The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Quinoa? Not Using A Rice Cooker

Fluffy, light quinoa grain
Fluffy, light quinoa grain - Sjharmon/Getty Images

Quinoa is one of those ingredients that seems to be everywhere. At least part of its popularity is because it is stacked with more protein and fiber than pasta or grains like rice. While it's seemingly added to every superfood bowl and salad, many people struggle to get quinoa at its most delicious when making it at home. Quinoa can become overcooked and mushy or crunchy and gritty if prepared improperly. How to deal with this myriad of woes? Reach for your rice cooker.

Rice cookers have many uses. As with basmati or jasmine rice, you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker to get it perfectly tender and fluffy every time. That's because rice cookers don't just magically know when rice, or in this case, quinoa, is done. They rely on temperature and sensors to indicate when all of the water has been absorbed into the rice by reaching boiling point. After the rice cooks for a bit, the inside of the cooker gets hotter, and an internal thermometer detects the temperature and stops cooking. That's why you don't need to change the settings for each type of rice and why it will work just as well for making perfect quinoa every time.

Read more: The Best Vegetarian Dishes To Take To A Cookout

Preparing Your Quinoa For The Rice Cooker

Rinsing quinoa in sieve
Rinsing quinoa in sieve - DeymosHR/Shutterstock

While rice cookers take much of the stress out of cooking quinoa, you still need to do some prep work. First, rinse your quinoa. Not only does it help wash away excess starch, but it also gets rid of a protective coating called saponin. It has a bitter taste that you don't want with your dinner. Rinsing will give you delicious, fluffy quinoa every time. Drain the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then put it directly in your rice cooker bowl.

The other consideration you need to take when making quinoa in a rice cooker is the water-to-quinoa ratio. Too much water and it turns to soupy mush too little, and the quinoa will be tough and gritty. Also, remember that the cooker knows when to stop cooking based on the temperature of the water and the rice, so using consistent, precise measurements will help you get the best quinoa. In 2014, America's Test Kitchen's then-senior editor, Dan Souza, said that while many quinoa recipes call for a 2-to-1 water-to-quinoa ratio, he prefers a 1-to-1 ratio for "a much lighter quinoa with more bite and snap." With properly rinsed quinoa and the right amount of water, your rice cooker should be able to take care of the rest.

Read the original article on Mashed.