Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding is a creamy, decadent, healthy breakfast or dessert that tastes like a cross between rice pudding and tapioca but stars nutritious superfood quinoa!

Quinoa Pudding with text overlay.


 

I'm quickly discovering that January is a month of multiple personalities when it comes to food blogging. First of all, after a holiday season filled with rich, indulgent foods, everyone is resolute to start off the year on a healthy foot. Thus, enter the lightened up, nutritious recipes. Then there's the fact that January is one of the coldest months, so everyone is craving cozy soups and comfort food via their effortless crock pots. With Super Bowl right around the corner, some folks are trying to plan out their game-watching (or at least their commercial-watching) appetizers and snacks. And finally, Valentine's Day is on the horizon, so that means decadent desserts and lots and lots of chocolate!

But today we're not delving into football-friendly fare or recipes incorporating hearts and copious amounts of butter. Rather, Quinoa Pudding is a sweet treat that's actually wholesome and comforting at the same time. And since that covers most, but not quite all, of the January food blogging bases, I suppose you could also eat this dish while watching a football game. 😉

Quinao Pudding garnished with cinnamon.

The Inspiration

So did you ever jump on the quinoa bandwagon? This gluten-free, high fiber, complete protein of a grain has become mainstream and quite popular over the last number of years, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, it was a later addition to my family's menu plan, and initially, I primarily relegated it to the savory side dish category as a replacement for rice or pasta.

Well, all of that changed in 2014 when I first came up with this Quinoa Pudding. I was determined to incorporate quinoa into our diet, both more regularly and in unique ways. So when it struck me that it just might make a tasty and healthy pseudo-rice pudding, I got to experimenting.

Pot of Quinoa Pudding recipe with spoon.

Ingredients

I ended up making this recipe multiple times in different variations to determine my favorite combination of ingredients. After trying several versions, I think I came up with a perfect formula for Quinoa Pudding. My family goes crazy over this and I think yours will, too!

Aerial view of labeled ingredients.
  • Quinoa. I always start with organic white quinoa. And it must be well-rinsed! More info on that under the next heading...
  • Milk. This recipe is pretty forgiving when it comes to using your preferred type of milk. I have made it with unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in a ½-gallon carton in the refrigerated section), unsweetened almond milk, and regular whole milk. All of these options result in creamy, luxurious pudding. That being said, Quinoa Pudding could be made with just about any variety of milk you like as long as you keep in mind that the ultimate flavor and texture of the pudding could be slightly affected by your milk choice (for example, using skim milk could result in a less decadent flavor and a thinner final texture).
  • Maple syrup. My preferred all-natural sweetener, but scroll down for additional options!
  • Pure vanilla extract.
  • Cinnamon. I love cinnamon in my rice pudding but I didn't know if it would overpower the rest of the flavors, so I experimented with making this pudding with and without. I have to say, I really enjoyed the version in which cinnamon was added to the pudding while cooking. I was afraid it might overwhelm the vanilla, but instead, I found the non-cinnamon version to be a little bland. But certainly feel free to leave it out -- or simply sprinkle it on the top -- if you're more of a no-cinnamon-in-your-pudding purist.
  • Salt.

How to Make It

The first step in making any quinoa recipe is to very thoroughly rinse and drain your quinoa. Quinoa grains are naturally coated with a compound called saponin, and if it's not washed off, your cooked quinoa will come out tasting bitter and unappetizing. So...

  1. Place your quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water draining from it runs clear.
  2. Drain the quinoa well and dump it into a pot that has a capacity of at least 3 quarts. The Quinoa Pudding will bubble and splatter and rise while it cooks, so you want to be sure your pot is large enough.
  3. Measure milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into the pot and stir to combine.
Washed and drained quinoa in bottom of pot.
All other ingredients added to pot, including milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
  1. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  2. Cover the pot, leaving the lid cracked so that some steam may escape. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring about every five minutes.
Bringing mixture to a boil.
Lid on pot allowing steam to escape.
  1. Remove the lid and continue simmering for five more minutes or until the Quinoa Pudding has thickened and the quinoa has absorbed most (but not all) of the milk.
Quinoa Pudding in pot on stove.
  1. Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the pudding into bowls and allow to cool for a few minutes...it will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon if you like. Regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, or fresh berries also make a yummy garnish!
Quinoa Pudding recipe scooped with wooden spoon.

Amount of Milk + Cooking Time

The first time I made this recipe, I started with 3 cups of milk. After about 20 minutes of cooking time, the quinoa had absorbed all of it. The final dish had the texture of a thick oatmeal and the quinoa still had an al dente bite. It was delicious, but a tad thicker than I had hoped it would be.

So the next time, I started with 4 cups of milk. As a result, the cooking time naturally increased, but I actually preferred the resulting quinoa, which was more tender and milder in flavor. Plus I loved that the pudding was creamy and almost tapioca-like in texture, with quinoa grains floating in a pool of thick vanilla cream.

To sum it up? More milk and longer cooking time is definitely my preference here.

Overhead view of Quinoa Pudding with side of fresh strawberries.

