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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

Why You’ll Love This Recipe for Cooked Quinoa

  • Rice: Who Needs It?! Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a seed native to South America; it’s small, round, and comes in several colors. Quinoa has a slightly earthy and nutty flavor with a delicate, fluffy, and slightly chewy texture, making it the perfect substitute for rice.
  • So Many Ways to Use It. Cooked 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).
  • My Fail-Proof Method. Follow the instructions on the box and sometimes your quinoa will end up soggy and bland. My quinoa recipe turns out fluffy and perfect, never disappointing!
quinoa grain

How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove

The Ingredients

  • Quinoa. White, red, or black (or a mix!).
  • Water. You can use broth for a more savory flavor.

The Directions

rinsing quinoa
  1. Prepare. 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. Simmer. 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. Rest. Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
fluffing quinoa with a fork in a stovetop pan
  1. Finish. Fluff with fork and top with herbs as desired.

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.

Ways to Use Quinoa

a bowl of how to cook quinoa recipe

Tips for Perfect Quinoa

  • Use the Perfect Liquid-to-Quinoa Ration. 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.
  • Don’t Skip the Rinse. 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. 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.
  • Know How Much to Cook. One cup of uncooked quinoa yields roughly 3 cups cooked. This is enough for 3 to 4 people, depending on how you’re serving it.
  • Jazz It Up. Once you cook quinoa, feel free to add butter, salt, pepper, and any herbs you desire!

How to Cook Quinoa

5 from 6 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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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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 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!

Learn more about Erin

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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

  2. Absolutely perfect. I feel like I accomplished something big today! I’ve tried making quinoa before and failed terribly. This ratio was perfect for me and super simple. Thank you!5 stars

  3. This is the first time I’ve tried cooking quinoa and thanks to you, it won’t be the last! Didn’t know what to expect, but the texture was exactly how I like my rice and pasta…not mushy and not hard.5 stars

  4. My first time cooking quinoa and it turned out perfectly! I used chicken broth instead of water for added flavor. My family loved it! I paired it with your baked chicken breast recipe. A perfect meal! Thank you so much, Erin.5 stars