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How to Make Fluffy Quinoa

How to Make Fluffy Quinoa

Making a batch of quinoa at the start of the week will allow you save time and have access to this amazing Super Food through out the week.
By Jackie Dodd

Quinoa is becoming vastly more popular in North American cooking, due in no small part to the long list of nutrients pact into this small grain relative. Along with a dose of fiber, healthy fat, and iron, it’s also a complete protein, which means it packs all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. This little guy, (pronounced Keen-Wa, in case you were too shy to ask) is also credited with preventing chronic migraine headaches, assisting in rebuilding torn or damaged tissues, reducing hypertension and lowering the risk of heart attacks. Pretty spectacular for a food that is both easy to make and tasty.

Making a batch of quinoa at the start of the week will allow you save time and have access to this amazing Super Food through out the week. Although this is an easy food to cook, there are often complaints of quinoa becoming mushy while cooking.There are a few basic cooking steps that, in most cases, are inexplicably left off the package directions. However, following these simple Quinoa Rules will give you light, fluffy, nutritious quinoa every time.


Put 2 cups of quinoa in a bowl that will hold at least 6 cups.


Cover the quinoa with cold water, rinsing it thoroughly.


Then drain through a fine mesh strainer.

Allow to drain and dry for 20 minutes to remove all the water. Skipping this step will lead to mushy grains.

Once your quinoa has dried, toast in a dry pan until you can smell the nutty flavor that has now been brought out in your quinoa, about 5 minutes. This also removes any additional water that may have been left behind by the rinse.


Remove the quinoa from the pan, set aside.

Cooking quinoa with the same liquid to grain ratio as rice is the biggest culprit in battle for fluffy quinoa. It’s just too much water, and will leave you with mush. Cook instead with a 1.5 parts grain to 2 parts liquid ratio.  For the purposes of this post, that would be 2 cups quinoa to 3 cups liquid.

As for the liquid, you can use broth, vegetable juice, water, or any combination of those to achieve to taste you want. I use at least half broth most often, but for the sake of simplicity, I used water for this post.

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Bring 3 cups of water to a rapid boil in sauce pan.

Then add your toasted quinoa and cover the lid with a slight vent, allowing the steam to escape.

Reduce your heat to a medium-low, to maintain a strong simmer.

Cook for 16 minutes or until all of the water is gone.  Remove from heat and remove the lid.

Allow to cool and rest for ten minutes and then fluff with a fork.

View Comments (12)
  • Just made quinoa with your method and it turned out perfect. Always wondered why it never seemed to turn out light and fluffy….now I know, too much water! Will be using your method from now on. Thanks for posting. :)

  • Saw this article posted on Pinterest and tried it this morning. I’ve never been so happy with my quinoa, thanks! Now, I’d be curious what the best storage method is for cooked quinoa. Currently, I have it in an airtight container in the fridge but maybe it is ok to keep out of the fridge? And how long would others be ok with keeping it? One week, two…?

    • Bev, I’m so glad this worked so well for you! It’s a more time consuming method, but well worth it. I store mine in the fridge, usually about 5 days but could possibly last a week.

  • thanks for the tips. i always battle to get fluffy quinoa. i was wondering what your thoughts are on soaking the quinoa overnight to reduce the phytic acid content?

  • Love this post. Everyone thinks Quinoa is a grain. So they cook it like rice. Quinoa is not a grain. Quinoa is a seed. :)

  • Your mention 2 ratios of grain to water. One says 33% more water (1.5 to 2), the other says 50% more water (2 to 3). Any comments?

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