How to Microwave Quinoa

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Written By Acacia Crossley


One of the most popular superfoods is the South American quinoa – a highly nutritious, grain-like food. Recently the rest of the world has discovered just how delicious, filling and versatile quinoa is.

However, many people have avoided making quinoa a part of their everyday cuisine because of how long it can take to cook. Could your microwave be the solution to this off-putting issue? 

To microwave quinoa, pop it into a bowl with double the amount of warm water, cover and then microwave for 6 minutes. Stir and repeat for a further 2 or 3 minutes.

How to Microwave Quinoa

To cook quinoa in a microwave, you have to think of your microwave as a makeshift rice cooker, but much quicker and easier to use. Use this method when you want to microwave your quinoa for the most effective results: 

  1. Rinse The Quinoa
    Only try cooking your quinoa once you have given the quinoa a good wash under warm water. You want to remove as much residue as possible. 
  2. Bowl It Up
    Transfer the quinoa to a bowl or dish that is microwave safe. 
  3. Add Water
    Measure warm water on a 1:2 ratio with the quinoa (1 part and 2 parts water) and add the water to your bowl or dish. 
  4. Cover
    Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl completely. 
  5. Microwave
    Set your microwave to its highest setting, then place your quinoa in the microwave. Cook for 5-6 minutes. 
  6. Stir
    Take a fork and uncover the quinoa, giving it a good stir. 
  7. Microwave again
    Cover the quinoa back up and microwave it for a further 2-3 minutes on the same high setting. 
  8. Absorbing Time
    Once the quinoa has been cooked, uncover and let sit for between 5-10 minutes.
  9. Serve
    When the quinoa has absorbed all or most of the water in the bowl, you can season it and serve it up to enjoy.
Cooked Quinoa

How to Microwave Quinoa Successfully

The last thing you want is undercooked or overcooked quinoa.

Generally, quinoa is quite a forgiving food with a fair amount of leniency in its preparation, but just to be sure that you can serve the best-microwaved quinoa possible, here are a few tips you can use:

  • Stick To The Ratio – Quinoa is very hard when raw, needing a lot of water to soften up. That is why using double the amount of water to quinoa is essential if you don’t want awfully textured quinoa. 
  • Leave To Soak – You may be tempted to rush and enjoy your quinoa as soon as it is out of the microwave. However, those extra 5-10 minutes to let the quinoa absorb as much extra water as possible will make all the difference to the taste and texture of your quinoa. 
  • Use Any Quinoa – Several types of quinoas range in colour and availability. You can use whichever type you prefer to follow the method above, which can be used for every type of quinoa. 

Why You Should Microwave Quinoa

For a food that is rock hard when raw, you would not think a microwave would be a suitable cooking method for quinoa. But there are advantages to cooking quinoa in your microwave: 

Quicker Cooking 

Even counting the absorption time once you have microwaved your quinoa, it is noticeably quicker to cook it in your microwave than in a rice cooker or stove.

It can take over 40 minutes on the stove, depending on how much quinoa you cook. Using the microwave, though, quinoa only takes 10-15 minutes. 

Copy Cat Texture

If you were to serve a bowl of microwaved quinoa and stove-cooked quinoa, there would be little to no differences in texture.

You can get wonderfully fluffy quinoa with that signature chew just as easily in the microwave as with any other cooking method. 

Ideal Taste

Quinoa itself does not have a terribly strong taste, reminiscent of brown rice in its nuttiness and mildness.

That is why it is a good idea to throw some seasoning into the quinoa once it has been cooked to give it some extra flavour.

Quinoa cooked in a microwave will not lose any of its mildness and will also need to be flavoured once it has been cooked, so you will get a very similar taste to stove-cooked quinoa.

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Quinoa

Every pro has its con, and microwaving quinoa is no exception. Here are a few reasons why you might not want to microwave quinoa:

May Not Soften Up Enough 

An essential part of cooking quinoa is heating the quinoa long enough in lots of water to let the quinoa absorb the water and become soft enough to eat. 

The problem is that your microwave may not heat the water up enough to encourage the quinoa to absorb the water.

So, depending on your microwave, you may need more time to get the quinoa soft enough in the same amount of time listed above. 

Limited Portion Sizes

There is only so much space you will have in your microwave to cook quinoa.

Likewise, there will only be so much space in your bowl or dish to cook the quinoa in the right amount of water. As such, how much quinoa you can cook at one time is limited. 

At most, you can successfully microwave 1-2 full portions of quinoa at once. 

Hands-On Method

The point of using your microwave at any point in your cooking should be for the speed and ease of it as a cooking appliance.

However, regarding effortless cooking methods, microwaved quinoa requires a bit more hands-on effort. You cannot just shove it into the microwave for 10 minutes and leave the quinoa to cook.

For any kind of successful result, you have to put more effort into microwaving the quinoa than you would expect. 

Microwaving Quinoa FAQs

Do you have further questions about using the microwave to cook quinoa? Then check these out:

Is It Safe to Microwave Quinoa?

Yes, it is safe to microwave quinoa as long as it is cooked properly. Rinse the quinoa, add it to a microwave-safe dish with water, cover it, and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Does Microwaved Quinoa Taste Good?

Yes, microwaved quinoa can taste good if cooked properly. It may have a slightly different texture than stovetop quinoa but can still be flavourful and nutritious.


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