Quinoa (it is pronounced “keen wah”) is a delicious and protein packed addition to your meals.

While Quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years, it’s recently become popular and fairly easily available, found in most grocery stores.

It is a wheat-free seed that can be cooked and enjoyed hot or cold and can be used in place of other grains in recipes including rice, barley or even noodles.

Quinoa in a bowl with a title for How to Cook Quinoa

I love to have quinoa for breakfast with a bit of honey and nuts, or with brown sugar and raisins. You can add your “mix ins” during cooking or simply add them after. It is a great way to have a “cereal like” breakfast only super packed with protein to help you start your day!

Quinoa is so versatile, tender and delicious I know you will incorporate it into your weekly menu plan! Use it in salads, soups or simply by itself!

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is often thought to be a grain however in truth it is a seed (also known as a pseudo-cereal).

You can get traditional (also known as white or golden) quinoa (pictured above) or red, black, or tricolor quinoa.

With a mild, slightly nutty flavor, all varieties can be used interchangeably in recipes and there is no difference in flavor.

Quinoa can be found in grocery stores most often in the rice/grains aisle or it can be purchased online.

Is Quinoa Gluten Free?

In short, yes, quinoa is gluten free if it is truly 100% quinoa.

Although quinoa is gluten free as grown, according to Gluten Free Watchdog, it is a grain that has a risk of gluten contamination during processing.

In order to be certain your quinoa is truly gluten-free, be sure to check your packaging to confirm that it certified.

How do you Prepare Quinoa?

Preparation is very similar to cooking rice, only slightly faster, quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook in a covered saucepan.

The ratio of quinoa:water is generally 1:2 and the water can be substituted with either stock or broth for extra flavor!

I often toast the quinoa in a bit of olive oil until lightly browned to add an extra dimension of flavor.

Why Do You Have to Rinse Quinoa?

Rinsing quinoa, it will help remove the saponin (a natural coating) which can make it taste bitter or soapy (and also cause it to foam).

Rinsing this delicious seed will create a milder flavor and a slightly softer texture.

How to Rinse Quinoa

Because the seeds are so small, you will need a fine sieve to rinse your quinoa.

An alternate method is to pour water over the quinoa in a bowl, swirl it around, then slowly drain off the water and repeat several times. If all the water does not drain off don’t worry because more water needs to be added before cooking. Check the package first as some quinoa is already pre-rinsed and you may not have to rinse it yourself

Quinoa in a bowl with a title for How to Cook Quinoa
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How to Cook Quinoa

This simple seed can be served in place of grains or as a salad or side dish.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or stock


  • Rinse the quinoa to remove any debris or dust.
  • Combine quinoa and stock or water in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.


Optional: To add extra flavor to the quinoa, place it in saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Add stock/water and cook as directed.
Nutrition calculated using water.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 156 | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.9mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa is a superfood loaded with protein and fiber (and contains more fiber than most grains). It has more antioxidants than any other grain and is full of vitamins!

The one thing that quinoa is most known for is being high in protein. With 8g of protein per cup, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids making it a real powerhouse food!

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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  1. Does not provide how much one serving is in ounces or grams (prefer grams). So can’t use your recipes. Sorry because they sound good.

    1. As this is 4 servings, the quantity would be ¼th of the completed recipe or in this case, 1 ⅓ cups. Enjoy.

    1. Hi Sherry, I would still rinse it to remove the saponin, strain it, and then toast it. The water from rinsing it will evaporate while toasting.

  2. Silly, a grain is a seed. Quinoa is not a grain because it’s a seed. It’s not a grain because it comes from a flowering plant not a grass. It is eaten as a grain, hence the label pseudocereal.

  3. I’ve never tried chicken broth for quinoa but it looks really flavoured! I really have to try it soon!

  4. I love quinoa also. Would like to point out however, that traditional ‘cereal grains’ are also seeds, so being a ‘seed’ isn’t what makes it different from cereal grains like wheat, barley, oats, and corn. Rather these are a grass type of plant, and monocots (characterized by straight growth, and blade-like leaves with straight parallel veins) and quinoa is from a plant in the amaranth group (same as pigweed), a broadleaf dicot plant (branching, broad leaves with branching veins). Both are grains but quinoa is sometimes referred to as a ‘pseudocereal.’5 stars