The Biggest Mistake You're Making When Cooking Quinoa

Like rice or barley, quinoa is a popular grain to serve as a side dish to your main course. The trendy superfood (which has been called "the mother grain") is chewy, fluffy, hearty, and has a slightly nutty flavor. According to Healthline, it's also full of good-for-you minerals and nutrients, like magnesium, iron, and protein, and has a significantly higher amount of fiber than most other grains. While quinoa isn't particularly difficult to make at home, there are a few tricks to ensuring you get the fluffiest, tastiest result.

If you've cooked quinoa before, you likely know some of the basics, like rinsing the quinoa first to remove any bitterness and using the proper water-to-grain ratio (which, Eating Well says is two cups of liquid to one cup of quinoa, FYI). However, there's one key step that many people overlook at the end of the process that could be ruining their quinoa, or at least making it less than optimal. Here's what you need to know.

A big mistake people make with quinoa is not allowing it to rest

You followed all of the recipe instructions and now your quinoa is finally finished cooking. So it's immediately ready to eat, right? Wrong. One of the most important steps of making quinoa — and one that many people miss or skip — is the resting and fluffing step. First things first: Bon Appetit recommends letting it sit covered for about 15 to 20 minutes after cooking. Skinny Ms. explains that this allows the quinoa to steam for a few extra minutes, absorbing any extra liquid and preventing it from getting hard or crunchy.

Letting it rest isn't the final step, either. You then need to fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving it. This may seem minor but it can make a big difference in the texture of your quinoa. Not only does it separate the grains and literally "fluff" them up, but it also helps any remaining liquid absorb into the grains. Another must-do tip? Bon Appetit says you should definitely use a fork to fluff, as a spoon or spatula will simply mush the grains together.