HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Rinsing Quinoa

Does anyone have any suggestions for rinsing quinoa. I have a colander with very small holes, but the quinoa is smaller than these holes and many grains fall through. I've also tried laying paper towels over the colander, but that makes a mess and makes it difficult to get the quinoa off the paper towels.

Is there an easier way to quickly rinse quinoa?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Use a sieve instead of a colander. Works perfectly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: doctor_mama

      I have a fine sieve that I usually use for coffee that should work. Lacking that, how about a French Press? or a tea sieve.

      What I often try to do with rice and other grains that need washing is to carefully pour off the water trying to leave most of the grain in the bowl. Pouring through a small strainer lets me catch the few grains that do escape. It usually isn't necessary to pour off all the water, since more will be added for the next rinse or for cooking.

    2. I buy the quinoa from Trader Joe's--no rinse necessary.

      I rinsed once, never again. Even using a sieve it was the biggest PITA.

      2 Replies
      1. re: modthyrth

        We buy our quinoa from TJs or bulk bin at WFM and don't need to rinse either.

        1. re: modthyrth

          On the box of the organic Quinoa I recently bought from Trader Joes says to "Always rinse and drain quinoa throughly in cold water before cooking". Perhaps the instructions have changed since 2008.

        2. I put it in a pot, fill with water, swirl the quinoa around, pour the water out slowly, repeat.

          it's impossible to pour all the water out, but I figure two or three rinses like that is enough and I'm just cooking it in water anyway.

          1. I just read this bit of educational news that explains why the necessity for rinsing:

            Quinoa seeds have a coating of bitter-tasting chemicals called saponins, that make their seeds less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. Saponins are mildly toxic, and must be removed by soaking for a few hours, then changing the water and soaking again -- or by rinsing in running water for several minutes, using a cheesecloth or similar material.

            If you're like me, still saddled with quinoa of the must-rinse variety, another reader highly recommends the fine-mesh handled colander from William Sonoma.

            Hope this helps!

            4 Replies
            1. re: nywvblue

              OK, now I feel stupid. I gave up on rinsing, because it was so difficult and made such a mess. I get it at WF in the bulk bin. Am I poisoned now? How can you tell if you have to rinse it?

              1. re: julietg

                If it tastes slightly bitter, then it probably needed rinsing, or better rinsing. Unfortunately that's 20/20 hindsight by then. I've eaten quinoa that's tasted this way but suffered no noticeable ill effects (except for making the "this tastes bitter" face).

                I'm thrilled by the French Press idea -- ingenius, paulj!

                1. re: nywvblue

                  just saw this, thank you! I've been putting off using it for all the reasons stated.
                  I have a couple of french presses, this helps me a lot!

                  1. re: nywvblue

                    I get quinoa a couple different places, and usually don't need to rinse (I know one of the packages actually mentions that it's pre-rinsed). So I'm not in the habit of rinsing it.

                    But once, I must have bought a different brand, because it was obviously, noticeably bitter when I tasted it after it was cooked. So, I just rinsed it after cooking, and the bitterness was gone. I have no idea if the nutrition is different, I just know I made it edible again with a quick post-cooking rinse. So now, I never rinse, knowing that I can always rinse it after it's done if necessary. Saves all kinds of time (when I'm in dinner-ASAP mode).

              2. Most of the bulk bins need to be rinsed. I just did this two days ago, but I can't find the link for the excellent advice.

                Soak the quinoa in a generous amount of water overnight. The quinoa will have tripled in size, so use a large bowl and lots of water. Some soapy film will accumulate on top of the water. Drain well, using a sieve. Rinse under running water while aggitating with your hand.

                Put in a pan, barely cover with water, simmer for 10 minutes. Drain in the same sieve.

                Put sieve with quinoa over the same pan with enough water to boil, yet not touching the bottom of the sieve. Cover and steam for an additional 10 minutes. Perfect, fluffy quinoa.
                I put a kitchen towel over the sieve to concentrate the steam. I think a piece of wax paper would also work.
                Does anyone know how cooked quinoa freezes?

                8 Replies
                1. re: nemo

                  I rinse it a few times in a tall, narrow glass and just pour the water off. On the last rinse I put a piece of paper towel over the top of the glass and hold it upside down until I've got as much water as possible out. I don't even own a sieve!

                  1. re: Jetgirly

                    I just bought some from a local produce stand, out of the bulk food bins, so I'm going to try the French Press idea.

