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Quinoa is a tiny seed used as a whole grain. Originally from South America’s western region, to this day, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador remain the ancient grain’s top growers. Though quinoa has been around for thousands of years, it’s recently exploded in popularity around the globe. Today, it’s not uncommon to find black, white, red, or tri-color quinoa in American grocery stores. With all these new options, finding the best quinoa brand can be difficult.
Anyone who’s tried cooking the grain surely knows that quinoa prep can pose some challenges. Sometimes, we forget to rinse it, leaving on the bitter saponins that coat each quinoa seed. Other times, we undercook it, creating a crunchy result. In some instances, we overcook it, creating a soggy and mushy grain. Not to worry, these are mistakes everyone makes with quinoa. Luckily, choosing a quality quinoa brand eases this process.
Before you make a purchase, there are a few ways to tell how good a quinoa brand will be. You can check what certifications — gluten-free, USDA organic, non-GMO, and others — it has. You can see if the quinoa is pre-rinsed and de-saponzied, ensuring a better-tasting result. You can see where it’s grown. You can check the price. Also, you can read reviews. If the quinoa is said to have a fluffy texture and nutty taste, it’s very good. Luckily, we’ve done it all for you. Here are the 10 best quinoa brands, ranked.
10. Near East
This quinoa brand is by no means the worst, but we would venture to say that Near East squeezed its way into the top ten. The brand’s two quinoa products, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Quinoa and Rosemary and Olive Oil Quinoa, are not the best. As noted on the Near East website, the company can not guarantee that its products are free of GMOs, gluten, arsenic, or allergens.
Instead of being clean and healthy whole grain products, these items from Near East are made with vegetables and herbs, as well as the preservatives needed to extend the shelf life of the produce. This is not the freshest way to consume anything. Even worse, both quinoa blends are made with brown rice, diluting the amount of quinoa you get.
Still, Near East quinoa has its fans. Blogger Home Garden Joy — who appears to be new to the world of quinoa — wrote, "I am not a huge fan of quinoa or brown rice, so I was skeptical about this mix. But I decided to give it a try, and I am glad I did. It had a chewy texture that was pleasant." On Amazon, one of the blends has a favorable percentage of reviews. However, there are several complaints regarding flavor and texture. Even if these critiques did not exist, this product would be at the bottom of the ranking. We can only recommend this quinoa if nothing else is available. If you really want to eat quinoa, Near East might still be better than a quinoa substitute.
9. Seeds of Change
Seeds of Change is a food company that produces rice, grains, and seeds. One of the grain products sold by the brand happens to be quinoa. However, this quinoa is a little different than its competitors. Instead of multiple-pound bags of raw grains, Seeds of Change sells small quinoa blends that typically come in eight-ounce packages. Out of all of the grain products sold by this company, the quinoa and brown rice with garlic blend is the most popular product.
We rank Seeds of Change near the bottom because of the contents of its quinoa blends. When purchasing quinoa, we’d prefer the product to be one ingredient. But even with Seeds of Change’s most popular quinoa, you get grains such as brown rice, as well. You get artificially-preserved alliums and vegetables. You get potentially harmful seed oils such as sunflower oil. You get food additives like soy lecithin and tapioca starch. This is just not as healthy as competitors. Also on the negative side, there is one serving per package. That is a lot of packaging and plastic waste for one quinoa serving.
Still, the ingredients included in the Seeds of Change quinoa are not as bad as those of Near East. There are fewer artificial preservatives and food additives, plus more healthy certifications. Even better, these ready-made quinoa packs have plenty of fans across the internet. The Strategist said of Seeds of Change, "Most prepackaged foods require some sort of doctoring but this is perfectly seasoned."
8. Kirkland Signature
Kirkland Signature, Costco’s brand of various home goods, offers various grocery products. The company makes one type of quinoa: organic white quinoa. Despite the limited options, it has its share of fans on the internet. That might be because — as Costco and Kirkland are known for — you get a lot of product in a single package. It is a 4.5-pound bag of quinoa, per the Costco website. It’s also certified organic and kosher.
On Amazon, the Kirkland signature quinoa has been reviewed over 1,000 times and has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Many positive reviews note that it’s easy to cook and tastes better than other quinoas. The comments are not overwhelmingly glowing, but they aren’t usually negative, either. On Walmart‘s site, some of the most positive reviews also focus on the easy preparation of this product.
