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The Best Way To Reheat Quinoa – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

This article was updated on 12/07/2023 for clarity and to incorporate a new method.

Quinoa is a staple in many meal plans. It’s easy to make and keeps well, but how does it fare when you reheat it?

I’ve experimented with several different reheating techniques to find the one that delivered the fluffiest quinoa, with no overcooked, mushy grains in sight.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best way to reheat quinoa is in the microwave. Place the quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl and gently break up any big clumps. Next, cover the quinoa with a damp paper towel. Reheat the quinoa on full power for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently.

How I tested reheating quinoa

I cooked up a big batch of quinoa and left it in my fridge overnight.

The next day, I tested reheating the quinoa in the following ways:

  • Microwave: Super quick and great results.
  • Stove: Good for adding extra flavor.
  • Steamer: Great if you’re cooking veggies too.
  • Oven: Too slow.
  • Rice cooker: Also slow, but low effort.

The main issue with reheating quinoa is that it can dry out. In my tests, I was looking for moist quinoa with a fluffy texture. 

How to reheat quinoa in the microwave

Time: 30-60 seconds

  1. Put the quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl, using a fork to break up any big clumps.
  2. Cover the quinoa with a damp paper towel.
  3. Heat the quinoa on high for 30 seconds (fresh) or 45-60 seconds (frozen).
  4. Check on the quinoa and stir. If it needs longer, add on 10 seconds.
  5. Let the quinoa rest for a 30 seconds before serving.

Make sure the damp paper towel is touching the surface of the quinoa and not resting on the top of the bowl for best results.

The damp paper towel produces steam which quickly heats and rehydrates the quinoa. You could also sprinkle some water over the quinoa then cover the bowl with some plastic wrap. 

A third alternative is to put an ice cube on top of the quinoa. I tested it, and it worked well, but it relies on you having ice cubes to hand! Surprisingly, the ice doesn’t melt in the microwave, just steams.

Results: You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between fresh quinoa and quinoa that’s been reheated in the microwave. And it was the quickest and easiest method I tested, which is why I think it’s the best option.

How to reheat quinoa on the stove

Time: 2-3 minutes

  1. Heat the quinoa in a heavy-bottom pan on medium heat before adding the quinoa along with 2-3 tablespoons of water or stock.
  2. Put a lid on the pan.
  3. Heat the quinoa on for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s heated through. Frozen quinoa will need 5-6 minutes.

Don’t forget to stir the quinoa, or it might stick to the bottom of the pan, and you’ll spend the next 10 minutes scrubbing!

The lid is essential because this traps steam and ensures the quinoa stays nice and moist. You’re basically steaming the quinoa, just in a pan. I always use water as the liquid because it’s easiest, but stock will add more flavor. 

You could also use butter or oil. This would give the quinoa more of a fried texture and a bit of crunch.

Results: The stove brought out marginally more flavor in the quinoa than the microwave did. It would be my choice if I had other things like vegetables or meat mixed in with it.

How to reheat quinoa in a steamer

Time: 3-4 minutes

  1. Set up your steamer, bringing the water to a gentle simmer.
  2. Spread the quinoa out evenly in the steamer basket. If the steamer holes are too big, line the basket with some parchment paper, poking a few smaller holes in it with a toothpick to let the steam through.
  3. Steam the quinoa for 3-4 minutes (6-7 minutes for frozen quinoa).

If you don’t have a steamer, you can improvise by resting a mesh sieve on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Put the quinoa in the sieve, then add a lid. Perfect!

Keep the water simmering instead of boiling. If the water starts boiling, the steam will come thick and fast, and you might accidentally overcook the quinoa. You can also swap the water for stock, or flavor it with herbs and lemon.

Results: The quinoa from the steamer had the moistest texture, but it wasn’t wet or mushy. This is a great method if your quinoa is extra dry or undercooked. The steam will soften it up.

How to reheat quinoa in the oven

Time: 6-9 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Spread the quinoa out in an oven-safe dish breaking up any big clumps with a fork.
  3. Sprinkle some water over the quinoa then cover the tray with a tight-fitting lid or foil.
  4. Put the quinoa in the oven for 6-9 minutes, or until it’s heated through.
  5. Stir the quinoa before serving.

Don’t skimp on the water for this method; it’s vital to stop the quinoa from drying out. As the dish heats, the water will turn to steam and get trapped by the lid.

You can also use stock or butter to add a bit more flavor to the quinoa.

Results: The oven took the longest, but I can see it being useful if you have lots of quinoa to reheat in one go. I used plenty of water, and the quinoa came out nice and fluffy. 

Bonus method: in a rice cooker

If you have a rice cooker, then you can use it to reheat quinoa. Set the rice cooker up and add the quinoa along with a tablespoon of water, then use the ‘keep warm’ or ‘reheat’ setting. One portion of quinoa should reheat in 10-15 minutes.

How to store quinoa

To store quinoa, wait for it to cool to room temperature before and them keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. If the quinoa is in a sauce or has lots of watery vegetables mixed in, you’ll want to eat it sooner so it doesn’t go soggy.

How to freeze quinoa 

Quinoa freezes really well. To freeze quinoa, wait for it to cool to room temperature before putting one portion in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and then lay it flat in the freezer. The quinoa will stay at best quality for up to 3 months.

You want your quinoa to be cool before you put it in the freezer so there’s no condensation. Condensation can lead to ice crystals in the quinoa, which can alter the texture. 

Getting rid of as much air as possible from the bag is very important because this is what protects the quinoa against freezer burn. Squeezing works okay, but I recommend getting a straw and sucking all the air out of the bag.

When you want to eat the quinoa, you can leave it to defrost in the fridge overnight, or you can leave it out on the side if you’re in a hurry. To speed up the process even more, you can submerge the sealed quinoa in a bowl of water. You can also skip the thawing step and just heat your quinoa straight frozen.

To reheat quinoa straight from frozen, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it for 45-60 seconds until it’s heated through. You can also steam it for 6-7 minutes or heat it in a pan with a tablespoon of water.

Ways to use up leftover quinoa

Need some ideas? I’ve got plenty.

  • Use it to bulk out an omelet.
  • Use it as a healthy alternative to breadcrumbs. Quinoa-coated chicken fillets anyone?
  • Add the quinoa to soups. Quinoa works really well in minestrone soup.
  • Use it to make stuffed peppers. Add some meat and veggies and you’re good to go.
  • Mix it into your morning smoothie. Quinoa is great for thickening smoothies.
  • Fold a bit of quinoa into your cake batter to make it a little healthier!
  • Use the quinoa to make a veggie burger patty.
  • Make fried ‘rice’ with the quinoa. A quick and easy lunch.

BEST Way To Reheat Quinoa [Tested Methods]

I've experimented with several different reheating techniques, to find one that delivered fluffy, delicious quinoa.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: All
Keyword: quinoa, reheat quinoa
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 120kcal


  • Microwave
  • Damp paper towel


  • 1 portion quinoa
  • 1 sprinkle water


  • Put the quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Use a fork to break up any big clumps.
  • Cover the quinoa with a damp paper towel.
  • Heat the quinoa on high for 30 seconds (fresh) or 45-60 seconds (frozen).
  • Check on the quinoa and stir. If it needs longer, add on 10 seconds.
  • Let the quinoa rest for a few seconds before serving.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 120kcal

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