Apr 10

How to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Quinoa Rice Cooker

I recently had the good fortune to win a Zojirushi Umami Rice Cooker via the lovely bell'alimento. Though I was super excited to win it, I honestly thought it would be one of those gadgets that I used once or twice and then put on a high shelf to collect dust... I think we all have a few of those, right?

Much to my surprise, I've found that I've been using it nearly daily since it arrived on my doorstep!

What I didn't realize beforehand is that rice cookers are useful far beyond just preparing a simple batch of rice. I've had loads of fun experimenting with this wonderful gadget, and I'm excited to share some of my findings with you, starting with how to make quinoa in a rice cooker.

First of all, if you haven't tried quinoa yet, you really ought to ASAP. Yeah, I was skeptical too, but my family has quickly grown to love the nutty taste and firm texture. Some people don't care for it plain -- I happen to love it when it's prepared with chicken stock -- but either way, it's a fantastic base for a number of quick and easy side dishes, like this simple quinoa and cherry tomato salad I'm sharing on GoodLife Eats today.

Quinoa and Tomato Salad

While preparing quinoa in a rice cooker isn't necessarily a faster method of cooking quinoa, much like my beloved baked hard boiled eggs, it's a more hands-off cooking method, allowing me to focus my attentions elsewhere without worrying about pans boiling over.

My favorite brand currently is Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa. Their quinoa is pre-rinsed, saving me a step before cooking. If you purchase a different brand, be sure to check the package carefully to see whether it needs to be rinsed or not. If it does, simply place the amount of quinoa you're planning to cook in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.

Quinoa In Rice Cooker

The cooking settings will vary based on your particular rice cooker. I'd consider the Zojirushi Umami Rice Cooker to be the cadillac of rice cookers, with a lot of fun settings to play with. I typically just use the quick cook setting, and my quinoa is ready within about 30 minutes, including a few minutes of resting time that the cooker automatically builds in at the end.

For a standard rice cooker, a single cycle should be all that's needed to produce fluffy quinoa. One the cooking cycle has completed, allow the quinoa to rest for about 4-5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

How to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Yield: 2 cups cooked quinoa

How to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed if necessary
  • 2 cups liquid (water, chicken stock, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Check the quinoa package to see if your quinoa needs rinsed. If it does, pour 1 cup of quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  2. Place quinoa, your liquid of choice, and salt into the rice cooker.
  3. I use the quick cook setting on my Zojirushi Umami Rice Cooker, and then press the start button to start the cooking process.
  4. The rice cooker will beep after about 30 minutes, and your quinoa will be ready to serve.
  5. For a standard rice cooker without all of the bells and whistles, one cooking cycle should be enough to do it. Note that you should let the quinoa set for about 4-5 minutes after it's done cooking and then fluff it.
  6. Cooking Quinoa on the Stovetop
  7. To cook quinoa on your stovetop, simply follow the instructions for rinsing and place all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover with a lid, and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Let the quinoa set for about 4-5 minutes after it's done cooking and then fluff it.


Have fun experimenting with mix-ins both during and after the cooking process! I'll often add some lemon zest or a little curry powder to the liquid and quinoa while cooking, and then I stir in a few chopped fresh veggies from our weekly CSA delivery after cooking, while the quinoa is still warm.

When I'm lucky enough to have leftovers, I add them to my salad at lunch the following day. I'm not much of a leftovers fan, but I love leftover quinoa!

Have you tried quinoa? And if so, what's your favorite way to serve it?

Note: If you're looking for a budget rice cooker, I've heard that this Oster Rice Cooker is a good, basic model.

Breakfast Quinoa

Looking for something a little bit different? Try this delicious Breakfast Quinoa recipe filled with brown sugar, cinnamon and dried cranberries!

by Tara | 29 comments

  • http://www.cynsew.com Cindy

    I just have a cheapy rice cooker, but I do love it. I always hated to make rice because it always made such a mess to clean up. A rice cooker takes away all the hassel. Now, I can't wait to try the Quinoa. I believe I have some up in my cabinet and I am going to give it a try right now and have your salad for supper! Thank you Tara!!!!

  • Melinda T

    I love my rice cooker! We're big on rice, (we're Asian) and eat it at every meal, but as we're trying to eat healthier, we're cutting back on rice. I haven't tried quinoa but will definitely try it in my rice cooker! TFS!

  • http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet

    How creative. I guess I better dust off my rice cooker! Looks delish Tara!

