Quinoa is a very healthy grain to add to your eating plan and it can bring a lot of variety to your dinners as an alternative to rice or other grain dishes.
It does take a little bit longer to cook than rice, however, so to save time, you might be tempted to batch cook your quinoa to use throughout the week.
Once cooked, can you reheat quinoa? Yes, quinoa is one of the easiest grains you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat at will. The quickest way to reheat quinoa is by using your microwave, but the oven and the stovetop are equally useful in their own ways.
Quinoa is a staple in my house and, over the years I’ve discovered a few handy tips and techniques for reheating quinoa so that it tastes freshly cooked every time.
The Complete Guide to Reheating Quinoa
In this article, we’ll discuss all the best ways to store and reheat your quinoa for delicious and nutritious grains in minutes.
How to Store Cooked Quinoa
The first step to reheating quinoa perfectly is making sure you store it properly. It’s not difficult, but you do want to be sure you let your quinoa cool completely before packing it tightly into a Tupperware container with an airtight seal or even a Ziploc bag.
If you remove all the air from your container, the quinoa will stay fresh longer in your fridge, so be diligent about this step.
How long does cooked quinoa last in the fridge? If you’ve followed the above instructions for properly storing your quinoa, it should stay fresh and tasty in your fridge for up to 5 days.
If there are additional ingredients mixed in with your quinoa, you’ll want to keep it only as long as the ingredient that goes off the quickest.
For example, if you’ve mixed eggs or meat in with your grains, you’ll want to reheat and eat it within 2 – 3 days at the most.
You can tell if your quinoa has gone bad mainly due to texture, which will lose its moisture and harden. If left too long or improperly stored, it may grow mold, which you will see visibly.
Can You Eat Quinoa Cold?
Before you decide how you’re going to reheat your quinoa, stop and ask yourself if you even need to reheat it.
Can you eat quinoa cold? Yes, one of the greatest things about quinoa is how wonderful it tastes cold! You can mix some fresh veggies and dressing into previously cooked and refrigerated quinoa for a hearty salad, use it as filling inside a wrap or even add some milk, nuts, and raisins for an alternative to cereal in the morning.
Of course, not everyone likes to eat quinoa cold, especially during the winter months when most of us crave a warm meal in our belly.
Simple Steps to Reheating Quinoa
If you’re dead set on reheating your quinoa, here are some tried and true tips to help you get perfectly moist grains, every time.
Using The Microwave To Warm Up Your Quinoa
Reheating quinoa in the microwave is quick and easy but there is a secret to success every time: use the largest dish that will fit in your microwave and break up your quinoa as much as possible before heating it.
If you put it in the microwave in one big clump, it will heat unevenly, leaving the center cold and the outer edges dried out.
In order to make sure your quinoa stays nice and moist, create a small opening in the center of your dish and add a tablespoon or two of water to the center. This will help add some steam to the heating, freshening up your previously cooked grains.
Warm in short bursts of 30 – 45 seconds and stir the quinoa in between to evenly distribute the heat and moisture. If you have a microwave cover, this will also help keep some of the steam inside your grains.
If you don’t have a cover, you can lay a sheet or two of a moistened paper towel over your quinoa to help protect the moisture even more.
You also want to be sure you’re not heating your grains in a plastic container, which can leach harmful chemicals into your food, even if it says it’s BPA free. Always use a glass or ceramic dish in your microwave.
Reheating Quinoa on the Stove
When you warm up quinoa in a pan on the stove you have two options:
- Pan-fried version
- Frying your previously cooked quinoa in oil will give you a bit of a crunch to the outer edges, giving a fried-rice feel to your meal.
- Simply warm up some oil in a deep pan on your stove and add your quinoa.
- Stir continuously and heat only long enough to warm it up.
- If you cook it too long, it will start to dry out. It shouldn’t take longer than 5 – 7 minutes.
- Steamed version
- If you want your quinoa to turn out as if it were freshly boiled, add water to your pan with your quinoa.
- Warm it on low heat, covered tightly so that the grains rehydrate from the steam.
- Stir frequently and don’t hesitate to add more water if the quinoa looks like it’s getting dry or sticky. More water will fix both these issues.
Reheating Quinoa in The Oven
If you prefer to use your oven to reheat your quinoa, you’ll need a casserole dish with a good lid to keep your grains from drying out when they reheat.
If you don’t have a dish with a well-fitting lid, you can also use tinfoil to cover a baking pan or another oven-safe dish.
Add some water to your quinoa before putting it in the oven, usually about 4 tablespoons to each cup of cooked quinoa will keep it from drying out. The grains soak up liquid greedily, so don’t worry about adding a bit too much, it’s better than dry and crunchy.
Heat at 350F for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally and stirring as necessary.
Alternative Methods for Reheating Quinoa
If you want to get creative, here are a few more tools you can use to reheat your quinoa, depending on how your kitchen cupboards are stocked:
- Toaster Oven
- Instant Pot
- Add it to freshly cooked soup
Can Quinoa be Frozen? – How to Freeze Quinoa
Yes, quinoa freezes really well and it’s very easy. The most important part of freezing quinoa is making sure it is completely cooled before you pack it and place it in your freezer.
You can either put your cooked and cooled quinoa in a freezer-safe Tupperware container or Ziploc bag.
It’s important to pack the quinoa tightly to reduce the amount of air exposure surrounding each grain. The less air, the fewer ice crystals will form in your quinoa and the better protected it will be from freezer burn.
Defrosting Quinoa From Frozen
The best way to thaw frozen quinoa is to remove it from your freezer the night before you’re going to be using it and let it defrost overnight in your fridge. You can also let it sit on your counter or in your sink at room temperature and that will thaw a bit quicker.
If you’re really in a rush, you can fill a bowl or sink of lukewarm (not hot!) water and place your carefully sealed quinoa in the water. Swap out the water every 30 minutes until the quinoa is defrosted.
It’s not a good idea to try to defrost quinoa in your microwave as it’ll be uneven, likely leaving you with an odd combination of dry and sticky quinoa.
Let it thaw completely first, and then reheat it using one of the above methods.
Can quinoa be cooked in a rice cooker?
Yes, quinoa cooks really well in a rice cooker. You’ll need 2 cups of water to every cup of dry (rinsed) quinoa.
The cook time will vary slightly depending on your model, but it shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
For an added twist and burst of delicious flavor, try swapping your water for coconut milk. If you’re hesitant about the richness, try 1 cup of water and 1 cup of coconut milk instead.
Can quinoa be eaten raw?
Raw quinoa grains are not very tempting, but so long as they’re carefully rinsed, they’re not actually harmful to eat raw.
Taste and texture-wise, most people will get a lot more enjoyment out of the grains if they are either sprouted or cooked, and you can also make flour by grinding raw quinoa into a fine powder.
Do you need to rinse quinoa before cooking it?
Yes, you should always rinse quinoa before cooking it unless the package explicitly states that it’s pre-rinsed. Even then, it doesn’t hurt to get in the habit of rinsing anyway.
Quinoa has a natural pesticide coating called saponin. It’s not overly dangerous to eat, but it has a bitter flavor and may cause mild irritation if you have a sensitive stomach.
Does quinoa cause bloat and/or gas?
Quinoa is actually often used as an alternative to foods that are known to cause gas and bloating because it’s much easier to digest than wheat or beans.
Quinoa makes a delicious, light and nutritious flour that has a lot of benefits over using wheat flour, including fewer digestive issues.
It’s also very high in protein, so it’s a great swap for lentils and beans that are common sources of protein in plant-based diets but can cause gassiness.