You will never have to babysit a pot again if you use this simple technique for cooking quinoa in your rice cooker. This set-it-and-forget-it recipe is the most pinned item on our site and we can see why. Not only am I sharing this easy rice cooker technique, but I’m also sharing loads of recipes- from quinoa main dishes to quinoa salads. Be sure to bookmark this page for this easy rice cooker technique.
I have discovered a new favorite food and it happens to be healthy for me too!
Quinoa is a delicious protein-filled side or main dish that is as just as easy as rice to prepare.
Today I want to show you how to cook quinoa in your rice cooker.
This is the quinoa cooking technique that I swear by.
You won’t believe how easy it is to make rice cooker quinoa and the best part is that you can make a weekly batch and enjoy it all week long to add or create other dishes with.
What is Quinoa?
Thanks to a little site called Pinterest, quinoa is quickly becoming one of the hottest foods this year to try to create new recipes with.
Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. It has a nutty flavor and can be prepared alone or you can make your own side mix with quinoa and brown rice.
There are so many surprising benefits of quinoa. Quinoa, for example, is a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight essential amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, contains B Vitamins, and iron.
Did I mention this seed is naturally gluten free? That’s one of those health benefits I can really get behind.
Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior.
In reality, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant.
When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch.
What Does Quinoa Taste Like?
After cooking quinoa in a liquid of your choice (water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth), it becomes light, fluffy, and nutty.
I find the flavor of quinoa to taste a little like couscous and a little like brown rice.
It is one of those grains that is difficult to describe, but worth trying simply for the nutritional benefits it offers. Many weight loss recipes use this ingredient as a main dish to replace carbs. It is one of those switch outs that I never feel is a sacrifice!
I Don’t Have a Rice Cooker. How Do I Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop?
Honestly, it is one of those kitchen appliances that is worth its weight in gold, but you can still prepare quinoa easily on your stovetop too.
To cook quinoa on the stove, measure two cups of liquid (pick your favorite- 2 cups of water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock) per cup of quinoa and combine them in a saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a vigorous boil, then reduce heat to medium heat. Finally, simmer (covered with a lid on) until the quinoa is tender, but still chewy. You will see white spiral-like threads appear around each grain.
This should take approximately 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
What Rice Cooker Do You Recommend?
A year ago I bought this inexpensive rice cooker for about $20 and I have been using it two to three times a week ever since.
It provides consistently great brown rice, white rice, steamed vegetables, and quinoa for our family with very little work on my part.
I consider it a meal prep must-have for your home especially since everything can be prepared in under 30 minutes. I also love that the inexpensive versions don’t require a lot or programming or the use of a special rice setting.
You simply turn it on, and it does its own thing.
It does take up valuable space in my kitchen, but it has earned its rights to the space by saving me a lot of time hovering over pots!
Is Quinoa Good Plain?
I don’t really love quinoa plain, but I think it is a great building block for creating healthy dishes.
For example, my favorite dish right now is to simply add the zest from one lemon to the cooking liquid (in the recipe I have shown you below).
Then I chop a few handfuls of baby spinach and a pint of cherry tomatoes (halved) and place them in a large serving bowl.
Cook the quinoa as directed and then put the hot quinoa on top of the spinach and tomatoes and allow it to wilt the spinach and cook the tomatoes with its heat for about five minutes.
Then toss it all with the juice from one lemon and a little drizzle of olive oil. You can serve the salad warm or cold and I have found it to be a hit at every party I have ever taken it.
Other ingredients you can add are sauteed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or white beans for a double whammy of protein power.
Be creative with what you have leftover in your fridge, and put together your own flavorful combination.
How to Make Quinoa in the Rice Cooker
Author: Amy Allen Clark
Recipe type: Side
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups liquid (low-sodium chicken broth, low-sodium vegetable broth, or water)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Using a fine mesh sieve rinse 1 cup of organic quinoa in cold water (Note: the brand pictured here does not require a rinse, but I wanted to show you how to do it if it does. Read the back of the box/bag to find out if rinsing is necessary).
- Pour rinsed quinoa into your rice cooker.
- Add your liquid and salt.
- Turn on your rice cooker. When the rice cooker beeps, you will have perfectly cooked quinoa (approximately fifteen minutes)
- Unplug the cooker. Allow quinoa to set for three to five minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Looking for more quinoa recipes and rice cooker recipes? Here are a few of my faves!
Have you cooked with quinoa before?
What is your favorite way to serve this food? Any tips or tricks for cooking it? I’m all ears!
Disclosure: The link to the rice cooker is an affiliate link and is provided so you can locate what you need quickly and easily.