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The Thermos Method for Quinoa

One question I get asked a lot is “Is there any way to cook quinoa from raw without using a pot?”. Up until now I didn’t have an answer outside of precooking and dehydrating at home. Then I had my eyes opened recently in the newly published 500 Best Quinoa Recipes: 100% Gluten-Free Super-Easy Superfood cookbook.

On page 12 the author talks about the “Thermos® Method” for grains, this caught my attention and I read on.

And being that I am always looking for new methods to translate to the outdoors I tried out her method:

Yes, it did work. Shockingly well. The downside? Well…you do have to haul a Thermos® around. I tried it in my trusty stainless steel bullet I have had for ever – I use it on snowshoeing trips to take hot soup with me. I am not going to lie….it isn’t UL by any means. But it does allow you to prepare your quinoa at lunch and eat dinner with minimal prep and not having to cook it for 10 to 15 minutes.

Thermos Method Quinoa


  • 1 stainless steel bullet-style Thermos®, 17 ounce size
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Salt, if desired


If in cold weather preheat your thermos by pouring in boiling water, let sit for 5 minutes. Drain off – you can use this water for a hot drink or for whatever.

Meanwhile bring the cup of water to boil, add the quinoa to the thermos with it and salt if desired. Seal tightly and shake a couple of times. Ignore for 4 to 6 hours.

Use a long-handled spoon to remove some of the quinoa, knock out the rest, into a clean bowl or sandwich bag, it will be nice and warm. Use as desired. Rinse the thermos out.

Makes about 1½ cups cooked.

PS: While my bullet is brand name, you can find similar ones at Target and Starbucks that will work. Use stainless steel, glass can break.


7 thoughts on “The Thermos Method for Quinoa

  1. For all of us backpackers out there – Quinoa actually dehydrates very well. I make up a huge pot, using either chicken or vegetable bullion instead of water, add chopped onion, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, garlic and onion powder to taste, and then dehydrate it. Place it in a ziploc bag, and in camp, add boiling water just to the point where it covers the dehydrated mixture. Seal the bag, and place in a cozy, (or a spare wool sock) and let sit for 15 minutes. I add a little olive oil for the calories, and it’s delicious!

  2. Hi trailcooking,

    I want to thank you, so much, for the lovely review of my book, 500 Best Quinoa Recipes! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. And I am so glad you like the tip about making quinoa in a thermos; my husband makes fun of me (a little) when we travel because I make all sorts of whole grains overnight in our hotel room.

    My request: would it be possible for you to post all or some of the review to amazon?

    Thank you again,

    Camilla Saulsbury

  3. I can’t imagine cold weather outdoor trips without my thermos. A hot breakfast drink in the morning and hot juice in the afternoon and evening make a huge difference in the way I feel. Hot berry Gatorade isn’t that bad. I recently bought a 17 Oz wide mouth Hydro Flask that I will want to try this method with. It might take a little bit of preplanning, but it’s certainly doable.

  4. I’m going through your blog, bookmarking recipes to test out for hiking this summer, and I came across this. I’m going to have to try it for breakfast porridges! Quinoa cooking overnight, and all I need to do is grab the thermos and a spoon and go in the morning? What a great idea.

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