How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

Lately I have been getting a lot of questions about how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker, and although I am sure I have posted this information before, even I am having a hard time finding it easily so I thought I would post it again.

Cooking quinoa in a food steamer is one of my favorite ways to cook it.  The biggest reason that I don’t do this more is that we are on the road all the time and my steam cooker generally doesn’t make the cut to take along.  When I have access to a steamer, I do very often use it to prepare quinoa.  It is very convenient and most any steam cooker that has a rice bowl will do the job.

To cook quinoa in a rice cooker, all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions for steaming white rice.  Since quinoa does expand a bit more than rice (it goes to at least three times the size) make sure that you cook an appropriate amount of quinoa into your steamer so that you don’t overflow it.  While every rice cooker is unique, it will generally take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes to cook quinoa in a rice cooker.

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...

Image via Wikipedia

Many people who ask how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker also want to know if it is possible to cook quinoa in the microwave.  I must confess that I am not big on cooking in the microwave, but I have tried it a few times just to see.  By in large, the results have been very disappointing.  In addition to this, it really required more attention than I cared to give it.  There is one exception to this.  If you want to purchase a microwave rice cooker, the results will be much better.  In fact, this is very similar to cooking in a conventional rice cooker.

One thing to keep in mind – just because you are using a rice cooker you are still cooking quinoa!  Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa completely prior to cooking.  This is not necessary if you purchased pre-rinsed quinoa but it is very important if you buy your quinoa in bulk.  Lately, I have been soaking my quinoa for two hours prior to rinsing.  (I buy bulk quinoa – this would be completely unnecessary with most packaged quinoa.)  I just find that it makes the rinsing process go quicker and I feel that it helps get more of the saponin off.