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This breakfast quinoa bowl is a hearty and healthy way to start the day! Load up this whole grain with tasty toppings.

Breakfast Quinoa
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Want to liven up your breakfast game? Try Breakfast Quinoa! This alternative to oatmeal is just as satisfying. Critics of quinoa find it bitter or bland, but this way to prepare it is anything but! Cook it with milk, maple syrup and cinnamon, then load it up with toppings like fresh berries, coconut and nut butter. It’s a healthy breakfast idea that’s a fun way to start the day. In fact, we were surprised at how much we enjoyed quinoa for breakfast: especially since we are die-hard oatmeal fans!

Ingredients in breakfast quinoa

There are two main methods for making breakfast quinoa: starting with cooked quinoa or starting with dry quinoa. Cooking dry quinoa in milk can come out soupy and gloppy, so this method starts with cooked quinoa. That’s the main thing to note here! You can cook the quinoa in advance, or make it right before cooking the breakfast quinoa. Here’s what you’ll need for the base recipe:

  • Cooked quinoa (not dry!) 
  • Milk of choice: we like oat milk for a vegan breakfast
  • Cinnamon
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt
Breakfast Quinoa

Tips for cooking quinoa

Cooking quinoa is notoriously tricky: it can be difficult for it to come out perfectly fluffy. It’s easy to undercook or overcook, resulting in crunchy or soggy quinoa. Remember, you’ll do this first, then simmer the cooked quinoa with milk and maple syrup per the recipe below. Here are our tips for no-fail cooked quinoa:

  • Use the ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1 ¾ cups water. This makes for grains that aren’t waterlogged.
  • Rinse the quinoa. Rinse the grains in cold water using a fine mesh strainer, then shake off the water. This reduces bitterness: it helps to remove the natural coating called saponin.
  • Simmer covered for 15 to 18 minutes. Place in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 18 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. Check by pulling back the grains with a fork to see if water remains.
  • Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit with the lid on to steam for 5 minutes, then fluff the grains with a fork. Then head to the recipe below!
Quinoa recipe
Start with cooked quinoa for this recipe!

Make a big batch in advance!

The easiest way to prepare the quinoa for this recipe is to make a big batch in advance. Here are a few things to note:

  • Keep in mind 1 cup dry quinoa = 3 cups cooked.
  • Cooked quinoa lasts 4 to 5 days refrigerated, so you can easily double the recipe and have more for simmering with milk and maple syrup on demand.
  • Or, make the entire recipe and store the batch. Cook a big batch of quinoa with milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup, then store 4 to 5 days refrigerated. Warm gently before serving.

Toppings for a quinoa breakfast bowl

Once the quinoa is simmered and ready to go, it’s the fun part: the toppings! Make it into a quinoa breakfast bowl by adding fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and more. It’s a great vegan breakfast idea that also works as a tasty healthy snack. Topping ideas for breakfast quinoa include:

  • Fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries
  • Sliced bananas, pears or apples
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios
  • Seeds like pepitas, sesame seeds, or chia seeds
  • Nut butter like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter, pistachio butter, or mixed nut butter
  • Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup
  • Milk like oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk or dairy milk

And that’s it! Let us know in the comments below if you try this recipe idea and what you think.

Quinoa breakfast bowl

More breakfast ideas

Want more ideas on how to start the day? Here are a few of our favorite healthy breakfast ideas:

This breakfast quinoa recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Breakfast Quinoa

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


This breakfast quinoa bowl is a hearty and healthy way to start the day! Load up this whole grain with tasty toppings.



For the quinoa

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (not dry!) 
  • ½ cup milk of choice (dairy or oat milk for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

For the toppings

  • Fresh berries (we used blueberries and raspberries)
  • Sliced almonds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut butter


  1. Cook the quinoa in advance: go to How to Cook Quinoa. Refrigerate until serving or proceed to Step 2.
  2. Place the quinoa, milk, cinnamon, maple syrup and kosher salt in a saucepan. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat until warmed though, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer to 2 bowls. Top each serving with berries, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, pepitas, and a drizzle of nut butter. Serve immediately. Leftover breakfast quinoa stores for 4 to 5 days refrigerated; warm gently before serving.
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Breakfast
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Rita Peterson says:

    Love it. I’m not an egg person, so made quinoa with coconut milk. No sweetener, just cinnamon. ate with chopped banana and 2nd day with chopped apple. Will definitely make again. My new breakfast go to.

  2. Tina says:

    This is so delicious I had to share it with others!

  3. Andee Silverman says:

    This sounds really good and a great change from my overnight oats..can you simply make the quinoa in advance and reheat it with the milk in the microwave rather than simmering it in a saucepan? Also can you skip the maple syrup?

    Thank you!

  4. Jess says:

    Easy and delicious!