Options for Sweetening Quinoa Pudding

I've made this Quinoa Pudding recipe with either maple syrup or granulated sugar. Both work and I don't really notice a difference in the resulting flavor or sweetness level.

Since this quinoa recipe originated in the name of health, however, I lean towards sweetening it with pure maple syrup, which is at least a natural, unrefined sweetener. Just know that plain ol' white sugar will work just fine as well if that's your preference or what you have on hand.

Some commenters over the years have reported success with substituting honey for the maple syrup or even leaving out any the sweetener altogether! They've said that the vanilla and cinnamon lend enough flavor that a sweetener is unnecessary. I'll leave that up to you! 😉

Close-up of Quinoa Pudding recipe in glass bowl.

So there you have it! Warm, dreamy Quinoa Pudding is a healthy version of comfort food! It tastes like a decadent treat but it's brimming with nutrition. And it's equally delicious and nourishing as either breakfast, a snack, or dessert!

Whether you've been wanting to try quinoa or you're already a quinoa veteran, this recipe is a winner. I can't wait for y'all to try it!

Aerial view of Quinoa Pudding in pot and serving bowl.

P.S. Call me a redneck, but while I logically know that quinoa is pronounced "KEEN-wah," every time I read it or write it, I can't help but sound it out in my head as "kwin-OH-uh." Please tell me I'm not the only one...ha.

More Wholesome Breakfast Ideas

Spoonful of Quinoa Pudding with cinnamon and strawberries.

Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding is a creamy, decadent, healthy breakfast or dessert that tastes like a cross between rice pudding and tapioca but stars nutritious superfood quinoa!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Calories: 254kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups milk, such as unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, or whole milk
  • cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Place quinoa in a mesh colander. Rinse thoroughly with cold water (until the water runs clear) and allow to drain.
  • In a medium (at least 3-quart) pot, combine the quinoa, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover, leaving the lid cracked so that some steam may escape. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and continue simmering for 5 more minutes or until the pudding has thickened and the quinoa has absorbed most (but not all) of the milk. Remove from heat.
  • Pour into bowls and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving (pudding will continue to thicken as it cools). Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired.

Video

Notes

  • This recipe may be enjoyed warm or chilled.
  • Thoroughly rinsing the quinoa is an important step in order to remove any potential bitter residue.
  • I used the kind of coconut milk beverage that is sold in a ½-gallon carton in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Canned coconut milk would probably work as well and result in even creamier/richer pudding with a stronger coconut flavor.
  • Watch carefully that your milk doesn't foam, rise, and overflow. Also, it is normal for dairy milk to form a skin on the surface as the pudding cooks. Simply stir it back into the pudding and it will dissolve.
  • You may use white sugar in lieu of the maple syrup.
  • You may stir regular or golden raisins into the pudding if you wish.
  • Estimated nutrition information has been calculated for one of six servings if recipe was made with whole milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally shared on January 11, 2014, and updated on February 23, 2020, and January 17, 2023.

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Recipe Rating




94 Comments

    1. I'm sorry I can't say, as I haven't tried that. But please let us know how it turns out if you decide to give it a go! 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    I am diabetic so I used sugar free maple syrup & a little stevia to make it a little sweeter. I used almond milk because that's what I had in the fridge. I think it's a yummy substitute for rice pudding &/or cereal. I will definitely make it again & maybe experiment with add ins.

  2. I haven’t made this yet but looks amazing! Is there a best way to store this and how long can it be stored in fridge before getting scary 😉 Thank you!

    1. Store this Quinoa Pudding tightly covered in the fridge, where it should be fine for 3-5 days. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    The recipe was easy, a bit time consuming but if you do other food prep in between the 5 min. stirs it's not a problem! I used stevia syrup in place of maple and added raisins. I ate it warm for breakfast with walnuts, hemp hearts and more milk. I really enjoyed it and will be making it again for sure! It's a nice change from oatmeal and it's nutrient dense,

    1. 5 stars
      Yes Kim! I had loads of cooked quinoa from a previous day's savory dish and needed to make a quick dessert. I put all the ingredients listed for the Quinoa Pudding above and cooked in microwave at 3 min intervals with a wee stir. Excellent weekday dessert.

    1. I have not tried that, Kim. I think the cooking process of the quinoa is necessary for the liquid to reduce and thicken.

      1. I have been making quinoa in instant pot for 3 minutes ratio 1cup quinoa and cup and a half of water.

        Can that be turned into pudding?

        1. I wish I could tell you, Jutta, but I haven't tested that myself to know whether it would work. Good luck if you decide to give it a try! 🙂

        2. I use my instant pot a lot and I haven't had good success when using most milks as a cooking liquid since it tends to get the dreaded burn notice. I have been successful using coconut milk im the instant pot

    1. Hi Sharon! I haven't tested that and I honestly don't even own a rice cooker, so I'm sorry to say that I can't advise. But good luck if you decide to give it a go!

  4. 5 stars
    I love sweet breakfasts and puddings so I knew I had to give this recipe a try immediately and I loved it a lot!!

    I used cow’s milk and added no salt because I was afraid it would turn out salty (has always happened with me #trauma) and it was still soooo good. I’m gonna try meal-prepping this 😋 thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Samantha!