How to cook quinoa in microwave? – 9 Best Steps

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quinoa is ready and a wooden spoon is in the quinoa - how to cook quinoa in microwave? -

This post is your go-to guide for mastering the fastest and easiest way how to cook quinoa in microwave? It covers everything you need to know about achieving perfectly cooked quinoa in a few simple steps.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cook, this guide includes recipe ideas for incorporating quinoa into your salads, weeknight dinners, or even a nutritious breakfast porridge.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah or keen-o-ah, is a versatile pseudo-grain with a nutty taste and light, fluffy texture. Unlike traditional grains like rice or couscous, quinoa is actually a seed-like fruit from a grass family.

It gained booming popularity in the US over the last decade due to its nutritional benefits and unique ability to grow in diverse conditions.

There are roughly 3000 varieties of quinoa, with white, red, and black being the most common types. Named the International Year of Quinoa in 2013 by the United Nations, quinoa holds sacred significance for indigenous people in the Andes, who have been protecting and preserving its knowledge for generations.

Beyond its nutritional value, quinoa serves as a powerful tool in the fight against world hunger, appreciated for its great holding capacity and as an alternative to bland grains.

Microwaving quinoa? Surprisingly efficient. Who knew such a simple method could yield such delicious results?

Chef Jamie Oliver

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The Ratio of Quinoa To Water

For a quick and simple microwave recipe, the ratio of quinoa to water is key. Start with a short list of ingredients: 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of cold water or vegetable/chicken stock for added flavor.

This 1:2 ratio ensures perfectly cooked quinoa every time. If you’re multiplying the recipe, just remember to maintain this ratio.

Additionally, add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil to the bowl before cooking to enhance the flavor. This simple microwave porridge recipe yields similar results in a fraction of the time.

How much cooked quinoa do I get from 1 cup of microwave quinoa?

When cooking quinoa in the microwave, 1 cup of uncooked quinoa typically yields around 2 ½ to 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

This ratio can help you decide how much quinoa to multiply if you’re choosing to cook a larger recipe. Ensure you use a bowl that can hold the cooked quinoa without overflowing.

What You Need for Microwave Quinoa?

For microwave quinoa, you’ll need uncooked quinoa and a microwave-safe bowl or dish. We recommend using white, red, or tri-color quinoa; however, note that red quinoa may take slightly longer to cook.

Commentators have noticed variations in cooking time depending on the type of quinoa used. Additionally, you’ll need water or broth as the cooking liquid. Ensure your bowl is deep enough to hold the quinoa and liquid without overflowing during cooking.

A Pyrex or nesting bowls are recommended as microwave-safe options. Top the bowl with a microwave-safe dish or upside-down plate to sit on top and trap steam during cooking.

Microwave + quinoa = perfect match

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9 Best Steps To cook quinoa in microwave

Following are the 9 Best Steps To Cook Quinoa in Microwave:

Rinse the quinoa: 

Water is dropping inside the bowl with mixture of quinoa - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


Before cooking, it’s essential to rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold running water. This helps remove any bitter residue or saponins that can affect the flavor of the cooked quinoa.

Rinsing also helps ensure the quinoa cooks up light and fluffy, without any unwanted stickiness. I’ve found that rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer works best for this task.

Place quinoa and water in a microwave-safe bowl: 

Now, take a large bowl that can hold at least 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Add the rinsed quinoa to the bowl along with the appropriate amount of water or liquid according to your preference.

To enhance the flavor, add a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil or a tablespoon of butter if desired. This step ensures that your quinoa absorbs the seasoning as it cooks, resulting in a delicious final dish.

Stir to combine: 

Quinoa is mizing with water in bowl - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


Once the quinoa and water are in the microwave-safe bowl, softly stir to ensure the quinoa is fully submerged in the water.

This ensures even cooking and helps the quinoa absorb the liquid properly. Ensuring the quinoa is fully submerged also prevents any uneven cooking and results in a consistently fluffy texture throughout.

Cover it with a plate: 

Quinoa inside the bowl is covering with plate - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


After you stir the quinoa and water, place a microwave-safe dinner plate on top of the bowl to cover it fully.

Using a large plate ensures the quinoa is evenly cooked and helps retain steam within the bowl for optimal cooking results.

Place in the microwave: 

Quinoa inside the bowl and a female is putting spoon inside bowl and bowl is placed in microwave - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


Place the covered bowl in the microwave and set it to cook for 6 minutes.

Stir it and then cook some more: 

Quinoa is ready to stir and female hands is touching with bowl and quinoa is inside the bowl - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


Carefully remove the plate using a kitchen towel as it will be hot. Give the quinoa a good stir, then put the plate back on and set it to cook for another 4 minutes.

