How to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Add these fluffy, al dente grains into your next salad or protein bowl at home–quinoa is super fast to make in a rice cooker too! Quinoa has some great health benefits like a high fiber content, high iron and magnesium nutrients, and a low glycemic index perfect for those who need a rice replacement. But most importantly, it’s tasty and it’s easy to make for any meal.

bowl of cooked quinoa

Can you cook quinoa in a rice cooker?

Cooking quinoa is faster and more hands-off than ever when you use a rice cooker. Using a rice cooker to cook quinoa is the same process you use to make many other grains, like sticky rice, sushi rice, white rice, brown rice, and more. 

Types of quinoa to use

raw quinoa closeup

There are multiple types of quinoa you can eat and buy at the store:

  • White quinoa: Sometimes called ivory, blond, tan, or yellow quinoa, this type of quinoa is the mildest in flavor compared to the other varieties. It’s one of the most common varieties found in grocery stores and also has the fluffiest texture. 
  • Red quinoa: You can also find red quinoa in grocery stores like Whole Foods and it has a nuttier flavor once cooked. It holds its shape fairly well after cooking and is best used in salads or as a rice replacement. 
  • Black quinoa: This variety has a slightly earthy and sweet flavor compared to white or red quinoa. It has a similar texture to red quinoa where it’s crunchy and chewy after cooking, so it’s great for salads or as grain bowl toppings. 

Do you need to wash quinoa before cooking it?

rinsing quinoa in the sink

One of the first steps when cooking grains, whether that’s quinoa or rice, is to rinse it under cold water. Rinsing quinoa first helps to remove a naturally occurring chemical that forms on the skin of the grain called saponin. This chemical has a bitter taste and prevents predators like birds from eating the grain in nature. 

Some people can taste this compound in cooked, unrinsed quinoa. However, there are some pre-packaged quinoa that already pre-rinses the grain so that it removes any trace of saponin. If you buy your quinoa from whole bulk bins, I would recommend rinsing them just in case. 

To rinse quinoa, I typically use a strainer under running water and use my fingers to swirl it around for a few minutes. Whenever I do this, I notice that I lose a few grains transferring them from the strainer to the rice cooker. 

Other ways to rinse the quinoa without being a mess are using a cheesecloth (or old, but clean cotton t-shirt) over a bowl or colander. Hold the edges of the cheesecloth so that they stay over the edge of the colander. Add the quinoa in the middle and run it under cold water for a few minutes. Take the corners of the cheesecloth and bring it together to form a sack. Squeeze the excess water out and transfer the seeds into a rice cooker. 

If you have a french press, you can also use it to rinse quinoa. Add the quinoa into your french press and add cold water. Stir with a spoon and use the press to contain the quinoa inside while you remove the water. Repeat adding new water until it comes out clean. 

Quinoa to water ratio in a rice cooker

cup of water and scoop of quinoa ratio

To get that unmistakable fluffy and slightly chewy quinoa texture, use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water for the rice cooker. 

  • 1 dry measuring cup (or 200 grams) of dried quinoa for 16 fluid ounces of filtered water
  • 2 dry measuring cups (or 400 grams) of dried quinoa for 32 fluid ounces of filtered water

It’s also important to consider how much quinoa multiplies once it’s cooked. The basic rule is that uncooked quinoa multiplies by 4 once it’s cooked. Follow the rule below to figure out how much to serve:

  • ½ dry measure cup (100 grams) of uncooked quinoa = 2 dry measuring cups of cooked quinoa (or 2 medium sized servings)
  • 1 dry measure cup (200 grams) of uncooked quinoa = 4 dry measuring cups of cooked quinoa (or 4 medium sized servings)
  • 1 ½ dry measure cup (300 grams) of uncooked quinoa = 6 dry measuring cups of cooked quinoa (or 6 medium sized servings)
  • 2 dry measure cup (400 grams) of uncooked quinoa = 8 dry measuring cups of cooked quinoa (or 8 medium sized servings)  

How long does quinoa take to cook in a rice cooker?

fluffy quinoa in a rice cooker

In my National brand rice cooker, I use the “quick” cook setting for quinoa just like I do with my short-grain rice or other white rice cooking recipes. This “quick” setting typically takes about 30 minutes to cook the quinoa to the soft, but al dente texture we all love. 

If you’re using a different brand of rice cooker, make sure to look over your rice cooker manual to see if they have suggestions when cooking grains like quinoa. If you don’t have a “quick” cook setting, you can also use the “normal” rice setting too.

cooked quinoa

Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

5 from 1 vote
Learn this hands-off method to make fluffy, al dente bites of quinoa are a tasty and delicious grain for your next salad or bowl.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 32 minutes


  • ½ c (100 g) white organic quinoa
  • 1 c (8 fl oz) water plus more for rinsing
  • ¼ tsp (tsp) kosher salt to taste

Equipment Used

  • strainer, cheesecloth, or french press
  • rice paddle


  • Measure out the quinoa and place it in the strainer.
    cup of water and scoop of quinoa ratio
  • Rinse the quinoa with a strainer under cold running water. (You also have the option to use a cheesecloth or french press to rinse and strain the quinoa).
    rinsing quinoa in the sink
  • Transfer the quinoa into the rice cooker and add the filtered water and salt. Mix until it’s all combined.
    pouring water into rice cooker with raw quinoa
  • If your rice cooker has the “quick” cook setting, press this button and then start the cooker. If you don’t have this setting, cook the quinoa on the normal rice setting.
    pressing start on rice cooker
  • Once it’s done cooking, use a rice paddle to fluff up the quinoa and serve.
    fluffy quinoa in a rice cooker
Nutrition Facts
Quinoa in a Rice Cooker
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Ingredients, Side Dish
Keyword: gluten-free, grains
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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