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Difference Between Millet and Quinoa

Millets vs Quinoa

One of the healthiest foods in the world, millet is used as both human and animal food. Millet is available in a variety of types, with the most well-liked ones being proso, pearl, foxtail, and finger millet. More people grow millet throughout Asia and Africa.

A member of the Amaranth family of flowering plants, quinoa is a seed. For those with gluten intolerance, rice should be substituted with this because its seeds are gluten-free. Both of them are simple to make and may easily be incorporated into a variety of recipes, from salads to main courses.

You will learn why you need both of these wonderful cereals in your kitchen rather than just one by examining the nutritional content and benefits of each grain. We shall discuss the difference between millet and quinoa and their nutrients as well as a few of their attributes in this article.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa, an ancient South American grain, is a superfood with numerous health benefits and is now considered a specialty food by foodies and health-conscious individuals. It is rich in nutrients, fiber, protein, and plant compounds.

Quinoa, the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, is a high-nutrient, health-promoting grain that was first grown for food 7,000 years ago in the Andes. It was sacred to the Incas, who referred to it as “the mother grain.” Although grown worldwide, most are still produced in Bolivia and Peru. Quinoa gained popularity due to its high nutrient content, health benefits, and ease of cultivation in various conditions. In 2013, the UN named 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa” to promote its potential to combat hunger and encourage gluten-free consumption for those with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or those who avoid gluten.

Types of Quinoa:

Quinoa has over 3,000 varieties, with red, black, and white being the most widely grown. A tricolor variety is a mixture of all three. Quinoa can be rolled into flakes or flour for cooking and baking. The most widely consumed type of quinoa is the white one. Interestingly, different types of quinoa have varying nutrient contents.

A study examining red, black, and white quinoa found that black quinoa has the highest omega-3 fatty acid and carotenoid content, while red and black quinoa have nearly twice the vitamin E content. The antioxidant content of each type was also analyzed, with darker colors having higher antioxidant capacity.

What is Millet?

The two continents where millet is most often consumed are Asia and South America. It takes some getting used to when learning how to cook this whole grain, but it’s a great source of fiber for meals. Although millet may triple in size during cooking, be sure to use a large enough pot. Millet comes in a variety of shapes and cooks most similarly to rice.

Types of Millets:

The term “millet” is used to refer to a variety of small-grained cereal-type grasses. Although millet is not a member of a particular plant species, it does have several traits in common.

There are two types of millets: Major Millets and Minor Millets.

The major ones are Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), and Finger Millet (Ragi), and the minor millets constitute Foxtail Millet (Kangni), Barnyard Millet (Sanwa), Proso Millet (broomcorn millet), Little Millet (Kutki/Sama), and Kodo Millet (Kodra).

Millet and Quinoa: Whole Grains

Both millet and quinoa are whole grains since they include the full-grain kernel. However, quinoa is technically a pseudocereal, meaning it is a seed harvested from goosefoot, a plant known for its fiber, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Quinoa is a pseudocereal, meaning it is more closely related to other plants like spinach and beets than traditional grains like wheat. Achieving whole grain status means that 100% of the bran, germ, and endosperm are retained by the grain during the hulling process. Quinoa’s unique characteristics make it a unique and nutritious alternative to traditional grains like wheat.

Health Benefits of Millet and Quinoa

Millet and Quinoa offer numerous health benefits, including controlling blood sugar levels, providing soluble fiber, and being gluten-free. Millet is high in fiber, which slows digestion, making it an ideal meal for people with type II diabetes. Quinoa is a rich source of soluble fiber, which lowers fatty acids and triglycerides in the bloodstream and reduces cholesterol levels. Both cereals have a higher protein content, making them ideal for weight-loss diets. Millet and Quinoa have fewer calories compared to rice, corn, and whole wheat, ensuring that you don’t exceed your recommended daily calorie intake.

Quinoa contains flavonoids and antioxidants which are highly effective in fighting cancer and other age-related health conditions. Additionally, quinoa contains potassium, which helps maintain a regular heartbeat and protects the DNA. Overall, both millet and quinoa offer numerous health benefits for individuals seeking to maintain a healthy diet.

Difference Between Millet and Quinoa: Nutritional Comparison

Millet vs Quinoa: What are they?

Quinoa is made up of the small seeds of the tall grass Chenopodium quinoa. Millets are a type of cereal that is consumed annually in warmer regions.

Millet vs Quinoa: Taste

When cooked, quinoa has a flavor similar to that of brown rice or oats and a creamy texture whereas millets have a mildly nutty flavor, which roasting enhances.

Millet vs Quinoa: Appearance

The round quinoa grain is available in white, black, and red colors. Millet are circular and smaller; they come in white, green, yellow, red, and brown colors.

Millet vs Quinoa: Price

Quinoa is more expensive than millet. Millets are reasonably priced.

