How to Cook Quinoa in an Instant Pot

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Make perfectly fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa with this simple step-by-step how-to guide. You’ll never make grains on the stovetop again!

A white and dark brown bowl sitting on a white stone plate. The bowl is filled with tri-color quinoa that is cooked up nice and fluffy, garnished with green parsley. On the left of the plate is a small wooden spoon.

Making grains like quinoa in the Instant Pot is foolproof, mess-free, and hands-free. Once you try it, you won’t go back to the stovetop method!

In our house, we cook all grains in the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker because it’s so easy and reliable. If you love the nutty flavor of quinoa, this will be your go-to recipe from here on out!

This is the best way to cook quinoa without having to watch a pot on the stove. It works every time, just like our recipes for How to Make White Rice in the Instant Pot and How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot.

Ingredients needed to make quinoa, from left to right: a glass measuring cup filled with water, a brown wooden bowl filled with tri-color quinoa, and a metal silver teaspoon filled with salt

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED

You can add your favorite flavorings to the cooked quinoa, but for a simple grain side dish, all you need is:

  • Quinoa. Choose pre-washed quinoa to save a step of prep work. (Most of them are already prewashed.) Any color will work for this recipe. 
  • Salt. Add a pinch to your grains before they’re cooked to infuse them with flavor. 

How to Make Quinoa in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Start making your quinoa by placing a cup of water in the pressure cooking pot, along with a trivet. Then combine the quinoa, a second cup of water, and the salt in a 7-inch round cake pan that will fit inside your Instant Pot. 

Use a sling to carefully lower the pot of quinoa onto the trivet, then push the sling inside the pot so it doesn’t interfere with the lid closing. Lock the lid on the pot and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. 

Remove the lid, use the sling to retrieve the pot of cooked quinoa, and fluff the grains with a fork. Enjoy! 

An overhead shot of a white bowl filled with quinoa with a wooden spoon on the side.

Important Tips for Making Quinoa in an Instant Pot

  • It’s important to thoroughly wash your quinoa before cooking. The grains are covered in a bitter substance called saponin, which protects the raw grains from being eaten by birds. But it also tastes bad to humans, so you’ll want to be sure to give your quina a good bath. 
  • You can also find prewashed quinoa at the grocery store, which is slightly more expensive, but worth it for the convenience of skipping a step. 
  • Adding salt to the grains before they’re cooked will season them from the inside out, resulting in more flavorful quinoa than if you added salt after cooking (of course, you can always season the side dish further if you like). 
  • You can cook your quinoa in broth or a combination of broth and water to add even more flavor. 
  • If you want to emphasize the nutty flavor of the grains, you can toast them in a thin layer of oil using the Saute feature on your instant pot before cooking the quinoa according to the recipe. 
  • It’s important to measure both the quinoa and water for this recipe. Too much water, and your quinoa will become mushy. Too little, and it may burn. 

Quinoa makes a great substitute for rice! We love to serve it with Greek Pork and we’ll add a little lemon to it. We’ll also serve it with a whole chicken and salad and add a splash of the salad dressing to the quinoa when we serve it.

A vertical shot taken head on of a small bowl filled with a heaping serving of quinoa

Frequently Asked Questions about Instant Pot Quinoa

What is quinoa?

Quinoa is usually referred to as a grain, but technically it’s a seed or cereal. It’s a high-protein, hardy seed native to South America. It’s a staple in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Quinoa also contains all of the essential amino acids humans need, making it an especially healthy option. 

Are there different kinds of quinoa?

You’ll find a few different varieties of quinoa at the grocery store. Typically red, white, and black, and sometimes a mix of the three (called tri-color). This recipe works with any kind of quinoa. White is the most common and most mild-tasting, while red is nuttier and has a bit more texture to the grains. Black quinoa is the hardiest and can take a bit longer to cook if you want a truly soft texture. 

How should I store quinoa?

Store cooked leftover quinoa in the fridge for up to four days. You can freeze the cooked grains for up to six months.

How should I serve quinoa?

You can replace rice with quinoa in any recipe, add it to a green salad for extra protein and heft, fold it into burritos or tacos, or make grain bowls with any toppings you like. We even like to serve quinoa for breakfast with this breakfast quinoa recipe that’s creamy and sweet

A scoop of quinoa suspended on a wooden spoon in front of an Instant Pot

MORE Instant Pot Grain Recipes

We love making grains in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, starting with these healthy recipes:


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How to Make Quinoa | Instant Pot recipe

Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Learn the best way to make quinoa in an Instant Pot for a healthy whole grain side dish that’s fluffy, nutty, and cooks in just four minutes. 
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa well rinsed and drained (we used Bob’s Red Mill Tri Color)
  • 2 cups water divided*
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker pot and place a trivet in the cooking pot.
  • In a 7-inch cake pan, add quinoa, 1 cup of water, and salt. Using a sling, lower to the pan onto the trivet. Lock lid in place and 4 minute cook time.
  • When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before finishing with a quick pressure release.
  • Carefully remove the lid. Using the sling, remove the pan from the pressure cooking pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Serve immediately.

Notes

* You can substitute the 1 cup of water that is added to the quinoa with any clear liquid, and add additional seasonings directly to the pan as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 268mg | Fiber: 1g

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