Make Fluffy Quinoa Every Time! How-to.

Making Fluffy Quinoa is a kitchen technique that every at-home Chef can easily master. Quinoa is versatile, lightly textured, slightly nutty in flavor and did I mention ... healthy!

Quinoa is a fun new ingredient that your whole family will love. I keep quinoa as a staple pantry item - right next to my other dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, seeds and nuts.

Achieving fluffy quinoa (as opposed to mushy, overcooked quinoa) is easier than you think. Make fluffy quinoa every time with my easy tips. And get my recipe for Spiced Fluffy Quinoa. Fluffy Quinoa how-to.

Plus get my how-to for fluffy quinoa video!..

post updated 10/2017

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) has become quite the trendy grain over the past few years (and actually it's really a seed). Well you can embrace the quinoa hype...

Quinoa is rich in protein (for a grain/seed), is gluten free, rich in fiber, magnesium, iron and more. See complete nutrition facts in this quinoa super food post. And see the quinoa plant here.

But the best part about quinoa is it's ability to get super fluffy in texture. More so than rice or even couscous. The quinoa "blooms" and unravels as it cooks and if you've set yourself up for success - the end result is a bowl full of fluffy snowflake-like quinoa that is delicious, healthy and very versatile! Serve it warm or cold. Sprinkle quinoa onto salads, serve as a side dish, use in place or rice in recipes, fold in chopped veggies, seeds, beans or nuts or even make 'breakfast quinoa' in place of oatmeal. Use in tacos, veggie burgers and so much more.

Your quinoa should be slightly unraveled to a bit more unraveled like this. Rinsing your quinoa well will usually produce a slightly more tender quinoa.

Also, brands and varieties of quinoa will vary.

The basic recipe. Look for further tips + explanation below.

Fluffy Quinoa

Kathy Patalsky

Published 10/08/2010

Fluffy Quinoa

This is how you make fluffy quinoa every time. Nothing soggy and overcooked. This quinoa process yields fluffy, lovely nutty quinoa in just over twenty minutes.


  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water (use 2 cups if you like a moister fluffiness)
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Rinsing your quinoa first is optional. Rinsing the quinoa removes the natural coating called saponin. Sometimes unrinsed quinoa can have a bolder, nuttier and sometimes bitter flavor. If you do rinse your quinoa, reduce water amount to 1 1/2 cups since the quinoa will be slightly moistened from the rinsing process.
  2. Add the water to a soup pot. Add the quinoa and pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to a low boil. When the first signs of boiling begin, cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low-medium. Allow to simmer at this heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. When 15 minutes has passed, pop back over to the stove and turn the heat all the way off -- but DO NOT open the lid of the pot yet! This will upset the fluffing ability of all that trapped steam in the pot.
  5. With the heat OFF, walk away from the pot for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Return back to the pot and remove lid. Using a fork, fluff the quinoa a bit as the remaining steam escapes.
  7. You can sprinkle spices over top and fold those in or simply serve as is, warm and fluffy.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.

Total time: 25 mins.


  • Calories: 313kcal
  • Fat: 5g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Totalcarbs: 54g
  • Dietaryfiber: 6g

Tags: quinoa,how to, fluffy quinoa,side,vegan,dinner,grain,protein, gluten free,

Try my quinoa risotto: Almond Coconut Quinoa Risotto with Saffron Mushroom Gravy recipe here.

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How-to Make Fluffy Quinoa Every Time: More Tips

Tip 1: Rinse it.
Rinse your dry quinoa in water before cooking. This removes some of the 'mush-promoting' grit on the grain. And may make the flavor cleaner and less bitter. You do not need to rinse, but it may be a good idea if you are sensitive to nutty or earthy flavors.

Tip 2: Less is More. (Water)
Most boxes of quinoa say to add 2 cups of water for every one cup of dry quinoa. I like to use a tad less. And remember if you are rinsing your quinoa you will be adding a bit more water anyways. For fluffy quinoa, less water is more. I do 1 part dry quinoa : about 1 1/2 parts water ratio - then I rinse the quinoa and drain as much water as I can. If I do not rinse,
I do about 1 3/4 cups water for 2 cups dry quinoa. Note: If adding in dry spices or other ingredients like onions or chopped greens before cooking the quinoa, you may want to increase the water a bit too.

Tip 3: No Peeking!
Once you close that pot lid over your cooking quinoa - no peeking! No stirring! You don't want to disturb the quinoa fluff factory bubbling inside by releasing the precious steam.

Tip 4: Let it Sit.
After cooking and before you lift the lid, turn OFF the stove and in the words of Kelly Clarkson, "Just Walk Away." Let the quinoa sit for a good 5-10 minutes. Again - no peeking!

Tip 5: Stick a Fork in it.
Fluff your cooked quinoa with a fork. No mush-enhancing spoons allowed. A wide slotted spatula also fluffs things quite nicely.

Spiced Quinoa Version:


Spiced Fluffy Quinoa
vegan, makes 4 fluffy bowls of quinoa

1 cup + 2 Tbsp dry, unrinsed quinoa
1 2/3 cup water
dry spice mix:
sea salt (salt to taste! - I used 1 tsp citrus sea salt)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder

optional: 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any veg oil)


1. Measure out your quinoa. Add to a larger bowl and begin the rinsing process. I do 2-3 rinses. To rinse: fill the bowl with water, swirl the quinoa around a bit and carefully drain off the top water. The quinoa acts like sand a bit - a few grains float to the top, but they mostly sink to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat and repeat. You'll notice the water gets less murky after the final rinse.

Dry Quinoa:

Rinsing Quinoa:

2. Place your spices in a prep bowl and set aside. Measure out about 1 and 2/3 cups of water - set aside.

3. Toss your dry spices with the rinsed/drained quinoa until each quinoa grain is well coated with light spice. The wetness of the quinoa allows the spices to easily stick.

Fold in spices:

4. Place your large pot on stove and turn on heat. You can either add the water and bring to a boil. Or you can toast the spiced/rinsed quinoa in the dry pan, heat on, for a few minutes to bring out the nuttiness of the quinoa and spices. Your call. Today I simply boiled my water, then add my quinoa - it was yummy.

5. Bring quinoa/water to a boil. Cover pot with lid. Reduce heat to a simmer. Walk away for 12-15 minutes.

Lid on:

6. After around 12-15 minutes, walk over to the stove and turn the heat off. Walk away again.

7. After about 5-10 minutes remove the lid allowing a lot of steam to escape in a gush. Instant quinoa steam facial.

Lift lid:

8. Grab your fork and fluff the quinoa.

Fluff with fork:

Serve warm as is - or fold in a dash of nutritional yeast, seasoned rice vinegar, EVOO, apple cider vinegar, chopped veggies, nuts, beans - whatever you'd like. You can also chill your quinoa in the fridge and serve cold.

Fluffy quinoa! Bravo!


Mushy Results? Troubleshooting:

* Leave the lid on longer after cooking. 15-20 mins or so.
* Cook for a few more minutes.
* Add even less water.
* Rinse your quinoa if you din't already.
* Try and try again.

This post was updated 10/2017
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