The bitter taste of defeat must be unrinsed quinoa — or, worse, rinsed quinoa that ends up partially (or mostly) in the sink. But when you have one of the best strainers for quinoa, that defeat can be a thing of the past.
The problem with most colanders, strainers, and sieves is that they’re built for the tasks of larger foodstuffs, like draining linguine or rinsing strawberries. Some are fine enough to hold larger grains like rice, but finding a strainer that won’t wash your tiny beads of quinoa down the drain is a tall order. One innovative quinoa strainer — the OXO Good Grips Quinoa Strainer — made waves with foodies and is a favorite on Amazon, but it can be hard to nab because it's constantly selling out. So, if you find yourself in need of a strainer now, know this: You don’t need a designated "quinoa strainer" to zap saponins (aka the natural coating that gives unrinsed quinoa its bitter taste). There are some great options on Amazon that will get the job done with ease, you just need to know what to look for.
Naturally, the hole size in a strainer is of utmost importance. For stainless steel options, you'll want to look for the finest mesh to avoid quinoa grains slipping through or getting stuck in the holes. You can also consider bowls made specifically for washing grains that let you soak and rinse your quinoa, so the sediment rises to the surface where it's easily drained off. These bowls tend to be made of plastic, which is lightweight and budget-friendly, but it can crack under extreme temperatures. Stainless steel is the gold standard of restaurants, because it’s rust-resistant and long-lasting, and unlike plastic, it's more temperature stable.
After combing through the options and scouring reviews, I found four great all-purpose strainers with just the right amount of drainage for quinoa. There's even a nice storage container on my list, so you can keep your grains fresh.
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1. The Overall Best Strainer For Quinoa
This heavy-duty stainless steel mesh strainer for quinoa blows most competition out of the water thanks to its ultra-sturdy design. Its made from premium rust-resistant stainless steel and comes with a thick riveted handle and an extra-wide hook that can provide balance across a sink or over a bowl. The rim is reinforced to prevent food from getting trapped underneath, but this pick really wows thanks to a double layer of ultrafine mesh that, according to one thrilled reviewer, is even fine enough to filter out sand. (And yes, it's dishwasher safe.)
As for its quinoa abilities? As one shopper noted, "This bad boy holds those grains hostage and makes rinsing them a breeze. Flip it over when you are done and a bang or two against your sink frees any silent lurkers. Clean as a whistle. Buy it....I insist."
2. A Japanese Washing Bowl That’s Great For Rinsing And Draining Grains
The aforementioned OXO Good Grips Rice Quinoa Strainer is admittedly a great pick, but if you're not willing to pay $12 for simple kitchen gadget, don't worry. This Japanese rice washing bowl is a great dupe for half the price. It features a solid bottom for a thorough soak and swish to get rid of the husks. When you're finished with that step, there should be plenty of husks floating in the water that you can then pour off through the thin slits on the side.
While several shoppers reported that it was fantastic for rinsing any kind of grain, they especially noted that it was small enough to strain quinoa’s tiny seeds. One shopper who called previous quinoa experiments "kinda disastrous" wrote that they were thrilled. "Now I don't have to dread making a batch of quinoa anymore."
3. This Chef-Quality (Yet Budget-Friendly) Set Of Fine Mesh Strainers
This set of three fine mesh strainers, which is made of high-quality stainless steel, sets you up for life (probably). Measuring 7.3, 4.8, and 2.8 inches in diameter respectively, this trio of sieves gives you ultimate versatility. While you'll most likely use the largest size for quinoa, the small and medium strainers are great for smaller tasks, like rinsing a handful of baby carrots or even sifting powdered sugar — though all notably come with extra fine mesh weaving for maximum retention of your ingredients.
The double-rod handle provides a balanced grip and a small tab on the opposite side makes it easy to rest your strainer across a sink or bowl to finish draining. "Fine enough for quinoa," one shopper declared of this no-frills set. "Not one single seed gets through. None of it gets stuck in the mesh either."
4. This Versatile Kitchen Tool For Quinoa, Purees, & More
This fine mesh chinois sieve, with a strong handle and helper hook, was made for clarifying sauces or broths, which also makes it a great quinoa strainer because the holes are so fine. (Think 30 holes per square inch.) The stainless steel will last almost forever, and it's dishwasher safe, too. One reviewer commented, "I don't know why I waited so long to get this...it's so useful! The mesh is very fine, so it works well for washing small grains like quinoa, and it's tough/thick enough to withstand significant pressure."
Also Great: An Airtight Container For Storing Grains
If you play your quinoa game on expert level, a plastic grain storage bin should be next on your wish list. Made of BPA-free plastic with an airtight silicone seal, this pantry-organizing wunderkind keeps food fresh for as long as possible while blocking out humidity and wandering insects. When you're ready to cook, there's no need to rummage through your drawers — it comes with a measuring cup that screws on (so you'll never lose it) and has a handy pour spout for mess-free measuring.