Quinoa 2.0: How To Cook Quinoa In Rice Cooker To Perfection 

 Last Update September 30, 2023

By Jenny Zhang

Wait, you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker?" Yes, you sure can! It's wonderful to have an appliance that can pull double duty! Just like a rice cooker takes the guesswork out of cooking rice and frees you up to tend to other things, it can also help you make the perfect quinoa!

Cooking quinoa in rice cookers can result in perfectly fluffy quinoa like other methods like instant pot or regular saucepan. Before you embark on cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, it's essential to familiarize yourself with a few key considerations. Below, we'll ensure you know all those things and give you step-by-step instructions on how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker so you can get perfectly cooked quinoa. 

How to Make Rice Cooker Quinoa

Prep Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
30 minutes

Rest Time

Total Time
35 minutes

  • Cooking Method: Boil & Steam
  • Cuisine: South American
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 187
  • Courses: Side Dish
  • Best Season: Any


  • 1 cup quinoa of your choice
  • 2 cups of Water or liquid of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of oil of your choice (optional. Olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil)


1. To prevent sticking, grease your rice cooker by rubbing a tablespoon of the oil you choose all around the interior of the rice cooker insert. While this step is optional, it is highly recommended for anyone using a rice cooker prone to sticking, as these small grains are prone to sticking to the bottom rice cooker insert.

2. You will have to wash quinoa in a fine mesh strainer like white rice – in cold water until the water runs clear.

3. Place the rinsed quinoa into the rice cooker insert.

4. Add water and salt, and the liquid of your choice.

5. Power on the rice cooker and select the settings. Let it cook, and it should take about 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of quinoa you are cooking.

6. When you get an alert that your rice cooker has finished cooking, allow the quinoa in the rice cooker to rest for a few minutes to absorb any excess water. Then use a fork to gently fluff the grains, separating them to achieve a light and fluffy texture.

7. For optimal results, let the cooked quinoa cool for approximately 30 minutes before incorporating it into any quinoa recipes. This allows it to reach a suitable temperature and ensures the best texture and flavor.


Rinse the Quinoa: Prior to cooking, give the quinoa a thorough rinse under cold water to eliminate its natural coating known as saponin. This compound can impart a bitter or soapy taste. Utilize a fine mesh strainer for this rinsing process.

Add Flavor: You can enhance the flavor of your quinoa by using vegetable or chicken broth instead of plain water. This adds depth and richness to the final dish.

Salt and Seasoning: Add a pinch of salt or your favorite seasonings to the cooking liquid for extra flavor. Herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaf can be added for a fragrant touch.

Select the Right Setting: Many modern rice cookers come with a specific setting for cooking grains like quinoa. If your rice cooker has a similar option, use it for the best results. If not, the regular "white rice" setting often works well.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 4



% Daily Value*

Total Fat 6.1g


Saturated Fat 0.8g


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 6mg


Total Carbohydrate 27.3g


Dietary Fiber 3g


Total Sugars 0g

Protein 6g

Vitamin D 0mcg


Calcium 24mg


Iron 2mg


Potassium 240mg


*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What Is Quinoa?

First, let's get to know this edible seed traditionally grown in South America.

Yes, you read that right – Quinoa might look like a grain and cook up like rice, but it's a seed! In fact, quinoa belongs to the same plant family as chard, beets, and spinach. It is derived from the seeds of a plant native to Peru, with its cultivation also extending to Bolivia and Chile. Because it has a chewy texture and nutty flavor like many grains, it's often considered one of many "cereals."

Quinoa flavor resembles brown rice, with a pleasant nutty undertone and a natural, earthy aftertaste. Quinoa also cooks by hydration, just like white rice also does. And this versatility is especially handy as quinoa is frequently used as a rice substitute in various dishes. Cooked quinoa is perfect for meal prep and best paired with savory dishes.

What Should the Quinoa-To-Water Ratio Be?

There are many different types of quinoa, just like many different types of rice. However, unlike rice, the different kinds of quinoa cook similarly and use the same ratio of 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of liquid.

Typically, that cooking liquid will be water – but it doesn't always have to be! Cooking quinoa with the rice cooker method often uses cooking liquid in the same ratio as in other methods, and your rice cooker quinoa will turn out perfect.

Different types of quinoa and how long to cook them in a rice cooker

tri color quinoa

Different types of quinoa have slightly different cooking times. Maintaining the proper quinoa-to-water ratio and the recommended time will give you a perfectly cooked quinoa. Be sure to follow our rice cooker recipe below!

