How to Cook Perfect Quinoa Every Time

By Chanel Dror
How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly Every Time

I don’t know what I ate before quinoa became a permanent pantry staple of mine. It sounds cliche given how much quinoa has been dubbed a “trendy” food, but if you ask me, the grain is here to stay. I usually make a big batch at the beginning of the week (practically with my eyes closed), then use it every way imaginable over the following days: as the base of a power bowl, the main ingredient in a veggie patty, tossed in a salad, or in a breakfast scramble. Critical to each dish is that the quinoa be cooked perfectly — moist but not soggy, firm but chewy, and most importantly, perfectly fluffy. So after tons of experimentation, I’ve finally nailed the process, and I’ll never make it any other way. Keep reading for my step-by-step technique (illustrated adorably by Kelly Colchin), as well as the recipe card below….

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly Every Time

And there you have it! The fool-proof secret to whipping up the perfect batch of quinoa… and isn’t it easy? Best of all, this process can be added to or adjusted depending on how you’ll be serving the quinoa — sub coconut oil for olive oil, use chicken stock instead of water, add lime zest to the mixture, the possibilities are endless once you nail down the fundamentals.

How to Cook Perfect Quinoa Every Time

*illustration by Kelly Colchin, photo from The Kitchn

The Perfect Quinoa

Serves 2 - 4

How to Cook Perfect Quinoa Every Time

By Camille Styles


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • coarse sea salt


  1. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Shake out excess water, and place quinoa in a small saucepan.
  2. Add water, olive oil and generous sprinkling of sea salt to saucepan. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  3. Once boiling, immediately reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes, fluffing with a fork halfway through to ensure quinoa isn't sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
  4. You'll notice the little "tails" come out of the kernel once the quinoa is finished cooking. Serve immediately or allow to cool and refrigerate.

Comments (3)

  1. Angela says:

    I love quinoa! Definitely a staple in my pantry as well. I’ve also been loving quinoa patties! x

  2. Jetté Momant says:

    Oh my gosh! Yes. I always buy mine from Central Market or Whole Foods already prepared. I love this post. Gives me more confidence to try this on my own rather than pre-made.

  3. Gen says:

    I thought I hated quinoa until I tried using veggie broth instead of water while cooking. It was a life changer.

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