How to cook perfect quinoa

how to cook perfect quinoa

Kwin-oh-a? Keen-yah? Ken Lee? Who knew one little grain could cause so much awkwardness. Imagine the number of times people have stuttered and mumbled trying to order the damn roast veg and quinoa salad at their local lunch spot. 

"I'll have the....keen...kwinwaaargh...*coughs* the burger, just give me the burger, please."

The correct pronunciation is keen-wah. Its name comes from Quechua, a South American language primarily spoken in the Andes where the grain originated. Confusing name aside, here's why you should get on board the quinoa train if you haven't already. 

Quinoa is a nutty tasting, gluten-free grain that looks like couscous but is actually a complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids. It's rich in vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, magnesium and iron and is a great source of fibre. Next time you're planning to make rice or pasta, substitute that with quinoa for an added nutrient punch. It's also lower in carbs, if you are watching your intake. 

So now that you know what it is, how the flip do you make it - and by make it, I mean make it nice, because we don't just make things on this blog - we make delicious things! If you've ever tried making quinoa at home and given up after 2 or 3 tries, welcome to the club. Quinoa cooked incorrectly is horrible. It's like eating setting cement covered with sand. Cooked quinoa is meant to be light and fluffy and stay that way, even when kept in the fridge.  

Here’s how to get perfectly fluffy quinoa instead of the clumpy porridge you may be all too familiar with. 

Tip #1: rinse the quinoa for 30 seconds before cooking. This gets rid of that bitter taste caused by phytochemicals. 

Tip #2: use two parts water to one part quinoa - measure it out. If you're like me and prefer to throw some grains in a pot and add water until it looks like the right level, don't do this!

Tip #3: once all the water has been absorbed, remove the pot stove from the and cover for 5 minutes. As it steams, the quinoa grains pop and it becomes nice and fluffy.

I know you're skeptical because so was I, but I promise you this works. Try it and @ me in the comments. 

Perfectly Cooked Quinoa


  • 1 part uncooked quinoa eg. 1 cup
  • 2 parts water eg. 2 cups 
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt 


  1. Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for 30 seconds. Drain well. 
  2. Combine the quinoa and water in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water - around 10 to 20 minutes depending on the amount of quinoa. 
  4. Remove the pot from heat, cover and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. 
  5. Serve as planned. 


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