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Quinoa is a versatile and nutritious grain that has become increasingly popular in recent years. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, it’s easy to prepare and makes a great base for a variety of dishes.

the best cooked quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a plant-based grain that is native to South America.

Quinoa is small, round, and comes in several colors. You can find white quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa.

Quinoa has a slightly earthy and nutty flavor with a delicate, fluffy, and slightly chewy texture.

Its unique taste can be described as a combination of rice, couscous, and oatmeal.

Quinoa is delicious on its own, but you can also use it as a base for a variety of dishes, like salads (Roasted Vegetable Salad for example), stir-fries, soups, or as a side dish to accompany roasted vegetables or meat.

Quinoa can even be used to add nutritional value to healthy desserts (like these Quinoa Cookies).

quinoa grain

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is not only a tasty and versatile grain, but it also offers several health benefits.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider incorporating quinoa into your diet:

  • High in Nutrients. Quinoa is a great source of nutrients like fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, iron, and zinc. In fact, it’s one of the few plant-based foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
  • Gluten-Free. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  • Blood Sugar Control. Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which means that it won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This makes it a great option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to control their blood sugar levels.*
  • Heart Health. Quinoa is high in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help lower the risk of heart disease.*
  • Keeps You Satisfied. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating.

How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove

Follow these easy steps to make quinoa on the stove with ease!

Quinoa cooks quickly—about 25 minutes—making it a good alternative to slower cooking whole grains like Brown Rice.


The Ingredients

  • Quinoa. White, red, or black (or a mix!).

Water-to-Quinoa-Ratio

A great rule of thumb when cooking quinoa is a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. 2 cups water for every 1 cup of quinoa. This is the same ratio as rice.

  • Water. The water-to-quinoa ratio is crucial. You can use broth for a more savory flavor.

The Directions

rinsing quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa through a fine mesh strainer with cold water until water runs clear. Don’t skip this step!
how to cook quinoa on the stovetop
  1. Add quinoa to a medium saucepan of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
fluffing quinoa with a fork in a stovetop pan
  1. Fluff with fork and top with herbs as desired.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Let the quinoa cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked quinoa for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Add the quinoa and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
  • To Freeze. Freeze cooked, cooled quinoa in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Ways to Use Quinoa

Meal Prep Tip

Quinoa is a great grain to have on hand for meal prep! Double the recipe at the beginning of the week to have a big batch to quickly add a nutritious grain to your meals.

a bowl of how to cook quinoa recipe

In just 30 minutes, you’ll be enjoy nutritious and yummy stovetop quinoa!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need to Rinse Quinoa?

Rinsing quinoa helps remove saponin and any other impurities like dirt or debris that might be present. Saponin is a bitter-tasting compound that can make quinoa taste unpleasant if it’s not rinsed off.

Saponin is a natural insecticide produced by the quinoa plant to deter insects and birds from eating it. While saponin is not harmful to humans, it can cause digestive discomfort in some people, especially if they consume large amounts of quinoa regularly.

It’s important to note that some pre-packaged quinoa may have already been rinsed. However, it’s still a good idea to rinse it again before cooking.

How Much Does 1 Cup of Uncooked Quinoa Yield?

One cup of uncooked quinoa yields roughly 3 cups cooked.

How Can I Add Flavor to Quinoa?

Once you cook quinoa, feel free to add butter, salt, pepper, and any herbs you desire!

How Do You Pronounce Quinoa?

Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah.

How to Cook Quinoa

5 from 3 votes
How to cook quinoa on the stove! Follow this quinoa recipe for perfect fluffy quinoa every time.

Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 3 cups cooked

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Chopped fresh cilantro parsley or herbs of choice (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the quinoa. Place quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
  • Add water and quinoa to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff with fork. Top with herbs as desired.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Let the quinoa cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked white rice for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Add the quinoa and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze cooked quinoa in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup cookedCalories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 319mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 8IUCalcium: 31mgIron: 3mg

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*Health benefits of quinoa found on healthline.com.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Just perfect! I’d been skipping letting it sit off the heat and it made all the difference.5 stars