On websites other than Costco’s, this product claims to be pre-washed, allergen-free, and gluten-free. The people that believe these terms are excited to hear them. However, the confusion around these claims has led to frequent complaints. Sometimes the bag has gluten-free certifications, sometimes it doesn’t. Some users have even perceived stomach issues when eating a bag without the gluten-free label. Others, such as Snackathon Foods reviewers, have complaints about the shifting prices of this bag, saying that re-sellers charge way too much.
7. Nature’s Earthly Choice
Nature’s Earthly Choice makes white quinoa, red quinoa, tri-color quinoa, and more. At the very least, the company’s white quinoa and red quinoa products are certified gluten-free. On its FAQ page, there are even helpful quinoa cooking instructions to avoid common quinoa issues, such as the grains being too hard, sticky, or mushy.
The company can’t promise allergen-free products always, but it is a member of SnackSafely.com, which holds Nature’s Earthly Choice to a higher standard of explaining potential allergens. As Nature’s Earthly Choice explains on their website, "As a proud member of snacksafely.com, we are committed to providing full disclosure on 11 primary allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean shellfish, gluten, sesame, and mustard), which goes above and beyond FDA disclosure standards." Customers appreciate the final product. On Influenster, the white quinoa has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. It’s also ranked sixth overall in the site’s entire lineup of alternative grains.
On Sam’s Club, reviews of the organic white quinoa lament that the product is not as clean as desired. Multiple users noted that sometimes the product tasted gritty or full of sand. Even on Influenster, where the reviews were mostly positive, users warned that you need to thoroughly rinse this product before use. This isn’t unnatural, as most quinoa products will need to be rinsed. But we would prefer that the product is more consistent in terms of cleanliness, even if it is an overall healthy product.
TruRoots is a self-described ancient grains company. According to the Whole Grains Council, grains such as quinoa, farro, spelt, sorghum, millet, amaranth, and others that haven’t changed in the last few hundred years are considered ancient grains.
Quinoa is an ingredient in several of the blends, quick-cook, and whole-grain products made by TruRoots. But the company also makes straight-up white quinoa, red quinoa, and sprouted quinoa. TruRoots’ quinoa products are all certified gluten-free and USDA organic. These certifications must be adding up to a pretty good product, as TruRoots’ organic white quinoa sold by Ralph’s has nothing but great reviews. "It always seems to cook up perfectly," wrote one customer. Others praised the texture, noting it doesn’t usually end up too mushy or hard, like other quinoas.
On Amazon, there are over 2,000 reviews of TruRoots’ white quinoa, coming to an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. While this product has a good texture, some users — even several that rated it four stars — said the quinoa’s taste is very bitter. The same sentiment was echoed by a reviewer on Dillons. This user noted that TruRoots’ sprouted quinoa was less bitter than the un-sprouted. Other cooks, as noted by Simply Quinoa, believe that simply rinsing your quinoa thoroughly will get around this issue. Overall, it seems that this critique of TruRoots’ non-sprouted white quinoa could maybe be avoided, but still doesn’t warrant this quinoa brand the top spot in this ranking.
5. BetterBody Foods
BetterBody Foods is a health food brand that sells various gluten-free flours, natural sweeteners, non-dairy milks, and more. The company sells tri-color organic quinoa, a product that is certified USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, and kosher. It’s grown in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru. It comes de-saponized, cleaned, sifted, and tested. BetterBody Foods’ packaging facility is even certified by two different organizations. On paper, this quinoa looks great, but what do the reviews say?
On Walmart‘s website, BetterBody Foods’ tri-color quinoa averages 4.6 out of 5, from over 100 ratings. On Amazon, there are over 10,000 reviews. Around 80% of these reviews give the product five stars, coming to an average score of 4.7 out of 5. Although most reviews are positive, the criticisms are consistent. This gives us pause. We rank this product in the top five, but no higher.
People who don’t appreciate this product have one common complaint: the taste. On both Amazon and Walmart, even those that mostly liked this product said it was sometimes very bitter in flavor. With all those supposed processes in place to remove the bitter taste, we wanted to take BetterBody Foods’ word for it. Alas, this quinoa still needs a thorough rinse once you get it. After doing that, you should have a delicious product.
4. Lundberg Family Farms
Lundberg Family Farms is first and foremost a rice company. The American brand was founded in 1937 when it began growing rice in California. Today, it continues to sell many rice and quinoa products, made with an emphasis on organic and non-GMO farming. Lundberg sells white and tri-color quinoa. Both quinoa products are USDA organic, certified organic by the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers), non-GMO project verified, certified gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. Extensive certifications are awarded because Lundberg’s quinoa is grown in the United States, allowing for additional environmental control. Like other quinoa products, when you consume Lundberg Family Farms’ quinoa, you’ll ingest nutrients like Vitamin D, iron, calcium, and potassium.
