How to Cook Quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa | In Jennie's Kitchen

It seems almost silly to write about how to cook quinoa. My first encounter with it was many years ago. Michael came home with a recipe written on a notecard from a producer he was working with. It was written out keen-wah, the phonetic spelling. He wanted me to give it a try. I did, and will confess to not having another go with cooking it until just about eight months ago.

It was while I was doing my little cleanse that I decided to embrace the virtues of quinoa. I’ve been a white rice girl my whole life. Even when I eat brown rice, I’m wishing it was white rice. Our bodies have a way of telling us what they need, though, and while white rice wins my heart, quinoa is my body’s true love.

Most recipes call for cooking the crap out of it. I won’t say there’s nothing worse than poorly cooked quinoa (PE45, healthcare being torn apart, a bunch of old white men deciding what’s best for women’s reproductive rights…), but in the kitchen, poorly cooked quinoa ranks kind of up there for me.

How to Cook Quinoa | In Jennie's Kitchen

After a bit of research, and playing around with a few different techniques, I settled on this foolproof method for cooking perfect quinoa every time. No exploded, mushy grains here. The quinoa retains its structure, and has a bit of a chewy to it. I love it this way, each grain distinct, not a clumped mess in the pot.

How to Cook Quinoa | In Jennie's Kitchen

I tend to make a double batch, and keep leftovers in the fridge. Heating it up is easy on a skillet, but you can use a microwave, too, of course. Below there, is a photo of a recipe I hacked from Tia’s Whole New You cookbook, the one I worked on last year. It’s a wonderful tofu scramble with some turmeric, onions, kale, and hot sauce, and one of my favorite breakfasts. I’ll try to write it down next time I make it, but you can find the original recipe for the Tofu Western Breakfast Wrap on page 239 of her book.

Okay, it’s time for me to skeedaddle. Off to the pick up the kids, and then on to the airport. We’re Orlando-bound to celebrate their birthdays. Nine and 14—how did that happen? And how am I the mother of a teenager? Hope the week is being gentle with you all, and if I don’t make it back here before the weekend, hugs and Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all my mamas out there. xx-Jennie


How to Cook Quinoa | In Jennie's Kitchen

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How to Cook Quinoa | In Jennie's Kitchen

How to Cook Quinoa

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 9 minutes
Servings 3 to 4


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Sea salt
  • Add the quinoa and water to a small pot. Season with salt. Bring to a boil uncovered.
  • Reduce heat so the water bubbles gently not vigorously. Cover, and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and slip a cloth towel between the lid and the pot. Cover, and let sit for at least 10 minutes, or until until ready to eat. Fluff with a fork before serving.




  • Genny

    Thanks for the recipe! Happy Mother’s Day to you too! Enjoy those girls — as you know, they grow up way too fast!

  • Kenda

    5 stars
    I live in Orlando and it is hot as you-know-what right now, but at least you’ll have a dry vacation due to the drought. Go to Universal’s Harry Potter world, if you haven’t been. It’s awesome. Disney Springs is rocking too. And if you have time to venture to the real city of Orlando, go to Winter Park’s Park Avenue. That’s all. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Colleen

    Perfect, Jennie, thanks a bunch! I have an opened package of quinoa I’ve been wanting to use, and I can now step confidently over the cooking threshold.

  • Sue W.

    I cook quinoa in the rice pot. I can’t have rice any more, so it’s a win-win for me. I use the same 2 cups water to 1 cup rice ratio for the quinoa. I even make my late mother-in-laws Fried Rice using quinoa!

  • Jennie

    I love quinoa fried “rice”. I’ve tried making it in my rice cooker, but have found it always overcooks, though I’m sure success varies with each model. -Jenni

  • katia

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!! My quinoa cooking experiences have been big failures, so I absolutely will try it your way – happy Mother’s day 🙂

  • Natalie Slater

    I’ve always heard that you should not salt the water as it prevents the quinoa seed from opening while it cooks, resulting in crunchy quinoa. I also used to wash and toast my quinoa before cooking it for a nuttier flavor, until I found pre-washed, toasted quinoa at Whole Foods and now I can skip those steps.

  • Jennie

    I prefer my quinoa to have some bite to it, but it’s never crunchy. Just always perfectly cooked. -Jennie

  • Pat

    5 stars
    Enjoy Orlando! It’s super hot right now, but if you want to get away from theme parks, there’s lovely beaches on the east coast. We are about 45 minutes from Orlando, but only 20 from the beach!

  • Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen

    5 stars
    I’ve ALWAYS had trouble cooking quinoa and I never understood why it was so hard. This blog post came at just the right time! I need qunioa for a recipe I’m cooking tonight. Thanks so much for the helpful tips!