Instant Pot Quinoa is not only light and fluffy, it is the perfect addition to almost any meal. In this foolproof method, you only need water, a pressure cooker, and 1 minute – there is no soaking and no clumping! Try this quick and easy side dish any night of the week.

Fluffy quinoa that was cooked in an Instant Pot in a wooden bowl.

Did you know it is SO easy to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot?

You can literally pop all of your ingredients into the pressure cooker, set it, and forget it!

Before you know it you’ll have soft, fluffy, and tender quinoa that is perfectly cooked.

And it’s ready in a fraction of the time when compared to a rice cooker or stovetop method!

A bowl full of tri-color quinoa with a spoon in it.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain, or pseudo-cereal, that is technically a seed that is prepared like a grain.

It is full of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, and minerals.

Quinoa is pronounced KEEHN-WHAH and is a member of the amaranth family of herbaceous plants.

It comes in a variety of colors and flavors from red, white, black, or even tri-color quinoa.

You can serve it in place of rice in these Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, mix it with vegetables in a Mexican Quinoa Salad, form it into Black Bean Quinoa Burgers, or make a full meal out of it in this Sausage & Sweet Potato Quinoa.

Want other easy Instant Pot recipes?  You might also enjoy this Instant Pot Basmati Rice or this Instant Pot Mexican Rice.

Ingredients

Making quinoa in the Instant Pot couldn’t be any easier.  You literally only NEED 2 ingredients, and there are two more ingredients that are completely optional.

  • Quinoa. There are quite a few varieties that you can cook, from white, red, or black or even tri-color.  They all cook at very similar rates and will come out super fluffy and tender when cooked in the Instant Pot!
    • White quinoa is the most commonly found at stores.  It is slightly less bitter and has a milder taste making it a good option when mixing it into dishes with bolder flavors.
    • Black and red quinoa are a bit chewier and have a nuttier flavor.  They’re a great option when making salads where you want the quinoa to hold its shape.
    • And if you can’t make up your mind, tri-color quinoa is a blend of white, black, and red quinoa that has the best of all worlds!
  • Water. Yup, plain from the tap is perfect. Water will add no taste. You can also get a little fancy and sub vegetable or chicken broth for extra flavor if the quinoa will be served as a stand-alone dish.  (Just make sure you adjust how much salt you add accordingly!)
  • Butter – This is not traditional, but it does add a bit of flavor. I tend to add butter or oil to EVERY single type of grain I cook. It helps to keep the individual grains separated while cooking and gives them a ton of flavor. If you are dairy-free or vegan, feel free to use a vegan buttery stick or olive oil instead.
  • Salt – This is optional and it won’t take much to season.  I prefer my quinoa on the saltier side and use about ½ teaspoon per cup of dried quinoa that is being cooked. 

How to Cook Quinoa in Instant Pot

The basic steps to make Instant Pot Quinoa are simple to follow. See the recipe card for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Rinse Quinoa

Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for 1 minute, or until liquid almost runs clear.

The process of rinsing quinoa helps to remove an outer layer made of saponins.  This external coating is what protects the seed while growing from predators but also makes it quite bitter to eat if left intact.

While most store-bought quinoa has already been pre-rinsed before packaging, it never hurts to give it a second washing.

A fine mesh strainer with quinoa that has been rinsed with water.

Add to Cooker

Combine quinoa, water or broth, butter or oil, and salt in a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and move the pressure release valve to the sealed position.

Set the timer for 1 minute on high pressure. (It will take about 5-10 minutes to fully pressurize.)

Water being poured into an Instant Pot full of quinoa.

Fluff the Quinoa

Let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes once the timer goes off. Then, move the pressure release handle to the venting position to let any remaining steam escape.  Open the lid once the float valve goes down. 

Fluff up the quinoa using a fork or a spatula and serve immediately.

Meal Prep & Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: If using in a salad or as a filling, cooked quinoa can made up to 2-3 days before you need it.
  • To Store: Cooked quinoa will store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place quinoa in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.
  • To Reheat: You can use the microwave in 30-second intervals or in a skillet on the stovetop on medium heat until warmed through.
A 1 cup measuring cup that is full of red, white, and black dry quinoa to show the ratio with water.

FAQs

What is the quinoa to water ratio?

When cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot you will want to use a 2:3 ratio of quinoa to water.
Since not much liquid gets evaporated off while pressure cooking quinoa, you can use slightly less water than you typically would if cooking on the stovetop or rice cooker. Tip: make sure you adjust the amount of liquid you use if you are unable to completely drain your quinoa after rinsing.

Is it necessary to soak quinia before cooking?

No! You do not need to soak quinoa before cooking. In fact, this extra step will make the end product soggy.

How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup of dry make?

One cup of dry quinoa will yield 3 cups of cooked.

Should I rinse quinoa before cooking?

You should always rinse quinoa before cooking. This step removes saponin from the external coating, which can create a bitter flavor.

Cooked quinoa in a serving bowl next to a spoon.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Choose wisely. Choose the type of quinoa based on its flavor and what you will use it for.
  • Rinse well. Clean the quinoa until the water runs clear to avoid a bitter taste.
  • Add butter. This adds flavor and keeps the seeds from sticking together.
  • Natural release. Allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for 10 minutes first.
  • Fluff it up. Immediately use a fork or spatula to mix up the cooked quinoa to prevent clumping.

More Instant Pot Recipes

Try any of these tasty and time-saving Instant Pot recipes:

Instant Pot Rice

Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs

Sushi Rice (Instant Pot Version!)

Delicious Quinoa Recipes

Use this versatile Instant Pot Quinoa in any of these recipes:

Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Avocado BLT Quinoa Salad

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger

Healthy Mexican Quinoa Salad

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

Instant Pot Quinoa is not only light and fluffy, it is the perfect addition to almost any meal. In this foolproof method, you only need water, a pressure cooker, and 1 minute, there is no soaking and no clumping!
Yield 6 servings
Prep 4 minutes
Cook 16 minutes
Total 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup quinoa tri-color or white
  • 1 ½ cups water or broth
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. salt to taste

Instructions 

  • Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold water for 1 minute, or until liquid almost runs clear.
  • Add quinoa, water or broth, butter or oil, and salt to a 6-quart Instant Pot.
  • Cover Instant Pot with the lid and move the pressure release valve to sealed.
  • Set the timer for 1 minute on high pressure. (It will take the pressure cooker about 5-10 minutes to fully pressurize.)
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes once the timer goes off.
  • Move the pressure release handle to the venting position to let any remaining steam escape. Open the lid once the float valve goes down.
  • Fluff up the quinoa using a fork and serve immediately.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Notes

Meal Prep & Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: If using for in a salad or as a filling, cooked quinoa can made up to 2-3 days before you need it.
  • To Store: Cooked quinoa will store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place quinoa in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.
  • To Reheat: You can use the microwave in 30-second intervals or in a skillet on the stovetop on medium heat until warmed through.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 84mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 2g, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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