  • http://www.bellalimento.com Paula – bell’alimento

    I can't tell you how many times a week I use my Zojirushi rice cooker. It's amazing and I'm glad you love yours too! xoxo

  • http://www.gimmesomeoven.com Ali | Gimme Some Oven

    Love the idea of making this in a rice cooker - brilliant! I use mine all the time for rice!

  • http://www.roxanashomebaking.com/ Roxana | Roxana’s Home Baking

    I love quinoa and now I'm banging my head against the wall. Why haven't I thought to cook it in the rice cooker? Brilliant!
    Thanks for the inspiration and thank you for the lovely comment left on my guest post (Meyer Lemon Tart) left on Sommer's blog

  • http://aspicyperspective.com Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    What a fantastic idea!

  • http://www.missinthekitchen.com Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen

    I have a rice cooker coming and I can't wait to try it out. This Quinoa will definitely be on the list!

  • http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles

    I don't have a rice cooker, and often wonder if I'd really like it and use it. It's hard to give up cupboard space! I love the versatility you spoke of, and what a great way to cook up quinoa!

  • http://www.namelymarly.com marly

    I love my rice cooker but have never tried it with quinoa. Thanks for the easy steps to follow - I can't wait to give it a try!

  • Karen

    My Chinese sister in law gave me a great rice cooker.. but I hardly ever use it. I have a Pampered Chef rice cooker that works in the microwave, cleans up in a flash, goes in the dishwasher and I can mix and cook yummy lava cakes in it in the microwave in 13 minutes.

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      That sounds like a great alternative, Karen!

  • http://rustichoney.com/ Lauren @ Rustic Honey

    This is a great idea! I love quinoa! I like to buy a plain, whole-wheat version and season it with garlic salt, basil and some parsley. It is delicious along with grilled meats and veggies! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://eclecticrecipes.com Angie

    I've got to try this too! We love quinoa!

  • http://talenttoplay.blogspot.com/2013/08/tip-thursday-cooking-quinoa-in-rice.html Britni

    Thanks. This was so helpful! I made it and reviewed your post on my blog. http://talenttoplay.blogspot.com/2013/08/tip-thursday-cooking-quinoa-in-rice.html

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Thanks for sharing, Britni! I love how versatile quinoa is -- definitely going to try your pilaf, yum!

  • Ute

    Do you cover the quinoa with water like rice or do you only add the water in the lower part of the steamer?

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      My rice cooker doesn't have an upper and lower part -- I just put the rinsed quinoa, liquid, and salt all in the bowl and then set it and forget it. It sounds like you would just cover the quinoa with the water like with rice for your steamer, Ute.

  • Christine

    I've been addicted to quinoa for the last month. I cook it in Swansons Mexican Tortilla Broth. I serve it with black beans and/or chopped walnuts.

    I just bought a rice cooker today.

  • David Schultz

    One of the secrets of cooking with quinoa is you don't add salt until after you cook it. Salt will keep the quinoa from fluffing to its full potential. So you only add salt after the quinoa is cooked.

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Thanks, David -- I wasn't aware of that!

  • Elle

    Thank you for the easy recipe! We make it every three days. You rock!

  • Elbe

    Thank you all very much! I love quinoa, but just never had the chance to cook it. I am going to cook it for lunch. Again, thank you all!

  • Alex

    Ok, I'm a newbie on both quinoa and rice cookers, but I have to say that I love how easy it is to use... My question is if the cups measurements you mention are the rice cooker's or regular?

    Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have to ask.


    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      It's not a dumb question at all, Alex! I used regular cups because I wasn't sure if all the cups that come with a rice cooker are sized the same.

  • Ruth James

    I love my rice cooker and use it often....mine has an insert tray so I can steam a few veggies with it..........like brocolli for the rice ;)

  • sjh

    Thank you so much for the tip! It turned out perfectly.

  • Jolene Fails

    Thank you SO much! Worked like a charm. Now, if I could only get brown rice to cook right in my Zojirushi. Any tips? Mine is always mushy.

    • http://unsophisticook.com/ Tara @ Unsophisticook

      You know, I don't think I've actually tried a plain brown rice in my cooker, Jolene. I often make Lundberg Wild Blend Rice in it, using chicken stock and olive oil, and it turns out perfectly. Another of our favorite rice cooker recipes is this coconut milk rice: http://unsophisticook.com/coconut-milk-rice/

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