Cooking Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Since I am always writing about quinoa recipes, people ask me all the time about cooking quinoa in a rice cooker.  I must confess that it was only recently that I actually purchased a steam cooker.

I actually was not inspired to buy one, until I started using my steaming method to cook quinoa for quinoa salad.  Since I have been practically living on my favorite quinoa recipe for salad this summer, I decided to go ahead and make the investment.  Boy am I glad did!  In fact, I think I might actually have to change the post I did on how to cook quinoa, because cooking it in the rice steamer may just be my new favorite method.  A microwave rice cooker works well too, but I have been trying to stay away from the microwave when I can.

As always, don’t forget to rinse your quinoa grain before you cook it.  Unless you buy quinoa in a box, you need to rinse it for around four minutes.  I’ve been soaking and rinsing a bit longer these days, ever since the unfortunate incident with red quinoa when I made myself sick from not rinsing it long enough. (I, if anyone should know better…)  Apparentely, I am one of the people that saponin makes sick.  The worst part was I didn’t even taste the bitter flavor!!  Anyways, do yourself a favor and make sure that you rinse your quinoa thoroughly, especially if you buy quinoa in bulk.

You will use two parts liquid and one part quinoa in your rice cooker.  If your cooker allows you to add in herbs and spices, you can go ahead and do that now.  Quinoa is great at absorbing the flavors that it is cooked with!  Once you turn your rice cooker on, it will take between 20 and 25 minutes for your quinoa to cook.  As I always tell people wanting to learn how to cook red quinoa, you should allow a bit of additional time when cooking red quinoa.  Every rice cooker is a little different, so you will need to experiment with your own cooker.  Generally speaking though, you will want to use your white rice setting.  The first time you try it I would cook red quinoa for 25 minutes and white quinoa for 20.  You can make adjustments from there.

Who knew that rice cookers could be so handy?

Tags:  quinoa in rice cooker, quinoa rice cooker

  • Sharon

    I also use my rice steamer for cooking steel cut oats. It works very well.
    Loves quinoa, Sharon

    • Wendy Polisi

      Great idea Sharon!  Sometimes I do oatmeal and quinoa together in the morning, but I've never tried oats in my steamer.   

      I cooked quinoa in my steamer last night. :)

  • Cheryl

    Wendi, I have really enjoyed your site, recipes, and tips for cooking quinoa. I have a rice cooker too and have been wanting to try it to cook quinoa. My rice cooker has multiple features, including settings for cooking specific types of rice and is also a steamer and slow cooker. With the various rice settings, I cannot control the time; however, I can control the time for the steamer. The minimum time for any of the types of rice is 32 minutes. Should I try the steamer setting instead? I've used it for vegetables previously. I also cook steel cut oats overnight using the slow cooker feature. It is fantastic with fruit, non-dairy milk, and vanilla!

    • Wendy Polisi


      I would start with the rice cooker setting and see how that works. That's what works on mine, but I take it out a few minutes early by canceling the cycle. It works perfectly in my mom's rice cooker without changing anything. You can also try steaming it – which I've never done. The key is to start with a small amount of quinoa and see how your cooker performs!

      • Natasha

        My rice cooker literally just has cook and warm. Do you think I would be able to use it?

  • Annie

    I tried cooking in my rice cooker and used 2 parts liquid and the quinoa always seems to burn on the bottom. Any suggestions? I thought something was wrong with my old cooker and bought a new on and had the same issue.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Every cooker is a little different!  I would suggest a tablespoon of oil on the bottom and turning off your cooker five minutes earlier but letting the quinoa stay covered for that 5 minutes.

      Sent from my iPad

  • Wendy Polisi

    Give it a try with a small amount! It is probably set for white rice so it may be just fine!