How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker: A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re eager to discover how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker, you’ve come to the right place. The popularity of quinoa has soared in recent years due to its exceptional health benefits and remarkable versatility in the kitchen. Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker offers a convenient and foolproof method that guarantees consistently fluffy and perfectly cooked grains.

This comprehensive guide will guide you through the step-by-step process, providing you with all the necessary information to ensure your success. From selecting the ideal rice cooker to storing your cooked quinoa, we have you covered. Get ready to elevate your quinoa cooking game and enjoy satisfying results every time.


Can Quinoa be cooked in a rice cooker?

how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker
Cre: The Kitchn

Absolutely! Quinoa may be prepared quickly and easily in a rice cooker. It follows a similar process to cooking other grains like sticky rice, sushi rice, white rice, and brown rice. With a rice cooker, preparing quinoa becomes faster and more hands-off, allowing for a hassle-free cooking experience.


Selecting the Right Rice Cooker

Before we delve into the cooking process, choosing the right rice cooker for cooking Quinoa is essential. Rice cookers vary in capabilities; not all are suitable for achieving the desired results when cooking Quinoa.

Consider seeking a rice cooker that provides the following features:

  • Size and Capacity: Ensure that the rice cooker can accommodate the amount of quinoa you intend to cook.
  • Multi-functionality: Opt for a rice cooker with a specific setting for cooking quinoa or a versatile setting for cooking grains.

If you’re considering purchasing a rice cooker, please refer to this article, “5 Best Rice Cookers Philippines for 2023,” to find the most suitable one.


How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker: A Step-by-Step Guide

Buying the Right Type of Quinoa

When you visit the store, you’ll find a variety of quinoa options to choose from. Here are a few common types:

  • White Quinoa: Also known as ivory, blond, tan, or yellow, this variety has a mild flavor and the fluffiest texture. It is readily accessible in grocery stores and widely incorporated into various culinary creations.
  • Red Quinoa: Red Quinoa, found in stores like Whole Foods, offers a nuttier flavor when cooked. It retains its shape well and is ideal for salads or rice substitutes.
  • Black Quinoa: With a slightly earthy and sweet taste, black Quinoa differs from white and red varieties. It maintains a crunchy and chewy texture after cooking, making it an excellent choice for salads or as a topping for grain bowls.

These different types of Quinoa offer unique flavors and textures, allowing you to experiment and create diverse and delicious meals.

Rinsing the Quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker - Rinsing the Quinoa
Cre: Gluten Insight

When preparing grains like Quinoa or rice, it is essential to start by rinsing them under cold water. This initial rinsing helps eliminate saponin, a natural chemical that forms on the grain’s outer layer.

Saponin has a bitter taste and is a protective mechanism against predators, deterring them from consuming the grain in its natural environment. While cooking, some individuals may detect the presence of saponin in unrinsed Quinoa.

However, specific pre-packaged quinoa options have been thoroughly rinsed, eliminating any traces of saponin. If you opt to purchase Quinoa from bulk bins, it is advisable to rinse it to be on the safe side. By rinsing the Quinoa, you can ensure a better-tasting final dish, free from residual bitterness.

To rinse Quinoa, place it in a strainer and run it under cold water. Use your fingers to swirl the grains for a few minutes, allowing the water to wash away any residue. This simple rinsing step helps ensure a cleaner and more enjoyable quinoa experience.

To rinse Quinoa without creating a mess, you can try these alternative methods:

  • Cheesecloth Method: Place a cheesecloth or a clean cotton t-shirt over a colander or bowl. Secure the edges of the cloth over the colander. Add the Quinoa to the center and rinse it under cold water for a few minutes. Gather the corners of the cloth to create a sack, and gently squeeze out any excess water. Transfer the rinsed Quinoa to the rice cooker.
  • French Press Technique: If you have a French press, it can be a handy tool for rinsing Quinoa. Add the Quinoa to the French press and fill it with cold water. Stir with a spoon and use the plunger to contain the Quinoa while pouring the water. Repeat this process, adding fresh water until the water runs clear and the Quinoa is thoroughly rinsed.

These alternative rinsing techniques provide practical ways to ensure your Quinoa has been cleaned adequately before cooking while minimizing the mess in your kitchen.

Soaking the Quinoa (optional): Soaking Quinoa for 15 minutes can help reduce cooking time and enhance its digestibility.

Preparing the Rice Cooker

Preparing the Rice Cooker to cook Quinoa
Cre: Queen Bee Today
  • Coat the rice cooker insert with oil spray: Before adding the Quinoa and water, give the rice cooker insert a light coating of coconut oil or avocado oil using a cooking spray or a brush. This simple step creates a non-stick surface that ensures the Quinoa cooks evenly and releases effortlessly.
  • Adding water to the Rice Cooker: Measure the appropriate amount of water based on the quinoa-to-water ratio.
  • Determining the Right Quinoa-to-Water Ratio: The general ratio is 1 cup of Quinoa to 2 cups of water. However, this may vary based on personal preference and the type of Quinoa used.
  • Adding salt (optional): To enhance the flavor of the Quinoa, consider adding a small pinch of salt.

Cooking the Quinoa

  • Turning on the Rice Cooker: Close the lid and select the appropriate setting for cooking grains or Quinoa. Choose ‘white rice’ or press the single button on your rice cooker for white or brown rice. It’s incredibly easy!
  • Checking the Quinoa Periodically: After the initial cooking time, check the Quinoa for doneness and fluffiness. If needed, add a little more water and continue cooking. Most will cook in approximately 30 minutes.
  • Fluffing the Quinoa after Cooking: Once it is cooked, let it sit for a few minutes, then fluff it gently with a fork to separate the grains.


