Perfectly Cooked Quinoa
Yield: 1 cup of dried quinoa = about 3 cups cooked
Perfectly cooked quinoa can be used as a base for delicious salads, breakfast porridges, pilafs – even baked goods and egg dishes. This easy method recipe yields grains that are fully cooked yet retain a hint of firmness. See recipe notes for adjustments if you prefer a softer end result.


  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa (red, white, or a blend)
  • 1¾ cups (14oz) water (may substitute broth or stock of choice), plus water for rinsing
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, butter or oil of choice (optional but adds flavor when eating plain)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (omit if cooking with broth)


  1. Measure 1 cup of quinoa, and place it in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. I swish the quinoa around with my hand and sometimes plunge it (carefully, so the grains don’t float out) into a bowl of water. The water should not appear cloudy. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1¾ cups of water and oil, if using, to a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, and then stir in the quinoa and the optional salt. Return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes. Check after 12 mixtures to see if most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it hasn’t been, cover, and let simmer for a few more minutes. (See notes if you prefer a softer cooked grain and for general troubleshooting.)
  3. Once the liquid is almost completely absorbed and you see the germ (which look like tiny spirals) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered, and then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  4. Serve immediately, as is, or in a recipe of choice. You may also cool the quinoa, and then cover and store in the refrigerator for later use.
  5. Storage: Cooked quinoa will keep in the fridge for about one week, and it freezes well too. Simply cool it completely and store in an airtight container in the freezer, where it will keep for up to six months.

Notes & Tips

• If all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is still not tender, add an additional 2-4 tablespoons of water and continue cooking. This can happen if the lid seal is not tight or a slightly rounded cup of quinoa was used.
• If you prefer a soft grain, you may start with 2 cups of water, following the same directions, and allowing for an extra 3-4 minutes of cooking time.
•To impart a toasted flavor, you may first sauté the rinsed and well-drained quinoa over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and you begin to smell a nutty aroma. When toasting, check the final cooking time several minutes early; in this method, the quinoa is already in the pot when the water is added and brought to a boil, so it cooks slightly faster. This method enhances the quinoa’s nutty flavor but, in the interest of time, I often skip this step and the quinoa still turns out beautifully.
•To quickly cool the cooked quinoa for use in salads, spread it evenly over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until cool. Once cool, use in your recipe or store in a covered container to prevent the quinoa from drying out in the fridge.

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