Cooking Quinoa

Quinoa is a tasty seed that has been classified by the National Academy


of Sciences as one of the best sources of protein – it’s one of the few plant proteins that contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is also gluten free and has a low glycemic index.

I like quinoa because you can fix it for breakfast (hot quinoa with raisins, cinnamon, and milk), lunch (a plate of quinoa with black beans, salsa and cheese) or dinner (okay, haven’t eaten it much for dinner yet). I prepare a big batch in my larger thermos, eat some immediately, and put the rest in the fridge for later.

Our instructions will make more sense after you quickly read through our thermos cooking basics.

Basic Recipe

Ratio: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid
To taste – try 1/3 teaspoon per cup of quinoa to start
Cooking Time: 45 minutes (approx.)


  1. Boil enough water to fill up your thermos. I like to use an electric kettle, but use the stove or whatever else you have.
  2. While it’s heating, get your ingredients ready.
  3. Fill up your thermos with boiling water, close the lid, and set aside.
  4. Measure out your water (or broth), keeping a 1:2 ratio. For example, if you want 3 cups of cooked quinoa, measure 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of liquid.
  5. Boil your measured water (or broth).
  6. Place the quinoa in a strainer. Most quinoa has had the saponin coating removed, but a last rinse doesn’t hurt.
  7. When your measured liquid is about ready to boil, pour the water from the thermos over the quinoa in the strainer.
  8. Dump the quinoa and salt into the thermos. I use a canning funnel to try to make this easier.
  9. Pour the boiling water into the thermos, close it up, give in a few shakes, and lay it down on the counter.

Timing (45 minutes) is approximate. It partly depends on how you like your quinoa cooked. Just give the thermos a shake every once in a while. It will slosh around at first, then it will slowly thicken until it barely moves at all. When this happens, it’s done.

You can always open the top and check inside once or twice until you get a feel for it. Remember that you can’t overcook it, so you don’t have worry about watching the thermos or emptying it when it’s done. Just leave it on the counter and eat it when you’re ready. You can even put it out the night before – convenient, isn’t it?

Learn about the nutritional value of quinoa.

I’ve Cooked Quinoa. Now What Do I Do with It?

The nice thing about quinoa is that it doesn’t have much of it’s own flavor so it will take on the flavor of what you cook it with. Here are a few more ideas of what to do with your cooked quinoa.


  • Hot quinoa with cinnamon, raisins and some milk
  • Top hot quinoa with rolled oats, blueberries, pumpkins seeds and sliced almonds then add a little milk and honey.


  • A bed of quinoa topped with black beans, salsa and cheese served warm
  • Replace couscous with quinoa in salads.
  • Use quinoa instead of bulgar wheat in tabouli to make a wheat-free version of the Middle Eastern dish.
  • Combine cooked, chilled quinoa, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste for a south-of-the-border salad.


  • Use chicken stock when cooking the quinoa and then serve as a side dish instead of rice.
  • Add to your favorite vegetable soup.

6 thoughts on “Cooking Quinoa”

  1. I’m making quinoa in a thermos for the first time today, to go with our bbq’d chicken for dinner tonight. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Question: I’ve cooked up some quinoa last week put in a bowl in fridge and now I am wondering what can I do with it? Looking for a breakfast recipe maybe where I can add some fruit soy milk and nuts to it. Do I put in a crock pot now and cook it again or how do I cook this now that the quinoa is already cooked? Don’t want to overdo it and make it soggy Any suggestions? thanks

  3. My favorite ways to use cooked quinoa:

    – Put a cup or so of cooked quinoa on a plate, open up a can of your favorite beans (black, pinto, etc.), drain and rinse, and add the beans on top. Sprinkle some mexican shredded cheese on top and microwave for a minute or two. Add salsa and some fresh sliced avocado and you have a delicious & nutritious meal.

    – Open up a can of soup (I like Progresso’s low cal varieties) and spoon in some cooked quinoa and either heat on the stove or in the microwave. Delish.

    – For breakfast, I heat up some quinoa in the microwave and then pour some milk, a bit of brown sugar, and maybe a little cinnamon and eat it like oatmeal.

  4. I will be on a winters long bicycle journey and look forward to using my two vacum bottles to cook, and keep hot, food for the day.

  5. cooked cold Quinoa with raw celery, carots, cucumber, tin of tuna -wonderful cold salad.
    I put it in with mince when cooking in the thermal cooker….yum

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