The BBC Good Food logo

How to cook quinoa


Want to know the best way to cook quinoa? Follow this simple guide for success at cooking the versatile grain, plus find some quinoa recipe inspiration. 

Quinoa is what’s known as a pseudocereal as it’s the seeds of a leafy plant a bit like spinach, but cooked and eaten like cereal crops such as rice, oats or wheat. Other pseudocereals include chia, buckwheat and amaranth.


Quinoa is special because it contains all the amino acids allowing it to qualify as a complete protein source. Find out more information on the health benefits of quinoa.

An easy method for cooking quinoa

The simplest way to cook quinoa is to boil it for 12-15 minutes in three times the volume of water. So for every 100g quinoa, add 300ml water. Once cooked, try serving it in place of rice alongside a curry or casserole.

It’s easy and quick to cook and the subtle nutty flavour lends itself well to both savoury dishes like salads or a binding ingredient for veggie burgers, but also in sweet recipes like porridge.

For best results, we would always recommend rinsing the quinoa first in cold water. Put the required amount in a sieve and run it under a cold tap until the water runs clear. This washes off some of the excess starch and stops it sticking together once cooked.

If you want to add extra flavour, why not try boiling the quinoa in chicken or vegetable stock (use the same volume as water) or for a porridge, you can sub out some of the water for the equivalent amount of almond or oat milk.

Prawn quinoa salad

Cooked quinoa recipe

Serves 2

  1. Rinse 100g quinoa in cold water, this will help stop it sticking together.
  2. Tip the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan and cover with 300ml cold water.
  3. Bring it up to a rolling boil and cook for 12-15 mins, or until all the water has evaporated and the grains have doubled in size.

Quinoa comes in red, white and black varieties and all of them cook in the same way. Use quinoa in savoury recipes as you would couscous or in a sweet breakfast porridge.

Try this technique in our herby quinoa, feta & pomegranate salad or one of our other favourite quinoa recipes.

peach quinoa porridge

Quinoa recipe inspiration:

Cardamom & peach quinoa porridge
A healthy breakfast of oats and quinoa with fresh ripe peaches. Almond milk makes its suitable for dairy-free and vegan diets

Mushroom & thyme risotto
Using a mixture of quinoa and rice gives this dish a light texture and lovely nutty flavour

Kale & quinoa patties
These veggie burgers are scrumptious and simple to make – top with fresh pesto and goat's cheese for a light lunch or dinner

California quinoa & avocado salad
Quinoa can also be bought pre-cooked in pouches that can be used straight away in this recipe. If you want to cook the quinoa from dried, you will need 100g dried quinoa to 300ml water and boil for 12-15 mins. Cool down quickly then use in this recipe.


Vegetable & quinoa laksa
This high fibre dish counts as 3 of your 5-a-day, with a creamy and spicy curried sauce

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Sponsored content