Learn how to use a rice cooker to make quinoa in just 20 minutes! With the right amount of water and following a few simple steps, you can cook fluffy and tender quinoa that's perfect for using in salads, bowls, and other wholesome dishes. A rice cooker is a quick method of cooking for this wholesome seed and perfect for meal prep. If you like fast and easy, you're going to love this method of cooking quinoa.
As the author of two quinoa cookbooks, I get asked a lot of questions about cooking quinoa. One of the most common questions is what method is the easiest.
I cooked it on the stovetop for years, and I still believe that is an excellent way to cook it. (You can see this post on how to cook quinoa on the stovetop for the two different methods that I use.)
More recently, I started cooking quinoa in my Instant Pot.
The first time someone asked me about using a rice cooker, I had to confess that I'd never tried.
I gave it a try and have been hooked ever since.
I love to use my rice cooker for meal prep so that I have quinoa on hand during the week to make recipes like my favorite quinoa taco salad bowl and Mediterranean quinoa salad. Give it a try and I think you'll love it too!
Looking for more quinoa inspiration? Check out these quinoa recipe ideas!
Ingredients for Making Cooking Quinoa in a Rice Cooker
- Quinoa: You can use white, red, black, or tri-colored. Whatever type you use, make sure that you rinse it before cooking.
- Oil: Use a little oil spray or add coconut, avocado, or olive oil to the bottom of your Instant Pot before adding the liquid. Oil helps to prevent sticking.
- Liquid: I recommend cooking in something other than just water since it absorbs flavors so well. Depending on how you plan on using it, broth or juice are great options.
- Seasonings: Optional, but I recommend seasoning with salt and pep
Tips & Tricks
- Don't forget to rinse before you cook! You will want to rise it in a fine-mesh strainer under a steady stream of water for three to five minutes or until the water runs clear.
- It is possible to buy it pre-rinsed - it will explicitly say so on the packaging. In this case, you may elect to skip rinsing.
- You may want to soak the seeds before cooking. Many people find that soaking helps to make it more digestible. To soak, rinse it well, and then cover it with water and 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 12 hours, and then rinse again.
- If you are going to cook red quinoa in a rice cooker, I recommend soaking it since it tends to be firmer than white.
- Unless you are planning on using it in both sweet and savory dishes, I recommend cooking in something other than water. Homemade broth, in particular, adds a tremendous amount of flavor. You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Please note that every rice cooker performs a little differently, so it may take some tweaking the first couple of times until you figure out how to make the perfect fluffy quinoa in your rice cooker.
What Can I Make With Cooked Quinoa?
- Breakfast Scramble - If a wholesome hot breakfast in less than 10 minutes sounds good to you, you are going to love this recipe. With egg, avocado, and salsa, this is a flavor-packed way to start the day.
- Turkey Meatballs - Give meatballs a nutrition boost with this delicious dish. This is one that even those who think they don't like ground turkey love!
- Broccoli Quinoa Casserole - This cheesy casserole is one of the best ways I've found to get kids excited about eating healthy. This deserves to be a weeknight staple!
- Salads are a great for meal prep. Check out this collection of 101 Quinoa Salad Recipes. You can also check out my recipe collection for salads here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Proper Quinoa to Water Ratio for Cooking Quinoa in a Rice Cooker?
When making quinoa in a rice cooker, the proper quinoa to water ratio is 1:2. This means for every cup of dry quinoa, you will need to cups of water or broth.
How much quinoa is 1 cup cooked?
It cooks up in a 1:3 ratio. This means if you need one cup of cooked quinoa, you will need to cook ⅓ a cup of seeds. If you cook one cup of dry seeds, it will yield approximately three cups of cooked quinoa.
Why do you need to rinse quinoa cooking?
It is covered in a bitter substance called saponin. In nature, saponin protects the seeds from pests and birds.
Because saponin is bitter tasting and can lead to gastrointestinal distress, quinoa must be well-rinsed before serving. Alternatively, you may by pre-rinsed seeds.
Tools Needed to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker
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Rice Cookers to Consider
- Aroma Digital Rice Cooker - This is a budget-friendly option! With a delay timer that allows you to prepare ahead, this 20-cup machine is a great option for families.
- Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker - When only the best will do, this is the rice cooker for you. It uses computer technology to fine-tune cooking times and temperatures. Brown rice, white rice and more come out perfect every time.
- Instant Pot with Rice Cooker Function - If you like multi-function cookers, it doesn't get much better than this! This unit is a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer
Other Recommended Tools
- Olive Oil Sprayer
- Fine Mesh Strainer
You can keep cooked quinoa in a sealed container in the fridge for up to five days.
It may be frozen for up to three months. Remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
How to Make How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker
- Rinse one cup of quinoa seeds in a fine metal strainer.
- Spray the bottom of the cooker with oil. (This is optional, but I find it helpful to avoid sticking.)
- Add the quinoa and water or broth to the cooker. The quinoa to water ratio in a rice cooker is two parts liquid and one part quinoa. So if you wanted to cook 2 cups of uncooked quinoa, increase the cooking liquid to 4 cups.
- If your cooker allows you to add in herbs and spices, you should go ahead and do that now.
- Once you turn your rice cooker on, it will take between 15 and 25 minutes for the seeds to cook. Times will vary depending on the rice cooker and the color of quinoa you are cooking.
- Instructions in this recipe are for white quinoa. Allow a bit of additional time when cooking red quinoa or other types of quinoa like tri-color or black.
- Every rice cooker is a little different, so you will need to experiment with your cooker. Generally speaking though, you will want to use your white rice setting. The first time you try it, I would cook red quinoa for 25 minutes and white quinoa for 15. You can make adjustments from there.
- When the time is done, make sure you fluff the quinoa with a fork.
20-Minute Rice Cooker Quinoa Recipe
- 1 cup quinoa
- Olive Oil Spray or a spoon of coconut oil
- 2 cups liquid vegetable broth, juice or water
- Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water, until the water runs clear.
- Spray the bottom of the rice cooker with olive oil.
- Place the quinoa in the rice cooker.
- Add 2 cups of liquid.
- Turn the rice cooker on and cook for 15 minutes. (Use the white rice setting if you have one.)
- Unplug the rice cooker and allow to sit for 5 more minutes.
- Fluff and serve.
Other Great Rice Cooker Recipes to Try:
- 17 Surprising Ways to Use a Rice Cooker By Greatist
- Rice Cooker Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya by Let's Dish Recipes