                    1. re: AsanaCycles

                      If you soak quinoa too long it will get waterlogged and mushy when you cook it. I'd soak no longer than an hour or two, though I only soak if I plan to sprout quinoa and eat it raw. I use a medium fine sieve/strainer and rinse under cold running water for a few minutes. It's enough to get any of the bitter stuff off. The first time I ever cooked it I didn't rinse well. The toxins weren't enough to make me sick, but the quinoa had a bitter undertone to its flavour. I'd definitely rinse anything from a bulk bin. Even the ones that don't require the rinse should get a quick rinse, just to remove any dust or foreign particles.

                      A side note: I tend to put all of my grains and legumes in a bowl of cold water, swirl them around with my hand and watch to see what floats to the surface. I've had other grains pop up, pebbles, bits of dirt and other unidentifiable items. I'm not speaking of quinoa specifically, but this is of particular concern with something like brown lentils, where a quick scan of the dried beans wouldn't be enough to notice a dark little pebble.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Good point. LOL. They don't, but they're easier to spot when swishing and swirling the grains or beans around in the water.

                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                            Often in beans there are clods of dirt...

                  2. re: nemo

                    Yes, I think it freezes well. I mix it with rice, put it into the rice cooker and then freeze the leftovers all the time.

                    1. re: nemo

                      What do you have your quinoa in will you're rinsing under running water?

                    2. I soak overnight or longer. Quinoa will hydrate and sprout. Gets rid of all bitter sap and cooks very fast. My favorite is to combine with Kasha. Makes a more complete vege protien and complementary flavors and texture.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: phantomdoc

                        Line your strainer or sieve with a sheet of paper towel. Water drips through, not the quinoa.

                        1. re: tweetie

                          I just tried this method of lining the sieve with a paper towel and it works great. Tonight I'll try cooking quinoa for the first time.

                      2. just tried rinsing some (TJ's) quinoa--LOL. resorted to my tea strainer, a couple T. at a time. After rinsing 1/2 minute under the faucet. We'll see how it tastes.

                        I read somewhere that quinoa tastes best when toasted first--so I did this in a dry skillet over med gas flame, like toasting sesame seeds. At the first pops, I pulled the pan and poured onto a cold plate, then rinsed. Cooking now! I use my waterless cookware and proceed as for rice:

                        rinsed grains go onto water (for quinoa, twice the volume) bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to lowest possible setting, (lid seals under a slight vacuum) steam about 15 minutes, remove lid, fluff with fork, replace lid turn off heat for about 4-5 minutes.

                        I think the fluffiest quinoa I've eaten out has had a very light coating of oil--I plan on making a room temp salad with this batch so will dress it with oil and a few seasonings.

                        Ok tried a sample with just a tiny bit of butter and salt--very good. Tried a sample with a prototype dressing: lemon olive oil, salt, grated red onion, cumin and grated ginger. Very good flavor--(not much from the quinoa) but it is still a bit clumpy/mushy.

                        I think next time I will use less water and cook for a few minutes less. looking for more texture in the quinoa. will experiment and report back. Also hope to ask a local chef for addtional tips.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: toodie jane

                          For those who buy Costco's "Organic Earthly Delights 100% whole grain Quinoa" here are the instructions on the back for rinsing:

                          "Before cooking, place in a fine strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear."

                          As it is hard to see, IMO, at what point the water runs clear, I swish it around in a light-weight pan, and rinse until it "IS" clear.

                          I rinse most every grain I cook (of course, not oak & rye flake). Depending on the company, there are always empty pieces of grain or 'fluff' which floats to the top which can possibly make a murky grain dish.

                          An aside, off topic: I also look at every bean or grain (or coffee bean) to search for any pebbles. A way I have of looking for bean pebbles (or older shriveled beans) is empty them on a table top. It was quite distressful when my expensive burr grinder was ruined by a piece of metal in the beans about 2 years ago. This comes to mind now as I have been looking at the beans since then, but about a week ago, I found another metal piece.

                        2. I've had really good luck using a 5 by 7 inch fish net.

                          1. I bought a CIA Masters Collection 6-3/4-Inch Very Fine Mesh Strainer and it's been working great for rinsing Quinoa:


                            If you want something more reasonably priced, perhaps Ikea has fine mesh strainers.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hanguolaohu

                              I get wooden-handled inexpensive fine strainers at Smart & Final. They come in all sizes from 3" to about 8" across. Fine enough to catch the quinoa.

                              1. re: toodie jane

                                A while back I bought a fine strainer at S&F after reading this. I think I tried it once when the grain was wet, I'm not sure. Right now I just poured the dry grain into it and it fell right through. I'm going to try it with wet grain and if that doesn't work, I'll try a coffee filter, which I'd have to buy.