How to Cook Quinoa

Tired of clumpy, wet quinoa? Worry no more! Cook the lightest, fluffiest quinoa in 20 minutes; then add it to salads, bowls, and wraps. It keeps well in the fridge, so make a big batch, and use this gluten-free, protein-rich “grain” all week!

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups


  • 1 cup quinoa, any variety
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


1 Rinse the quinoa: In a fine-meshed strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain well.

Uncooked quinoa in a colander with water being poured over top and draining in a bowl to show how to cook perfect quinoa.

2 Cook the quinoa: In a small saucepan, combine the drained quinoa, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a steady, gentle simmer.

Simmer, uncovered, for 12 to 16 minutes, or until the germs (tiny spirals) separate and curl around the seeds, and the water is absorbed. With a spoon, dig down to the bottom of the pot and check to see if the water has evaporated. If not, cook for a few more minutes.

Quinoa in a saucepan to show how to cook perfect quinoa. Homemade quinoa recipe in a saucepan and simmering in water.

3 Steam the cooked quinoa: Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steam for 5 minutes.

4 Serve: Remove the lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl.

A saucepan of perfect quinoa and a large serving fork to show how to cook fluffy quinoa.