Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This breakfast quinoa is just as creamy and customizable as oatmeal but it’s also packed with protein. Add your favorite toppings and grab a spoon!

How long it takes: 24 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan
Servings: 1 (but easy to scale)

Breakfast quinoa topped with berries and coconut flakes.
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This breakfast quinoa is the perfect way to start the day. While I know quinoa makes us think of recipes like quinoa chili and savory southwestern quinoa bowls, it has a neutral flavor that means it can also go sweet. These quinoa pancakes are a good example!)

Quinoa is a great source of protein, so this is a breakfast that’s hearty and filling. If you’re an oatmeal eater, you really need to try switching up your routine with breakfast quinoa. And if you’re not an oatmeal eater, you might find that you like quinoa better!

Top your breakfast quinoa with fruit, nuts, coconut, or whatever you want for the perfect, satisfying breakfast.

Honey being drizzled on breakfast quinoa.

Reasons To Love Breakfast Quinoa

  • Like oatmeal, but better. Yeah, I said it! Breakfast quinoa has that creamy, cozy, stick-to-your-ribs quality of Instant Pot steel cut oats but it’s a better source of protein to power you through your morning.
  • Make it your own. There are endless mix-in and topping options for this breakfast quinoa recipe, both sweet and savory. You’ll never get bored with it.
  • Easy to make. No one wants to spend an hour on a weekday breakfast—not even food bloggers! This breakfast quinoa comes together in under 30 minutes and most of the time is hands-off. You can easily make it ahead if you prefer.

Should You Rinse Quinoa?

Back in the day, you always had to rinse quinoa to remove the bitter coating on the outside. Nowadays, most quinoa is pre-rinsed. However, if you buy it in bulk or the package doesn’t say it’s pre-rinsed, it’s a good idea to rinse it with cool water in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. I usually rinse all my grains, rice, and legumes before cooking them to remove any debris or dust.
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe, including toppings.

Ingredient Notes

Be sure to refer to the recipe card below for the full recipe, including measurements.

  • Whole Milk: Whole milk gives the quinoa a nice creamy texture but if you have 2%, that can work too. Use nondairy milk to make vegan breakfast quinoa. If you prefer, cook the quinoa with water and skip the milk.
  • Water: Since quinoa absorbs a lot of liquid, I also add a bit of water to the cooking liquid. This also helps cut down on burning and boiling over.
  • Salt: Just a pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor of any cooked grain.
  • Uncooked Quinoa: Any color will work in this recipe although white quinoa will give you more of a traditional oatmeal aesthetic. If you’re a little more adventurous, try red or black quinoa, or a mix of all three colors. All three types have the same health benefits but you may notice a slight difference in taste and texture.
  • Ground Cinnamon: If you’re planning on toppings that lean toward the sweet side, cinnamon adds a cozy, warm flavor.
  • Toppings: Your choice: extra milk, fruit, sweetener, nuts, seeds, coconut—whatever you like or have on hand! A fried egg and handful of chopped bacon is a great topper, too.

How To Make Breakfast Quinoa

Heat liquids. Bring the milk, water, and salt to a simmer in a saucepan (that has a cover) over medium high heat.

Add quinoa. Stir in the quinoa and cinnamon, if desired.

Simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa tails start to appear.

Let stand. Remove from heat, cover the pan, and let the quinoa set for 5 to 10 minutes. More of the liquid will be absorbed during this time.

Serve. Sweeten to taste, stir in more milk if desired, and add your favorite toppings.

Breakfast quinoa on spoon, after some milk has been added.

Flavor Ideas for Breakfast Quinoa

Although the possibilities are endless, here are a few flavor combinations you may want to try:

  • Apple cinnamon: Add diced apples and toasted walnuts or pecans for a little crunch. Sweeten with maple syrup or brown sugar. Apple compote with cooked apples is a great choice, too.
  • Peaches and cream: Stir in diced ripe peaches (or thawed frozen peaches). Sweeten with honey and add a splash of vanilla extract. A spoonful of vanilla yogurt will up the creaminess factor.
  • Pumpkin spice: Add a few spoonfuls of canned pumpkin puree and a generous pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Sweeten with maple syrup or brown sugar.
  • Tropical: Fold diced mango and coconut flakes into your breakfast quinoa. Sweeten with coconut sugar, honey, or agave nectar. I like it with sliced bananas added, too.
  • Savory: For a protein-packed breakfast, top your bowl of quinoa (omit cinnamon) with a fried egg, crumbled bacon or diced ham, and a sprinkle of chopped chives or green onions.

