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




96 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this morning before a hike. I've done this crockpot style but it always makes way too much and isn't as creamy. This was great. Thanks so much!

  2. I am VERY interested in making this recipe. Can you please clarify the vegan milk you used? Is this the canned coconut milk or the thinner milk replacement.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi René! This recipe uses the kind of coconut milk that's sold in a carton in the refrigerated section with all of the other varieties of milk, not canned coconut milk. I tried to describe it in the Notes section but I apologize if it wasn't clear. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

      1. 5 stars
        I frequently vary milks in 'grain' puddings...recently and over the last several months I have found some high protein ones...by 'silk.' My husband has some health issues, so I try to pack in calories and protein, and quinoa pudding fits the bill. I even throw in a little extra fat, and blueberries or pumpkin just to mix things up a bit, but it's not necessary. It makes a delicious desert that packs a nutritious punch.

  3. 5 stars
    This is so good! I picked up a big bag of Canadian Qunioa at Grocery Outlet and googled things to make with it. So glad I found that recipe. I soaked my quinoa overnight then rinsed really well. I used whole milk and regular sugar along with a whole cinnamon stick while it cooked. Stay close cause it can boil over quick but it’s so good. I reheat it in the morning with some milk or half n half and chopped macadamia nuts. Thanks!

  4. I'm making this as I'm writing this... I can't wait!
    A few years back I became ovo-lacto vegetarian but I'm currently going through a detox phase so I'm not allowed to eat pretty much anything including dairy products so I was looking for new and interesting ways of surviving this phase and I found this. I used almond and coconut milk to give it an extra puch of flavor and since I'm not allowed to eat syrup or sugar of any kind (except stevia) i let it like that just add some raisins for extra sweetness and try it if needed i will add some stevia -blah- but i think it will be just fine. Thanks for sharing the recipe of all of those i saw this was my favorite.

    1. 5 stars
      This was so delicious and creamy! I did a modified pumpkin pie-ish version too. 3 cups skim milk, 1/2 can pureed pumpkin, regular pumpkin pie spices, and 2 tbsp of light brown sugar. I was out of maple syrup which I would have used instead. Simmer time was just a little over 20 min and I added just a bit more milk in the last few minutes. Thank you so much for this!

  5. 5 stars
    Im 36 weeks pregnant and have been looking for creative ways to eat quinoa (it's supposed to be a super food for pregnancy and breastfeeding)...this recipe is delicious. Also ive been making it without sugar and it tastes great...doesn't really need it with all the flavor from the vanilla and cinnamon. I use coconut milk to cook and usually add a little extra cinnamon before serving. It makes a healthy breakfast and is good hot or cold. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. So happy you've been enjoying this recipe, Rachel, and thanks for sharing your modifications. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe. I made a different one, wasn't so hot!
    Mashed a banana, and added blueberries because I LOVE Blueberry Banana Bread...so I figured...why not!
    I am sharing this page... Just a really good alternative breakfast!

  7. 5 stars
    Hello Samantha!
    I just tried it (with milk) and it turned out great, thank you so much!
    Also, as a bit of advice to other people like me who are using 2% milk for this recipe - because that's just what I happened to have on hand at the moment - there is a way to avoid a thinner/runnier texture : just add a couple beat eggs to the mixture! 🙂

    1. Great tip, Stephanie...thanks so much for sharing! And I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this. 🙂 Hope you're having a wonderful week!

  8. 5 stars
    Hi, browsing through Pinterest looking for something new and came accross your Quinoa pudding. Being new to Quinoa ( tried it for the first time at Christmas time) I have since only been putting it into salads. This is delicious!! Very different. I put chopped banana in mine as it was thickening and used canned coconut cream. Yummo. Thanks for making me look at Quinoa for something other than salads fillers.

    1. Mmmmm...adding a banana and coconut cream sounds like a great variation of this recipe, Julie! So glad you enjoyed it and that you can enjoy quinoa in a non-savory way now. 😉

  9. You're definitely not the only one. I have to remind myself how to pronounce it after years of getting it wrong.

    1. Ha ha, Erin...I'll never get it straight in my head! Even if it happens to come out of my mouth correctly, a little voice in my brain is in the background whispering, "Qui-no-uh." 😉

  10. This looks delicious! Any idea how well it would freeze? I don't think my husband would eat it since he doesn't like the texture of rice or tapioca puddings, and it would be a bit much for me to eat all of it before it goes bad. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren! I'm sorry, but I've never tried freezing this and I just don't know what the texture would be like after thawing. It might be worth testing it out using a small portion? You could also try just cooking a half recipe in a smaller pot. I apologize that I don't have a better answer for you...I do hope you enjoy this recipe if you have a chance to try it! 🙂

  11. I have a similar recipe for breakfast. I'm gluten free. Just cook as the package directs using the milk of your choice, raisins and cinnamon. NO sweetener needed at all. Add the vanilla at the end for more flavor. It is my substitute for oatmeal. You can add a little more milk as you go, depending on how soupy you like it. The key to quinoa is to have a very fine strainer and "rub" the quinoa over it while rinsing. This wears off the bitter coating, so it's always delicious!

    Debbie

  12. Just finished making this and while it was tasty it did have a breakfast porridge-y taste to it. I wonder how it was cold if anyone had better will power than I did to put it in the fridge after cooking. Would make it again.

    1. We enjoy it both warm and cold, Ellen! I'm glad that you liked it, too. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. Happy Friday!

  13. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Wow. I am licking my bowl.

    My experience:
    I didn't have coconut milk, only an almond-coconut milk mixture, but it was still great (though it did boil over once.... or twice). I also didn't have vanilla, but it wasn't missed. And because I'm not vegan and didn't want the pudding to remind me too much of breakfast, I used half maple syrup and half raw honey.
    Finally, because my quinoa package suggests a rice cooker as a cooking option, I decided to make the pudding in my rice cooker for easier cleanup. I would recommend this cooking method to anyone who wants to make sure their mixture doesn't burn, but not to anyone who would leave the cooker unattended, as mine did boil over. Additionally, it did take a little bit longer to cook.

    Again, wow.

    1. Yay, Alyssa...I'm glad this recipe was such a hit! Thanks for taking the time to comment with your tips and tricks...I'm sure those will come in helpful for other readers. Hope you enjoy this quinoa for many years to come...have a great weekend! 🙂

  14. 5 stars
    I'm eating a 'lil bowl of this delicious quinoa pudding right now! Delish! Hubby likes it too! Looking forward to having it again tomorrow morn for breakfast with blueberries and sliced banana. Thanks for sharing Samantha! PS You're not the only one who reads quinoa as 'kwinoa' 😉 Gets me every time, even though I know it's meant to be 'keenwa' haha!

    1. I'm glad y'all are enjoying this quinoa recipe, Stella! And I'm even more glad that I'm not the only one who (still) sounds out that dang word phonetically every time I read it! 😉 Thanks so much for the comment...hope you're having a great week! 🙂

  15. I love rice pudding - I make it with soy milk, cinnamon and raisins. I haven't been able to get my kids to eat quinoa so maybe this is the ticket! Although my daughter doesn't care for rice pudding anyway 🙁

    1. I don't think it tastes very quinoa-y when prepared this way, Avra, so maybe your kids will like it! I hope so. And it reminds me more of tapioca than rice pudding, so hopefully your daughter will at least give it a try. 😉 Good luck!