Is Red Quinoa Grain Different To Cream Quinoa Grain?

I have mentioned a number of times on Quinoa Tips that I prefer red quinoa grains over the standard cream coloured quinoa. I have just bought a new supply from a UK company called Baldwins and have been enjoying the delights of red quinoa once more.

The main supermarkets and Health Food Shops did, for a while, stock red quinoa alongside standard quinoa but that has stopped now. In the UK quinoa is still hardly known at all. Some american friends have told me that in the USA it is well known and a mainstream food ingredient. We have got a good few years of catch up here to get to this point.

Quinoa Grains

Quinoa Grains

The Look Of Quinoa Before Cooking

The biggest difference is obviously the colour. (See Photo) The cream coloured quinoa is an ivory colour and very uniform in size and shade. Red quinoa is not a bright red but more of an ochre shade. It probably should be called brown quinoa as the uncooked colour is more brown than red.  The colour is actually a varied range of dark reds and browns.

The Look of Quinoa After Cooking

When you cook the quinoa the redness comes out more and the water you cook it in turns a dark browny red. What is surprising is that the tails that appear during cooking are white so you end up with a very attractive mix or colours when you have finished cooking your quinoa.

The Main Difference With Red Quinoa

I have found that the red quinoa seeds stay firmer and crunchier when you cook them. If you cook it for a long time then it still will hold its shape. This is different to standard quinoa where it can become very soft and break up. this makes red quinoa more suitable for quinoa salad recipes but not as good as a thickening agent for soups and casseroles. I tend to use the normal quinoa for these quinoa recipes and red quinoa for everything else

The Quinoa I am growing in my garden is called rainbow quinoa. It is, as the name suggests,  multicoloured.  I can’t wait to harvest it and see what that comes out like in cooking.

Recommended Reading

About Ken

My name is Ken and I am the author of The Quinoa Cookbook. My book is the top selling book worldwide on how to cook quinoa and has over 70 quinoa recipes included.
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3 Responses to Is Red Quinoa Grain Different To Cream Quinoa Grain?

  1. Sroka says:


    Can red quinoa be eaten dry or does it need to be cooked?

  2. Ken says:

    You need to cook it or sprout it. Some people toast it oil.

  3. Gi Lunch says:

    Thanks so much for the wonderful site. In recent years, we started eating more quinoa here in Sweden. If you want to lose weight is quinoa a good option. I will bookmark your site. Gi Lunch

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