How to Cook Quinoa in the Microwave – The Easy Guide

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a highly nutritional seed of the goosefoot plant. Though originally from the Andes in South America, quinoa is now grown in various countries around the world.

It has become a popular replacement for rice, especially for those focused on a healthy lifestyle. Quinoa is packed with nutritional value. It is high in fiber, rich in protein, and offers the body essential amino acids. 

It also has minerals such as calcium, zinc, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium. And it is gluten-free. 

Quinoa is a filling meal that can be eaten on its own, or you could eat it with your favorite veggies added to it. You could also mix quinoa with a salad. 

But how do you cook quinoa? Well, there are a number of ways to cook quinoa but the microwave is considered the best way. This is because the cooking quinoa in the microwave is fast and simple.

Keep reading to know everything you need to know about cooking quinoa in the microwave.

Can you cook quinoa in the microwave?

how to cook quinoa in microwave

Yes, you can cook quinoa in the microwave. Quinoa is usually cooked on the stove, but cooking time is typically between 10-20 minutes. 

By cooking quinoa in the microwave, you will be cutting your cooking time considerably and reducing the number of dishes to clean up (double win).

There are simple steps you need to follow in order to get the best outcome when cooking quinoa in the microwave.

Be rest assured that your microwave-cooked quinoa will give you the fluffy outcome linked to the other cooking methods.

How to cook quinoa in the microwave:

To cook quinoa in the microwave, you will need the following ingredients/items:

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa (this will give you 2½-3 cups of cooked quinoa). If you need more cooked quinoa, then use more than 1 cup. On the other hand, if you do not need to make that much, then use ½ a cup of uncooked quinoa. ½ cup of uncooked quinoa will give you 1-1½ cups of cooked quinoa.  
  • 2 cups of  water
  • If you do not want to cook in water, you can use vegetable or chicken stock. 

The total cooking time for quinoa in the microwave is 8-10 minutes. 

Below is a breakdown of steps for cooking quinoa in the microwave:

  • Rinse quinoa under cold running tap water. This is an important step to get rid of the bitter flavored compound called saponin. Saponin is a bitter-tasting coating that covers the quinoa seed. It is there to ward off insects.
  • Place quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure to use a bowl wide enough to contain 3 cups of cooked quinoa (remember 1 cup of uncooked quinoa equals 3 cups of cooked quinoa).
  • Pour water into your microwave-safe bowl. Quinoa should be completely submerged in water. You can add seasoning like salt or olive oil.
  • Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate or lid. Whatever is the cover you choose, use one that is wide enough to cover the width of the bowl.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave and set the microwave timer to cook for 6 minutes.
  • When 6 minutes is over, open the microwave and gently stir quinoa with a spoon. Stir with circular motions and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave when the 2 minutes are up. Water should be dried in the bowl. However, it doesn’t matter if there is a little water left in the bowl.
  • Allow 2-3 minutes for quinoa to cool. This will also enable whatever residue water to be absorbed.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork and dig in!

How to store leftover cooked quinoa:

can you microwave quinoa

Leftover cooked quinoa should be put in an airtight container and refrigerated. Quinoa can last for 6-7 days when stored in the fridge.

However, should quinoa be kept beyond these days, though it has been in the fridge, it is advised you throw it out.

If you have no immediate use for your leftover quinoa, then store it in your freezer. You can use an airtight container or a resealable bag. In the freezer, quinoa can last for as long as 10 months.

Before storage in the fridge or freezer, make sure leftover quinoa is at room temperature.

How to Reheat Quinoa in the Microwave:

So, you are ready to dig into those leftover quinoas again? No problem, the microwave is the best way to reheat leftover quinoa.

Place the quinoa on a microwave-safe plate or microwave-safe bowl. Break up any big clusters into smaller bits. 

Sprinkle some water on your quinoa, this will keep it from drying out when it is being heated. Next, cover with a paper towel or microwave-safe lid.

Put the microwave power setting on medium and cook for 2-3 minutes with 30-seconds interval checks.

How to add flavor to quinoa?

Like most meals, without proper seasoning, quinoa can come out quite bland in taste.

Quinoa can go with almost any seasoning. However,  there are some seasonings that are commonly used when it is being cooked.

Some of these regularly used seasonings are cumin, turmeric, dried bay leaf, black pepper,  and salt. You can also add garlic powder, basil, thyme… whatever your preference is.

