It's so easy to do, you'll be done in 15 minutes!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 cups
Course Dinner, Salads
Cuisine American
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups broth OR water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


  • Wash the quinoa in a mesh strainer rigorously with water for about 2 minutes. You will see a slightly milky-coloured water coming from the quinoa which is the saponin you are washing off. Shake the excess water out of the mesh.
  • In a pan over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. You're now going to dry the quinoa by adding it to the pan and letting it heat up for about 2 minutes. There should be a slightly sizzling while the water is drying off.
  • This toasting process adds a delicious slightly nutty flavour to the quinoa. Add the broth/water to the pan and the salt.
  • You can add in extra flavours if you want - garlic powder, onion powder etc. Stir, and bring to a boil.
  • Lower to medium heat and cover, cooking for 15 minutes. Stir once every 5 minutes to ensure all the quinoa is being thoroughly cooked and so none of the quinoa stays on the bottom long enough to be burned.
  • You don't want to cook quinoa for any less time than this else you will get mushy quinoa, and don't stir it too often. Just allow it to cook.
  • When all of the water has been absorbed, the quinoa is finished cooking. Your quinoa should look fluffy and the seeds should be puffed up.
  • Remove the quinoa from the heat, and use your fork to fluff the quinoa a bit. This process helps to lighten the quinoa and releases some extra flavour. I like to leave the quinoa in the pot, off of the hot stove top, for about 5-10 minutes since the residual heat of the pot takes out any excess liquid and cools it down a bit.
  • Serve the quinoa and try some delicious quinoa recipes!
Sometimes red quinoa takes longer than 15 minutes to cook! If it’s not fully cooked after 15 minutes (meaning most of the seeds aren’t fluffy) just watch it, and continue to stir for an extra 5-10 minutes until fully cooked.


Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 3mg
by Jessica
You Might Also Like

leave a comment

Recipe Rating


  1. Aminah says:

    Hi Jessica, what brand of Quinoa do you use and where do you purchase? Great post….Thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Aminah,

      Sorry I’m just seeing your message! I buy Roland Pre-Washed White Quinoa (although I always wash it again) and you can buy it in any supermarket!

  2. Cristina says:

    Uallll … This recipe is incredible. I’ve tried it once but never did it, but with your step by step, I found it easy to do and I’m going to the kitchen today. Thanks for posting this delight. Whenever I can I’m reading recipes here and it’s always a show. Kisses

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Christina! We love to see comments like yours over here at JITK! Thank you for reading and trying our recipes. It really means a lot.

  3. I have cooked quinoa several times. It’s so delicious and healthy!!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Natalie it really is! Thanks for reading!

  4. Lauren Berry says:

    5 stars
    Loved it, instructions were so easy to follow! JITK strikes again👏🏽👌🏽🥳🥳

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this “how to” Lauren! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  5. 5 stars
    Tasty and fun. I love your recipe. It is so easy and good. The taste of this dish is excellent. This is my favorite food. It is both delicious and nutritious. I followed your recipe and I’m done fine. I can’t wait to enjoy this. Thanks for the great article. Can you make this with many other flavors?

    • Yay! I am so happy that you enjoyed so much!! Yes you can! I love adding a bit of lime and agave for a vegan version of “honey and lime!”

  6. eric levine says:

    5 stars
    Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.

  7. Marina says:

    5 stars
    I want to diet but don’t know how to start
    Your post inspired me to start with quinoa, thank you Jessica.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome wow! We’re so happy that this inspired you! Thanks for reviewing!

  8. Sonia says:

    5 stars
    Now it is holiday and I have a lot of time to make whatever I want and the quinoa recipes are always one of my favourite choice! Happy New Year!

  9. Elliott says:

    5 stars
    Great! I just finished it last night and the result was unexpected, my wife and daughter both liked it, which made me happy. Thanks for your recipe!


Send this to a friend