Remove from the microwave: 

Quinoa is remove from the microwave and now two hands are touching with the cover plate on the bowl - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


At the end of the 4 minutes, if there is still some liquid at the bottom of the bowl, it’s okay. Check to see if the quinoa seeds have popped open.

If not, put it back in the microwave for 1 more minute. A lot of the water should be absorbed, and the quinoa should look fluffy and ready to eat.

Let it rest until the water is absorbed: 

A person is mixing quinoa with spoon inside the bowl - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


When cooking quinoa in the microwave, start by rinsing the quinoa and placing it in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add double the amount of water, cover with a microwave-safe plate, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl and let it rest on the counter until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Wait a few more minutes if there’s still water. Keep it covered until all the water is absorbed.

Fluff it with a fork and enjoy!

Once the quinoa has rested and absorbed all the water, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains. Serve immediately and enjoy your perfectly cooked quinoa!

Quick quinoa fix: just microwave and enjoy

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Can You Reheat Cooked Quinoa In The Microwave?

Wondering if you can reheat leftover cooked quinoa in the microwave? Absolutely! It’s a convenient way to warm up this versatile grain.

Here’s how: Transfer your cooked quinoa into a microwave-safe bowl. To prevent it from drying out, add a splash of liquid like water or stock.

For every cup of cooked quinoa, about a tablespoon of liquid should do. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or wrap, leaving a small vent for steam.

Microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until warmed to your liking. It typically takes 1-2 minutes, depending on your microwave and quantity.

Once warmed, give it a taste test and continue cooking if needed. Enjoy your perfectly warmed quinoa as a side dish or salad topper!

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Recipes To Use Cooked Quinoa

As a huge fan of this gluten-free superfood, I’m always glad when people asked me for recipes to incorporate cooked quinoa.

There’s a huge variety of dishes you can create, from salads to soups and even breakfast bowls. One of my favorite ways to choose is by making a quinoa salad with fresh veggies and a zesty dressing. Or, for a cozy dinner option, try quinoa stuffed bell peppers baked to perfection.

The possibilities are endless, and the best part? You can enjoy the nutritious benefits of quinoa in every bite. Below I explained in detail about Recipes To Use Cooked Quinoa:

Add it to salads: 

Quinoa is a versatile ingredient that can easily elevate your salads, adding a hearty amount of protein and texture.

Simply toss a few cups of cooked quinoa into your favorite salad mix for a nutritious boost. I particularly like incorporating Quinoa into salads inspired by different cuisines, such as Mediterranean tabbouleh or a vibrant Thai salad with avocado.

Experiment with various recipes to discover combinations you especially enjoy.

Microwave Porridge Bowl:

For years, I’ve relied on cooked quinoa to whip up a satisfying porridge in a fraction of the time it takes on the stovetop.

Simply divide the cooked quinoa into small bowls, pour in a splash of your favorite milk – whether it’s almond or dairy-free – and microwave for a short time until warmed through.

Then, top it off with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup for a quick and delicious morning meal that fuels you for the day ahead.

Need more ideas to make your cooked quinoa taste good

Elevate its flavor by incorporating herbs and spices like garlic, cumin, or fresh parsley. Enhance its texture and nutritional value by mixing in colorful vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or spinach.

Experiment with different dressings or sauces, like a tangy lemon vinaigrette or a creamy tahini dressing, to add depth to your quinoa dishes. Don’t hesitate to get creative and customize your quinoa recipes to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Read More: How to cook grits in microwave? – 9 Best Recipe Tips

How long does quinoa take to cook in the microwave?

IngredientWaterPower LevelCook Time
1/2 cup quinoa3/4 cup810 mins
1 cup quinoa1 1/3 cups810 mins
1 1/2 cups quinoa2 cups812 mins
2 cups quinoa2 2/3 cups812 mins
3 cups quinoa3 1/2 cups814 mins
Cook time calculated for 700w microwave

Cooking quinoa in a microwave is a quick and convenient option. To ensure exact results, especially considering the power of your microwave, follow these steps.

Start by rinsing 1 cup of quinoa under cold water. Place it in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups of water.

Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Check to see if the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. If not, continue microwaving in shorter intervals, checking and stirring occasionally until done.

On a 700w microwave, it typically takes 10-15 minutes to cook quinoa. However, the exact cooking time may vary based on the quantity and power of your microwave.

For the best results, experiment with cooking times and take notes for future reference. Always refer to the package instructions for guidance.

Quinoa in the microwave: fast food, but healthy

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Conclusion – how to cook quinoa in microwave?

Ready quinoa - how to cook quinoa in microwave?


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide provides you with the knowledge to master cooking quinoa in the microwave quickly and efficiently. It covers essential tips, from the correct water ratio to detailed steps ensuring perfect, fluffy quinoa every time.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook, you’ll find valuable recipe ideas to integrate quinoa into your meals, enhancing your salads, dinners, and even breakfast porridge. Quinoa’s versatility and nutritional benefits make it a standout ingredient for various dishes.

