Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Quinoa pudding

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Quinoa pudding, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Rice pudding with a generous dose of cinnamon on top has always been one of my favorite desserts. There’s really nothing like it for me. Growing up, my mom would say something like, “Guess what we have for dessert,” in this sort of secretive voice and then we’d get all giddy.

I was craving the rice pudding of my youth the other day so I went over to the ever-inspiring, Cannelle et Vanille because I figured, with her Spanish (well, Basque) heritage she’d more then likely have a pretty authentic recipe. And she did. BUT, what she also had was a similar recipe using quinoa instead. Immediately, I had to make it.


I absolutely love quinoa. And I also happen to love it on the sweeter side too (in soy milk with fruit and nuts for breakfast is the best), so quinoa pudding with strawberries and pistachios sounded pretty awesome to me. Though I adapted the recipe slightly not to include cream and added a little water and cinnamon.

The process was very similar to making rice pudding actually. And if you’ve never done that, then you’ll find the process very similar to making rice or any other grain.


The main difference being that you cook the quinoa in a combination of milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt instead of water. The milk will periodically get that layer of skin across the top, but just fold it back and stir it in. Another thing to remember is that milk will froth up and boil over with the quickness so make sure to keep your eye on it because burning milk smells like a turd. I let the quinoa simmer partially covered and on low heat for about 30 minutes, giving it the occasional whisk.

Just let the quinoa do its thing until it’s nice and soft. Then let it cool to firm up a bit more. Kind of resembles tapioca actually.


Strawberries are so in season right now so I definitely suggest chopping some fresh ones up to add on top, along with pistachios. And I’ll bet this would also be great with some banana all mashed up in there instead of strawberries…have to try that next time for sure.

And there you have it, quinoa pudding – the “super food” version of my favorite childhood delicacy. Seriously fabulous.


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Coop/prep time: 35 mins. Serves 4. I used unsalted pistachios, but salted are fine too. Be sure to remove from heat when done to avoid any milk burning on the bottom of the pot. Sub with almond or coconut milk for non-dairy option.

You need:

  • 3 cups whole milk (sub with almond, or coconut milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or one vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/6 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • a few diced strawberries
  • chopped pistachios


  1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse with cold water for a few seconds.
  2. Combine the milk, water, sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the quinoa and stir. Reduce heat to medium low, partially cover (about 3/4 of the way) and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to avoid sticking. If skin starts to form across top of milk, just stir it back in.
  3. If you find that your pudding seems a bit dry and the quinoa is still hard, just add a splash more milk and water and cook totally covered for a few more minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature or cold in the fridge. Spoon pudding into bowls and top with chopped strawberries and pistachios.



  1. Posted April 8, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    your blog is amazing!
    since now, i follow you!

  2. Posted April 8, 2010 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    I’m so happy to have found your blog, it’s charming!

  3. gabi
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Hannah. And wow, now I am delighted by your blog too!

  4. Heather
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    I love rice pudding! My host mother in Spain made it for me – it was the first time I’d ever had it. I begged for the recipe, which is slightly different from this (lemon rind in the milk, for example), but I’m SO making this over the weekend!! I’ve been looking for ways to integrate quinoa into my diet, too. Thank you so much!

  5. Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    Simple, delicious. Thank you!

  6. Mary
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    I made this for dessert tonight. It was delicious. I used skim milk instead of whole milk and no one noticed! Thanks.

  7. Posted April 12, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    The pudding looks fabulous! Great photos! Glad I found your site!

  8. Posted April 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    I’ve discovered your blog thanks to Hannah from honey&jam and it’s truly lovely! I have to try this quinoa pudding. I also love rice pudding and never tried making quinoa sweet. Looks delicious.

  9. angela
    Posted April 12, 2010 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    Love the idea of quinoa for breakfast! Will this keep well overnight if I make it ahead??

  10. gabi
    Posted April 12, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    It sure will – it’ll stay good for days!

