How to Cook Quinoa (VIDEO)
Learn how to cook perfect quinoa. Quinoa is very light in taste and texture and it’s so versatile and easy to cook. Watch the video tutorial and you’ll be on your way to making the best-tasting fluffy quinoa.
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What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is actually a seed and not a true grain even though it’s referred to as the “Mother Grain” in South America. Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wa” and was cultivated hundreds of years ago in the Andes mountains by Incan farmers. There are several varieties of quinoa and all will work in this recipe.
Quinoa is considered to be healthier than other grains because it’s higher in fiber and protein and lower in carbs, plus it’s naturally gluten-free.
How to Cook Quinoa Video
Watch Natasha make this easy fluffy quinoa. It’s very similar to rice and is surprisingly easy to make.
- Quinoa – we use white quinoa because it has the mildest flavor, but different varieties will cook the same way.
- Butter – we add a pat of unsalted butter but you can substitute with light olive oil to toast the quinoa.
- Filtered water – since the quinoa absorbs the water, using filtered water is a good idea
- Fine sea salt – you can use whatever salt you like, just add it to taste (use more if it’s course grain salt and a little less if it’s table salt)
The Secret to the Best Quinoa
The key is to toast the quinoa before boiling it. It’s an easy step that takes a few extra minutes and I just toast it in the same saucepan it’s cooked in so it’s really worth the teensy bit of extra effort. The texture is also better – the kernels are more defined and the quinoa turns out less mushy.
How to Make Quinoa
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve for at least 30 seconds then drain well.
- Toast quinoa – place a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp butter or oil. Add drained quinoa and stir until toasted and the grains separate and turn golden (3 minutes).
- Simmer – Add water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 13-15 minutes. Check with a fork to the bottom of the pot to ensure the water has evaporated.
- Rest – Remove from heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.
Pro Tip: Letting the pot rest for 5 minutes is important for perfectly done quinoa. It allows the quinoa to absorb some residual steam so you don’t end up with partially cooked or crunchy quinoa.
Quinoa does not require toasting but you will have the best flavor if you toast the grains in butter or oil. You can also toast on a dry skillet without oil or butter to cut calories.
Quinoa has a naturally occurring bitter coating called saponins. Rinsing the quinoa ensures your quinoa won’t taste bitter after it is cooked. If you have had bitter-tasting quinoa, it’s because it was not rinsed before cooking.
Yes, but keep in mind the quinoa will cook and absorb all of the water a little faster.
You can easily double the recipe following the guideline of 1 part quinoa to 2 cups water, but keep in mind, that a larger amount of quinoa will take longer to cook and absorb all of the water.
When quinoa is done cooking, you will see tiny spirals (the germ) curl around the seeds.
Serve Quinoa with
We love to serve this as a healthy side dish and it pairs well with just about any protein or vegetables.
- Steak – Pan-Seared Steak or Grilled Steak
- Chicken – Stuffed Chicken Breast or Spatchcock Chicken
- Pork – Roasted Pork Tenderloin or Pork Schnitzel
- Veggies – Roasted Cauliflower or Asparagus
Cooked quinoa is perfect for easy meal prep throughout the week.
- To Refrigerate: once quinoa has cooled, store it in an airtight or tightly sealed container for up to 3 to 5 days.
- Freezing: store cooled quinoa in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or Tupperware for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: set the quinoa in the refrigerator overnight or quick-thaw on the counter at room temperature for 1 hour.
- To Reheat: you can microwave or use the stovetop. To microwave – sprinkle thawed quinoa with a little water then heat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, stirring halfway. For the stovetop – place a skillet over medium heat and melt some butter. Add quinoa and stir until heated through.
This is our go-to method for how to cook quinoa. Do you love quinoa? I’d love to hear your favorite way to serve it up in the comments below.
How to Cook Quinoa
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve for at least 30 seconds then drain well.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp butter or oil. Add drained quinoa and stir constantly until quinoa is toasted, the grains separate and turn golden, about 3 minutes.
Add water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 13-15 minutes. When it’s done, you’ll see tiny spirals curl around the seeds and check with a fork to ensure the water has evaporated all the way down to the bottom of the pot.
Remove from heat and let it rest covered for another 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.