Can You Compost Quinoa?

By Veronica Fletcher | 
Last updated on April 3, 2021

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Quinoa has surged in popularity over recent years, mainly due to its gluten-free, nutritious and high protein qualities. In 2019 alone, the U.S. imported a staggering 32 million kilograms of quinoa, up from just shy over 19 million kilograms in 2018.

So, can you compost quinoa? Yes, you can compost quinoa with a couple of small exceptions. Cooked quinoa is fine to compost, as long as it hasn’t been mixed with other ingredients not suitable for composting, such as meat and dairy.

Composting quinoa

If you’re wanting to add plain cooked or uncooked quinoa to your compost pile, you shouldn’t encounter any real issues. The basic laws of composting apply to quinoa, which are to ensure you always maintain a good balance between green and brown materials in your pile.

If you’re new to composting, we have in an in-depth guide on exactly how to start composting to get you started in no time.

How much quinoa you’ll want to add to your compost will depend on whether it has been cooked or not, and if any oils or fats have been mixed in with it during the cooking process.

Cooked quinoa holds a lot more moisture than uncooked quinoa, and this may introduce issues such as the quinoa sticking together in your compost bin. This can lead to the compost becoming anaerobic, leading to a smelly and unpleasant compost bin.

If you have any meats, dairy, oils or other items not recommended for composting mixed in with the quinoa, we don’t recommend adding it to your compost bin.

The exception to the rule here is for experienced composters that often compost meat and dairy. If you only have a small compost pile, the risk of attracting vermin and pests usually outweighs any benefits.

Avoiding adding quinoa cooked with oils to your compost

Uncooked quinoa, on the other hand, should be perfectly fine to add to your compost pile (in moderation).

Can you feed worms quinoa?

Yes, you can add quinoa to your worm compost bin. Worms love soft and mushy food such as quinoa and rice. The only exception is if you’ve added any meats, dairy, or oils to the quinoa when cooking.

If your quinoa has any sauce on it, you can simply rinse it off before you put in in the worm bin.

Worms will eat quinoa pretty quickly, but it’s still best to stick to the recommended feeding rate of enough for 2 to 3 days. If you have more quinoa than this, you can freeze it until it’s time to add more to your bin.

About Veronica Fletcher

Veronica has a passion for all things eco-friendly. After growing up on a farm in Ireland, she went on to study Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. Veronica has also volunteered in many sustainability roles, including conservation efforts in Bangladesh and teaching Environmental Sciences to schoolchildren in Kenya.