How To Cook Quinoa On The Stove

Are you looking for how to cook quinoa or you will like to know how to cook quinoa on a stovetop? This blog post will answer all your questions.

Quinoa is a grain just like rice but with more nutritional elements than rice. Even though rice is more consumed in the world, quinoa is the most sought after food due to its many health benefits, it has a good protein content, it is a gluten-free grain that is also rich in fibre and minerals better than many grains we eat. This awesome grain is indigenous to South America and is mostly grown in Peru and Bolivia. We can also find it in some countries within Europe where they have successfully grown it.

In Nigeria, quinoa is not common probably because we don’t plant it due to our climate conditions here that don’t support the seed in growing well, but we have some healthy food stores in Nigeria that import this quinoa grain and sell it to health-conscious food lovers that demands it. A great substitute to it here in Nigeria is Couscous and Fonio.

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Some people get this quinoa grain for the first time and are confused about the best way to cook it, some may even be wondering if they can cook their quinoa just like rice.

Quinoa grain cooks much faster than rice and doesn’t require much heat or water that you use when you cook your rice. The cooking process is easy but needs some careful way of doing it so that you will not end up with mushy quinoa. 

Why cook Quinoa on a stove?

One of the best and most common methods to cook your quinoa is on a stovetop. Cooking your quinoa on a stove irrespective of the type of quinoa you want to cook,  will make you get perfectly cooked and fluffy quinoa.

How to Prepare Your Quinoa on Stove

The best way to make quinoa on the stove is when you make the ratio of your quinoa to water to be 1:2. 

This means that for every 1 cup of quinoa you are cooking, use 2 cups of water and for every 2 cups of quinoa use 4 cups of water. Just use this metric when cooking large quantities of quinoa, it will make you always have the perfect quinoa and this trick works for every other variant of quinoa as well. 

On a stove, cook your quinoa within 15-20minutes, after which you allow it to cool for about 5-10minutes before serving it. This process will make your quinoa very dry and fluffy, it will help absorb all the remaining liquid in the quinoa completely, without being mushy and looking overcooked.

Method of cooking Quinoa on a stove

Source: Cookie+Kate

Rinse The Quinoa

  • Rinse the quinoa before cooking just like the way you do for your rice: It is important you rinse your quinoa properly before cooking with a mesh strainer. Pour your quinoa in a mesh strainer or colander, preferably a double-layer mesh strainer to rinse your quinoa so that there will not be any grain passing through the mesh. Place your quinoa under running water in your kitchen sink and rinse with your hands very well until the water appears clear.
  • The reason you need to rinse thoroughly is because the quinoa contains a substance called Saponin in its coating. If you do not rinse properly quinoa will taste bitter after cooking it. Sometimes, some of the packaged quinoa are pre-rinsed quinoa, although that’s fine, but you need to do extra rinsing in other to get rid of the Saponin completely and at least you will be more certain that the quinoa was rinsed. It is even safer to soak your quinoa before rinsing, this will enable the Saponin in the quinoa to wash off easily but you can as well just rinse very well which works just fine.


  • Pour your drained quinoa in a pot or saucepan and add the quantity of water that is suitable to cook it: Use medium-high heat to cook your quinoa. Leave to boil for about 10 minutes, add salt (the quantity depends on the size of the quinoa) to it and reduce the heat a bit for it to simmer slowly for another 10 minutes. Cook until you dry all the liquid on very low heat.

Let it cool

  • After the cooking, cover it with a lid and leave it to cool for 5- 10 minutes: If you desire the result of your quinoa to be fluffy and the liquid completely absorbed, leave it to rest immediately you remove it from heat without opening it until it is about 5-10minutes.
  • Yaaay! Your quinoa is ready to eat, fluff it with your fork to separate the grain and serve it with any sauce of your choice. (Note- in case you notice that the quinoa is still a bit hard or there is still water at the bottom, you can put it back on the heat for just a few minute for the water to dry up completely. You can also drain the remaining water using your fine-mesh strainer and put it back into the saucepan after draining and allow it to rest awhile before serving). 
  • You can drizzle with olive oil before serving. This adds flavour to the quinoa and makes it look shiny and beautiful. You can as well add lemon juice, spinach or any other spices for extra flavour.

Serving Ideas

Quinoa is already a filling food but if you wish to serve it with additional food for extra nutrients and flavour, you can add salad, potato or vegetables to it. This great meal is perfect as a lunch meal or as dinner. 

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You can also be creative with your quinoa to make great recipes with it just like rice. It is not only made as just plain but can be combined with other ingredients to form a recipe like Avocado and Quinoa Salad, Sweet Potato Quinoa, Burger Quinoa, Quinoa Vegetable Soup, Quinoa Tomato Stew and some other mouth-watering recipes.

Final Note

Quinoa is one delicious and healthy meal you will keep craving for after the first taste. You will always want more.

What do you think about quinoa? Have you had it before? What was your experience when you prepared it?. I will love to hear from you, please, leave a comment below.

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