White Quinoa in a wooden bowl

Cooking Basics

How to cook quinoa

Quinoa: the superfood that's not only nutritious but also incredibly versatile! Perfect as a wholesome gluten-free alternative, a protein-rich side dish, or simply if you want to try something new in the kitchen – quinoa is your go-to staple!

Whether you're new to quinoa or want to spice up your quinoa dishes, our blog article has got you covered! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about quinoa, how to cook quinoa and we’ll show you the best spice mixes and recipes for quinoa!

With the help of this article and the right spice blends, you’ll become a quinoa master in no time!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa originally comes from South America but has become popular all over the world. At first glance, quinoa seems reminiscent of cereals such as wheat, but it is actually classified as “pseudo-cereal” like chia seeds, amaranth and buckwheat. That’s why quinoa is also gluten-free!

As well as being gluten-free, quinoa is also popular because of its nutritional profile and incredible health benefits! Since quinoa contains all the amino acids it’s recognised as a complete protein source and perfect for vegetarians or vegans who are looking for alternative protein sources. It’s also rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Quinoa is also really versatile and can be used in hearty dishes, as a side dish or in salads, and bowls. Alternatively, it can also be eaten as a breakfast porridge. You can really say that it’s earned its title as a “superfood”!


Different types of quinoa

Quinoa comes in different types and colours, each with their own unique flavours and textures. So, before you start cooking, let’s explore the different types of quinoa and which ones are the best choice for your dish!


White Quinoa: This type of quinoa is light and fluffy and therefore often used as a rice replacement. It also has a rather mild flavour which is why it goes with almost any dish.


Red Quinoa: Red quinoa tastes slightly nuttier compared to white quinoa. It also stays crunchier after cooking and makes the ideal ingredient if you want to prepare a quinoa salad or quinoa bowl!


Black Quinoa: Black quinoa is similar to red quinoa, since it also tastes nuttier and stays crunchy after cooking. You can use it the same way as you do with red quinoa!

Apart from these different types of quinoa, you also often find Tri Colour or Rainbow Quinoa – which is just a mix of the three types of quinoa. Perfect if you can’t choose which one you prefer!


Different types of quinoa in wooden bowls Different types of quinoa in wooden bowls


What's the ideal ratio of water to quinoa?

No matter which type of quinoa you choose or which cooking method you prefer, if you don’t want mushy quinoa you need the right water-to-quinoa ratio.


In general, the water-to-quinoa-ratio is 2:1

This means that it takes 2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of dry quinoa. You can use water and season it with some salt or use a vegetable broth of your choice. If you want to cook more quinoa, you can of course simply increase the amount of quinoa and adjust the amount of water according to the ratio of 2:1.


How long does quinoa take to cook?

The question of how long quinoa has to cook cannot be answered in general. The cooking time depends on the type of quinoa, the cooking method and also the amount of quinoa you want to cook. 

Here are the typical cooking times for the different types of quinoa:

– White Quinoa usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.

– Red Quinoa takes a few minutes longer than white quinoa and needs about 20 to 25 minutes of cooking time.

– Black Quinoa is similar to red quinoa and takes around 20 to 25 minutes to cook.

Cooking Quinoa Cooking Quinoa


How to cook quinoa in a pot

Cooking quinoa in a pot is a simple, yet effective method to make delicious and fluffy quinoa in just a few minutes! Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to cook quinoa in a pot:


First you should put the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse the grains under running water. This will reduce the slightly bitter taste after cooking.


Now pour twice the amount of water into your pot and bring to the boil. For savoury dishes, add some vegetable broth or salt to the boiling water. Once boiling, add your rinsed quinoa to the pot.


Reduce the heat and let your quinoa simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, and let the quinoa cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. This way your quinoa becomes fluffy!


After this time, check the quinoa to see if it's fully cooked. The quinoa is done when it has absorbed all the water and its germ becomes visible. If there's still some water left, continue cooking for a few more minutes until everything is absorbed.


Turn off the heat and let your quinoa sit covered for a while. Then use a fork to separate the grains and make your quinoa fluffy.

Now you can enjoy your delicious quinoa!


Cleaning quinoa Cleaning quinoa


How to cook quinoa in a rice cooker

Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker is a very convenient method, since you don’t have to keep an eye on it all the time. The special heating technique prevents the quinoa from burning and ensures that it is heated to the same degree on all sides and therefore cooked equally quickly. You can also keep your quinoa warm in the rice cooker.

Here are the simple steps you need to follow:


First, you should rinse your quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under running water to prevent the slightly bitter taste after cooking.


Then you put your quina and twice the amount of cold water and a little salt or vegetable broth into the rice cooker.


Close the lid and switch on the rice cooker. Sometimes rice cookers also have a setting for cooking quinoa, so if your rice cooker has one, turn it on.


After about 15 minutes, your quinoa is ready. Fluff the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains and make sure that it's taken on a light, fluffy texture.


How to cook quinoa in a microwave

Another method of preparing quinoa that saves time and effort, is cooking quinoa in your microwave. You just need to follow the same principles as cooking quinoa in a pot:


First you need to rinse your quinoa as always.


Then you put your quinoa in a heatproof bowl and add cold water according to the 2:1 ratio. 


Then you cover your bowl with a microwave-safe lid while making sure to leave one gap open, so the steam can escape.


Put your bowl in the microwave and turn the heat on high. Leave your quinoa in the microwave for about 5 minutes.


After about 5 minutes, carefully take your bowl from the microwave and stir the quinoa to make sure that it cooks evenly.


Put the bowl back in the microwave and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes.


Let the quinoa rest for a few minutes in the bowl to make it fluffier.


Best quinoa recipes

Now that you know how to cook quinoa properly, you're probably wondering what it can be used for?

Whether in muesli instead of oats, as a side dish with fish, meat or vegetables, in soups, salads or even sushi ­– quinoa is a true all-rounder that can be used in many recipes and creations. Get creative and find your new favourite dish! If you can’t get enough of experimenting in the kitchen, check out our recipe collection for more delicious recipes for all kinds of diets or occasions.

Here are some of our favourite quinoa recipes:


Best spice mixes for quinoa

While quinoa already has its own delicious nutty flavor, the right spices can take it to another level! Whether for quinoa salads, bowls or even granola – we’ve got the best spice mixes to elevate all your quinoa creations!



Cooking basics with Just Spices

In this article, we’ve taught you how to cook quinoa in different ways. Want to improve other cooking skills? Check out our Cooking Basics blog category. There you can find all kinds of articles on how to cook different ingredients like how to cook beetroot or how to cook asparagus.