How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is a wonderful seed, packed full of protein and flavored with a hint of a nuttiness. It is grown high in the Andes mountains and is a staple throughout the mountains of Peru.

Quinoa has a bitter coating called saponin which must be removed before cooking. To do this, the quinoa must be rinsed with water. Here you essentially have two options.

  • Option #1 – Combine quinoa and water, swirl and then drain. Repeat 3 times or until the water becomes clear and no longer looks soapy or dirty.
  • Option #2 – Place quinoa in a bowl with water covering quinoa by one inch. Allow quinoa to soak for 30 minutes and then drain.


How to Cook Quinoa

Yield: Makes about 3 cups


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)


  1. Combine quinoa, water & salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes covered. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork.

Cooked quinoa can be used in soups, salads, instead of rice and even in baked goods! Check out how we use quinoa on Provecho Peru. Enjoy!

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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2 Responses

  1. ShannonElyse says:

    I think your blogs are great Gretchen. I hope things are going well for you there in Peru.

  2. Kyle says:

    Thanks Gretchen! I’ve asked others how to cook quinoa and this is the first good answer I’ve gotten. 🙂

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