How to Make Fluffy Quinoa (and Quinoa Tabbouleh)

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 24 votes

Quinoa Tabbouleh

After learning how to make best fluffy quinoa, this is the perfectly delicious meal you should make first!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Arabic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Calories 411 kcal
Author Jackie Dodd


  • 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


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

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.

Notify of
Recipe Rating


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 9, 2013 2:37 pm

Thank you so much, that worked perfectly..

February 10, 2013 9:29 am

If I buy a box that says it is prewashed, should I still follow all of the steps to get the fluffy quinoa? Or could I just skip down to the appropriate step?

robyn mccully
robyn mccully
January 16, 2013 3:18 pm

not a comment, just a question. Can you buy quinoa the bulk way? I have only found it sold in boxes, flavored by a company called near east. I would appreciate any help

January 16, 2013 5:18 pm
Reply to  robyn mccully

yes, it can be found in the bulk section, and it’s

April 2, 2013 11:39 pm
Reply to  robyn mccully

I buy Organic Whole Grain Quinoa here in Bozeman Montana at Costco. It’s sold in a 4 lb bag and it sells for $8something. It is fantastic.

Good luck,

Robert Bruce Thurman
Robert Bruce Thurman
January 15, 2013 10:33 pm

5 stars
Looks easy. I can hardly wait to try it!

David Tsanava
David Tsanava
December 3, 2012 5:12 pm

4 stars
I just made the tabule as per your recepie without chieves, onions and cilantro instead of parsley and it was so awesome. thank you so much!

October 1, 2012 11:15 am

this is awesome. Thanks

Radhika Martinez
Radhika Martinez
August 29, 2012 8:04 am

5 stars
Amazing! Thanks to you, i can now enjoy very tasty fluffy quinoa! I’ts the very first time for me & it was perfect.

August 28, 2012 4:28 pm

5 stars
Making 1/2 recipe (1 C Quinoa with 1.5 C water) right this minute! For those who like recipes, it is one of the most versatile grains imaginable! It can be used with nuts and berries as a breakfast cereal, used as a stuffing (for example, I’ll bake an acorn squash in the oven, scoop out the contents and mix with quinoa,cooked onion and other spices/veggies, stuff back into the squash and bake in the oven. Then I eat the entire “bowl”, including the squash into which it is stuffed. I also make stews with it….it goes well with beans and tonight I’m going to make a lentil stew with lentils, quinoa, onion, spinach and roasted pepper. Yum!

August 8, 2012 2:48 pm


Thanks with all the comments made from others! Are you going to create a quinoa recipe book????? 🙂

August 4, 2012 3:13 am

5 stars
Thanks for the instructions. Glad I read all the comments first. I made a large amount for the week. My first portion went straight in to banana nut muffins. They turned awesome. Thanks again.