How To Steam Quinoa In A Steamer (And Without Steamer)

If you’re looking for tips on how to steam quinoa in a steamer, you’re in the right place! Nothing beats the convenience of steaming quinoa with a steamer.

It is the quickest and most efficient way to ensure your quinoa comes out perfectly cooked every time.

No more worrying about undercooking or overcooking. But what if you don’t have access to an electric steamer?

Don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to make perfectly steamed quinoa without one. We’ve covered you, whether it’s with a microwave, stovetop, or rice cooker.

From start to finish, we’ll show you how to steam quinoa in a steamer and without one.

Let’s get started!

How To Steam Quinoa In A Steamer With These Simple Steps

Steaming quinoa is easy with a steamer. See our recommendations here if you need help determining the best food steamer. Now let’s get into the details.

Choose Your Steamer 

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BELLA Two-Tier Food Steamer (See this item on Amazon)

The first step is to make sure you choose the right steamer. There are two main types—electric steamers and stovetop steamers—so pick whichever best suits your needs.

If you’re looking for convenience, an electric steamer might be the way to go; but if you want something more affordable and space-saving, a stovetop steamer should do the trick. 

Preparing The Quinoa 

Once your steamer is ready, it’s time to prepare your quinoa. Start by rinsing the quinoa under cold water until it runs clear.

This will help ensure that it comes out fluffy rather than dry or mushy. Then measure 2 cups of uncooked quinoa into a medium bowl, and set aside. 

Steaming The Quinoa 

Now it’s time to get down to business!

Place 2 cups of prepared quinoa into the basket of the steamer (if using an electric one) or into a heat-safe dish on top of the bottom part of a stovetop steamer (if using one).

Securely cover with the lid and turn on the heat (or press the start button) if using an electric one. Allow quinoa to steam for about 15 minutes (or as per the manufacturer’s instructions).

Once done, remove from heat and fluff with a fork before serving. 

How To Steam Quinoa Without A Steamer?

How do you steam if you don’t have a steamer? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. There are several ways to steam your quinoa without a steamer.

Method 1: Steaming Quinoa In A Microwave

Steaming Quinoa In A Microwave

Cooking quinoa in the microwave is a great way to make a delicious, nutritious meal in no time. The key is finding the perfect balance between heat and liquid for optimal results.

Rinsing your quinoa helps to remove any residue from processing and prevents a bitter taste. All you have to do here is put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, rinse it with cold water for about 30 seconds, then drain off any excess water. 

Now it’s time to give your quinoa some flavor. Put the rinsed quinoa into an oven-safe dish and add two cups of water or broth (your choice!) for every cup of dry quinoa.

Stir the mixture so that everything is evenly distributed and all grains are submerged in liquid. Place the dish into your microwave and cook on high heat for 8 minutes.

Once done, carefully remove from the microwave and fluff with a fork so that all grains are evenly separated and cooked. 

Method 2: Steaming Quinoa On The Stovetop

Another great way to steam quinoa is on the stovetop. To make quinoa on the stovetop, you’ll need one cup of quinoa, two cups of water, and a pinch of salt (optional).

The first step is rinsing your quinoa. This is important because it removes any dirt or debris that may have stuck to the grains.

To do this, pour your quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold running water for about 30 seconds or until it clears. Then set aside. 

Next, add oil (optional) to a medium-sized pot and heat over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until hot.

Add in your rinsed quinoa and stir for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. This will help improve its nutty flavor and also help keep it from sticking together as it cooks.

Now add two cups of water (or broth) and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat before reducing heat to low-medium and simmering for 15-20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Once it’s done, fluff with a fork before serving hot.

Method 3: Steaming Quinoa In A Rice Cooker

Steaming Quinoa In A rice cooker

Another alternative to steam quinoa without a steamer is a rice cooker. I hope you have one at home.

The first step is preparing the quinoa for steaming. Rinse the quinoa if necessary, and then measure out 1 cup of dry quinoa for every 2 cups of water you plan on using.

If you want your quinoa to be extra fluffy, try soaking it for about 15-20 minutes before adding it to the rice cooker. This will help the grains absorb more liquid, resulting in fluffier, more tender quinoa. 

Once your quinoa is ready, add it to the rice cooker with 2 cups of water. Give everything a good stir, ensuring all the grains are completely submerged in liquid.

Close the lid of the rice cooker and turn it on. Depending on your specific rice cooker model, this may require selecting a specific cooking program or setting (e.g., “white rice”).

Once selected, just let it do its thing and wait for it to finish cooking. 

When your timer goes off and your rice cooker switches from “cooking” mode to “warm” mode, open up the lid and give your quinoa a quick stir with a fork or spoon.

Check for results by tasting a few grains – they should be tender but still slightly chewy when they are done cooking.

If they are still crunchy or hard, add another 1/4 cup of water and let them cook for an additional 5 minutes before checking again (you may have to do this several times until they are fully cooked).

Once cooking, use a fork or spoon to fluff up your quinoa before serving. 


Here are frequently asked questions about steaming quinoa.

Can You Cook Quinoa With A Bamboo Steamer?

Yes, you can use a bamboo steamer for cooking quinoa. Ensure the bamboo steamer is big enough to fit all your ingredients and that the quinoa is evenly distributed throughout each basket layer so it cooks properly.

Can You Steam Quinoa In The Instant Pot?

Yes, you can steam quinoa in the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to the pot, then select the “Steam” program. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

What Should I Do If My Quinoa Is Too Mushy?

If your quinoa needs to be mushy, there are several things you can do to remedy this problem. First, ensure you use the correct water ratio to quinoa for cooking. Too much water can cause quinoa to become mushy.

Second, adjust the heat on your stove – high heat can cook the quinoa too quickly and produce a mushy texture.

Third, once the quinoa is done cooking, spread it out on a baking sheet or plate and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving – this will help reduce moisture and give your quinoa an extra bit crunchiness.

What Happens If I Don’t Rinse The Quinoa?

If you don’t rinse quinoa, you may end up with a bitter-tasting dish. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which can impart a bitter flavor if not removed before cooking.

Therefore, it’s important to rinse the quinoa before cooking for the best possible flavor and texture.

How Long Should Quinoa Be Cooked?

Quinoa typically takes about 15 minutes to cook, depending on your chosen method.


Steaming quinoa is an easy, healthy, and versatile way to cook ancient grain. With a steamer, you can take your quinoa from dry to fluffy in minutes.

And if you don’t have a steamer handy, there are plenty of other ways to get it done—microwave, stovetop, and rice cooker.

Whether using a steamer or an alternative cooking method, the end product will be light and fluffy quinoa, ready to incorporate into your favorite dishes.

So go ahead—give it a try! You’ll be surprised at how simple it is.