Bookmark this recipe for how to cook quinoa the classic way – on the stovetop! Not only is it gluten-free by nature, quinoa’s also more nutrient-dense than any grain: all the more reason it belongs in your regular recipe rotation.
At Steamy Kitchen, we like to build healthy one-bowl meals on a sturdy foundation of grains and greens. Think brown rice, couscous, quinoa, crispy salad greens, even farro–to name a few. Of course, feel free to go half-and-half (like at your favorite poke bowl place)! We want to help you find your favorites–delicious grains/greens you can make time and time again. And just like that, a Buddha bowl is born!
“But quinoa? That’s not a grain! Wouldn’t you technically call it a seed?“
A seed-carrying member of the amaranth family, quinoa is just that: a seed! And gluten? Gluten doesn’t live here anymore. (Not that it ever did.) So all y’all celiacs can rest easy.
What’s more, this humble seed packs more protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and other nutritional qualities than any other comparable grain! Would you believe it contains all 9 essential amino acids? Very few plant-based foods do!
And don’t even begin to THINK it’s any less delicious than your rockin’ grain fam of rice, bulgur, couscous, etc. You’ll throw it in casserole bakes, pilafs, salads, stuffed peppers, stuffed squash, and all of the myriad of classic dishes!
What kind of quinoa to buy
Find it in plain beige (white) or rainbow varieties, and you’ll enjoy the same fragrant but pleasantly neutral taste.
White and rainbow: the two most popular varieties of quinoa at the supermarket!
How to Cook Quinoa – Stovetop Tips for Success
- RINSE WELL – It takes seconds! Even though quinoa usually comes pre-rinsed, you want to rinse off any traces of saponin, the natural coating that gives quinoa its bitterness. A little bitterness adds character, so don’t worry; it won’t all go away.
- WATCH THE WATER – Follow the easy-peasy 1:2 quinoa-to-water ratio and you’ll be hard pressed to mess it up. Towards the end of cooking time, just check to make sure the quinoa hasn’t dried up too much, adding a splash of water if needed.
- Expect some quinoa to stick to the bottom of your pot/pan if your water’s running too low. You can also prevent this by coating the bottom with cooking spray beforehand.
How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop – Step by Step
You’ll need 2 cups of water or broth for every 1 cup quinoa, plus about 1/4 teaspoon salt. That’s it!
During or after cooking, add fats and other seasonings as needed, depending on what you plan to do with the cooked quinoa later.
- Place quinoa in the finest mesh sieve you can find, or even a French press. Quinoa’s not nearly as fine as ground coffee, but the tiny individual seeds sure like to escape! Rinse quinoa under cool water until the water runs clear.
- Combine with water and salt in a pot or deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed and white rings form around each grain, about 15 minutes.
- Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for about 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Now you’ve got all this quinoa, what do you with it? Boy do I have some ideas!
Recipes to add quinoa to
Highlight both fresh and leftover quinoa in one of these easy recipes!
Learn all about quinoa’s nutrition and health benefits here.
You might also like: How To Cook Ancient Grains
See our whole collection of Buddha Bowl grains!
Loved this recipe? Stop by the comments and let us know!
Start with these basic instructions for cooking quinoa on the stove and you’ll have fluffy, gluten-free quinoa ready to go in minutes!
American, Latin American
Calories: 156 kcal
white or tri-color/rainbow
water or broth
Rinse quinoa under cool water until water runs clear.
Combine quinoa, salt, and 2 cups water in a pot or deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed and white rings form around each grain, about 15 minutes. Add a small splash of water towards the end if quinoa becomes too dry.
Cover pot, remove from heat, and let stand for about 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.