I had a few kitchen fails this week. Things went OK, but one thing I made didn’t taste right, and I still can’t figure it out. Another was decent, but I used the wrong noodles. Something else definitely turned into a paste and we don’t have to discuss it further. But the one thing that worked like a dream every time – cooking quinoa in the rice cooker. So I decided it was about time to share the knowledge in it’s own post. Here’s how to cook quinoa in the rice cooker (skip to the instructions).
We get our quinoa at Costco because we eat a lot of quinoa. It probably saves us $100 or more a year. Okay – I thought about that jokingly but it could really be true. First, I was buying Ancient Grains from the grocery store. It was great – no quinoa complaints, but just a little expensive ($7.99 for 12 ounces). And I was buying it more a little than once a week. So it was a great day when I realized Costco sells 4.5 POUNDS of quinoa for $11.99!! That’s incredible savings (I actually compared the quinoa prices and a few other things in a separate post about things from Costco that make meal prep better).
When you cook quinoa in the rice cooker, use one cup of white quinoa, though any color would work. I also rarely rinse the quinoa, but that’s completely a personal preference. I’ve done a little research, and it doesn’t really seem to matter. If you choose not to rinse your quinoa (like me), it keeps a tiny bit more of the nuttiness flavor, which I barely even notice. It doesn’t seem to affect the cooking or texture in my opinion. Rinse by your own will.
Ultimately, it comes down to two main choices: water or broth. You can totally use water, and that’s fine. Your quinoa will be perfectly quinoa-y and ready for use. But using chicken broth is my number one recommendation. I’ve heard people say quinoa doesn’t have any flavor. I think those people probably ate plain quinoa cooked in water. So yeah, they were probably right. Using broth (you can also use veggie broth of course) provides a flavor profile. It gives the quinoa a starting place. A foundation for the remaining flavors of your chosen quinoa dish.
Most of the time, people use the ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part dry quinoa. So for one cup of quinoa, you need two cups of liquid. I quickly learned that one 14.5 ounce can of chicken broth is just short of 2 cups of liquid. I tried it anyway, and it worked perfectly. So just remember – 1 cup dry quinoa, 1-14.5 ounce can broth. PS: Also conveniently sold at Costco. I love saving $$.
The Rice Cooker
I was introduced to the Aroma Rice Cooker around when I met my husband. He used it to cook rice. And then I did too, for a while (after we joined forces). Then I started making quinoa in the old thing. Like every week at least. We’ve even used it for steaming veggies a few times (I like them roasted better). And we still cook rice in it every once in a while. My point? This rice cooker has lasted for years and we use it at least once a week. Today, it went on back to back quinoa cooking missions. No problems, whatsoever. Though it does take up some valuable storage space, I use it constantly and it’s proven itself worthy of my kitchen.
The Magic Ingredient
Coconut oil is MAGIC. Another Costco gem. I use it for everything but I’ll cut to the chase: Wipe the inside bowl of the rice cooker down with some coconut oil on a paper towel. It prevents most of the quinoa from sticking in the bowl. I swear it also provides texture and moisture to the quinoa, but I can’t prove it. I don’t know why I love this little trick so much, but it’s here to stay.
How to Cook Quinoa in the Rice Cooker
Awesome Project Meal Plan recipes that use quinoa: