How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker


Last year around this time I bought a rice cooker. Since then I’ve made rice approximately 2 times, both being for other people. I just don’t care for rice. Why’d I buy it then? To cook other things like quinoa.

Quinoa is traditionally made in a pot on the stove. That method works well if you have a full kitchen, but there are definitely benefits to using a rice cooker, too.

    • You don’t have to watch a rice cooker as much as a burner.
    • Rice cookers with “keep warm” settings make it easy to serve warm food even during a busy party.
    • You can use a rice cooker almost anywhere there’s an electrical outlet—even in a dorm room.


I use a Zojirushi rice cooker. They’re one of the more expensive brands but totally worth the extra cost. This will last for years and years, is easy to clean, and has plenty of cooking features. I’ve made a number of different things in it, from quinoa to date paste. It’s worth the investment if you’re in the market for a rice cooker.

How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 4 servings):

  • 1/2 an onion, small diced
  • 1 large carrot, small diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups water or stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt(omit if using salt)



  1. “Sauté” the carrots and onion in the bottom of the rice cooker by cooking them in the oil on a high-heat setting until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the quinoa, liquid, and seasoning if using. Close the lid on the rice cooker and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until the liquid has boiled off. The quinoa will be ready when it has doubled in volume and a “tail” sprouts from the end.
  3. Fluff the quinoa with a serving spoon and serve hot or let cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Once you get comfortable preparing basic quinoa, you can make more complex recipes, all while still using your rice cooker. Here are a few of my favorites that I have picked to make for Fall:

Vegged-Out Quinoa

The Best Quinoa Dressing

Savory Pumpkin Quinoa

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34 Responses to How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker
  1. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)
    September 23, 2011 | 9:29 am

    I love quinoa and I definitely need to try using my rice cooker. It’s not fancy at all, but it does keep things warm while you wait. Thanks for the method Evan!

  2. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    September 23, 2011 | 4:27 pm

    I remember talking to you about rice cookers vs slow cookers about this time last year! I went for the slow cooker and havent used it tons (realize for me personally the stovetop is just faster/easier) but every now and then i will break it out.

    I am jealz of your Zoji rice cooker!

  3. ChocolatePBCups
    September 23, 2011 | 5:11 pm

    I loveee Quinoa!!

  4. Ela
    September 23, 2011 | 5:42 pm

    I have admired rice cookers at my in-laws’–right now, we have two crockpots (although one may go back to the thrift store whence it came) and so little space, I’m not sure that I can justify it. But considering that I only have two burners to cook on, I’ve been tempted and your recommendation helps. Especially interested that you can cook veg in there with the grain. And I think I’ve seen gf bread recipes to be made in rice cookers too.

    • Wannabe Chef
      September 23, 2011 | 5:43 pm

      My rice cooker has a setting that even lets you cook a cake in it! Not that I’ve tried doing that; maybe that’s something to do.

  5. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe
    September 23, 2011 | 10:43 pm

    My Zojirushi is my favorite kitchen toy! I was anxious to drop the bucks on it because I wasn’t sure I’d get enough use out of it, but I’d say I use it at least 3 times a week but usually more. I’m intrigued that you found a way to make date paste in it, I’ve got to try that.

  6. Hannah
    September 24, 2011 | 1:40 am

    I’ve never seriously considered buying a rice cooker because, like you, I pretty much never eat rice. But then you said “date paste”, and my heart soared!

  7. Lee
    September 24, 2011 | 10:46 am

    I have a smaller version of that rice cooker and it’s my favorite kitchen appliance. I got it for a wedding gift and my mom was like, “I cannot believe you registered for a $150 rice cooker.” but it is so worth it.

  8. BroccoliHut
    September 24, 2011 | 12:41 pm

    So I think I need a rice cooker now.

    • Wannabe Chef
      September 24, 2011 | 3:53 pm

      Definitely! I’ve heard(though I’ve never tried) that you can make some mean steal cut oats in them, as well.

      • Ti
        December 31, 2012 | 5:58 pm

        Oh yes, you can!

  9. Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas
    September 24, 2011 | 8:57 pm

    I have a rice cooker too…and yet, I don’t even use it to make rice-I use the stove!

  10. Holly
    September 25, 2011 | 11:00 am


    i finally caught up on your blog – i seriously apologize that it ook me this long, although i should really apologize to myself, because your blog always makes me laugh. and well, i like to laugh.

    anyways, enjoyed your stumbleupon part #2 post. i’ve been stumbledupon twice, and it was the best two nights of my life. (make your own judgment here). alllsssoooo, your post on the pioneer woman had me hooting. i still haven’t watched the show, but i heard rumbles it was bad, and i should have known i could count on you to say everything i probably would have been thinking had i watched it.

    you, boots, madeline, project runway, dinner = me jealous.

    you look adorbs lately. loving your haircut and new jackets – p.s. did you end up joining the acapella group? i need deets please!

    anyways…hope you are enjoying being back at brown! i talked to madeline about making a surprise visit to there for your 21st birthday to get you drunk. it may not be a surprise anymore, but now you can’t say you weren’t warned.