Another sure way to bring a flavorful taste to your quinoa is to cook it in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.

Cooking quinoa on the stove:

Quinoa is commonly cooked on the stove. However, it tends to take a longer time compared to the microwave. 

The stove is a good cooking choice for quinoa if you happen to have more time on your hands or perhaps you are cooking for a larger party.

How to cook quinoa on the stove:

  • Rinse quinoa thoroughly. You can rinse under running tap water or in a bowl of water. This is an important step in order to remove the bitter-tasting saponin compound that coats the seed.
  • When thoroughly rinsed, move quinoa to a cooking pot.
  • Add water or chicken/vegetable stock. You can also add salt or any other seasoning at this stage.
  • Place the pot on the stove and turn on the heat
  • Cover the pot firmly. Covering the pot will allow the steam to cook quinoa evenly—Cook quinoa to boil.
  •  Reduce the heat on the stove to medium-low heat. This will stop the water from drying up prematurely. 
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes. Check at regular intervals to see that the quinoa has absorbed the water. Also check that quinoa is soft and sheer. 
  • Turn off the heat but keep quinoa covered in the pot for at least 3-5 minutes. This will allow the steam to cook through and any residue water will be absorbed.
  • Use a fork to fluff the quinoa, and it is ready to serve!

Things to remember before cooking quinoa in the microwave:

Cooking quinoa in the microwave is simple and quick, but for best results, keep the following points below in mind:

  • Measurement is KEY when cooking quinoa in the microwave. 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will give you 2 ½ -3 cups of cooked quinoa. While ½ cup of uncooked quinoa will give you 1-1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa.
  • Rinse quinoa before cooking. DO NOT miss this. Rinse quinoa under running water to get rid of the bitter-tasting coating that covers the seed.
  •  When adding water make sure quinoa is completely submerged in the water.
  • For added flavor, you can use vegetable or chicken stock to cook quinoa instead of water.
  • Cook quinoa for 6 minutes. After which stir in circular motions and cook for another 2 minutes.

Wrapping up

Quinoa is such a versatile and nutritious dish that everyone can enjoy. Cooking quinoa in the microwave is really simple and quick. If you haven’t tried cooking quinoa in the microwave, use the steps listed in this article and let us know how you get on. 


microwave quinoa

How can I improve the taste of cooked quinoa?

To improve the taste of cooked quinoa, try rinsing it thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer before cooking. You can also add some maple syrup or sit covered for a few minutes after cooking to enhance its flavor.

What is the best way to reheat cooked quinoa?

The best way to reheat cooked quinoa is by using a microwave method. Place the desired amount of cold water and cooked quinoa in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a lid or plastic wrap, and heat on high for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

Can you freeze cooked quinoa?

Yes, you can freeze cooked quinoa. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container or freezer bag. It will last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Is there any difference between white and brown rice when meal prepping?

When meal prepping, there isn’t much difference between white and brown rice except that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. Both types should be rinsed before cooking and reheated using your preferred method.

What is the recommended way of cooking microwave quinoa?

To cook microwave quinoa, rinse it first then place one cup of rinsed quinoa with two cups of cold water in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap leaving one corner open for steam escape then heat on high for about 10-12 minutes until fully absorbed by the grains.

How can I cook dry quinoa?

To cook dry quinoa, rinse it under cold running water in a large bowl and then add it to an instant pot with some fresh herbs and coconut oil. Cook on high pressure for 1 minute, then carefully remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

What is tricolor quinoa?

Tricolor quinoa is a blend of red, white, and black varieties of quinoa that are all cooked in the same way as regular dry quinoa. Rinse it under cold running water before cooking to remove any bitterness.

Can I use a microwave safe dish to cook my food?

Yes, you can use a microwave safe dish to cook your food. Just make sure that the dish is large enough for your ingredients and has a microwave cover so that steam doesn’t escape.

How do I prepare fresh fruit for eating?

To prepare fresh fruit for eating, wash it thoroughly under cold running water in a large bowl. Cut off any stems or leaves and slice or dice as desired. You can also drizzle a little olive oil over sliced fruit for added flavor.

What should I do if my microwave safe bowl gets too hot?

If your large microwave safe bowl gets too hot while cooking, carefully remove it from the microwave using oven mitts or potholders. Let it cool down before handling again or transferring its contents into another container.