How to Cook Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot

Two bowls of perfect quinoa made in the Instant Pot.

With these easy tips, you’ll see it’s simple to cook perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot with minimal measuring. The result is fluffy and flavorful quinoa that’s super simple to prepare.

In the past, I’ve shared with you my method for making perfect rice in the Instant Pot, but today I thought I’d let you know how I’ve adapted those same principles for making the perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot.

Here’s the key points to making Instant Pot perfect quinoa: 

  1. Use less water – There’s less evaporation with the Instant Pot, so we need to account for this.
  2. Rinse your quinoa – It gets rid of any bitterness.
  3. Spray the Instant Pot with oil – It cuts down on foaming and prevents sticking.
  4. Add a pinch of salt to flavor your quinoa right from the get go.

With these easy tips, you’ll see it’s simple to cook perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot with minimal measuring. The result is fluffy and flavorful quinoa that’s super simple to prepare.

This recipe for Instant Pot perfect quinoa is simple, but there are a couple changes from how you would make quinoa on the stovetop. First is the water ratio – While I generally use 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water for my stove top quinoa, in the Instant Pot, that ratio drops down to only 1 ½ cups of water for every cup of quinoa. The reason for the reduced water is that the Instant Pot is more “sealed” than a traditional cooking pot, meaning less evaporation of water during the cooking process.

One step that may seem trivial, but that you definitely should not skip is rinsing your quinoa before placing it into the Instant Pot. This gets rid of the quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. And although boxed quinoa is generally pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse. Just place it in a fine mesh strainer and run it under water until the water is clear.

Before adding the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot, I like to spray the liner with a bit of cooking spray. This not only prevents the quinoa from sticking to the pot, but it also cuts down on the foaming a bit so that your Instant Pot doesn’t sputter and spit.

And the final detail? Just like with my Instant Pot perfect rice, I always add in a pinch of salt for each cup of quinoa that I’m cooking, to flavor it right from the get-go. This quinoa takes just 1 minute to cook in the Instant Pot on high pressure. Although, you’ll also need to account for the time it takes for the pressure to build (about 5 minutes) and release (10 minutes), so in total, you’re looking at about 20 minutes start-to-finish. 

The result is Instant Pot perfect quinoa that’s never mushy, and always flavorful.  

You can make as little or as much Instant Pot quinoa as you’d like. I’ll often double or triple the recipe and then just portion the quinoa into freezer bags to have on hand for when I’m needing some cooked quinoa – especially handy when I get a craving for these Blueberry & White Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Cookies.

Two bowls of perfect quinoa made in the Instant Pot.

How to Cook Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 1 minute
Pressure build and release time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 156 kcal
Author: Erin

With these easy tips, you’ll see it’s simple to cook perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot with minimal measuring. The result is fluffy and flavorful quinoa that’s super simple to prepare.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Spray the Instant Pot liner with cooking oil and add the rinsed quinoa (still damp), water and salt.
  3. Lock the lid and set the steam valve to its “sealing” position. Select the “MANUAL” button and cook for 1 minute on high pressure. It will take about 5 minutes for the pressure to build, then the countdown timer will start.  Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve.

Recipe Notes

Leftover quinoa keeps well, refrigerated, for 4 to 5 days. Make sure it has cooled to room temperature before covering and chilling. You can also portion the quinoa into freezer bags and freeze the quinoa until you’re ready for it.

If this Instant Pot Quinoa turned out perfect for you I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot
Amount Per Serving
Calories 156 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Potassium 239mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 27g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 6g 12%
Calcium 2.3%
Iron 10.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Be sure to check out all my Instant Pot recipes here.

Two bowls of perfect quinoa made in the Instant Pot.

Looking for ways to use that Instant Pot perfect quinoa? Here are some great recipes to try:

Chicken Gyro Quinoa Bowls

Quinoa Taco Bowls with Guacamole

Blueberry & White Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

Southwest Beef & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

11 comments

  1. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    I love cooking quinoa in my Instant Pot, and have plans to do so a couple of times this week! So quick and easy! Love your reminder tip about the salt – so true!

    Reply

  2. melissa slate

    we love making a big pot of grains at the beginning of the week to add to salads or for quick & easy sides at dinner! i never would have thought about the cooking spray, that will make for MUCH easier cleaning! thanks for the tip!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad I could help Melissa!

      Reply

  3. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

    You’re right that rinsing is clutch for good-tasting quinoa, though I’ve found almost all brands now pre-rinse for you. I like to cook mine with a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon, which gives it a delicious flavor!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I definitely need to test out cooking in stock instead of just plain water next time!

      Reply

  4. Breona

    Two of my favorite things…instant gratification and quinoa. I love this. Not eating meat, I eat a lot of quinoa. This is a great convenient way to whip it up quick. Thank you for sharing!
    -Bre

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Of course – I hope you enjoy the recipe Breona! This is definitely my new favorite way to prepare Quinoa… By far!

      Reply

  5. CJ

    I’ve almost always cooked my quinoa in my rice cooker, so when I traded up for an instant pot, I found this protocol. I’m cooking it right now. I do something called jeweled quinoa, where I put in some craisins/dried cherries, walnuts, saffron and cook in broth. Hopefully this will work with my additions.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      That sounds delicious CJ – How did it turn out?

      Reply

  6. Kim

    I loved the quinoa and I used to live in the Portland area as well. Now I am in Southeastern WA about an hour from Walla Walla and near some good wine :). Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So jealous Kim! I absolutely LOVE Walla Walla! We visit at least a couple times a year and are definitely due for a trip up that way soon!

      Reply

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