White Quinoa (also called ivory, blond, tan, or yellow quinoa)

This is the most common type of quinoa and has a mild flavor. Cook white quinoa in a rice cooker by adding 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Red Quinoa

Red quinoa offers a delightful, slightly nutty flavor and maintains its shape beautifully after cooking. To prepare red quinoa in a rice cooker, simply combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Black Quinoa

Black quinoa has a rich, earthy flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Cook black quinoa in a rice cooker by adding 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water and cooking for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Tri-Color Quinoa

This variety combines white, red, and black quinoa, offering a pleasant visual appeal and a mix of flavors. Cooking tri-color quinoa in a rice cooker is a breeze. Just follow the same ratio as white quinoa, combining 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. Cook it in the rice cooker for approximately 15-20 minutes, and you'll have perfectly cooked tri-color quinoa ready to enjoy.

Types of Liquid To Cooking Quinoa

When cooking quinoa, it's best to use liquid that adds flavor and enhances the dish's overall taste. While water is commonly used, you can also use other liquids to infuse additional flavors into the quinoa. Here are some options:

Water: This is the most common and neutral liquid used to cook quinoa. It allows the natural flavor of quinoa to shine through.

Vegetable Stock or Vegetable Broth: Using vegetable stock or vegetable broth instead of water can add depth and richness to the quinoa. It imparts a savory taste and can complement various dishes.

Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth: Using chicken stock or broth can add a savory depth of flavor to the dish. The chicken stock infuses the quinoa with a subtle chicken essence, enhancing its taste and making it more flavorful. Here's how to use chicken stock in cooking quinoa:

Coconut Milk: For a tropical twist, you can use coconut milk as a cooking liquid for quinoa. It adds a subtle coconut flavor and pairs well with dishes like curries or tropical-inspired recipes.

Fruit Juices: To impart a hint of sweetness, you can try using fruit juices such as orange juice, apple juice, or pineapple juice as a liquid for cooking quinoa. This works well in recipes that have a sweet or fruity profile.

Herb-infused Liquid: For a burst of herbaceous flavor, consider infusing the liquid with herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil. Simmer the herbs in water or broth before adding the quinoa.

How to rinse quinoa before cooking

Rinsing quinoa is an important step to remove any residue or natural coating called saponin, which can impart a slightly bitter taste. Here's how to rinse quinoa:

  1. Measure the desired amount of quinoa: Determine the amount of quinoa you need for your recipe.

  2. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve or colander: Place the sieve or colander in the sink or over a large bowl.

  3. Rinse under cold water: Pour the quinoa into the sieve or colander and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Use your hands or a spoon to agitate the quinoa gently while rinsing.

  4. Swirl the quinoa: Swirl the quinoa around in the sieve or colander, ensuring that water reaches all the grains. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

  5. Drain excess water: Once the quinoa is rinsed, drain any excess water away by leaving it in the sieve or colander for a few minutes.

  6. Proceed with your recipe: After rinsing, the quinoa is ready to be cooked according to your chosen recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Setting Should You Use To Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker?

To cook quinoa in a rice cooker, select the "White Rice" setting for optimal results. These settings are designed to ensure your quinoa is cooked just right, with fluffy and evenly cooked grains.

It's a simple way to ensure your quinoa turns out delicious and satisfying each time you use your rice cooker.

Can I add seasonings or spices to the quinoa in a rice cooker? 

Yes, you can enhance the flavor of your quinoa by adding seasonings or spices to the liquid. Add a pinch of salt, herbs, or spices like garlic powder, cumin, or turmeric for extra taste.

How To Reheat Quinoa In A Rice Cooker?

Reheating quinoa in a rice cooker is a breeze with the convenient keep-warm function. Simply add the desired amount of cooked quinoa to the rice cooker, close the lid, and select the keep-warm setting. The rice cooker will gently warm the quinoa without overcooking it, keeping it at a safe temperature until you're ready to serve.

Should I let the quinoa rest after cooking in the rice cooker, and for how long? 

It's a good idea to let the quinoa sit in the rice cooker with the lid on for about 5 minutes after it finishes cooking. Allowing the quinoa to rest with the lid on creates a steaming effect that guarantees the grains are fully cooked and achieves a light and fluffy texture. This resting period is essential for achieving the best results when cooking quinoa in a rice cooker.

Can I cook other grains or ingredients along with quinoa in a rice cooker? 

Absolutely! One of the advantages of a rice cooker is its versatility. You can cook other grains or ingredients alongside quinoa as long as they have similar cooking times and water requirements. Experiment with combining quinoa with other grains like rice, barley, or millet for unique flavor and texture combinations.

How do I prevent quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the rice cooker?