  11. tania
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    this recipe looks divine. my family are big rice pudding eaters and i’m constantly looking for healthier versions of their recipes! i cannot wait to try this out!

    oh and by the way, your blog is a treat! thanks!

  12. Shadia
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    I just cooked some of this up tonight. Wow. Ah-MAZING! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! It’s a new sweet staple in my house for sure.

  13. Carly
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    Yup, this was quite good. I usually have savoury quinoa, so it was a nice switch. I wish pudding worked with low-fat milk. Oh well, good treat.

  14. gabi
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Actually, a friend made it with low fat milk and told me it was pretty good. Just not as creamy. I’d stick with the whole though.

  15. Posted May 16, 2010 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    do you think it would produce the same results if i substituted coconut milk for whole milk?misie

  16. gabi
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Well that sounds just fantastic! Will it work though? Hm, I THINK if you were to use regular (not the reduced fat) coconut milk it could work. Make sure you really shake up the can first so there’s no separation. Try it with the same proportions I have in the recipe and see what happens. I’m not positive about this, but I am very curious so let me know if you try it. You could also top it with some shaved coconut…

  17. Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Making this as I type…it smells delicious! I’m using whole-fat soymilk though instead, since I’m vegan. I hope it turns out, I LOVE quinoa and have tons of quinoa recipes on my own blog, but have never tried going sweet instead of savory. Thanks!

  18. Posted May 30, 2010 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    I just made it with the coconut milk – I also used agave nectar instead of sugar – I think it’s quite fantastic – the only issue I’m running into is it’s taking much longer to cook – the quinoa is still “chewy.” I plan to let it cook a bit longer – I have a feeling I will not be disappointed. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  19. Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

    hmm.. never had it before… time to try some

  20. Posted October 24, 2010 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

    just made this! so so good! made it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk though. i could eat it for every meal.

  21. Kate
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    I love your blog!

    However, I made this tonight and it was so different from the pudding pictured! I think my quinoa soaked up almost all the milk, when spooning it up it is just 99% quinoa with a slight milk color. And the quinoa is still chewy!! Do you think if I added a cup or two more of milk and cooked it a bit longer, it would help?

    Also, I’m at a super high altitude, if that changes anything.

  22. gabi
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    Hi Kathryn!
    Hm, I’m thinking of a couple things:
    Did you rinse your quinoa well before cooking? Also, did you let it cook uncovered or maybe stir it too often? That would have dried it out for sure. Yea, I’d just add like 1/2 cup more milk and 1/4 cup more water and cook it totally covered on a very low simmer until the quinoa is cooked through. Stir it while cooking only a couple times to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
    Let me know if that helps!

  23. DONNA
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    The “Print recipe” function on this page is not functioning. All that prints is “Quinoa Pudding”. I am recently introduced to this site, thanks for all your time and effort. The “Super Kale Salad” raw is a blessing and will put kale on my list every week and in my garden ASAP. Am looking forward to trying many of the recipes and sharing with family and friends. XOX

  24. gabi
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Donna – Hi. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes! That kale salad is my favorite.
    I just printed the quinoa pudding recipe without any problem. Maybe it’s a printer or page set up issue on your end?

  25. Posted February 22, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    this looks amazing, your photos totally sell that dish! I was searching in quinoa pudding, since I wasn’t sure if there were adaptable recipes out there using quinoa in a dessert or sweet breakfast. I’m going to try using coconut cream (Kara brand – in a box) or almond milk, and stevia to sweeten, leaving out the fruit for now. I’m back on a candida-type diet, and there are so little alternatives for sweet cravings. I’ve done basmati rice puddings in the past with fresh ground cardamon and coconut milk or almond milk instead of the dairy, and I think I can adapt any of the rice pudding recipes to suit quinoa – which I just found out is actually a seed rather than a grain. Yay!

  26. Posted March 2, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    What a wonderful idea! I must definitely try this in lieu of rice pudding some time.

  27. Posted August 18, 2011 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    gabi! just discovered your blog and i absolutely adore it. a yogi friend is planning to write a recipe for my own food blog on vegan and mexican-inspired arroz con leche, and the quinoa spin is such a delicious inspiration. thanks for sharing!

