Easy Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa with Milk, Apples, Nuts, and Seeds

Break out of your oatmeal rut and consider something new in that hot cereal bowl: healthy breakfast quinoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge oatmeal fan. My people are from Ireland, for goodness sake. But finding easy ways to change things up is a smart idea, since every grain offers different nutrients.

Is Quinoa Good for You?

Yes! Quinoa has much to offer on the nutrition front. It has a well balanced amino acid profile (protein building blocks) and is especially rich in magnesium and iron. If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a particularly good option for upping your dietary protein. It’s also a fiber-rich, slow-release carbohydrate, which means it provides sustained energy.

Apples, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and quinoa: Ingredients for breakfast quinoa

Oatmeal Versus Quinoa

Both oatmeal and quinoa are gluten-free and nourishing. Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, which may explain why it is higher in protein than oatmeal. And unlike oats, which seem to pair just right with fruits, both cooked and dried, quinoa lends itself to crisp and crunchy toppings. Diced raw apples and toasted  nuts are our standard fixings around here, or we’ll sometimes go tropical with mango and crispy coconut chips. Each bowl is finished with a drizzle of maple syrup and cold milk.

How to Make Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast is actually my favorite meal for this teensy, protein-packed grain. Sometimes I’ll make a fresh pot in the morning; more often, I’ll warm up leftovers from dinner the night before. Here’s how:

  1. Put the quinoa into a medium saucepan and fill with water until it covers the quinoa by a good inch or so.
  2. Bring it to a boil, cook until tender, then drain well.
  3. Spoon it into serving bowls and enjoy warm or stash it in the fridge for next time. Chilled quinoa can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave.

A Few Tips for Breakfast Quinoa

  • If your quinoa isn’t labeled “pre-rinsed” get it into a fine mesh colander and give it a good rinse before cooking.
  • Be sure to use a fine mesh strainer. It’s a tiny grain, so will slip through the holes of a standard colander
  • Drain it well after cooking. My preferred method for cooking quinoa is to boil it, much like you do pasta. This means you need to leave it to drain for a minute or two before eating.
  • Store leftover quinoa in the fridge in a container with a tight seal so it doesn’t dry out.

What ideas do you have for quinoa at breakfast (or other grains for that matter)? I’d love to hear.

If you like Easy Breakfast Quinoa, check out:

Skillet Egg and Veggie Bowl

Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie

Oat and Millet Breakfast Bars

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Egg Wraps

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Skillet with Eggs by Joyful Healthy Eats

Breakfast Quinoa

Servings 3 to 4 servings
Author Katie Morford


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup diced apples/pears, berries, banana, or mango
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts or whole seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Milk
  • Maple syrup or honey for sweetness, if desired
  • Cinnamon, if desired


  1. If the quinoa isn't labeled "pre-rinsed", pour it into a fine mesh sieve or colander and rinse thoroughly under warm water.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover the quinoa by at least 1 ½ inches. Set the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. When the water boils, drop the heat until it simmers vigorously. Simmer until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Pour into a colander and leave to drain in the sink for a few minutes.

  3. To serve, divide warm quinoa among 4 bowls. Top with fruit and nuts/seeds. Drizzle with milk and add maple syrup and cinnamon, if desired. 


10.06.2011 at8:56 AM #


I had never tried quinoa before my Mom served it to me for breakfast! (Yes, I still let me Mom make my breakfast when I go home!) But she uses half steel cut irish oatmeal and half quinoa, which I prefer because I think the oatmeal has a more familiar flavor and texture for me. But I have a big bag of quinoa here, and as Fall is upon us in Cambridge, I’ll try a nice hot bowl of quinoa with fresh apples and pecans tomorrow.

10.06.2011 at8:56 AM #

Katie Morford

A little pampering from mom is always nice, at every age!
The idea of mixing Irish oats and quinoa is really appealing. I will have to give it try.

10.06.2011 at9:53 AM #


Thanks Katie. This prompts me to get some quinoa, I never knew that rinsing was to remove bitterness!

10.06.2011 at9:53 AM #

Katie Morford

If buying quinoa in a box, it is likely pre-rinsed and a quick rinse will do. If buying in bulk, a soak or longer rinse is a good idea to remove bitterness!

10.10.2011 at8:00 AM #


Katie, I’ve recently just begun experimenting with quinoa after reading so much about this ancient grain. I have to say that my first two attempts at cooking quinoa were not that great. It may be that I didn’t rinse it like you’ve suggested here. We eat oatmeal (or Oa-meel as my two year-old calls it) every morning and I’ve been thinking that we need to switch it up a bit so I will try this recipe. I’m also trying my hand at more “clean” eating and am looking for different grains to incorporate into our diet so I appreciate all of your wonderful recipes on using a variety of different grains. I’ll have to report back on our quinoa breakfast.

10.10.2011 at8:00 AM #

Katie Morford

Good for you for branching out on the grains front. Rinsing the quinoa should make a real difference…..I’ll be curious to hear how you like it.

x, Katie

10.17.2011 at7:03 PM #

Tanya H.

My boys tend not to care for quinoa on its own (unless it’s curried quinoa!), but for breakfast, I have good luck feeding them an oatmeal/quinoa split. On days when they don’t want the quinoa, I beat an egg and add it to their oatmeal, just as it finishes cooking.

10.17.2011 at7:03 PM #

Katie Morford

Two great tips. You are the second person to mention quinoa oatmeal combo. I like it! Thanks for sharing.

01.22.2013 at3:01 PM #


Thanks for the tips about removing the bitterness. Do you have any other recipe suggestions for cooking with Quinoa? My son has a lot of allergy to food, so we depend on Quinoa quite a bit. Looking for food substitute or recipes that does not include wheat, oat, rice, eggs, soy, milk and nuts.

01.22.2013 at3:01 PM #

Katie Morford

That sounds really challenging. For wheat-free recipes, check out http://www.yummysupper.blogspot.com/
Here is a list of the top 25 food allergy blogs. Hope these help, and good luck! http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/top-food-allergy-blogs-2011

01.22.2013 at9:43 PM #


Katie, Thank You so much for the references. It is very helpful to know i’m not alone and to have the opportunities to learn from other families dealing with similar allergy problems. Greatly appreciate your help.

04.23.2014 at2:31 PM #


Thank you for sharing your Breakfast Quinoa recipe. We featured it on our blog this week!

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