How to Cook Quinoa

Recipes | June 21, 2014

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 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!

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!

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

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers

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

Sundried Tomato and Mozzarella Quinoa Burgers

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

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

How to Cook Quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Serves: 3
Category: Dinner
  • 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.

Tags: Gluten Free, quinoa, Vegan, Vegetarian Gluten Free, quinoa, Vegan, Vegetarian
by Jessica
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leave a comment


  1. I love quinoa too! So delicious and so nutritious! What a great guide to this delicious food!

  2. Ashley says:

    Yay for quinoa! Thanks for including my quinoa casserole : ) Have an awesome weekend!!

    • Jessica says:

      It was my pleasure Ashley. Thank you and same to you. Also yay quinoa!! lol

  3. I love quinoa, especially in my quinoa Greek salad.

    • Jessica says:

      OMG Dannii, quinoa greek salads are to die for! I hope you have a great weekend.

  4. What a coincident!! I posted the something! Great minds think alike 😉 Love your post too. have a wonderful weekend!

    • Jessica says:

      You are totally right Olivia great minds do think alike lol. Your post is really well done kudos to you! I hope you have a great weekend as well.

  5. JayCue says:

    This is exactly what I needed! Super simple guide to a great super food. I just emailed this to Mum because you have answered every question she asked. Lovely blog post, Jessiker and congrats on Mr. Bakes having the foresight to add fun stuff in the quinoa

    • Jessica says:

      Hi JayCue. Wow I’m so glad that I was able to be of some help to both you and your mom. I’ll tell Mr. Bakes you approve!

  6. This is SUCH a helpful post! Mine always turns out slightly soggy.. will have to try this method!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks a lot Alessandra! By all means give this method a try and tell me what you think. I hope it brings you as much deliciousness as it brought me and the Mr.

  7. Wow, thanks for this – so useful! I do love quinoa but so far have only really used it in salads. It’s great to see all these other amazing ideas! Love the sound of Zainab’s quinoa fried ‘rice’!

  8. Jessica says:

    You’re welcome and for sure Helen quinoa is such a versatile food it can be used in so much different ways. Zainabs quinoa fried rice sounds amazing doesn’t it? I hope you have a great weekend and thanks for reading 🙂

  9. Quinoa – I’m a fan!! These are awesome tips, Jessica! I love cooking quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth, and that sweet quinoa sounds SO amazing. Definitely making it soon! And thanks for including my bars!! 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      You’re welcome Alyssa 🙂 and thanks for commenting! I am so on that sweet quinoa !

  10. ela@GrayApron says:

    Will come in handy! Thanks, Jessica!

    ela h.

  11. I just love quinoa! I actually just posted a fruit salad with quinoa. It works great both sweet and savory. I really love that it takes on what ever flavor you add to it 😀 Great post!

  12. marcie says:

    I’ve never cooked my quinoa like this before, Jessica — usually I just boil it for 11 minutes like pasta. I’ll try this so I can compare, and I love the sweet version. YUM!

  13. Kelly says:

    Great tips Jessica! Love quinoa and yours looks so fluffy and perfect 🙂

  14. Great tips – thank you! Gives me the confidence to try cooking it at home!

  15. Sometimes the basics really are the BEST! This is a very useful guide! LOVE it and pinning!

    I love that quinoa also has lots of protein! I had an excellent quinoa salad!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Sophia for pinning! So glad it helped :). Quinoa is definitely the best.

  16. omg, thanks very much for posting this! It is going to help me when I buy Chia Seeds at the market! Amazing!

  17. Gina says:

    Hello Jessica, Love your block , thank you for sharing recipes

    God Bless

  18. Jaweed Khanani says:

    Hello Jessica, i love to coock and I will try it but i can’t under stand what kind of seed, what is the other name of keen-owh can i find in Karachi\Paksitan?

  19. Jessica says:

    Hi Jaweed, based on what I looked up online Quinoa in Pakistan “In Pakistan it is experimentally cultivated in Faisalabad, Chakwal and Bahawalpur.” Amazon does ship world-wide though so you could buy it online! This is the one I use in bulk so you don’t have to order too often:

    Hope that helps!

  20. Jaweed Khanani says:


  21. Deborah says:


    I love your motto and all the wonderful information about Quinoa. Thank you for sharing.


  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

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