I have cooked a lot of quinoa for my cookbook. Small amounts, or lots at once, with spices and greens, or without—I’ve done it all. My old method, the standard cooking method, started failing me early on. My quinoa was mushy and overdone, every time, and it was driving me nuts. Why was cooking quinoa suddenly so hard?!
I tried using slightly less water than usual, which has been recommended elsewhere. It helped a little sometimes, but other times, I had to add more and more water while the quinoa was cooking. Then, the dry quinoa soaked up way too much of the dressing I added later.
At some point, I wondered, why do all the quinoa recipes suggest covering the quinoa while it cooks? My quinoa was all overcooked and mushy, so covering it seemed like the last thing I should do.
BINGO. It’s really that easy—use twice as much water as quinoa, as usual, then cook, uncovered, until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Smaller amounts of quinoa require less time, naturally.
Once the water is all absorbed, remove the pot from heat, cover it and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. That’s when the quinoa pops open into fluffy quinoa perfection, and that is how to cook quinoa properly. I’ve gotten quite a few questions from you guys about how to avoid mushy quinoa, so I just had to share. I typed up the full recipe and instructions for you below.