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The Best Way To Reheat Quinoa – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

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

I have experimented with several different reheating techniques, to find the one that delivers:

  • The fluffiest quinoa (and making sure it doesn’t turn mushy)
  • Firm, nutty grains (just like when it’s freshly cooked)

Special attention was also given to ensure that the reheating doesn’t inadvertently dry the dish out – a common issue.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

What’s the best way to reheat quinoa? 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 approximately 30-50 seconds, stirring and checking frequently.

A note on my experiment

I cooked up a big batch of quinoa and left it in my fridge until the following day, when I tested several different ways of reheating it.

I tested:

  • Reheating the quinoa in the microwave
  • Reheating the quinoa on the stove
  • Reheating the quinoa in a steamer
  • Reheating the quinoa in the oven

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

In all honesty, there wasn’t much difference between the results. All the methods produced tasty, moist quinoa. So it’s just a case of which one is most convenient for you.

The pan and the microwave were pretty quick, while the steamer and the oven took a little longer.

Reheating quinoa in the microwave

To reheat quinoa in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and break up any big clumps. Lay a damp paper towel directly on top of the quinoa. Heat the quinoa on high for 30 seconds, then check on it. If it needs longer, add on 10 seconds. Let the quinoa rest for 30 seconds before serving.

The microwave is my recommended way to reheat quinoa. It’s really quick and convenient and produces good results. 

How to reheat quinoa in the microwave:

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

The damp paper towel produces steam which quickly heats and re-moisturizes 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.

Verdict

You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between fresh quinoa and reheating quinoa with the microwave. 

It was the quickest and easiest method I tested, which is why I’m recommended it as the best.

Reheating quinoa on the stove

To reheat quinoa on the stove, put the quinoa in a heavy bottom pan along with 2-3 tablespoons of water (or stock). Put a lid on the pan. Heat the quinoa on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the quinoa is heated through. Stir the quinoa occasionally so it heats evenly and doesn’t stick.

The stove is a good way to heat large batches of quinoa. Don’t hold back on the additional water because without this, the quinoa will dry out.

How to reheat quinoa on the stove:

  1. Put the quinoa in a heavy-bottom pan along with 2-3 tablespoons of water or stock.
  2. Put a lid on the pan.
  3. Heat the quinoa on a medium heat 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 just 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.

Verdict

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.

Reheating quinoa in a steamer

To reheat quinoa in a steamer, bring the water to a simmer before spreading the quinoa out in an even layer in the steamer basket. If you’re worried about the quinoa falling through the steamer, line the basket with pierced parchment paper. Steam the quinoa for 3-4 minutes.

The steamer is an excellent way of reviving dried-out quinoa. The steam introduces loads of moisture, but you need to be careful not to heat the quinoa for too long, or it can turn mushy.

How to reheat quinoa in the steamer:

  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 use a makeshift one 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.

Verdict:

The quinoa from the steamer had the moistest texture, but it wasn’t wet or mushy. 

This is a good method if your quinoa is a little undercooked. You could leave it steaming for a bit longer to finish it off.

Reheating quinoa in the oven

To reheat quinoa in the oven, spread the quinoa out in an oven-safe dish, making sure there are no big clumps. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water over the quinoa before sealing the container with a lid or foil. Heat the quinoa for 6-9 minutes at 350°F (180°C). Stir before serving.

Don’t skimp on the water for this method; it’s vital to stop the quinoa from drying out. Baking usually dries things out, so you need additional moisture to prevent this from happening.

How to reheat quinoa in the oven:

  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. Cover the dish 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.

As the dish heats, the moisture you added will turn to steam, which the lid will trap to help keep the quinoa moist.

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

Verdict

The oven took the longest, but I can see it being useful if you have a lot of quinoa to reheat in one go.

I used plenty of water, and the quinoa came out nice and fluffy. 

How to store quinoa

To store quinoa, wait for it to cool to room temperature before putting it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. Quinoa will last for 4-5 days in the fridge. For longer-term storage, you can freeze the quinoa. 

Can you 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.

After three months, the quinoa will still be safe to eat, but you might notice some freezer burn.

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.

If you have a vacuum sealer, you can use this. Vacuum sealed quinoa will last much longer than three months.

How to thaw quinoa

You can leave your quinoa 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.

How to heat quinoa from 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 

Got loads of plain quinoa you’re not sure what to do with?

Here are some ideas:

  • 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 bell peppers, tomatoes, and sweetcorn and you’re good to go.
  • Mix it into your morning smoothie. The quinoa helps thicken the smoothie and adds some protein. 
  • 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.

The BEST Way To Reheat Quinoa

Quinoa is a staple in many meal plans. It’s easy to make and keeps well, but how does it fare when reheated?
I have experimented with several different reheating techniques, to find the one that delivers:
– The fluffiest quinoa (and making sure it doesn’t turn mushy)
– Firm, nutty grains (just like when it’s freshly cooked)
Special attention was also given to ensure that the reheating doesn’t inadvertently dry the dish out – a common issue.
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Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 2 mins
Course Ingredient
Cuisine All
Servings 1 person
Calories 120 kcal

Equipment

Microwave
Damp paper towel

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion quinoa
  • 1 sprinkle water

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 120kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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