  28. Nana
    Posted January 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    Some questions: Firstly can the quinoa be cooked first then used in the recipe. Next- I used to make rice pudding all the time when my boys were young, I have a really good recipe for this, can I use it and just substitute the same amount of quinoa for the rice? Next-My rice pudding recipe calls for baking it in a water bath, in the oven. Can I do this with the quinoa? I am thinking I can but wanted to know your thoughts.
    Thanking you for the information,

  29. gabi
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    Hi Nana,

    1. If you’re planning on cooking the quinoa, I’d only partially cook it rather than the entire way. Just to prevent it getting to soggy or mushy.
    2. I would definitely attempt the quinoa substitute in your other recipe. It should work, but you may find you need to adjust the liquid. Give it a try and see what happens.
    3. I’ve never baked quinoa in a water bath in the oven, however, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You’ll probably want to keep it covered though. Use foil or a heat safe lid.

    I hope this helps. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trial and error with these things!

  30. Courtney
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Making this as we speak, but I think I may have botched it. I used 2 cups of whole milk and one cup of unsweetened soy milk and it doesn’t seem to be setting at all :(. Any advice?

  31. gabi
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Oh no! I’m sure you’ve already finished making this and it either came out or didn’t for you…I sure hope it did though!
    What did you mean by it “not setting”? Was it too mushy or not cooking through all the way? Quinoa can take longer to cook than regular rice so I hope that’s all it was. I mention in the recipe cooking it partially covered and adding more liquid if needed. That usually does the trick. If you can give me some more details, I’d love to offer some more advice for the next time :)

  32. SVLynn
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    What a beautiful blog! This is exactly the recipe I was looking for, looks amazing, thanks!

  33. Ren
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    I too had toomuch Quinoa and not enough liquid and wonder if I cooked it too fast?

  34. gabi
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Hello Ren,
    When you say too much quinoa, do you mean it was not cooked through? If so, I’d say there probably wasn’t enough liquid in the ratio. Did you cook it on low and covered?

  35. Stephanie
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Hi, this recipe looks delicious! This batch will be the second. Last time the quinoa came out a bit too chewy so I added more water and milk from the start. 10 more minutes til it comes off the stove, can’t wait.
    Hope I did better this time.

  36. Josh
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

    Just discovered quinoa, and tried this recipe. It’s fantastic!!!! I’m actually cut up some apples and walnuts and it’s a great addition!

  37. Kathryn
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    Do you know whether this will keep well in the fridge for a few days? I was thinking it would be nice to make a big batch to keep in the fridge and grab for a quick breakfast. Thanks!

  38. gabi
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    Oh yes, it’ll definitely store very well for at least 3 days!

  39. Hayley
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I made this this afternoon. I used spouted quinoa. It took 45 minutes of cooking to get to a pudding consistency. It was REALLY good! I love the nutty taste of the quinoa. I grated some fresh apple directly into my bowl, mixed that in, and sprinkled some extra cinnamon on it. Very nice dessert! I will definitely make it again. Thank you!

  40. Gaby
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this recipe i tried it with very thick soy milk (pacific brand) and it turned out so delicious and creamy! the quinoa flavor is still very much there, but its so good. If you like quinoa you will love this, if you don’t like … well your missing out! :)

  41. Sam
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Best dessert ever, I made this for the first time last night and never got to let it cool down, both my little ones whoofed it as soon as it was in the bowls. I used skim milk and it was creamy.

    So yummy x

  42. Tom
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Just made this- it was gorgeous! A very tasty and healthy alternative to rice pudding. I made it with 2 cups of whole milk and 1 of almond, but didn’t have any strawberries to serve with it unfortunately, so melted in a bit of set honey instead! It ended up taking 13 minutes extra before I got impatient and ate it… Wasn’t entirely sure how the consistency was supposed to be.
    But I will definitely be making this again- probably with half coconut milk.
    Thanks so much for the delicious recipe- time to try some of your others :D

  43. Ciera
    Posted June 14, 2013 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

    I just made this and couldn’t wait for it to chill, I was too excited to eat it. I made it with coconut milk and topped it with mixed berries and macadamia nuts. amazing! thanks!!

