How to Rinse Quinoa

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If you’ve ever wondered how to rinse quinoa, you’ll love our Easy Rinse Method for Quinoa! Along with showing you how to make apples last longer, this is one of our most popular kitchen hacks and tips.

rinsing quinoa in a coffee filter.
Wondering how to rinse quinoa? This is my favorite way to do it!

Is it Necessary to Rinse Quinoa?

We have readers ask lots of questions about quinoa. Is it necessary to rinse quinoa? How do you rinse quinoa without a fine-mesh strainer? How do you rinse quinoa hack? And, we get this one all the time: Can you rinse quinoa in a paper towel?

Let’s start with the first question, do you need to rinse quinoa? Whether or not you need to rinse quinoa depends on a couple of factors:

1. Pre-rinsed or not:

  • Most commercially sold packaged quinoa is pre-rinsed, meaning the bitter-tasting coating called saponin has already been removed. In this case, rinsing isn’t necessary. Check the package for information about pre-rinsing.
  • Bulk quinoa or unlabeled packages: If you’re unsure, or if you bought quinoa from the bulk bin, it’s safer to rinse it to be on the safe side.

2. Personal preference:

  • Even pre-rinsed quinoa might have some residual saponin, which some people find bitter or soapy. If you’re sensitive to this taste, rinsing will improve the flavor.
  • Some people actually prefer the earthier, nuttier flavor of unrinsed quinoa and find the texture slightly firmer.

In summary:

  • Rinsing is optional for most pre-rinsed, packaged quinoa.
  • Rinsing is recommended for bulk or unlabeled quinoa, or if you’re sensitive to the saponin taste.
  • Ultimately, it’s a personal choice based on your preference.

I can answer all those earlier questions about how to rinse quinoa for you, but first, let’s answer the number one question we get about this topic: What is quinoa?

Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cream cheese and quinoa is a delicious appetizer.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is like a super cool grain, but it’s actually not a grain at all—it’s a seed! This tiny powerhouse comes from a plant that’s related to spinach and beets. People have been growing it in South America for thousands of years, and now it’s popular all over the world because it’s super good for you.

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Here’s the deal with quinoa: it’s packed with protein, which is what your body needs to build muscles and stay strong. Plus, it’s got all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, which is pretty rare for plant foods. It’s also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like iron and magnesium.

Another cool thing about quinoa is that it’s gluten-free. So, if someone can’t eat gluten because it makes them feel sick, quinoa is a great choice for them. And it’s really easy to cook. You just boil it in water, and it’s ready in about 15 minutes. You can use it like rice, toss it in salads, or even make breakfast porridge out of it.

We have a few quinoa recipes here on Platter Talk. Quniona is the ancient power food that is making a resurgence in the 21 century.

I try to use more of it in our menu planning, and one of my favorite quinoa recipes is Costco’s Quinoa Salad. (That’s on my list of must-make copycat recipes!)

How to Rinse Quinoa

If you want to rinse it, here are a few kitchen hacks for rinsing quinoa.

Because the quinoa seeds are so tiny, you don’t want them to disappear down your kitchen sink drain when you rinse them. Here’s where things get fun.

Can you rinse quinoa in a paper towel?

While technically possible, rinsing quinoa with a paper towel isn’t the best option for a few reasons:

1. Inefficient: Paper towels don’t have fine enough mesh to capture the quinoa grains effectively while allowing water to flow through. You’ll likely lose some quinoa in the process.

2. Wasteful: Using paper towels just for this purpose contributes to waste.

3. Impure: The paper fibers could potentially tear off and contaminate your quinoa.

4. Not thorough: Rinsing with a paper towel won’t remove the saponin as effectively as using a strainer or other method that allows water to circulate freely.

Instead of paper towels, here are some better options for learning how to rinse quinoa:

  • Fine-mesh strainer: This is the most common and effective method. Simply place the quinoa in the strainer and rinse under cold running water, swishing it gently until the water runs clear.

These methods for knowing how to rinse quinoa are more efficient, less wasteful, and allow for a more thorough rinse, ensuring your quinoa is clean and delicious.

Quinoa isn’t just for salads. It can be part of a healthy breakfast or brunch recipe, too!

How do you rinse quinoa without a fine-mesh strainer?

There a many hacks for knowing how to rinse quinoa, and you don’t have to use a fine-mesh strainer to do it.

  • Coffee filter: Place a clean coffee filter in a strainer or mug and pour the quinoa in. Rinse under running water as with the strainer method.

Using a coffee filter is a super easy way if you’re wondering how to rinse quinoa, and it makes good use of coffee filters!

  • Cheesecloth: Fold cheesecloth over a bowl and pour the quinoa in. Gather the edges and rinse under running water, squeezing gently to remove excess water.

What Happens if You Don’t Rinse Quinoa?

Quinoa rinsing? It’s the age-old debate, like socks with sandals! Most packaged quinoa comes pre-rinsed, so you’re good to go.

But if you buy from the bulk bin or find the taste a bit bitter, a quick cold water rinse under a strainer works wonders. I

t’s all about personal preference! Sensitive taste buds? Rinse away. Time crunch? Skip it, your quinoa will still be delicious. So, should you rinse or not?

You call the shots! Just remember, a happy belly is a happy you. ✌️

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Updated from the original publication date of November 8, 2013

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. I didn’t realize it was so important to give quinoa a good rise and what a genius way to do it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I eat a ton of quinoa and I always rinse it before I use it. I never thought of using a coffee filter. That’s a great hack if you don’t have a strainer. Thanks for the awesome tips!

  3. I love quinoa and this is always a problem for me! Thanks for the clever solution. Thanks for linking up at #SaucySaturdays.

    1. Thanks for the nice comments, Christine. I hope you enjoy this food flash for rinsing quinoa!

  4. Excellent tip Dan, and yes you really have to rinse that quinoa. Some times I get the already rinsed quinoa to save some time. 🙂

  5. Excellent tip, Dan! This is great for all those cooks without fine mesh strainers. I think I have at least 5 fine mesh stainers varying in size. LOVE this easy method! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stacy,
      I can’t even begin to imagine how many strainers, of all sizes, that you must have in your kitchen! (Just realized that I would like to have a look in THOSE cupboards!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I love to hear from you. 🙂

    1. It’s great to here from you and I’m happy that you can benefit from this idea! Thanks for the comments!!

    1. Joanne,
      Sounds like a bitter experiment…. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and wish you a great weekend