Make Ahead Ideas

Breakfast quinoa makes a great meal prep breakfast! Multiply the recipe as needed, then divide it into jars or airtight containers. Reheat in the microwave and add a splash of milk, if needed.

If you prefer, cook the quinoa with water instead of milk. I often cook a whole box or bag of quinoa and freeze it for use in salads and meal bowls (learn how to freeze quinoa). Milk can be added to the quinoa when you warm it up for breakfast quinoa.

Milk being added to cooked quinoa in a bowl.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Store breakfast quinoa in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with milk.

Leftover Love

Blend leftover breakfast quinoa into a smoothie to add extra protein and creaminess.

More Quinoa Recipes


Breakfast Quinoa

4.37 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes
Total: 24 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Breakfast quinoa is just as creamy and customizable as oatmeal and it's packed with protein. Add your favorite toppings and grab a spoon.
Save this recipe!
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  • ½ cup whole milk (other types of milk work, too)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Toppings: milk, fruit, sweetener, nuts, seeds, coconut, etc.


  • In a small saucepan, bring milk, water, and salt to a rapid simmer over medium high heat.
    ½ cup whole milk, ¼ cup water, Pinch of salt
  • Add quinoa, and cinnamon, stirring to combine.
    ¼ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer with cover on for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa tails start to appear (more liquid will absorb when it’s removed from the heat).
  • Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Top with desired sweetener, fruit, and milk and enjoy immediately.
    Toppings: milk, fruit, sweetener, nuts, seeds, coconut, etc.


  • Adjust number of servings. Feel free to multiply this recipe to make as many servings you like. For example, to make 4 servings, use 2 cups milk, 1 cup water, salt to taste, 1 cup quinoa, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 
  • Make ahead: Breakfast quinoa can be made ahead. Refrigerate and reheat in the microwave with additional milk as needed to thin.
  • Non-dairy: If you would like to make this recipe vegan or lactose-free, use a nondairy milk instead of whole milk. Water can be substituted for the milk, too.
  • Nutrition information does not include toppings.


Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 130kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 53mg, Potassium: 265mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 201IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 165mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.37 from 11 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. Shabin says:

    Can we use this recipe for all age

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      If you’re introducing new foods to a baby or toddler, you should consult your pediatrician. Aside from that, yes, any age individual can eat this quinoa (again, if you have any special dietary needs, you’ll want to talk to your physician).

  2. Spencer says:

    4 stars
    I tried this recipe and absolutely loved it. I didn’t have whole milk so I used 2% but it was still delicious. I rinsed the quinoa incredibly well but there was still a bit of a bitter taste once the dish was finished. Do you have any advice on how to get rid of the bitter? Does the bitter taste sort of depend on brand? TIA

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! I think the bitterness will probably depend slightly on the brand but possible on freshness? I keep my quinoa in the fridge because I don’t go through it super quickly. Storing it in the fridge prevents it from getting rancid, which could translate to a slightly bitter flavor? Otherwise, you could counter the bitterness with a little extra sugar/maple syrup/honey/sweetener of your choice.

    2. Fleur says:

      You’re supposed to rinse quinoa before hand that takesaway the bitterness

  3. Renee says:

    New vegan here. Figured out after a couple days I wasn’t getting enough protein, so for breakfast this morning, I tried a variant on Kheer, which is Indian rice pudding. So, it had brown rice, amaranth, flax seed, pumpkin seed, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, chia seeds, and hazelnuts. cooked it all in soy milk with cardamon, cinnamon, vanilla, clove, and allspice. Threw in a handful of raisins, currants, and cranberries.

    I started wandering on blogs this morning, looking for high protein, gluten-free breakfast foods
    , and found people using quinoa for breakfast cereal, which I never would have thought of. So when this pot of stuff is gone, I’ll try amaranth and quinoa. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you love this! Kheer sounds amazing too!

  4. Megan @ MegUnprocessed says:

    Love the combination of berries, quinoa, chia and cinnamon!

  5. Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons says:

    Yum!  This looks healthy AND delicious! 

  6. fabiola@notjustbaked says:

    Love this combo, love this for breakfast!

  7. DessertForTwo says:

    I need to make this for me and Camille! I just started getting her to eat oatmeal again…I over-did it when she was a baby. But now she’s back into it! I’d love to sneak a little quinoa in there next time…we always share the bowl <3

  8. Michelle | A Latte Food says:

    I am loving this breakfast idea! I’ve never thought about using quinoa for breakfast, but I love it! I can’t wait to give it a try :-)

  9. HEATHER says:

    I’m lactose intolerant. Do you think I could swap almond milk for the whole milk? Thanks!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:


  10. Susie Anderson says:

    I love breakfast quinoa and the more cinnamon, the better!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I SO agree!