How to Season Quinoa

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By Nicholle C. | Updated: Nov 03, 2021

How to Season Quinoa

When properly cooked, quinoa has a fluffy texture, a delicate taste, and a slight crunch. However, these characteristics will vary depending on the variety of quinoa you use. Both black quinoa and red quinoa have a slightly nuttier flavor than white quinoa, as well as a crunchier texture after they have been cooked. However, quinoa on its own may seem a little bland to many people. Keep reading to find out how to season quinoa and elevate your cooking skills to a gourmet level.

How to Make Quinoa Taste Good

Quinoa is very simple to cook and only takes 10 - 20 minutes to reach a fluffy texture, depending on its variety. Because of its mild, natural flavor, there are many ways to season quinoa, after or during cooking, in order to give it a more distinct flavor.

But before being cooked, quinoa seeds need to be rinsed in order to remove any traces of saponins. While these bitter, soapy substances are often removed during processing before quinoa is packaged and sold, it is always a good idea to give it a quick rinse so that their taste does not spoil the dish.1

The following suggestions will show you how to make quinoa taste good:

  • Prior to cooking, briefly toast quinoa in a pan with a little butter or olive oil for a subtle flavor.

  • An easy way to flavor quinoa is by cooking it in vegetable or chicken broth instead of water. If you prefer, cook quinoa in half water and half broth.

  • Another simple way to add more flavor is to season quinoa with fresh or dried spices. Herbs like basiloreganocilantro, and thyme complement quinoa very nicely.

  • Try sauteing finely chopped garlic or onions (or both) and then mixing in cooked quinoa for added flavor.

  • If you like spicy food and want to give your quinoa some heat, try adding hot peppers, like jalapeños.

  • Try sprinkling cooked quinoa with a flavorful cheese or nutritional  yeast.

  • If you are looking to incorporate quinoa in your morning routine, try cooking quinoa like oatmeal with milk and spices, such as cinnamon and cloves.

  • Quinoa can also be cooked slowly with milk and sugar to make quinoa porridge.

Quinoa is a very versatile seed that can be seasoned in many different ways and incorporated into a wide variety of recipes. Now that you know how to make quinoa taste better, you can experiment with various quinoa recipes to find the one that suits your palate.


  • Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd), from Nutritional Value to Potential Health Benefits: An Integrative Review, 2016
  • National Library of Medicine, Healthy food trends – quinoa
  • Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood
  • Whole Grains Council, Quinoa – March Grain of the Month
  • FAOSTAT, Quinoa in the Kitchen, pp. 36-81


  1. Molecules. (2020). An Insight into Saponins from Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd): A Review. Retrieved October 10, 2021 from