Millet vs Quinoa: What’s The Difference?

Millet vs Quinoa

Recently, eating food that brings benefits to the human body is more and more prioritized. Therefore, people will try their best to find meals that can provide them as much nutrition as possible.

However, it is not an easy task if you are not trained as a professional nutritionist. What’s more, when it comes to grains, it even becomes a more confusing and challenging problem. 

Millet vs Quinoa, which should be chosen between those most famous grains, is the primary concern for consumers. The article below covers various aspects to provide valuable insights, including their similarities and differences

Quick Facts


  • Scientific family: Poaceae grass family
  • Appearance: Smaller
  • Colors: White, red, grey & yellow
  • Uses and pervasiveness: Used in India, China, Russia & South America
  • Nutrition: Not a complete protein
  • Preparation: Requires more effort
  • Price: $2/pound


  • Scientific family: Relative of spinach & beet
  • Appearance: bigger
  • Colors: White, black & red
  • Uses and pervasiveness: Used in America
  • Nutrition: A complete protein
  • Preparation: Easy to cook
  • Price: $8/pound

Millet Vs Quinoa: The Similarities 

After careful research, professional nutritionists state that there are several aspects millet and quinoa move in tandem. 

  • Both are whole grains

As you may know, a grain is a tiny, hard and dry seed that can be broken down into three parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Among the three, the bran functions as a skin covering the germ, the endosperm, and protection. 

The germ is the source of nutrition such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, beneficial acids, etc. Last but not least, the endosperm can provide many starchy carbohydrates for humans. 

Being whole grains means that 100% of the three elements remain after the hulling process. Both Millet and Quinoa have this characteristic. 

  • Both are gluten-free

If you don’t know what gluten is, don’t worry because most of us also have no idea, either. Even worse, many people may have come up with a misleading understanding of it. 

To clarify, imagine when you make some cakes that require you to mix flour with water to create a dough, it is the process of generating gluten. Gluten is a kind of substance that people must eat due to its nutritional benefits. 

Hence, consuming millet and quinoa is advisable as long as you don’t have celiac disease. Having this type of sickness requires you to avoid gluten to protect your digestive system perfectly. To make sure, consult doctors to stay away from undesirable situations. 

  • Both demand less water

Farmers state that Millet and Quinoa are among the easiest plants to grow. They absorb water at deficient levels and can survive in challenging conditions like cactus. 

Millets Vs Quinoa: The Differences 

Despite being similar in many aspects, there are still significant signals you can base to differentiate millet and quinoa:

  • Scientific family

According to scientists, millets are the type of small-grained and warm-weather cereals of the Poaceae grass family. On the other hand, quinoa is defined as tiny seeds with its scientific name called Chenopodium quinoa. Hence, quinoa is a close relative of spinach and beet. 

Click here for more information on millet.

  • Appearance

Millets are round in shape and come in various colors: white, red, yellow, and gray. However, pearl millets are the most common type to be sold widely. Likewise, quinoa has a white, black, or red round appearance. It is slightly bigger than millets. Besides, it has a flattened or depressed band around the edges. 

  • Uses and pervasiveness

According to the Whole Grain Council, millet is nominated as among the sixth most important grain. Due to its nutritional benefits, millet is widely used in nations like India, China, Russia, and South America. 

Contrary to millet, quinoa appears typically in the meals of the American. It is often consumed as a side dish or added to cereals and crackers.  

  • Nutrition

That is the most significant difference between millets and quinoa: their amino acid profiles are not alike. Scientists state that while quinoa is a complete protein, millet is not. It is pretty hard to find a plant with a complete protein feature like quinoa. 

A complete protein is an exceptional substance necessary for the human body that can not be naturally created. 

Therefore, if you consider consuming millets, you should add other types of food to provide more proteins for your body, such as soy, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and so on. 

  • Preparation

While cooking quinoa is relatively easy, preparing millet is considered a confusing process. 

If you are an Asian familiar with cooking rice, then quinoa preparation would not be a significant problem. Apply similar steps you do with rice, and you can finish your quinoa within 15 minutes. 

Millet, on the other hand, requires you to put in more effort. So don’t misunderstand that cooking millet is hard. It just means that you need the experience to make it done successfully. 

Pay attention when cooking millet because if not, you may miss the remarkable extension of millets’ size, sometimes even up to 4 times. Indeed, you don’t want to taste a dry bowl of millet with no liquid at all. 

  • Price

When it comes to the pricing aspect, millet seems to be a more affordable choice compared with quinoa. It might cost you about $2 per pound, while quinoa charges approximately $8 for the same amount. 

How Much Millet Or Quinoa Is Safe To Consume? 

Although millet and quinoa are both beneficial food, it does not mean that you should eat them regularly or daily. Too much of anything is all bad. A similar case also applies to millet and quinoa. 

You have to control and balance the amount of food, nutrition you absorb. Tasting various grains, adding different vegetables, including fruits, would be the optimal solution for everyone. 

It is advisable that you consume Millet or Quinoa 4 or 5 times per week. For example, include millets in your breakfast like foxtail millet dosa, Jowar roti, bajra kheer, etc. Or else, if you prefer Quinoa, feel free to combine it with vegetables to create your favorite salads. 

You can refer to this link to find out 11 delicious recipes with millet. 

Millet Or Quinoa: Quick Summary 

As clearly described above, millet and quinoa move in tandem in terms of many factors, especially when it comes to the matter of health benefits. Though, many usually feel confused when deciding between millet vs quinoa. Here is the point:

  • If you need a quick and ready-to-eat meal, quinoa is a better option because it is easier and faster to prepare. 
  • In case you want to challenge yourself or serve your family with a surprising dish, try some recipes with the appearance of millet. 

Regardless of your choice, remember to: 

  • Start with a relatively small amount of these grains to make sure your body gets used to them. 
  • Prefer unpolished millet and quinoa over polished ones.
  • Wash these grains thoroughly to remove dirt, chemicals, if any, before preparing them. 
  • Not mix two or three types of grains in your meals. By doing this, you will damage your health, much less improve it. 

Does Millet Taste Like Quinoa? 

People usually mistake millet and quinoa due to their similar mild flavors and ability to absorb the taste of other food when served together. However, a food lover with a sensitive tongue can easily distinguish millet from quinoa because millet has a slightly nutty taste.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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