Simple Instant Pot Quinoa

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If you love quinoa, there’s no easier way to make it than in the Instant Pot. In just a few minutes, it’s perfectly tender and fluffy, ready to be put into a bowl with your favorite toppings.

» You might also like Easy Instant Pot Black Beans(No Soak Necessary) and Easy Instant Pot Barley.

Quinoa in a bowl

» Check out our Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet so you never have to look up times again for your favorite foods you make in the pressure cooker. Print or bookmark it so you always have it handy!

The Instant Pot method for making quinoa is absolutely fool proof. This popular seed turns out fluffy and pretty much perfect, without the need for soaking or cooking for a long time on the stove.

If you haven’t cooked your quinoa this way, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I’m not kidding when I say it’s the fastest, easiest way to make perfect quinoa every time. In fact, it takes just 2 minutes of cook time.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) is a seed that is popular in many vegetarian dishes. It’s high in fiber and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a good option for vegetarians and vegans. There are three main types of quinoa : white, black, and red.

dry quinoa

Although many people think of quinoa as a grain, it’s not actually. But it does cook similarly to a grain and it has a similar texture and consistency to barley or rice. It’s become a really popular choice for things like bowls and stir fries that were usually made with rice.

Quinoa is naturally gluten free and you can easily find organic brands. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. One serving has calcium, iron, and six grams of protein. It’s also a good replacement for rice when you need a lower glycemic alternative.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for quinoa
  • Quinoa You can cook any type of quinoa you want with this recipe: white, black or red. I like to use a blend.
  • Water – You can also use broth, but it doesn’t add a lot more flavor.
  • Salt – A little bit of salt will add great flavor to your quinoa.

What to Know Before You Start

There are three things to keep in mind:

  • Rinse = Be sure to rinse the quinoa to remove bitterness on the outside of the quinoa, caused by natural saponins.
  • Water to Seed Ratio = You need 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts water
  • Cook Time = 2 minutes (go with 1 for more firm, and 3 for super tender)
  • Release = 10 minute natural release then release any remaining pressure
rinsing the quinoa

How to Make Instant Pot Quinoa

There’s very little to this recipe. It’s going to be the fastest, easiest thing you’ve ever made in your Instant Pot… maybe even easier than rice.

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander for 30 seconds. 
  2. Combine the quinoa, water, and salt in the Instant Pot. Stir to keep it from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Lock on the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure. Open the lid, stir to fluff, and serve.
cooked quinoa in the Instant Pot

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

Additional Notes & Tips

  • We think that cooking for 2 minutes is perfect. However, everyone’s preferences are different. If you like slightly firmer quinoa, cook for 0 to 1 minute. Some Instant Pots don’t allow for zero minutes, but one is very similar outcome. For softer quinoa, cook for 3 minutes.
  • Make sure you let out remaining pressure and unlock the lid after 10 minutes or the quinoa can become soggy and overcooked.
  • You can use water or vegetable or chicken broth for more flavor. Use low-sodium broth or don’t add extra salt.
a scoop of quinoa from the Instant Pot

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to rinse quinoa?

Quinoa has a protective coating called saponin that tastes bitter. Rinsing helps remove this bitterness. You just need to run it under water for about 30 seconds. However, some packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed, so you’ll want to check the package to see if it requires rinsing or not.

Quinoa in a bowl

How do I store left over quinoa?

It’s easy to store any left overs you might have. That’s great news because you can make a large batch once and use it for many different meals, or for meal prep for lunches. To store, just allow it to cool completely then put it in an air tight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Do I need to toast the quinoa first?

Some recipes will call for you to lightly toast the seeds in a pan with light oil for a few minutes to give it extra roasty nutty flavors. This is certainly something you can do, but it’s not at all necessary.

Instant Pot Pro Plus

Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.

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Quinoa in a bowl

Simple Instant Pot Quinoa

If you love quinoa, there's no easier way to make it than in the Instant Pot. In just a few minutes, it's perfectly tender and fluffy, ready to be put into a bowl with your favorite toppings.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

5 from 29 votes
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 2 mins
Pressurize Time 15 mins
Total Time 18 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 156 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander for 30 seconds.
  • Combine the quinoa, water, and salt in the Instant Pot. Stir to keep it from sticking to the bottom.
  • Lock on the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure. Open the lid, stir to fluff, and serve.

Notes

  • For slightly firmer quinoa, cook for 1 minute. For softer quinoa, cook for 3 minutes.
  • You can use water or vegetable or chicken broth for more flavor. Use low-sodium broth or don’t add extra salt.

Nutrition

Calories: 156kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 152mgPotassium: 239mgFiber: 3gVitamin A: 6IUCalcium: 23mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Quinoa
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