    <3 ya,

  11. elise
    September 25, 2011 | 11:21 pm

    i only use my rice cooker for quinoa. haha. and lentils. and millet. mostly everything but ride, really…

  12. elise
    September 25, 2011 | 11:22 pm


  13. Fried Quinoa | The Wannabe Chef
    September 26, 2011 | 9:01 am

    […] downside(or benefit depending on how you look at it) of making things like quinoa in big batches is that you have the same old food meal after meal. Luckily, quinoa is one grain […]

  14. sally wimberley
    September 27, 2011 | 4:02 am

    i hae the basic cheapy rice cooker and it works just fine for me–whether for rice,bulgar, or now quinoa! quick and easy!….I am much more into to pressure cookers these days and they do cost a bit— but they do everything! in no time…..

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    October 4, 2011 | 9:01 am

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  17. Val M
    February 16, 2012 | 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the article! What setting are you using on your zojirushi to cook the quinoa??

    • Wannabe Chef
      February 16, 2012 | 10:33 pm

      I set it to “Quick Cooking”

      • jeff
        February 11, 2013 | 1:07 pm

        How do you saute the carrots and the onion? Do you take the pot out and put it on the stove? Or do you do leave it in the rice cooker? I didn’t know there was a way to select a heat setting to saute something. Please explain.

        • Wannabe Chef
          February 11, 2013 | 1:16 pm

          I cook them inside the rice cooker. Depending on the make of it, some have higher cooking settings that is hot enough to saute vegetables. You could also saute them in a pan and transfer them to the rice cooker.

  18. Kanefire
    June 20, 2012 | 8:10 pm

    I heart my Zojirushi.

    I’ve made:
    Rice (B,W,S,Mixed…)
    Polenta. Amazing with course cut polenta and a good stock.
    Farro. IMO the single best tasting grain in the world.

    I have cooked rice all kinds of ways for many years and the Zojirushi makes the best rice of anything I’ve ever used. It also keeps it fresh far longer than any other way I’ve prepared it.

    Super happy to find your recipe, was just what I was looking for.

    • Deborah
      March 28, 2013 | 11:03 am

      I have a basic rice cooker, no bells & whistles. It doesn’t make brown rice good at all. But, white rice rocks. Can I use it for Quinoa & farro. Or, do I need a more updated, computerized rice cooker?

      • Wannabe Chef
        March 28, 2013 | 9:00 pm

        It might be tough to work with hard grains if your rice cooker has trouble with brown rice but in theory it should work as long as it can keep the water hot enough to boil

      • Bev in TX
        March 9, 2014 | 12:57 pm

        We also have one of the most basic rice cookers around. The lid is very light weight and pops up and down, letting out extra steam while the rice is cooking. For that reason, we’ve found it necessary to add more water than normally called for when cooking brown rice. You could try adding ½-cup at first and more if that is insufficient.

        If you add too much water, it will just cook a little longer.

  19. Rob
    June 25, 2012 | 10:57 pm

    Thank you for this. I was trying to figure out how to make quinoa in my new Zojirushi and Google brought me here. Came out perfect. I left out the onions and added rosemary. It was awesome. Thanks again. Definitely gonna look through all your other rice cooker recipes.

  20. karatericevegan
    May 23, 2013 | 8:34 pm

    Nice to see you’ve got a Zojirushi 🙂 They’re fantastic, aren’t they? I cook quinoa with a bit less liquid so it has some ‘bite’

  21. Sedap Makan
    May 27, 2013 | 10:15 pm

    do you just use the white setting on the Zoji? I am giving it a try tonight. I cut down the liquid a little since when I cook it on the stove its usually 2 to 1 and the zoji will loose less liquid.

    • Wannabe Chef
      May 27, 2013 | 11:22 pm

      I use the quick cooking setting

  22. Lisa
    October 3, 2014 | 6:27 am

    I had some experiments with that recipe but in Redmond 4500 multicooker. It is fantastic, really! I had a chance to compare rice- and multicooker, the last one much simpler and faster – any recipe can be made by my children.

  23. Martin Carter
    January 21, 2015 | 3:17 am

    Zojirushi is my first choice for a long time and I cook a lot of foods other than rice by this cooker. Truly speaking, I never try to make quinoa by my cooker. Your recipe is looking so delicious that I convince myself to make a try!

    I hope I also make a delicious food by following your recipe.

  24. […] How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker | The Wannabe Chef – I love quinoa and I definitely need to try using my rice cooker. It’s not fancy at all, but it does keep things warm while you wait. Thanks for the method Evan! […]