The invention relates to a process for commercial extraction of saponins from quinoa, and optionally for the formation of corresponding sapogenins. The saponin extraction process comprises contacting a saponin-containing part of a quinoa plant (e.g. quinoa bran or seeds) with an aqueous alcohol solution containing an alcohol selected from methanol and ethanol to form a saponin-containing solution and an extracted solid residue, removing the alcohol from the saponin-containing solution to leave a saponin-containing aqueous solution, and evaporating water from the saponin-containing aqueous solution to produce a saponin-containing product. The conversion to sapogenins involves obtaining a solution of saponins in an aqueous alcohol, adding a strong acid to the solution to hydrolyze the saponins to form corresponding sapogenins that precipitate out of the solution as a precipitate, recovering the precipitate, and decolorizing the precipitate by forming a slurry of the precipitate with a solution of an aqueous base to form a decolorized sapogenin product. The processes of the invention permit efficient saponin extraction, and sapogenin production, on a commercial scale using inexpensive materials and techniques.