How to Make Fluffy Quinoa (and Quinoa Tabbouleh)

4.84 from 25 votes

How to Make Fluffy Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) is a spectacularly impressive grain. For such a tiny little guy, he’s packed with nutrients, and it’s even been said that you can survive on nothing but quinoa, although I wouldn’t recommend trying it. Quinoa is not only a complete protein, it is also packed with iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, folate, lysine, and other essential amino acids. Along with a dose of fiber and zero saturated fat, quinoa is an incredible addition to any diet.

So, now that you are completely on board with a heaping spoonful of quinoa, how can you cook it without making a bowl of mush? I’m so glad you asked.

There are a few basic steps to make fluffy quinoa that, in most cases, are inexplicably left off the package directions.

For this lesson in quinoa cookery, I am making 2 cups. Quite a large amount, but in the interest of saving time throughout the week, I like to make a large batch on Sundays and have it ready to go for the next 3-5 days.

First, don’t forget to rinse your quinoa. Think of this like remembering to wash your hands before eating, you really have no idea what could be on those little grains.

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

2 Cups of Quinoa

Cover the quinoa with cold water, rinsing it thoroughly.

Rinsing Quinoa

Then drain through a fine mesh strainer.

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

Drying Quinoa

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.

Toasting Quinoa

Remove the quinoa from the pan, set aside.

Cooking quinoa with the same liquid to grain ratio as rice (1 cup grain, 2 cups water) is the biggest culprit in the battle for fluffy quinoa. It’s just too much water, and will leave you with mush. Cook instead with a 1 part grain to 1.5 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.

Bring 3 cups of water/broth 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 medium-low, and 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.

Cooked Quinoa

So what can you do with that nice fluffy quinoa you just made? You can make yourself a nice bowl of quinoa tabbouleh!

How to make fluffy quinoa
4.84 from 25 votes

Quinoa Tabbouleh

By: Jackie Dodd
After learning how to make best fluffy quinoa, this is the perfectly delicious meal you should make first!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup fluffy cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup peeled Cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbs. chopped Chives
  • 1 cup chopped Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil

Instructions 

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 411kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 347mg, Potassium: 834mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 2795IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 105mg, Iron: 6.4mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About the Author

The Craft Beer Bites CookbookJackie Dodd’s beer-infused recipes earned her a spot as a finalist for Saveur Magazines Best Original Recipes, 2014 as well as crowned winner for Best Beer Coverage in 2015 (yes, craft beer is unprocessed). The Beeroness was also a finalist for Better Homes and Gardens Best Food Blogs, 2015. She has been seen on The Today Show, Lifetime Network, CBS News, as well as interviewed in print publications such as Imbibe, Bite and The San Francisco Chronicle. She also writes for Parade Magazine, Draft Magazine and Whisk Magazine. Jackie is the author of The Craft Beer Cookbook and The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook, and you can connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

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Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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Kari Anderson
April 10, 2024 5:33 pm

5 stars
I finally made quinoa that isn’t crunchy! Thank you for the excellent instructions. I added cilantro and lime to make cilantro lime “rice” for burrito bowls and it was perfect.

January 25, 2019 12:58 am

5 stars
This fluffy quinoa is so Instagrammable and adorable! As you know I made it a short while ago and it was lovely! Thx for sharing!

September 28, 2018 4:40 am

5 stars
Oh my! This fluffy quinoa was delicious – and so easy to make! Will have to try this for my family. Thanks so much!

June 25, 2018 2:27 am

5 stars
Fluffy quinoa looked soooo good, I had to try and make them. I used your suggestion and used 1/2 teaspoon pepper. I found your post from Pinterest! I’m also gonna pin this post on my Pinterest board my followers will love it. Thanks for sharing, Andrew!

December 26, 2017 3:16 am

5 stars
Fluffy quinoa looked soooo good, I had to try and make them. I used your suggestion and used 1/2 teaspoon pepper. I found your post from Pinterest! I’m also gonna pin this post on my Pinterest board my followers will love it. Thanks for sharing, Andrew!

Linda Hartman
June 14, 2017 1:07 pm

I really enjoyed toasting the grains as they turned silky and sweet…but when done there is more than 1 cup. Should I be using all of the toasted grains or measure out 1 cup for cooking in 1-1/2 cups broth? Sorry if I missed something!

Nikki
January 11, 2017 2:45 pm

I have to say, I’ve had this on my bookmarks for ages and whenever I have a little quinoa spirt and friends ask me how I cook mine I send them a link to this page! The 1st time I used it, it was a bowl of mush and I somehow came across your post and haven’t looked back since so thanks for that!

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