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 | 27 comments

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