Calories in Quinoa

Calories in quinoa: Do you ever find yourself wondering how many calories are in quinoa?

Wonder no more. There are 111 calories in ½ cup of cooked quinoa. That’s a typical serving size.

So you’re asking… Is that too many calories?… Is it too few?… How would I even know, anyway?

Let’s answer these questions…

Calories in Quinoa: How Many Do I Need?

We all know that we need to eat 2,000 calories every day, right?… Or do we?

It turns out there’s some wiggle room in that figure. It’s not one-size-fits-all.

It’s a rough estimate of everyone’s caloric needs…

  • For the sumo wrestler… and for the ballerina
  • For your 10-year-old son… and for your 100-year-old grandfather

So you personally may need anywhere from 1,200 to 2,400 calories per day… No matter what that sumo wrestler needs!

How many calories you need depends on your…

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Level of physical activity

And of course if you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories. If you want to gain weight — you guessed it — eat more!

Now that we understand that, let’s see how many calories are in quinoa…

Calories in Quinoa: Uncooked Quinoa

To me this is sort of a moot point. After all, when’s the last time you ate uncooked quinoa??

But in case you’re curious here are the numbers…

If you eat about ¼ cup (43 grams) of uncooked quinoa you would consume 156 calories.

But again, who eats uncooked quinoa?

You really want to know the number of calories in quinoa… that’s already cooked…

Calories in Quinoa: Cooked Quinoa

Most people probably eat about ½ cup (93 grams) of quinoa in one sitting. Eating this much quinoa would give you 111 calories — a mere 6% of your daily need.

What does this mean to you?

It means that you can eat quinoa confident that it will do it’s part — along with the rest of your healthy diet — to keep you trim and healthy!

Just to give you a comparison…

  • Two slices of commercially-prepared white bread would give a few more calories — 148.
  • One medium white baked potato contains 130 calories.

So try substituting quinoa every once in a while when you’d normally use a potato or bread. You’ll get… 

  • Fewer calories per serving
  • No gluten
  • PLUS a lot of other great nutrition

We’ve talked about calories in quinoa. But have you ever heard the term “calories from fat”?

How many of these calories are in quinoa? Let’s find out…

Calories in Quinoa: Calories From Fat

Finding calories from fat in a particular food is easy. Just take the number of grams of fat and multiply it by 9.

Calories from fat = grams of fat x 9

So there are 2 grams of fat in ½ cup (93 grams) of cooked quinoa. Multiply that by 9 and you get 18 calories from fat.

But that’s not the whole story. As you know, there are different kinds of fat…

So what kinds of fat does quinoa have? And how much of each kind? Let’s look at the numbers…

  • 58% is poly-unsaturated
  • 29% is mono-unsaturated
  • A mere 13% is saturated

In other words, 87% of the fat found in quinoa is unsaturated. It’s considered “good fat.” It’s healthy!

When compared to white bread and white rice, quinoa ranks…

  • Lowest in percentage of saturated fat
  • Highest in percentage of polyunsaturated fat.

Bottom line: Quinoa has the lowest percentage of “bad” fat and the highest percentage of “good” fat!

Why does this matter to you?

Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to chronic disease, says the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chronic disease is obviously something we all want to avoid.

So quinoa is a first choice for healthy consumers — like you — who want minimal saturated fat in their diet.

And did you notice one kind of fat that is totally missing from quinoa? That’s right — quinoa is free of trans fat (another “bad” fat).

So you can eat quinoa with the full knowledge that it is…

  • Low in calories
  • Low in “bad” fat


  • High in “good” fat
  • High in other nutrition

    Tip: Browse our quinoa nutrition page for more info!

What’s Next?

If you’re thrilled by what you’ve learned on this page you’ll want to learn more about quinoa nutrition

Or discover how to make delicious, low-calorie quinoa recipes.