How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker

How to cook quinoa in a rice cooker?

Quinoa is the world’s newest supergood. This pseudocereal was a staple food of the people from the Andes mountains in South America for many years before entering the global consciousness.

However, since that day it has gone from strength to strength and now is available in 70 different countries from Kenya to India to the United States.

Part of the reason is that it is a food with all the benefits of a cereal grain without any of the gluten, which is a bonus for those who need to stick to a gluten-free diet.

As such, people are gobbling up quinoa faster than they stock it on shelves. Yet, when those same people get quinoa home, they can experience problems when trying to think about what dishes it can go in or how to cook it.

Most of us would simply boil it like pasta and be done with it, but with our busy modern lifestyles people are always looking for ways to either cut down on cooking time or do it in a way where you don’t have to worry about the pot boiling over.

Enter the rice cooker, one of the best ways to cook rice without any of the worries. So, if it can cook rice, can it cook quinoa?

In this article, we will discuss cooking quinoa in a rice cooker and the other methods you can go about cooking it.

Cooking Quinoa Normally

Before we start discussing using a rice cooker, we will look at how people normally cook quinoa. Discussing how to cook a food most people have never heard of before often makes people nervous, as it is a complete unknown.

Still, you shouldn’t be worried about quinoa. Cooking it is very similar to cooking the grains of the world, like rice or barley with only some differences.

The ratio you should cook quinoa at with water is 1:2, so that is 1 portion of quinoa to 2 portions of water. The easiest way to measure this is with a cup, so 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.

Once you have your ratios, rinse the quinoa thoroughly. The quinoa will be coated on the outside with a starchy substance which you would not want in your water, in a similar way to how you don’t want the starch on the outside of the rice.

The next part is to boil the water. You do not want to let quinoa sit in cold water, otherwise it will turn soggy.

Instead, you want quinoa to start cooking the moment it hits the water. Once it is in the water, let the water come up to a simmer then stir the water.

If you let it sit, it will stick to the pan, so give it a vigorous stir as it starts cooking.

At the point it is simmering, turn the water heat down to low, then cover the pot and let it cook for 15 minutes.

Quinoa can dry out quite quickly and the way to avoid this is to keep it covered when you cook it, so keep yourself busy and ignore the pot until that 15 minutes is up, keeping it covered the whole time.

After this your quinoa is cooked. There is one additional step you can take but it is optional.

This step is taking the quinoa off the heat and letting it sit covered for 20 minutes before serving. It will let the quinoa continue to release water vapor while not drying it out, making it fluffier.

Cooking Quinoa In A Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker for making quinoa is a slightly different affair than cooking in a pot. The ratios are the same, so 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water and you still have to rinse the quinoa.

However, when you put your quinoa in the rice cooker with the water, the water is better cold.

This is only a recommendation, but rice cookers are equipped with a thermostat and work better when heating from cold to hot, rather than the other way round. By introducing hot water immediately, quinoa may turn out gummy in texture and soggy.

Once the water and quinoa has been added to the cooker, close the lid and turn on the rice cooker. Rice cookers have a variety of different settings, due to the varieties of rice there are.

You should avoid the brown and wild rice options, as these take quite a while to cook. White rice and quinoa have a similar cooking time of about 15 minutes, so always use the white rice option when cooking quinoa.

Once you have pressed this option and begun the cooking process, do not open up the rice cooker under any circumstances.

Rice cookers are designed to cook in a completely self-contained environment and any escape of moisture will ruin the cooking process, so keep it closed until the rice cooker tells you otherwise.

Once the rice cooker either beeps or the time runs out, the quinoa should be ready. Turn off the rice cooker to make sure the cooking process doesn’t keep going.

Then, leave the rice cooker along for another 5 minutes. This will allow the steam to moisturize the quinoa and make it fluffier.

After all this, lift up the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. When we say fluff, move the quinoa around and give it a stir.

This will let any excess steam or moisture escape without making the quinoa soggy. At this point, the quinoa is ready to eat and you can serve it as you wish.

If you have quinoa left over after your meal, you can keep it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge or you can keep in a container in the freezer for up to 2 months, however if you plan to keep it in the freezer, make sure you leave it to defrost overnight before eating.

It just doesn’t taste the same if you defrost in the microwave.

Final Thoughts

A rice cooker is a perfect way to cook quinoa. It is a great way to get perfectly cooked quinoa without having to worry about the pot boiling over or getting the timing wrong.

If you are still feeling trepidation about cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, don’t worry, it is really easy and you will find yourself wondering why you didn’t in the first place.

There are other things you can do to even flavor your quinoa in the rice cooker, so if you haven’t yet maybe give it a go. 

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