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


  • 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


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


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.

Welcome to Eating Rules!

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.

You May Also Like:

Notify of
Recipe Rating


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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
August 4, 2016 5:09 am

Recipes are good, but no-one’s talked to me like that since I was six years old. Is this being divided by a common language?

April 23, 2015 2:07 pm

This is not enough water. I followed these directions specifically and all the water was gone after about 7 minutes and the quinoa was not cooked enough. Very annoyed. The stuff isn’t exactly cheap.

April 12, 2015 8:37 pm

4 stars
Hi! I don’t rinse my quinoa, as I always but through organic stuff from bulk barn, however perhaps that’s why 1:2 quinoa:h20 ratio makes much? I always use 1:2 and add just a smidgen more water so those little sprouts ‘tails’ pop out and it makes perfect quinoa every time!

donna pickering
August 7, 2014 1:15 pm

omg!!! I’m so happy I found you. I’ve tried to make quinoa before and it was horrible. this was unbelievably delicious. I will definitely make it again. thank you so much.

Mercy is
April 6, 2014 12:39 pm

This is my first experience with Quinoa and thanks to you it went well. Thanks for yor time and effort.

Mercy is

January 27, 2014 7:46 pm

No wonder my Quinoa looked like mush…thank you so much for sharing this; I will make sure to make it the proper way instead of what it states on the bag.

January 22, 2014 6:23 am

5 stars
I have tried to make quinoa before but for some reason
I never couldn’t make it to perfection but I decided to try
one more time and it came just right .My family loved every bite
even my 3 year old !!!!
Thanks for posting this recepie !!!

December 10, 2013 7:04 am

5 stars
Just finished making this and this is absolutely the FIRST TIME EVER that quinoa has come out perfect!! Thank you for your fabulous formula, I do appreciate you sharing your secret with us!!!!

October 24, 2013 6:39 pm

5 stars
Thank you so much, it came out perfect. I will cook it always like this. 🙂

October 22, 2013 1:18 pm

5 stars
I had given up on making quinoa until my dd came to me with a recipe for a quinoa salad. I found this recipe on how to make quinoa by doing a google search, and decided to try again. Oh my! Cooked perfectly. So excited to know that I can now make other recipes with quinoa. So good. Thank you for giving your time to share this 🙂