To avoid quinoa sticking to the bottom of the rice cooker, it's important to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking. Rinsing helps remove any residual starch or debris that can cause the grains to stick. Simply place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Additionally, fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork immediately after it's done to prevent clumping. If needed, lightly grease the bottom of the rice cooker pot before adding the quinoa and liquid to minimize sticking.

How To Store Cooked Quinoa

Properly storing cooked quinoa helps maintain its freshness and quality for later use. Here are some tips on how to store cooked quinoa:

Cool it down: Allow the cooked quinoa to cool completely before storing. To speed up the cooling process of cooked quinoa, spread it out on a baking sheet or a large plate. This allows the heat to dissipate more quickly and prevents the quinoa from clumping together.

Portion it out: Depending on your need, divide the cooled quinoa into individual, family-sized, or meal-prep portions.

Use an airtight container: Transfer the quinoa into airtight containers or resealable bags. Ensure the containers are clean and moisture-free to prevent spoilage or moisture absorption.

Label and date: Ensure the freshness of your cooked quinoa by labeling each container or bag with the date of preparation. This simple step helps you keep track of its storage duration and ensures that you use it within a reasonable timeframe.

Refrigerate or freeze: Place the containers or bags of quinoa in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on your storage preferences and the length of time you plan to store it.

  • Refrigeration: Cooked quinoa can be safely stored in the refrigerator for approximately 5-7 days. To maximize its shelf life, transfer the cooked quinoa into an airtight container or resealable bag before placing it in the refrigerator. Keep it in the fridge's main compartment, away from any strong-smelling foods.

  • Freezing: Freezing is an excellent option if you wish to store cooked quinoa for an extended period. Freeze the quinoa in portions or in a single large batch. Before sealing the container or bag, make sure to remove any excess air to enhance the freshness and longevity of the stored quinoa. Excess air can lead to freezer burn or affect the quality of the quinoa over time. Frozen quinoa can typically be stored for up to 2-3 months.

Thawing and reheating: When it's time to utilize the stored quinoa, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator if it is frozen. To reheat, you have various options, such as using the microwave, stovetop, or oven. Add a small amount of water or broth if necessary to restore moisture and prevent dryness.

How Much Quinoa is Uncooked To Cooked Quinoa

When cooking quinoa, keep in mind that approximately one cup of uncooked quinoa will yield around three cups of cooked quinoa. This is due to quinoa's remarkable expansion rate as it absorbs water and increases in size during the cooking process. Therefore, if you cook 1 cup of raw quinoa, you can expect it to yield approximately 3 cups of cooked quinoa. This ratio can be helpful to keep in mind when determining how much-uncooked quinoa to prepare for a desired amount of cooked quinoa in a recipe.

Can I cook quinoa in a rice cooker without rinsing it?

While it is possible to cook quinoa in a rice cooker without rinsing it, it is generally recommended to rinse quinoa before cooking. Rinsing helps remove the natural coating called saponin, which can impart a slightly bitter taste. By rinsing the quinoa under cold water before cooking, you can improve its overall flavor and ensure a more enjoyable culinary experience. Rinsing the quinoa also helps improve its texture and remove any debris.

If you choose to skip the rinsing step, you can still cook quinoa in a rice cooker by following the usual cooking instructions. Remember that the quinoa may retain a bit of its natural coating, which could affect its taste slightly. Adjust the cooking time and water ratio per your rice cooker's instructions for cooking quinoa.

Can I add vegetables or other ingredients to the quinoa while cooking in the rice cooker?

Adding vegetables or other ingredients to the quinoa while cooking in the rice cooker can be a wonderful way to enhance the flavors and nutritional value of your dish. Simply chop the desired vegetables or ingredients into small, uniform pieces and mix them into the quinoa before starting the cooking process. This can be a convenient way to infuse extra flavor and enhance the nutritional value of your quinoa. Here are a few things to consider:

Timing: Add vegetables or ingredients that require similar cooking times as quinoa. If you add delicate vegetables like spinach, you can add them towards the end of the cooking time or once the quinoa is fully cooked.

Size and Texture: To ensure even cooking and a harmonious blend with the quinoa, it is recommended to cut vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. Keep in mind that firmer vegetables may retain some texture, while softer ones will blend in more.

Liquid Adjustments: Adding vegetables or ingredients with higher water content can affect the overall moisture level of the dish. You may need to adjust the amount of liquid (water or broth) used in the rice cooker slightly to compensate for the additional ingredients.

Flavors and Seasonings: Consider the flavors of the vegetables or ingredients you're adding and adjust the seasonings accordingly. You can incorporate herbs, spices, or seasonings that complement the overall dish to enhance the taste.

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.

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