Today, I am here to show you how to cook quinoa in a microwave. To be honest, I had no idea that cooking quinoa in the microwave was possible until I read it in a magazine as I was doing research for another recipe.
Come to find out, this is the fastest way to cook quinoa. It literally takes 15 minutes and it is just as fluffy compared to quinoa cooked in an Instant pot, quinoa cooked on the stove, or a quinoa cooked in a rice cooker.
So, if you are in a rush and want to use this plant-protein powerhouse in your meal prep, various quinoa salads, or weeknight meals like Mexican Quinoa, Quinoa Black Bean Tacos, or Butternut Squash Quinoa, read on. I will show you how to make it with step by step photos.
The Ratio of Quinoa To Water
The ingredients list is pretty short. You will need 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of cold water to cook quinoa in the microwave. You can use vegetable or chicken stock if you’d like.
The ratio to follow is 1 to 2. If you want, you can multiply this quick quinoa recipe. You can also add salt and oil to the bowl to give it more flavor, similar to how I did with my microwave quinoa porridge recipe.
How much cooked quinoa do I get from 1 cup microwave quinoa?
1 cup uncooked quinoa yields about 2 ½ to 3 cups cooked quinoa. Therefore, if you decide to multiply this recipe be sure to choose a bowl that will hold up all your cooked quinoa.
How To Make It?
- Rinse the quinoa: Start by rinsing your quinoa under cold running water. If you are wondering about why it is important to do so, feel free to check out the post I shared on how to and why rinse quinoa.
- Place quinoa and water in a microwave safe bowl: Place them in a large bowl that would hold 3 cups of cooked quinoa in the end. If you prefer, you can also add in a pinch of salt, a splash of olive oil or a tablespoon of butter in there as well.
- Stir to combine: Make sure that the quinoa is fully submerged in water.
- Cover it with a plate: Place a microwave-safe dinner plate (large enough to cover the bowl fully) on top. Or you can also use a microwave cover (affiliate link).
- Place in the microwave: Place it in the microwave and set it to cook for 6 minutes.
- Give it a stir and then cook some more: Carefully remove the plate (I used a kitchen towel because it is super hot) and give it a stir. Put the plate back on and set it to cook for 4 more minutes.
- Remove from the microwave: At the end of the 4 minutes, you might still have some liquid at the bottom of the bowl, which is okay. It should look like the quinoa seeds popped open. If there is still a lot of them that are not open, put it back in the microwave for 1 more minute.
- Let it rest until the water is absorbed: Let it sit on the kitchen counter for 5 minutes, covered. As it sits, most of the liquid will be absorbed. In the end, if there is still water in the bowl, remove the plate and wait for a few more minutes.
- Fluff it with a fork and enjoy!
Why Don’t We Cook It In The Microwave Longer?
At this point, you might be wondering why don’t we let it continue to cook in the microwave until the liquid is fully absorbed? Well, I had the same question so I tested it.
Come to find out, if you cook it for longer you end up with a mushy and somewhat dry quinoa. It is obviously visible that it cooked longer than it should.
That is why, I find that the best timing is to cook it for 6 minutes first, give it a stir, and cook for 4 more minutes.
How To Store?
Storing microwave quinoa is no different than storing quinoa cooked in any other way. Simply bring it to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge upto 5 days.
Would This Method Work With Other Types of Quinoa?
Yes. As you can see in the picture, I use tricolor quinoa but I have tested this recipe with white and red quinoa as well. The timing was not different.
Can You Reheat Cooked Quinoa In The Microwave?
You sure can. However, I would recommend adding in a splash of liquid (water or stock) as it might get dry as it warms up. I find that a minute of cooking time for 2-3 cups of cooked quinoa is sufficient. However, if it is not warmed to your liking, you can continue to cook it in 30-second increments.
Recipes To Use Cooked Quinoa
I can almost hear you say, now that I have cooked quinoa what do I do with it?
Well, I am glad you asked because I am a huge fan of this gluten-free superfood and have so many recipes that you can choose from.
- Add it in salads: You can easily up the protein amount of a salad by adding in a few cups of quinoa. I especially like my Quinoa Tabouli Salad, Avocado Quinoa Salad, Thai Quinoa Salad, and Mediterrenean Quinoa Salad recipes.
- Microwave Porridge Bowl: For years, I cooked my quinoa porridge on the stove top. But if I am short on time, I cook my quinoa in the microwave, divide it in small bowls, pour in a splash of milk (or almond milk if you are following a dairy free diet) and top it off with fruit (and perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup) to turn it into a quick quinoa porridge in the morning.
- Need more ideas to make your cooked quinoa taste good? Check out the post I shared that outlines everything I know about How To Flavor Quinoa.
Microwave Quinoa Recipe – How to make quinoa in microwave?
- 1 cup quinoa* rinsed under cold water
- 2 cups of water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter
- Rinse quinoa: Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water.
- Place ingredients in a bowl: Place rinsed quinoa and water in a large microwave safe bowl. Add the salt and oil, if using. Stir to make sure that quinoa is fully submerged in water.
- Cover it with a plate that is large enough to fully cover the bowl. You can also use a microwave cover.
- Cook for 6 minutes on high in your microwave. Carefully remove the plate using a kitchen towel. Give it a stir. Put the plate back on and cook for another 4 minutes on high. When you take it out of the microwave, carefully remove the plate on top and examine the quinoa. If there are still a lot of seeds that are not opened put it back for one more minute.
- Remove from the microwave. At this point, you might still have some liquid in the bowl. This is normal.
- Let it sit covered on the counter for 5 minutes. As it sits, most of the liquid will be absorbed. In the end, if there is still water in the bowl, remove the plate and wait for a few more minutes.
- Fluff it with a fork and serve.
- This recipe and timing work perfectly with white quinoa. However, I have some readers report that some tricolor quinoa brands take longer to cook. To photograph this recipe, I used Trader Joe’s tricolor quinoa so this was not an issue for me.
If this happens to you, place the quinoa back in the microwave and cook in 1-minute increments until you see the quinoa seeds pop open, revealing the germ of the kernel.
- How To Store leftover microwave quinoa? Bring it to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge for upto 4-5 days.
- Please know that the type and age of your quinoa might affect the cooking time. The best way to tell doneness is by examining the seeds after the cooking time is completed. If necessary, if you are left with quinoa that is not fully cooked, even after 10 minutes, you can continue to cook in 1-minute increments. However, be sure to stop and check to make sure it has enough liquid every time you extend the cooking time.