  • Avoid removing the lid while the Quinoa is cooking. The steam trapped inside the rice cooker plays a crucial role in ensuring even cooking and achieving the desired texture.
  • After the cooking process is complete, take a fork and gently fluff the Quinoa. This helps to separate the grains and enhance the overall texture before serving.

Remember, maintaining the lid on during cooking and fluffing the Quinoa afterward will contribute to a successful and flavorful outcome. Enjoy your perfectly cooked Quinoa!


Useful Advice for Cooking Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Quinoa is a great alternative to rice and can be used in various recipes. It’s also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals. If you’re new to cooking quinoa, here are some additional tips for getting it right.

Using the right type of Quinoa

Using the right type of Quinoa
Cre: Mashed
  • Differences between White and Brown Quinoa: White Quinoa cooks faster and has a milder flavor, while brown Quinoa takes longer to cook but offers a slightly nuttier taste.
  • Adjusting the Quinoa-to-Water Ratio: Increase the water slightly for brown Quinoa to ensure proper cooking.

Adding Flavor to the Quinoa

Using Broth Instead of Water: Replace water with vegetable or chicken broth to infuse the Quinoa with extra flavor.

Adding Herbs and Spices: Enhance the taste by adding herbs like parsley or spices like cumin or paprika to the cooking liquid.

Storing Cooked Quinoa

You should store your cooked quinoa in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow the cooked quinoa to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the Quinoa for up to 5 days or freeze it for long-term storage.

To freeze, divide the quinoa into individual portions and place them in freezer-safe bags or containers. Label and date them for easy identification.

To reheat quinoa, add a tablespoon of water and loosely cover the container (slightly ajar if it has a lid). Microwave the quinoa until it’s steaming hot.

Before serving, use a fork to loosen and separate the quinoa grains, creating a light and fluffy texture. This step helps enhance the quinoa dish’s presentation and overall eating experience.

Food Safety Tips for Quinoa

Avoid reheating Quinoa multiple times. It’s best to reheat it only once to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.

To ensure food safety, it is recommended to discard Quinoa that has been kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This is because cooked Quinoa left out for an extended period can promote rapid bacterial growth, posing a risk of foodborne illnesses.

It’s important to prioritize proper storage and timely consumption of cooked Quinoa to maintain its freshness and minimize the potential health risks.

If you notice an unusual odor or mold growth on the Quinoa, discard it immediately. These are signs of spoilage; consuming spoiled Quinoa can lead to foodborne illnesses.



What is the recommended water-to-quinoa ratio when using a rice cooker?

When cooking in a rice cooker, the general ratio of water to Quinoa is two parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. For example, if you’re cooking 1 cup of Quinoa, you would use 2 cups of water.
However, it’s always best to refer to the specific instructions provided by your rice cooker’s manufacturer, as ratios may vary slightly depending on the model. Adjustments can also be made based on personal preference for softer or firmer Quinoa.

How much Quinoa can a rice cooker accommodate?

The capacity of a rice cooker to accommodate Quinoa varies depending on the size and model of the rice cooker. Generally, a standard rice cooker can handle 1 to 2 cups of uncooked Quinoa.
It’s essential to stay within the maximum capacity indicated by the rice cooker manufacturer to ensure proper cooking and avoid any potential overflow. Refer to the instruction manual or check the capacity markings on your rice cooker for specific guidelines.

Does Quinoa expand during cooking?

Yes, Quinoa does expand during cooking. It absorbs the liquid it’s cooked in and becomes more significant in size and softer in texture. This expansion is typical and expected when cooking Quinoa.
– For 2 cups of cooked Quinoa, use ¾ cup of uncooked Quinoa.
– For 3 cups of cooked Quinoa, use 1 cup of uncooked Quinoa.

What is the best rice cooker setting for Quinoa?

The ideal setting for cooking Quinoa in a rice cooker is the grain or quinoa setting, if available. If not, the white rice setting is a suitable alternative.
Adjusting the cooking time manually can also yield great results. Refer to your rice cooker’s user manual for specific instructions and recommendations.

What Makes Quinoa Beneficial for Your Health?

Quinoa offers a range of advantages for your diet:
– Complete Protein: Being a complete protein source, Quinoa offers a complete range of essential amino acids that are necessary for your body’s optimal functioning.
– Sustained Energy and Fullness: With its high protein and fiber content, Quinoa keeps you feeling full and provides sustained energy throughout the day.
– Budget-Friendly: Quinoa is a cost-effective option, and you can save even more by purchasing it from bulk bins.


Final Thoughts

cooking quinoa in a rice cooker

Cooking Quinoa using a rice cooker is a convenient and efficient way to enjoy this nutritious grain. With the step-by-step guide provided, you can confidently cook Quinoa in your rice cooker and achieve fluffy, perfectly cooked grains every time.

Remember to select the right rice cooker, follow the proper quinoa-to-water ratio, and add your preferred seasonings for added flavor. Experiment with different types of Quinoa and variations to discover your favorite combinations.

Now that you’ve already known how to cook Quinoa in a rice cooker, give it a try! Enjoy this method’s convenience, health benefits, and delicious results. Embrace the versatility of Quinoa and incorporate it into your meals for a nutritious and satisfying dining experience.



Karyn is an IIN Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition since 2021, with a passion for cooking and exercise, especially yoga. She brings her expertise in Nutrition and Fitness to Hometoppicks, leading both the Kitchen and Home Gym sections to provide credible product recommendations. Karyn is committed to guiding readers on their healthy living journey with her expert tips and trusted product suggestions. You can find more about her here.

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