After more than 700 quinoa recipes, I’ve learn a thing or two about how to cook quinoa perfectly! Here are my best tips for cooking quinoa perfectly every time.
If you had told me in 2010 that by 2016 I would have created over 700 quinoa recipes and had two published books, I would have told you that you were crazy.
At that point, I had only just heard of this trendy food called quinoa and didn’t have any idea all the different ways that you could use it.
Over the years, I have had a LOT of people tell me that they struggle with just the basic cooking. Often, they ended up with either something that resembles mush, OR they ended up burning it.
There is a simple reason why this happens so often. Most methods of cooking quinoa call for a 1:2 ratio between quinoa and liquid. For a long time, I thought this was the best method. What I found is that I like quinoa a lot more when I used less liquid, lower heat and cooked my quinoa for longer. Unlike some methods which yield a softer (and sometimes soggy!) quinoa, this method yields a fluffy quinoa. When I am short on time I will still use the old method, but as long as I have the time I find that the results are well worth the effort.
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This method is a bit different than most quinoa recipes that you will come across, so you will have to make adjustments when necessary.
How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1.25 cups cooking liquid (broth, water, milk or juice)
- If you are working with unrinsed quinoa, you want to start off by soaking your quinoa. (You can buy quinoa that is prerinsed if you want to skip this step.) You can soak for an hour or more without a negative impact but 15 minutes will do the trick. After soaking, rinse for two or three minutes in a fine metal strainer. If you do not have a colander that is fine enough, you can line your regular colander with cheesecloth to get the job done. If you are using pre-rinsed quinoa you can skip this step.
- Once your quinoa is rinsed, heat a saucepan to medium heat. Add the quinoa and toast for 3 to four minutes.
- Add liquid to the pan. As always, choose the liquid that best suits the dish you are making. Depending on the ad ins you are using, you may or may not use a bit more liquid. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low. Cover and cook for between 30 and 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional five minutes. Fluff and add to your favorite dishes.
- If you are going to be sorting in the refrigerator, place on a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool before transferring to a storage container.
How Do You Cook Quinoa When You Are Short on Time?
One thing that I have found is that even if you have only 15 minutes to cook your quinoa and want to use the boil/simmer method, it tends to work better if you use a little less water. I use a 1:1.75 ratio when I’m in a hurry. Bring the quinoa to a boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Easy No Fail Method to Cook Quinoa in Bulk
Over the last two years, I’ve developed the habit of cooking a large batch of quinoa once a week so that I can easily throw it into anything from wraps, pancakes, and salads. Although I love the method above, sometimes I just want something fast that doesn’t require measuring. When this is the case, I will simply rinse the quinoa and then place it in a pot of water. Bring it to a boil and allow it to boil for about eight minutes. Drain the water off and return it to the pot. Cover it and let it sit off the heat for about 10 minutes. Perfect quinoa every time!
So, the next time a friend or family member asks you “How do I cook quinoa?” you can tell them with confidence regardless of the situation!
If you are new to quinoa, make sure you check out all my quinoa recipes.
Still Struggling or Want an Easier Way?
I can’t say enough good things about the 3 Squares TIM3 MACHIN3 . It is without a doubt the easiest way to cook quinoa! Unlike a rice cooker, it has a special quinoa setting that includes toasting the quinoa before you cook it. After that, it is literally a set it and forget it method that yields perfect quinoa every time! With the TIM3 MACHIN3 even a kitchen novice can learn how to cook quinoa perfectly.
Here are some reader favorite quinoa recipes: