Can You Cook Quinoa in the Microwave?

When you’re looking to prepare a superfood such as quinoa, the microwave may not be the first kitchen appliance your mind goes to. However, the microwave is good for more than just reheating last night’s pizza; you can cook quinoa in the microwave. 

Quinoa can be cooked in the microwave in 10 minutes, only requires a bowl of water, and is just as fluffy and nutritious as quinoa cooked on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker when you use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water. 

What is Quinoa?

An essential part of successfully cooking anything is understanding a bit more about your ingredients, and quinoa is no exception. Quinoa, while often referred to as an “ancient grain,” is actually the edible seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant. 

Quinoa is, however, a “pseudo-grain” as it’s nutritionally similar and prepared in the same manner as an actual grain. 

Health Benefits of Quinoa 

Quinoa is known as an “ancient grain” due to the fact that the Native people of the Andes have been harvesting it for over 5,000 years, and with good reason. Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, giving it several health benefits worth mentioning:

  • Quinoa is high in fiber; having a diet rich in fiber not only improves digestive health but can also help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 
  • Quinoa is antioxidant-rich. Antioxidants promote heart health, lowering the risk of heart disease. 
  • Quinoa is a good source of folate, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, thiamine, and manganese. 

How Do You Cook Quinoa in the Microwave?

Preparing the Quinoa

Quinoa is coated with a bitter compound called saponin, which must be washed before cooking. Simply place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water for 2 minutes. Some quinoa can be purchased pre-rinsed, if this is the case with the quinoa you have chosen to prepare, you may skip this step. 

Proper Ratio of Quinoa to Water

That ratio of quinoa to water will be similar to rice or other grains, a 1:2 ratio. Therefore, you will use one cup of quinoa and two cups of water for this recipe. For added flavor, try substituting the water for chicken, vegetable, or any other broth you enjoy. 

How Much Uncooked Quinoa Should I prepare?

Regardless of the method used to cook your quinoa, one uncooked cup will fluff up to approximately 2 1/3 cups once cooked. Keep this in mind when choosing your cooking vessel. 

Steps for Cooking Quinoa in Microwave

After rinsing one cup of quinoa, pour it into a microwave-safe bowl with two cups of water or your preferred cooking liquid.

Stir the quinoa and water or broth to combine. Some seeds will float; this is fine so long as the majority are submerged. 

  1. Place a microwave-safe plate or cover your bowl, ensuring it covers the opening entirely. 
  2. Place your quinoa in the microwave and cook for six minutes, covered. 
  3. After six minutes have passed, carefully remove the plate or covering using oven mitts or a dry towel and stir the quinoa. 
  4. Place quinoa back in the microwave and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
  5. After the final two minutes in the microwave, carefully remove the bowl (again using oven mitts as it will be very hot by this point) and place it on the counter. 
  6. At this point, there may still be liquid at the bottom of your dish; this is not an issue. Should some water or broth remain in the bowl, leave the plate or covering on top of your bowl for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
  7. Season as desired, serve, and enjoy!

This method of cooking quinoa is not only quick and convenient, but it is mess-free and just as tasty and nutritious as cooking it on your stovetop or pressure cooker. 

Final Thoughts

Quinoa is a powerhouse of vegetable-based nutrition. Whether you’re using this superstar starch as your meal’s opening act or as a component of your entree’s main event, zero integrity will be sacrificed by saving some time and using your old friend the microwave to make it shine.