quinoa upma

Quinoa Upma Recipe

By Swasthi on August 26, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Quinoa upma recipe – Healthy, delicious & quick to make one pot Indian quinoa recipe. Quinoa is a seed that is not only gluten-free but is also a high protein super food. Though a seed, quinoa can be very much cooked up to delicious & healthy Indian dishes like upma, pulao or kheer.

quinoa upma recipe

Quinoa has a high nutrition profile hence is consumed widely in the recent years. It is a good source of iron, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin B2 and many essential nutrients. Quinoa is higher in antioxidants than any other gluten free grain.

It is cooked like any other grain and served with side dishes or used in salads.

Quinoa does not take up much time to cook so making any dish with it is quick. Sometimes I make mix vegetable quinoa upma for a morning breakfast or dinner. We usually serve it with idli podi, a bowl of plain yogurt or curd & pickle.

More breakfast recipes,
Oats upma
Rava idli
Masala dosa


1. Rinse quinoa very well a few times in a pot. You can also add them to a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water.

I usually pour water to the pot. Rub them well with my hands and drain the water. I repeat this a few times. This gets rid of the saponins if any.

Drain the water completely.

rinsing quinoa for upma

How To Make Quinoa Upma

2. Add oil to a hot pan. Add mustard, chana dal, urad dal & cashews. We usually add cumin as well to make upma. You can skip it along with chana dal and urad dal as well.

Fry them until the cashews & dal turns golden.

tempering ingredients for quinoa upma

3. Add all the chopped veggies, curry leaves, ginger and chili. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions turn transparent.

You can also fry the curry leaves, onions and chilies first until the onions turn transparent. Then add the rest of the veggies.

4. Pour water and add salt. Check salt by tasting water.

5. Then add drained quinoa.

6. Cook on a medium flame till the quinoa is cooked completely. Keep stirring to a few times. They look transparent when cooked well. If there is extra water left in the pan, evaporate by cooking for a little longer.

Serve quinoa upma with plain yogurt or pickle. Squeeze in some lemon juice before serving.

Serve quinoa upma with podi, pickle or curd. It goes good even in lunch box or as a breakfast or quick dinner.

quinoa upma

Tips to make quinoa upma

  • Ratio: Quinoa to water ratio is the key for a fluffy quinoa upma. Most often I cook quinoa in an open pot with 1 part of quinoa and 2 parts of water. This gives me good results without making it mushy.
  • Rinsing: If using regular kind of quinoa rinse-rub-rinse very well to get rid of the saponins. If using pre-rinsed then you can skip the rinsing part and use them directly. Both need the same amount of water.


  • Most often I use carrots, peas & beans to make this. However you can skip the veggies and just make it plain with the tempering ingredients.
  • Feel free to spice up your quinoa upma with some spice powder. Sometimes I add ¾ teaspoon of vangi bath powder or sambar powder to this quinoa upma. It turns out very delicious with the flavors of Khara bath.
  • I have not used tomato in this. But sometimes I do use a tiny deseeded tomato. I saute it very well until the raw smell of the tomato goes away. Then add the veggies.

You can also make this quinoa upma in an instant pot. Check the recipe notes for details. You can also check this post on instant pot quinoa.

vegetable quinoa upma in insta pot
Quinoa upma recipe made in Indian style

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

quinoa upma

Quinoa Upma Recipe

Quinoa upma is a simple healthy & filling Indian style breakfast made with quinoa, mixed veggies & spices. Instructions included for instant pot and stovetop.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings2 to 3

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water for pot (1¼ cup for Instant pot)
  • ½ teaspoon ginger chopped finely
  • ¾ cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans)
  • 1 small onion optional
  • 1 to 2 green chili chopped or slit
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)


  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon channa dal (optional)
  • 1 pinch hing or asafoetida (optional)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 12 cashews split or broken



  • Rinse quinoa very well in a pot. Or add it to a strainer and rinse under running water rubbing well. 
  • Drain water completely & set aside.
  • Rinse and chop the ginger, carrots, beans and onion (optional).

How to make Quinoa Upma

  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add dals, cashews and fry until golden. 
  • Then add curry leaves, green chilies and onions. 
  • Fry for 2 minutes and then add the mixed veggies & ginger. 
  • Mix and fry for a minute. Transfer the drained quinoa. 
  • Pour water and add salt. Mix and taste the water. If needed add more salt.
  • Cook on a medium flame until quinoa turns tender and absorbs all the water.
  • If there is more water left, cook for longer and evaporate. When quinoa is completely cooked they look transparent.
  • Serve quinoa upma with podi, pickle, lemon wedges or curd.

Instant pot quinoa upma

  • Press saute button and pour oil to the inner pot of the Instant pot.
  • When the oil turns slightly hot, add mustard, chana dal, urad dal & cashews.
  • Fry them until slightly golden. Then add in curry leaves, onions and green chili.
  • Saute the onions until transparent. Then add in ginger, veggies, turmeric & drained quinoa.
  • Next saute everything for about 1 to 2 mins. Then pour water and add salt.
  • Press CANCEL button and Deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a spatula to release any bits of food stuck.
  • Taste the water and add more salt if needed.
  • Secure the lid of the instant pot. Position the steam release handle to sealing.
  • Press PRESSURE COOK button & Set the timer to 1 minute.
  • It takes time for the pot to build up pressure and cook. Once the pressure builds up, it cooks for a minute.
  • When it is done cooking the ip beeps and goes to keep warm. Then press cancel and wait for the pressure to release manually.
  • When the pin drops, open the lid and fluff up the quinoa upma.
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice and serve hot.


I use pre-rinsed quinoa but still prefer to rinse them at least twice. However you can also skip rinsing and use the pre-rinsed quinoa directly.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Upma Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 485 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 226mg10%
Potassium 718mg21%
Carbohydrates 76g25%
Fiber 13g54%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 4695IU94%
Vitamin C 54.9mg67%
Calcium 63mg6%
Iron 6.4mg36%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Quinoa Upma Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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5 stars
I have never cooked anything with quinoa before. Have been trying out your recipes with quinoa. Love this quinoa upma. Please share a quinoa and chicken recipe. TIA

5 stars
I absolutely love your site!

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,
Does this site has an app .would love to install

5 stars
I made this quinoa. Tasted pretty good with your cucumber Arita

5 stars
Wow, beautiful recipes, I love pumas, I could never forget the taste of Kerala style upmas, thanks for sharing this recipe, Swathi.

5 stars
New easy recipes
Liked it
Thank you

Hi Swasthi,

I thought of trying quinoa for very long time and finally I bought half kg Quinoa from amazon India and was googling online and came across your website.
Your simple and easy instructions helped me come up with yummy upma and I enjoyed the taste of it.

Thank you and keep posting.

5 stars
Good recipe and simple instructions helped to make a yummy upma. Had it for dinner with pickle and curd.

A traditional healthy breakfast. Done perfectly. Nice to see such a wonderful dish.

looks yumm… I love these healthy upma varieties….