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Photo of quinoa in a white bowl garnished with parsley.

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

Know that it is good for you, but aren't quite sure how to cook it? If you want perfect fluffy quinoa, read on to learn how to cook it.  Get my best cooking tips and find out how to make it taste great every time. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Healthy, Quinoa
Keyword how to cook quinoa
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 38 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 156kcal
Author Wendy Polisi


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1.25 cups broth use milk or juice for sweet quinoa


  • Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender.
  • While the aromatics are cooking, rinse quinoa in a fine metal strainer with running water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the water runs clear. 
  • If the saucepan is dry, add another tablespoon of oil.
  • Add quinoa and toast it for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add broth to the pan.  
  • Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low.
  • Cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Turn of the heat, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs if desired.
  • Let sit covered for an additional five minutes. Fluff and add to your favorite dishes.
  • How to Cool It: 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 to Cook Quinoa When You Are Short on Time? (Method 2 for Cooking.)

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.  Note: This is not my preferred method to cook quinoa and I only use this if I am short on time and don't have access to my Instant Pot.  You can check out my post on Instant Pot Quinoa  for another alternative.
  1. Use a 1:1.75 ratio of quinoa to liquid. (Most packages suggest a 1:2. I have found that I do not like the texture at this ratio.)
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.  If not eating right away, allow it to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
  • What is the Best Way to Cook Quinoa in Bulk for Use in Both Sweet & Savory Dishes? (Method 3 for Cooking.)

    • 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. My fridge is almost never without it.  Although I love the method above, sometimes I just want something fast that doesn't require measuring.  This is a no-fuss way to cook quinoa, but again, it is not my preferred method.
      1. Rinse your quinoa and place in a large pot of water.
      2. Bring to a boil.
      3. Boil for 8 minutes.
      4. Drain and return quinoa to the pot.
      5. Cover and let is sit off the heat for 10 minutes.


Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1.9mg