How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa (stovetop)

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This quick and easy method yields perfectly cooked quinoa every time. Your quinoa will be light and fluffy and the envy of all other quinoa lovers. Never deal with burnt or undercooked crunchy quinoa again. And forget about those wet spots that are mushy when extra liquid just won’t absorb evenly. This easy stovetop method is a sure thing.

How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop

Sound the alarm!  I’m finally sharing my not-so-secret-anymore trick for how to make perfectly cooked quinoa.  It is easy and quick (which are my two favorite things when it comes to cooking methods these days).  No more soggy quinoa, crunchy undercooked quinoa or burnt quinoa for you!  This “trick” is magical.  I never do it any other way.  Your quinoa will be light and fluffy just like it should be.

 

I stumbled upon this method accidentally one day when I was cooking dinner while one of my girls was napping.  I had just started making quinoa on the stove when she woke up from her nap, so I turned the burner off, put the top on the pot and went upstairs to get her.  By the time I got back to the stove I lifted off the top and voila!  The quinoa had absorbed all the liquid the way couscous does when you leave it covered in water that was boiling.  I started moving it around with my fork and there were no “wet spots” or any liquid to be found.  Just fluffy, golden quinoa that was dry and not crunchy.  No burnt spots.  The beauty of this method is you basically turn the burner off and forget about it for 20 minutes or more.  When you return you are good to go.  So you can start your quinoa and then move on to other things since the burner is off.  Freedom!

 

 

Another key part of this method is the ratio of water to quinoa.  I go with a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa – meaning 4 cups of water with 2 cups of dry quinoa.  This yields about 8 cups of cooked quinoa total (when packed tightly).  You could make a smaller batch and do 2 cups of water with 1 cup of dry quinoa.  This yields about 4 cups of cooked tightly packed quinoa.  You get the idea.

 

 

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Anyone who knows me or follows my blog knows that quinoa is my go-to food.  It is light and absorbs flavor wonderfully.  It adds great texture to salads and can even be hidden in baked goods.  I love it as a side to almost any entree.  It is so easy to prepare and offers such amazing health benefits.  It is loaded with fiber (one serving has over 5 grams) and is considered a complete protein with all eight essential amino acids.  This makes it a great source of plant-based protein for vegans.  In fact, it has more protein than any other grain.  Quinoa is a good source of folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and many phytochemicals.  It also offers important minerals such as calcium, potassium, copper and zinc.

 

How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

I’ll walk you through the method here with some visuals and then condense the instructions in the “recipe” below.

 

First step is to measure out your water and quinoa.  For me, I like to make a big batch and use throughout the week.  I tend to use 4 cups of water with 2 cups of uncooked quinoa.  Place 4 cups of water in a large pot on your stove.  I use a 3 quart pot for this amount of quinoa.  You will need room for the quinoa to expand but you don’t want the pot too big or the trick might not work well.  Bring the water to a rolling boil on high heat.  Then add the quinoa and stir.  Let the quinoa boil uncovered on high heat for 5 minutes.

 

 

Next, turn your burner OFF.  Completely off.  And immediately cover the pot so it is sealed.  Set a timer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes you can check on it.  No peeking or you will release the magic!  I actually find leaving it on for 30 minutes ensures an even fluffier quinoa.  You really cannot leave it on too long.  The longer the lid is on the pot the longer the quinoa has to absorb all the liquid.

 

 

After your timer goes off, remove the lid!  You will then have perfectly cooked quinoa ready to eat, cook with or store for the week ahead.  I keep extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.  You can also store in an airtight container in the freezer.  I thaw it out by placing it the refrigerator the day before I plan to use it.  It is just as perfect and fluffy after frozen/thawed.

 

 

 

How to Use Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

Once you master perfectly cooked quinoa you will want to put it to use!  I love to simply saute cooked quinoa with olive oil and a little salt and serve as a side dish alongside most meals.

Here are some vegan and gluten-free recipes that utilize cooked quinoa:

  1. Easy Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad
  2. Quinoa Black Bean Veggie Burgers
  3. Vegan Sweet Potato Quinoa Tots
  4. Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  5. Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
  6. Vegan Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers
  7. Quinoa & Mango Stuffed Grilled Avocado
  8. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Quinoa Salad
  9. Vegan Greek Quinoa Sheetpan Dinner
  10. Vegan Cauliflower Chickpea Shawarma Quinoa Bowls
  11. Quinoa-Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash
  12. Quinoa Stuffing
  13. Crispy Quinoa Falafel Bowls
  14. Roasted Veggies & Crispy Chickpeas over Quinoa with Garlic Maple Tahini Drizzle
  15. Crispy Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
  16. Quick & Easy One-Pot Curried Quinoa & Chickpeas
  17. Spiralized Radish and Arugula Salad with Quinoa, Hemp Seeds and Pepita Seeds
  18. Roasted Beet Noodles Over Quinoa with Parsley Pesto
  19. Berry-Cherry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts and Balsamic-Shallot Vinaigrette
  20. Watermelon Arugula Mason Jar Salad with Quinoa, Avocado, Pine Nuts & Mint
  21. Mango-Avocado Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pepitas
  22. No-Bake Fudgy Quinoa-Chia Bites