Millet vs Quinoa: Nutrition

Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids. Millet is not a complete protein since it lacks the essential amino acid lysine.

Millet and Quinoa: Cooking Process

There is a difference between millet and quinoa in terms of their cooking techniques, particularly due to their sizes. Quinoa can be prepared in the same manner as rice and takes around 15 minutes to complete. But cooking millet is far more difficult. Millet is not very difficult to cook, although it does take some getting used to. Millet is a grain since it may practically triple in size while it cooks. It will punish you with a grittier, drier, and pastier pot of food if you starve it of fluids. Nevertheless, if you correctly hydrate it, you’ll end up with a dish of fluffy grains that have a consistency similar to mashed potatoes and spaghetti. Millet and Quinoa can be added to salads and other dishes, or they can be eaten as a main dish or a side dish in place of rice.

Difference Between Millet and Quinoa: Flavor

Millet and Quinoa often have mild flavors when served, absorbing the flavors of the foods around them. Nonetheless, millet does have a slightly nutty flavor. It is apparent that millet and quinoa are both incredibly healthy grains with special qualities and advantages. Quinoa may be your go-to food if you need something quick and simple and are in a hurry. But, millet should be given a try if you’re looking for a different culinary experience. Who knows? It could end up being a standard in your kitchen like it is in many others across the globe.

Nutritional Comparison: Millet and Quinoa

Both millet and quinoa are loaded with nutrients and have a number of health advantages. There is a difference between millet and quinoa in their nutritional composition, though.


Quinoa has all nine essential amino acids, making it richer in protein than millet. Quinoa is a great option for vegetarians and vegans since it is a full protein source. While millets are a rich source of protein, they don’t include all the necessary amino acids.

Fiber: Both millet and quinoa are rich in fiber, which is necessary for preserving a healthy digestive system and avoiding constipation.


Millets are an excellent source of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Finger millet (ragi), which has 10 times more calcium than other cereal grains, is particularly high in calcium. The minerals iron, magnesium, and calcium are all abundant in quinoa.

Glycemic Index:

Low glycemic index foods like millets release sugar into the circulation gradually, reducing sharp rises in blood sugar levels. They are therefore a fantastic option for folks who have diabetes or want to control their blood sugar levels. Quinoa is a fantastic option for diabetics because it also has a low glycemic index.

Environmental Effects: Millet and Quinoa

The difference between millet and quinoa on environmental effects are quite noticeable. Compared to other grains, millets are a sustainable crop that needs less water and fertilizer. They are a more conventional and traditional choice because they are also indigenous to India and have been grown there for thousands of years. Therefore, millets have less of an impact on the environment than quinoa, which is one of their benefits.

On the other hand, quinoa, a South American native, has grown in popularity recently. Farmers are rushing to find more areas to plant as quinoa demand soars in order to profit from increased pricing. Older, more sustainable agricultural practices are being pushed out, which has a negative impact on soil fertility and the ecosystem.

Cultural and Traditional Use: Millet and Quinoa

Millet and Quinoa are both nutritious and staple foods for many tribes in India, representing their identity, way of life, and traditions. Millets have been a staple food for generations, and their cultivation has been a part of their cultural heritage. The Khasi tribe in Meghalaya uses millet for kyat, a traditional alcoholic beverage. It has been a part of the Khasi tribe’s culture for generations. The Gonds in Central India have been growing pearl millet for centuries, using it to make various dishes.

Millets have been a staple food for tribal communities in Koraput, a district in the southern part of the Indian state of Odisha, for centuries. They are an essential ingredient in their festivals, religious ceremonies, and celebrations, and have also been a source of income for them. However, millet cultivation has declined due to modern agricultural practices and cash crops like paddy. The Government of Odisha initiated the Odisha Millets Mission in 2017 to revive millets in farms and on plates, addressing this issue.

Can You Substitute Millet for Quinoa?

Millet and quinoa share similar dietary profiles, but they contain anti-nutrient compounds. You need to be aware of one aspect of both foods, though. They both include small amounts of substances referred to as anti-nutrients.

Millet contains Phytic acid, which can block mineral absorption, while quinoa contains Phytates and oxalates, which reduce iron and zinc uptake and may cause kidney stones formation.

Soaking quinoa millet before cooking is the greatest approach to counter these anti-nutrients. Also, you can thoroughly rinse the quinoa and millet seeds in water before cooking them.

As for millets, due to its variety it can be consumed in various different ways. Millet food products like Dosas and Idlis can be made using jowar idli rava, Jowar dalia or multi millet idli rava.


Now that we know the difference between millet and quinoa. To conclude, both millet and quinoa offer health benefits and are great alternatives to rice and wheat. Millets are a sustainable and local crop with low environmental impact, making them more affordable than quinoa. Supporting millets is crucial for supporting sustainable farming practices and preserving the rich heritage of these communities.


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