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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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?

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

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

  11. 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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