How to Cook Quinoa

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Measuring cup of red quinoa

Quinoa is such a versatile grain (that’s technically a seed!) that packs a nutritional punch with its high fiber and protein content.

It’s a great alternative to rice if you’re looking to switch things up. Plus, cooking it is extremely easy, especially with these few helpful tips I’ll share.

You can choose to soak your quinoa ahead of time to speed cooking time and increase digestibility (see notes!). Or, buy sprouted quinoa at the store to save time (my preferred).

Let me show you how to make perfect quinoa every time.

Bowl of freshly cooked quinoa prepared using our favorite method for fluffy quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa

How to cook perfect quinoa tutorial with soaking tips, a step-by-step guide, and an instructional video to help you get fluffy, tender quinoa every time.
Author Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5-6 Days




  • If using sprouted quinoa, add quinoa to a small saucepan and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to burn. If using quinoa that's not sprouted and you'd like soaking instructions, see notes*. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
  • Then add salt, curry powder (optional), and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Be sure the quinoa isn't boiling, but cooking at a gentle simmer.
  • Set aside off heat, uncovered, to cool - at least 10 minutes. Then it's perfect for use in things like salads, bowls, falafel, spring rolls, veggie burgers, stir-fries, and more!
  • Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5-6 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.



*Soaking grains helps to remove some of the naturally occurring phytic acid in the grain, which helps improve digestibility and speed cook time. To soak: Rinse quinoa thoroughly then add to a large mixing bowl or pot and cover with twice the amount of lukewarm water (2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa). Soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Then drain and rinse once more. If For cooking soaked quinoa, you’ll add 1.5 times as much water as quinoa to a saucepan, which in this case would be 1.5 cups. Bring water to a boil, then add quinoa and bring back to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender – about 15-25 minutes (will depend on whether or not the quinoa was soaked). Drain off any excess water if there is any. I like to turn off the heat and remove the lid for 10 minutes so the rice gets fluffier. Then return the lid to keep warm until serving.
*Prep time reflects soaking for 2 hours. If using sprouted quinoa or not soaking your quinoa, prep time is 0 minutes.
*Recipe as written yields about 2 cups cooked quinoa.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup serving Calories: 78 Carbohydrates: 13 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 1 g Saturated Fat: 0.15 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.34 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 10 mg Potassium: 119 mg Fiber: 1.5 g Sugar: 1.3 g Vitamin A: 2.98 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 12 mg Iron: 0.97 mg

Reader Interactions


  1. Cathryn Potvin says

    I use this soaked quinoa for mock “Mary’s Gone Crackers” recipe – so healthy and shockingly yummy! I realize how important it is to soak anything with phytates; otherwise they pull minerals from the body.

  2. Rachel says

    I agree with you particularly on how to prepare quinoa. I have been experimenting with different ways of cooking this delicious dish lately. Just in addition to what you have already stated, quinoa can also be cooked in a rice cooker for those who have one.
    Thanks for a great and informative article!

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