By following this guide, you can enjoy the ease and convenience of preparing quinoa, making it essential in your kitchen variety.


Following are the FAQ’s:

How do I change my microwave’s power level to cook quinoa?

Following are the points to change my microwave’s power level to cook quinoa:

  • Adjusting the power level can be crucial for desired results when cooking quinoa in the microwave.
  • To ensure a controlled and evenly cooked process, it’s important to know how to change your microwave’s power level.
  • First, refer to your microwave’s instruction manual to learn how to adjust the power settings.
  • Typically, you can do this by pressing a button labeled “Power” or “Power Level” and then entering the desired level using the keypad.
  • Lower-wattage microwaves may require a slower cooking process to prevent overheating.
  • By changing the power level, you can customize the cooking experience to suit your microwave and ensure your quinoa cooks evenly without overheating.

How to cook red or multicolored quinoa?

Following are the points to cook red or multicolored quinoa:

  • Cooking red or multicolored quinoa in the microwave follows the same easy steps as white quinoa.
  • Begin by rinsing the quinoa under cold water to remove any bitterness.
  • Then, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or microwave-safe knob and microwave on high for about 6 minutes.
  • These colorful varieties of quinoa may require a tad more cooking time for a slightly earthier flavor.
  • Packed with nutrition and easy to prepare, red and multicolored quinoa add variety and health benefits to your meals.

How to tell when quinoa is cooked through?

  • Determining the doneness of quinoa cooked in the microwave is essential for perfect results.
  • As it cooks, the germ of the quinoa kernel becomes translucent, and the texture changes from crunchy to tender.
  • One indicator is when the kernel has popped open, revealing a white outer ring with tiny seeds inside.
  • If uncertain, continue cooking in 1-minute intervals until the desired consistency is reached.

This ensures your quinoa is perfectly cooked and ready to enjoy.

What is a faster way to cook quinoa?

quinoa is inside the bowl and spoon is inside the bowl - how to cook quinoa in microwave?
  • While the microwave is one of the fastest methods to cook quinoa, other alternatives exist for speeding up the process.
  • Using an Instant Pot or stovetop can also yield quick results.
  • However, if time is of the essence, the microwave is your best bet.
  • It provides rapid hydration and heat to the grain, ensuring it’s ready quickly.
  • Additionally, it’s a plastic-free cooking method, as you can use a glass or ceramic container to cook your quinoa, making it both quick and environmentally friendly.

Is cooking quinoa in the microwave good for you?

  • Cooking quinoa in the microwave is not only convenient but also nutritious.
  • Unlike other cooking methods that may cause nutritional loss, microwaving quinoa helps retain its nutritional value due to the fast cooking method it employs.
  • Using plastic-free containers ensures that no toxins leach into your food, making it a safe and healthy option.
  • Next time you’re in a hurry, feel confident in using your microwave to cook quinoa for a quick and nutritious meal.

How to freeze cooked quinoa?

  • Freezing cooked quinoa is a great way to have it on hand for quick meals.
  • Once cooked, allow the quinoa to cool uncovered to room temperature.
  • Transfer it to 1/2 Cup Anytime Trays or any other suitable containers.
  • Cover with a lid and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • This makes meal prep easy and ensures you always have a nutritious staple ready to go.

Can you do quinoa in the microwave?

  • Yes, you can cook quinoa in the microwave!
  • It cooks quickly and serves as a perfect base for a variety of dishes, from grain bowls to saucy entrees.
  • Unlike dry recipes that may require pre-soaking, microwaving quinoa eliminates the need and the risk of overflow.
  • Exercise caution and consider using a larger bowl to prevent grains from spilling over.
  • For grains that tend to cook faster, try lowering the power level to ensure even cooking.

Is quinoa better than rice?

  • Quinoa is often considered a better option than rice due to its rich fiber, protein, and nutrient content.
  • While both grains offer benefits, quinoa stands out for its fluffy texture and impressive nutritional profile.
  • Compared to one cup of white rice, which is higher in calories and carbohydrates, quinoa provides more protein and fiber.
  • This makes quinoa a healthier choice for many diets.

What is the healthiest way to eat quinoa?

  • The healthiest way to enjoy quinoa is by incorporating it into a balanced meal.
  • Consider adding it to a salad for a complete source of protein or using it as a base for a robust entrée.
  • Quinoa pairs well with vegetables and lean proteins, creating a healthy and satisfying combination.
  • Whether served as a light side or a filling main, quinoa provides fiber and healthy fats.
  • This makes quinoa a versatile and nutritious addition to any diet.

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