How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

How to cook quinoa perfectly every time | Stacie Billis

Have you ever have quinoa go all wrong? Taste bitter? Hard? Dry? Not anymore. This is how to cook quinoa so that it comes out perfect — sweet, even! — every single time.

This five step process is foolproof for churning out quinoa that even the kids will like. Though, to be honest, there’s no reason to pick on the kids, because nobody likes bitter quinoa. Which is why you need to follow these steps.

No cheating.

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

Five easy steps for fluffy, mild-tasting quinoa every time.



Though tempting (especially when you’re moving fast), do not skip this step. There’s a coating on quinoa that, if not washed off, will give your cooked quinoa a bitter taste. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and, as you rinse, use your fingers to rub the seeds together to help them shed the coating.



Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot set over medium heat and toast. (No need to add any fat; just put the damp quinoa right into the pot.) You’re done toasting the quinoa when it starts to pop like popcorn. It should also be dry. If you want to flavor the quinoa with dried spices, like garlic powder or ground turmeric, add it during the last 30-60 seconds of this step and be sure to keep tossing the quinoa as it toasts so that the spices don’t burn.


Add Cooking Liquid

Add the cooking liquid (usually water or broth, but you can add coconut milk, a splash of white wine, etc) to the hot pot. Use a 2:1 ration (eg, 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa). Be careful: when you first add the liquid, it will steam, spit, and sizzle.



Bring to a boil. Then stir, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a constant simmer. Don’t uncover the pot while cooking; if you keep peeking, the steam release will mess with your quinoa! One cup of quinoa will need to cook for 15 minutes covered and yields 3 cups of cooked quinoa.


Let Sit

After the cooking time is up, quickly peek to see if the cooking liquid is all gone and check to test if the quinoa is tender. If so, cover the pot again and allow the quinoa to rest off of the heat for at least 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and serve!

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