ALL QUINOA RECIPES

 

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How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa – Stovetop Version


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This quick and easy method yields perfectly cooked quinoa every time. Your quinoa will be light and fluffy and the envy of all other quinoa lovers. Never deal with burnt or undercooked crunchy quinoa again. And forget about those wet spots that are mushy when extra liquid just won’t absorb evenly. This method is a sure thing.

How to Make Perfectly Quinoa in the Instant Pot


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed for one minute under water in a fine mesh strainer

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil on high heat in a 3-quart pot.
  2. Add the rinsed quinoa and stir.
  3. Allow the quinoa to boil on high heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the pot tightly with a well-fit lid and turn the burner OFF.
  5. Let the pot sit covered for 20 minutes or more until water is fully absorbed. Do not remove or even slightly lift the lid prior to 20 minutes. You can leave it on longer if desired. I find 30 minutes yields even better results. But 20 minutes will work if you are pressed for time.
  6. Remove lid after 20-30 minutes and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Notes

You can store extra quinoa in the freezer and thaw out a day before using in the refrigerator. It will be just as perfect when frozen/thawed out.

1 cup of uncooked dry quinoa yields about 3 cups of tightly packed cooked quinoa.  The cooked quinoa measures 4 cups when fluffed with a fork and not packed tightly into the measuring cup.  So, if using 1 cup of uncooked quinoa it should yield about 4 cups of fluffy unpacked cooked quinoa.

  • Category: Quinoa

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15 Comments

  1. Kim

    Do you leave it on the burner?

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Yes, the first five minutes the burner is on and then you cover it with the lid, turn off the burner but leave the pot on the burner (while covered). Does that make sense?

      Reply
      • Diana

        Just tried your method and it’s perfect! Super easy and my quinoa is fluffier and less clumpy than when making it the “usual” way. I let it sit for 30 minutes. Really appreciate this brilliant recipe! Thanks!






        Reply
        • Elaine Gordon

          Thank you so much, Diana! I’m so happy to hear you love this method too! It is once of those things where once you do it you never go back 😉 Thank you for the five star rating! Best, Elaine

          Reply
    • Jamir

      Do you recommend washing the quinoa before cooking to get rid of the bitter flavor?

      Reply
      • Elaine Gordon

        Yes for sure – just like with rice! It tastes better and has much better texture when rinsed. About one minute under high pressure water if possible should do it. I use a fine mesh strainer. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

        Reply
    • Jessica

      I followed the directions exactly. I even left the lid on for 30 minutes and it’s still very mushy and sticky. Does it get fluffier as it cools?

      Reply
  2. Pam

    You do not recommend the rice cooker?

    Reply
  3. Tracey

    What about electric burners? They remain hot when turned off. Do you still leave i5 in the burner? Thank you for all your recipes!

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      I haven’t tested with an electric burner but I imagine it would be the same. If you are concerned you can move it off the burner. With gas burners it stays hot as well after you turn it off. But I’m not sure how quickly the each cool when compared to one another. The key with this recipe is to keep the lid on to lock in the steam. This is a hard one to mess up and a pretty forgiving method. Please let me know if you give it a try on your electric burner.

      Reply
  4. Jess

    I followed the instructions exactly. I even left my tight fitting lid in for 30 minutes without peeking and it’s very sticky. Does it get fluffier as it cools?

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Hi, Jess! Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. One other reader contacted me with this same issue and then figured out it was the quinoa… her quinoa was really old. Is there any chance your quinoa has gone bad? I have tried this method hundreds of times and it always works perfect for me… what sort of pot did you use?

      Reply
  5. Linda P.

    Seriously, this is the best way to cook quinoa. I tried your method about a year ago and it has never failed. Light and fluffy, perfectly cooked and I’m not stuck in the kitchen for 30 minutes. I find that I make quinoa a lot now. Elaine, your recipes and ideas are so good! Thank you, and keep them coming!






    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Linda! I am so happy you love this method as much as we do! 🙂 And I’m so happy you are enjoying my recipes and ideas in general – that means a lot! 🙂

      Reply

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