  44. Sonia
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Just made this! It’s delicious. I used almond milk instead of whole milk. I added extra cinnamon and vanilla at the end to my tasting. I can’t wait to eat tomorrow morning when it’s cold.

  45. Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    I just made this tonight for me and my husband, it was actually my first experience with quinoa and we loved it! We mixed in frozen berries while it was warm, it was amazing! Thank you!

  46. Cynthia
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Does it make any difference if I use tricolor quinoa?

  47. gabi
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    I think that would work just fine as well. And be pretty!

  48. Elisha
    Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    Just tried this today: ahhh-mazing! Reminded me of when my mom would cook up some tapioca pudding. I didn’t even add any toppings, but did add a little more milk and water as to be at my preferred texture. I just ate it straight after it cooled and thickened up a little in the fridge. Even my very picky 21 month old loved it- score! We’ll definitely be making more of this. Thank you!! (:

  49. Claudia
    Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    I’ve had a bag of quinoa in my pantry for a good while. Never quite sure what to do with it. Thank you for this recipe. It sounds great and I will make it sometime this week.

  50. Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Hi Gabi…found your blog via Pinterest for a little post I was doing on Quinoa for Kids. Yep, even though this post is several years old it’s still attracting hungry moms and kids! I gave your recipe and try and in my review linked back to your blog, I hope that’s ok. Thanks again for sharing this!

  51. Kgs
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    Found this recipe on Pinterest and wanted to know if anyone has a natural/organic sugar free way to do this recipe? It sounds amazing and hope to find a sugar sub to try it!

  52. Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    I just found your quinoa recipes and am very excited to try this for my Mom who is struggling to eat due to illness. A gentle protein source like this pudding may be the answer when she can only eat small portions. Thank you. I am grateful to have found this at this time of need. I am allergic to rice so this will be great for me too.

  53. Kristy
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    I’m semi-Paleo (hard to be Paleo in a house full of non-paleo family) and am soooo tired of having eggs for breakfast and somewhere I heard about quinoa pudding and decided to make a batch last night. Instead of whole milk I used coconut flavored almond milk and I omitted the sugar. The results don’t look like your picture, not nearly enough liquid, but its ok because I love it! I topped it with a touch more almond milk, sliced strawberries and crushed almonds: fantastic!

  54. Kristy
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    KGS I made it with no sugar and sweetened it with fruit. If you’re looking for a safe sugar substitute you can use applesauce or stevia. I prefer Truvia for my coffee but you can’t bake with it.

  55. Kristy
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Bah! I forgot I bought organic quinoa at my grocery store in the rice and beans section: Arrowhead Mills brand.

  56. Teri
    Posted April 6, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Another idea to soften the quinoa is to soak it over night. I use a strainer & rinse the quinoa well. Can you post the nutritional values & calories ?this recipe

  57. Lori
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

    I’m going to definitely have to give this a try, I also live in a house with unhealthy eaters to some extent, whom I’m trying to get to eat much better, I’ve cooked with quinoa before am at a high altitude so I know I will probably have to make some modifications on liquid and cooking time, but I’ll be glad to have another healthy breakfast option, that has protein.

  58. subrosa
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    I was wondering if quinoa can be substituted for rice in exact measurements. My rice pudding is so good I want to keep it as close as possible. I use half whipping cream with the milk and also serve whipping cream to pour over. When will people get over the low fat craze?

  59. Becky
    Posted February 15, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    This looks great! Any suggestions for subbing the sugar? Could I use the same amount honey?

  60. gabi
    Posted March 4, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    I think you should be just fine using honey or agave!

  61. gabi
    Posted March 4, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Hi Subrosa –
    Wish I could tell you for sure but I have not tried it with rice. You may need more liquid is my guess.

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