The white quinoa made by Lundberg has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon. Around 83% of these reviews rate the product five stars. That comes to an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. On iHerb, there is the same rating. Many reviews compliment the taste, texture, and overall quality. Customers who use it for their quinoa recipes are not disappointed.
Most negative press surrounding this quinoa brand concerns arsenic. Online, you will find multiple complaints regarding the levels of arsenic found in Lundberg’s grain products. In response, Lundberg began increasing visibility around its arsenic levels, sharing those levels online and with the FDA, per Nutrition Facts. Additionally, most of these concerns are in regards to brown rice, not quinoa. Although it all gives us pause, it doesn’t discourage us from buying Lundberg’s quinoa completely.
3. Viva Naturals
Viva Naturals sells white royal quinoa. As Alter Eco Foods explains, "Quinua Real or Royal Quinoa is only grown at around 12,000 feet above sea level in the areas surrounding the Salar de Uyuni, the dry, arid salt flats of the Bolivian Altiplano." Intense climate and weather conditions result in a durable, large, and flavorful grain. This product also has gluten-free, USDA, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher certifications. It is grown in Bolivia but packaged in the United States. During this process, the quinoa is rinsed and de-saponized, improving the grain’s flavor.
On Amazon, there are over 4,000 reviews averaging a 4.7 out of 5 rating. The same rating average is present on Walmart‘s website. With both online stores, customers remark this quinoa is superior in taste and texture. The blog Book Reviews and More went so far as to say, "I have tried about a half dozen different brands of Quinoa, and this one will now be my staple."
The only downside is the existence of California’s Prop 65 warning label, which is legally required to notify customers of potentially hazardous products. There are so many negative comments about this aspect of Viva Natural’s white royal quinoa that the company has addressed it online. The warning is there because lead is present in the soil which quinoa grows from, the brand says. In the end, we don’t fault Viva Naturals for having this label. We appreciate the brand addressing why it’s there.
2. Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s Red Mill is a familiar brand that most of us have seen in the pantry and baking sections of our grocery stores. The company produces so many items, among them quinoa. White quinoa, red quinoa, and tri-color quinoa — a blend of white, black, and red quinoa — are all made by the company. The white quinoa is gluten-free, kosher, vegan, organic, and non-GMO certified. As the company notes in a blog post, the quinoa sold by Bob’s Red Mill is also pre-washed. This is preferable, as pre-rinsing removes quinoa seed’s sometimes bitter coating, called saponins.
The white quinoa made by Bob’s Red Mill has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on the company website, with compliments on both the taste and texture. However, there are less than 100 reviews. On the grocery site iHerb, the tricolor has nearly 2,000 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.
Criticisms of the quinoa made by Bob’s Red Mill are typically about prices. On Amazon, the white quinoa has outstanding reviews for taste and texture, but there are several complaints about the price. On this website alone, customers appear to be correct. At the time of writing, a 26-ounce bag of white quinoa from Bob’s Red Mill costs around $15, whereas similar products by competitors are much less. BetterBody Food’s similar product costs around $8 and Baron’s similar product costs around $11. A higher price point is the only reason why we rank this quinoa below other high-quality products.
1. Ancient Harvest
White quinoa, red quinoa, and tri-color quinoa are all sold by Ancient Harvest. All products are organic, non-GMO, and Kosher certified. The brand even offers a quinoa that’s grown in the United States — a rare thing when it comes to this grain, as most quinoa is grown in Peru and Bolivia. Instead, Ancient Harvest’s US Quinoa is successfully grown in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, thanks to the high plains climate that is similar to what’s preferable with royal quinoa grown in Bolivia. According to Ancient Harvest, their US Quinoa is a sustainable option because it requires less transit and uses less water than grains grown outside of the United States.
Both Ancient Harvest’s red quinoa and tri-color quinoa have more than 400 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. Even its white quinoa has a 4.7 out of 5 rating average. On Walmart’s site, there are more than 50 reviews averaging a rare five out of five rating average. On the online shopping website Vitacost, there are 14 reviews for the royal white quinoa, all rated five out of five (at the time of writing).
This brand’s quinoa products are well-reviewed in terms of taste, texture, cleanliness, and overall quality. However, some people have a problem with pricing. If you take a closer look at the places where this quinoa is getting high ratings, complaints about price are there. Still, we would rather pay slightly more for a near-perfect product. That’s why this is number one.