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. 

If you’d like to add even more flavor and nutrition to your Instant Pot Quinoa, you could cook it in bone broth instead of water. I love to make bone broth in either my slow cooker or instant pot. All you need is some leftover meat bones and veggie scraps. 

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. Just thaw the quinoa in the fridge overnight, or reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a tablespoon of water and covering the bowl or pan. It will take about a minute in the microwave. On the stove, heat on low until heated through. 

Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

Two bowls of perfect quinoa made in the Instant Pot.

How to Cook Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy quinoa, fluffy quinoa, instant pot quinoa, pressure cooker quinoa, quick quinoa
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.

Print

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa under cold running water until the water runs clear.
    Rinse quinoa.
  2. Spray the Instant Pot liner with cooking oil and add the rinsed quinoa (still damp), water and salt.
    Spray Instant Pot
  3. Lock the lid and set the steam valve to its “sealing” position. 

  4. 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. 

    Cook time for instant pot quinoa.
  5. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.

    Release pressure from instant pot.
  6. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve.

Recipe Video

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.

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.

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.

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

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

60 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

    1. Melissa


      Turned out just right! I’m still getting use to my instapot so this made it so easy! I have a question…ssometimes when I make quinoa I like to heat up this Palak paner (Indian creamed spinach) to put on top. I get it frozen from trader joes. This time I heated it up in the oven. Would there be a way to incorporate it into the instapot on top of the quinoa?

      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

  7. Alex


    So glad I found this instant pot recipe. I’ve been using the Trader Joe’s fully cooked quinoa that you throw in the microwave, which is great, but I got a HUGE bag of quinoa from Amazon awhile back and want to use that up, especially so I won’t have to keep buying from TJ . I’ll be adding broth to my quinoa and maybe some turmeric 🤔. Anyways, thanks again for this post

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So happy I could help Alex!

      Reply

  8. Jacquie

    I love the freezer tip. Could you tell me the best way to warm it up again?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Jacquie – I like to reheat in the microwave or stovetop. Just add a tablespoon of water and cover the bowl or pan. Microwave for a minute, or heat on low until warmed through. No need to thaw first, but you can if you’d like. Just put the quinoa in the fridge overnight. This is great when you’re making salads. You can also add the frozen quinoa right to soups or skillet meals. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  9. Sarah Wood

    Ours turned out mushy and awful. It was closer to mortar consistency.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hmmm… I’m not sure what could have happened Sarah 🙁

      Reply

      1. Laura

        I wonder, Sarah, if your quinoa was the golden Canadian variety like is now sold at Costco. I am having trouble with that type.

        Reply

  10. D

    When doing the natural pressure release, do you turn off the instant pot and wait 10 min? As as soon as its done, it goes onto the warm function as you know, so, would you turn it off, or keep it on the warm function and wait the 10 minutes? thanks

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi David – You can do either, but I believe that by turning it off completely, it will release its pressure a bit quicker.

      Reply

    2. Nina

      No it’s not the same. The kind you get from Costco you cook like pasta: boil 4 cups water, put in 1 cup quinoa and cook for 12-15 mins. Then drain.

      Reply

    3. Emily

      I find when doing rice or other starches it’s better to turn off he keep warm feature. If you forget about it the rice starts to cook to the bottom of the pot because of the heat.

      Reply

  11. Pam


    It worked great – thanks very much!

    Reply

  12. BJ


    This is a perfect recipe for cooking Quinoa, thanks! I tripled the recipe and it was awesome!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you liked it BJ!

      Reply

  13. Emily


    Such an easy go to recipe.
    I work 45+ hours a week an have no time/energy to cook daily. I meal prep this once or twice a week. I make various dishes with it. It is so versatile. Instead of water I use low sodium chicken broth for more flavor .

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I love that idea to add in some broth Emily!

      Reply

  14. Angel


    Delicious! I’m at high altitude, and it needed two minutes to be done. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  15. