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Slow Cooker Quinoa

Slow Cooker Quinoa! These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make a big batch of delicious quinoa in the Crockpot for soups, salads, and quick healthy meals throughout the week. Makes about 6 cups of cooked quinoa.

Can you make quinoa in a slow cooker or crockpot? Yes, quinoa can easily be cooked with water using your slow cooker to create a tender and soft quinoa that’s perfect for use in any recipe.

I love slow-cooking quinoa in a slow cooker because it eliminates most of the margin for error without needing to babysit. It gives the grains plenty of time to absorb the water resulting in tender, fluffy, and pleasantly chewy quinoa.

You’re going to love adding quinoa and water to your Crockpot in the morning and returning to a batch of flawless quinoa later in the day. If you’re short on time, make sous vide quinoa instead!

💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Great source of plant protein. Quinoa is the only carb that is also a complete protein.
  • Makes a huge batch, so you’ll have plenty of quinoa to use in different meals.
  • Plenty of room to customize with spices, seasonings, and sauces.
  • Fix it and forget it. No standing over the stove.

🧾 Ingredients & Tools

  • Quinoa – Quinoa is technically a seed, but its nutritional profile is closer to whole grain. It’s a complete plant protein containing all 9 amino acids and a great source of fiber. You can use white, red, black, or a blend of each.
  • Water – Filtered or distilled water, if possible, but use what works for you.
  • Salt & pepper – Just enough to enhance the mild, nutty-tasting quinoa.

🥣 How To Make Quinoa In The Slow Cooker

1️⃣ Rinse quinoa.
First, place your quinoa grains in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cool water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, drain.

2️⃣ Stir quinoa & water together.
Moving along, add the quinoa to your slow cooker and pour the water over top. Stir together, making sure all of the grains are soaked in water.

3️⃣ Cook quinoa in the slow cooker.
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.

4️⃣ Fluff quinoa and serve.
Once the water is absorbed, fluff the quinoa with a fork, season to taste with salt & pepper, and serve.

👉 Recipe Tips

  • Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa. The grains can be very bitter-tasting, if not rinsed thoroughly.
  • The standard ratio of water to quinoa is 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of grains. For chewier quinoa, use less water (no less than 1 cup per cup of grains). For softer quinoa, add more water.
  • Each slow cooker functions differently, so make sure quinoa isn’t burning, especially if you’re slow cooking on HIGH (slow cooking LOW is best).
  • Don’t open the crockpot. You’ll release heat and steam, the key to making perfect slow cooker quinoa.
  • Enjoy hot, cold, or room temperature.

🔀 Variations

Quinoa absorbs whatever flavors its cooked in, so the variation possibilities are endless.

Broth/stock – Depthen the flavor of your slow cooker quinoa by slow cooking the grains in chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or stock instead of water.

Spices & seasonings – Slow cook the quinoa with spices and aromatics inspired by the theme of your meal. Spice up your quinoa with Freek, Italian, Cajun, blackened, chili seasoning, or taco seasoning.

Add vegetables – Once cooked, toss cooked vegetables with the fluffy quinoa (tomatoes, onion, peppers, etc). and pair with a nourishing animal protein or beans.

🍽️ Serving Suggestions

While you can always enjoy quinoa just the way it is, you can also add it to soups, stews, salads, and these dishes:

  • Quinoa chili – Boost the fiber and protein in your favorite chili recipe, like this beef and sweet potato chili, by adding cooked quinoa to your chili once it’s finished.
  • Quinoa enchiladas – Use quinoa instead of meat (or both) to fill enchiladas. Try using quinoa instead of chicken in these zucchini enchiladas with my enchilada sauce.
  • Soups – Use quinoa as the noodle or grain element in your favorite soups. You can use slow cooker quinoa in vegetable minestrone, Italian wedding soup, and much more.
  • Breakfast quinoa – Make quinoa your first meal of the day. Make it savory with cooked ground sausage, breakfast potatoes, and a gooey egg -OR, make sweet breakfast quinoa with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, nut butter, seeds, etc.

🧊 Storing & Freezing

Storing: After cooling, transfer quinoa to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Freezing: Scoop cooled quinoa into a freezer-safe container or plastic bag, and store in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating in the microwave or on the stove.

FAQ

What size crockpot is best to cook quinoa?

2 cups of quinoa inflates to 6 cups of quinoa in the slow cooker, so you’ll need plenty of room. For this recipe, you’ll need at least a 6-quart slow cooker.

Should quinoa be soaked before cooking?

No. Quinoa needs liquid to cook, but soaking it first ends up being too much liquid resulting in soggy quinoa. However, you must rinse the quinoa first to wash away the bitter taste

What will quinoa look like when it’s cooked?

First, check that all the water is absorbed. Then, check that the tiny grains look as if they popped open.

Why is my quinoa crunchy?

It’s undercooked. To fix crunchy quinoa, add 1/2 cup of water to the slow cooker at a time and continue cooking until the water is absorbed. Repeat until your quinoa is cooked to your liking.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Slow Cooker Mississippi Pork Roast
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Soup

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Slow Cooker Quinoa

Make perfectly cooked quinoa every time! This simple slow cooker quinoa recipe makes a large batch of light and fluffy quinoa for sides, salads, soups, and much more.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Slow Cook on Low Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 12 cups cooked quinoa

Equipment

  • 1 fine-mesh strainer
  • 1 slow cooker or Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa white, black, or red
  • 3 cups water filtered
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Drain.
  • Add rinsed and drained quinoa to the slow cooker, then pour the water over top. Stir, making sure all of the grains are soaked in the water.
  • Slow cook until the water is fully absorbed; on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours).
  • Fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve.

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