How to Microwave Quinoa

// How to Microwave Quinoa

Prep Time

2 mins

Cook Time

10 mins

Free Time

to learn a new craft

Quinoa cooks quickly in the microwave and forms the perfect base for grain bowls or saucy entrees. Make sure to use dry quinoa for this recipe — pre-soaking the quinoa will make it more likely to overflow while cooking.

Caution! Before cooking grains of any kind, you absolutely must lower your microwave’s power level. If you skip this step (or fail to change your PL properly*) your food will burn and you could severely damage your Anyday Dish. For detailed instructions on how to change your power level, visit our blog.

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What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

The Medium Deep Dish

The best dish for 1-2 portions of grains, veggies, mac and cheese, ramen, and more.

The Anyhand Mitts

Handle hot Anyday dishes with care with these microwave mitts that double as trivets!
Try Anyday

Select your serving size and microwave wattage in the dropdown. The recipe will change accordingly.

1/2 cup quinoa

Select your microwave wattage in the dropdown. The cook times in this recipe will automatically change accordingly.


To find your microwave’s wattage, look at the front panel, the side of the door, in the back, in the user manual, or Google the model number. If both an input and output wattage are listed, use the output.

Wattage translates to how powerful the microwave is. The higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. The lower the wattage, the longer the cook time.

When in doubt, start with less time — you can always add more.

Microwave oven by power - 700w



The Medium Deep Dish


  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ¾ cup water


  1. Add the quinoa, water, a splash of olive oil (optional) and stir to combine.
  2. Place in an Anyday dish and cover with the lid (knob lifted).
  3. Cook in the microwave at Power Level 8tooltip for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to rest with the lid on for 5 minutes, or until the liquid has been fully absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Serving suggestions & tips

  • Spice it up: Add spices such as curry, turmeric, Italian seasoning, or garlic powder before cooking and turn this ingredients into a delicious side dish.
  • Fresh and bright: Once cooked, season with herbs such as dill, parsley, chives, or basil for a refreshing touch.
  • Herbs and citrus: Add chopped herbs like cilantro or parsley and squeeze lemon or lime juice for a bright flavor.
  • Roasted veggie: Roast veggies like bell peppers or zucchini and mix them into the quinoa for sweetness and depth.
  • Toasted: Toast almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds for a crunchy texture and nutty taste. Sprinkle over the quinoa and serve.

Recipe notes

  • Important: Always use an Anyday Deep Dish to cook grains (the water will likely overflow in the Shallow Dishes).
  • If the quinoa is taking longer than expected, increase the power level by 1. If it’s bubbling over, decrease the power level by 1.
  • Add a small amount of olive oil to the cooking liquid to prevent the quinoa from clumping.
  • All different types of quinoa cook the same — you can microwave white, red, or any quinoa blend for the same amount of time.
  • Quinoa is a great ingredient to cook in bulk and freeze! Spread the cooked quinoa into an even layer on a baking sheet to cool completely before spooning into Freezer Trays and storing in the freezer.
  • Microwave ovens vary, even with the same wattages. Adjust cooking times as needed.

Microwave Match Up: Quinoa

See for yourself— microwaving quinoa is simply faster, start to finish.

Appliance Cook Time
Microwave in an Anyday dish 10-14 mins
Stovetop* 25-30 mins
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)* 20 mins
*Includes preheat time

Step-by-Step: Microwaving Quinoa

Combine quinoa and water and stir.

Cover with the lid (knob lifted).

Microwave at Power Level 6 for a 1000w microwave

Fluff with a fork and serve.

All you need to know about microwaving quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook in the microwave?

Ingredient Water Power Level Cook Time
1/2 cup quinoa 3/4 cup 8 10 mins
1 cup quinoa 1 1/3 cups 8 10 mins
1 1/2 cups quinoa 2 cups 8 12 mins
2 cups quinoa 2 2/3 cups 8 12 mins
3 cups quinoa 3 1/2 cups 8 14 mins
Cook time calculated for 700w microwave

Quinoa typically takes around 10-15 minutes to cook in the microwave. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the power of your microwave and the quantity of quinoa being cooked. It's best to check the package instructions or experiment with shorter cooking intervals, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed.

How do I change my microwave's power level to cook quinoa?

To change the power level of your microwave for cooking quinoa, you usually need to refer to your microwave's instruction manual. Look for the power level or wattage settings and adjust it to the desired level. This allows for a slower, more controlled cooking process to ensure the quinoa cooks evenly without overheating.

How to cook red or multicolored quinoa?

To cook red or multicolored quinoa in the microwave, follow the same steps as you would for white quinoa: rinse it, combine with water, cover with the lid (knob up) and microwave. These colorful varieties may pack a tad more nutrition and have a slightly earthier flavor, but they're just as easy to prepare in the microwave.

How to tell when quinoa is cooked through?

You'll know when quinoa grain is done because it will look like it has popped open, revealing the germ of the kernel which makes quinoa look like a little translucent center with a whiter outer ring. If quinoa still looks like tiny seeds, it need to cook longer. When in doubt, try one! If it’s too crunchy, cook longer in 1-minute intervals.

What is a faster way to cook quinoa?

Microwaving is by far the fastest way to cook quinoa compared to the stovetop, oven, or Instant Pot methods. Quinoa cooks by hydration and heat, which means that if you can heat water faster, you will be able to hydrate the quinoa more quickly. The microwave is the best way to do this! Be sure to use a plastic-free container when cooking any grain in the microwave.

Is cooking quinoa in the microwave good for you?

Yes, cooking quinoa in the microwave is a nutritious and convenient option! It helps retain the nutritional value of quinoa while providing a super fast cooking method. Be sure to use plastic-free containers when microwaving, which can leach toxins into food.

How to freeze cooked quinoa?

Once the quinoa is cooked, allow it to fully cool while uncovered. Once cool, transfer to the 1/2 Cup Anytime Trays, then cover with the lid and freeze for up to 6 months.

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