This is how long to cook quinoa on stovetop, in a rice cooker, Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi quinoa or in a slow cooker. Fluffy perfect quinoa is a high protein side dish that is naturally gluten free and can be sweet or savory.
This is how to cook quinoa a number of different ways. A bit like rice but with a lot more vitamins and minerals it is a versatile side that goes with just about any main dish. Try this healthy bite of yum using using white like we did here or tri color quinoa + water or broth. (affiliate links present)
How to Cook Quinoa in Slow Cooker
Quinoa water ratio is 1:2, we are referring to white quinoa in this post. So if you want to make 1 cup of dry grains you would double the amount of liquid to that to get it done. Whether you make it in an Instant Pot, rice cooker, stovetop or slow cooker it is the same to get it tender.
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and drain well
- just as you would if making Crockpot white rice.
- Add the quinoa to the slow cooker and pour in the water or vegetable broth.
- Stir in the salt, if using.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours
- or on low for 4-5 hours, or until it is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Once cooked, no matter how you make it, you’ll want to fluff with a fork it before it is served. Adding diced fresh herbs and seasoning is a great choice to add flavor. Shaved parmesan is another favorite for us.
Pressure Cooker Quinoa Recipe
Now this is fast, but you need a long natural release so it has time to soak up the liquids and get nice and fluffy under high pressure. This only takes 1 minute in an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi using the pressure cook function. After that let it sit for another 15 minutes before you release the rest of the rest.
I will add a bit less water in this case, but double will work as well. I like it on the drier side of things so I tend to make 1.5 cups with 2 1/4 cups of water. If I am making it savory I will use broth unless making a sweet breakfast dish.
You can in fact do this! You will want to use the white rice setting on your machine, if you have a choice. The water to quinoa ratio is 2:1. Typically 1 cup is made so you’ll want 2 cups of water or broth + 1/2 tsp of salt for flavor. It will take 15-20 minutes to cook, then fluff and serve.
How to Cook 1/2 Cup Quinoa
Quinoa on stovetop is your best bet for a small amount. Remember that timing will vary depending on how much is added into your pot. Less with not take quite as long, and I would suggest spraying the inside with non stick olive oil spray as this tends to stick a bit if it’s not lined with Teflon.
- Rinse in a fine mesh strainer and drain well.
- Add the quinoa and water/broth to a medium pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Boil quinoa for 12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and it becomes tender.
- Check occasionally to make sure it’s not boiling over or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Once cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes with the lid still on.
- This allows the grains to steam and become fluffier.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and season with salt, if desired.
You can also make this as an oatmeal alternative for something in the morning. I will show you how that is done on the sweeter side, even my kids love this one. I mean cinnamon oatmeal is great, but kinda’ boring and this has way more protein than the old fashioned.
How to Make Quinoa Taste Good
#1 best thing to make is breakfast quinoa with fresh fruit and some honey drizzled over the top!! I mean yum. Our favorite combo is some sliced bananas and blueberries too if they are in season.
- Toast your grains: Before cooking, toast it in a dry skillet over medium heat until it turns a golden brown color and smells nutty. This will add a deeper, richer flavor to your dish.
- Use broth instead of water: Vegetable or chicken broth, coconut milk, or tomato sauce will add more flavor and still provide the quinoa water ratio that you need.
- Add spices such as cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, or chili powder into the cooking liquid or sprinkle them on top of it once it is cooked.
- Mix in herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or basil can add a burst of freshness.
- Add acidity such as lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar to help balance out the flavors and give it a kick of flavor.
Mix in other ingredients like roasted vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, or Northern beans. Experiment with different combinations to find what you like best. Serve it cold in salads, add a spoonful into a soup or in with your meat stir fry.
Health benefits are long when it comes to this vs. something like white or brown rice. Of course the latter is better, the darker the grain the better. Darker means the hull is left on and not stripped, that is where all the nutrients and fiber exist after all. Yes it creates a longer cooking time to get it tender but totally worth it.
How to Cook Red Quinoa
Red and black are other types you may find at the store. Red takes about 3 to 4 minutes longer on the stove and black quinoa needs about 5 to 6 more minutes more than it’s white variety. I think boiled is your best bet to get perfectly fluffy grains every time, so;
- Add 1 cup black or red quinoa and 2 cups liquids into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes for red
- Boil for about 20 minutes for black
- or until the liquid is absorbed and grains are tender to your liking.
- check occasionally to make sure it’s not boiling over or sticking to the bottom
- Once done, remove from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes with the lid still on to achieve a fluffy quinoa
If you are looking for another healthy side dish to serve with dinner, make this and slow cooker black beans which are high in fiber and nutrition too.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
How Long to Cook Quinoa
- 1 slow cooker or pot, or pressure cooker, rice cooker
- Slow Cooker quinoa – Add the white quinoa to the slow cooker and pour in the water or vegetable broth. Stir in the salt, if using. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours, or until it is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Pressure Cooker quinoa – Add the quinoa and water or vegetable broth. Stir in the salt, if using. Close lid and steam valve. Set to high pressure for 1 minute with a natural release time of 15 minutes. Then release rest of steam, fluff and serve.
- Quinoa in Rice Cooker – Rinse quinoa in fine strainer, add into pot with water, stir and close lid. Press white rice button. Allow to sit in machine with lid on for 5 minutes when done, then fluff and serve.
- Quinoa on Stovetop – Rinse in a fine mesh strainer and drain well. Add the quinoa and water/broth to a medium pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Boil quinoa for 12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and it becomes tender. Check occasionally to make sure it's not boiling over or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit with lid on for 15 minutes to allow the grains to steam and become fluffier.
- How to Cook Red and Black Quinoa – Use stovetop method with this timing; Simmer for 15 minutes for red – Boil for about 20 minutes for black – until water is absorbed. Leave covered for another 15 minutes once water is absorbed with heat off before fluffing.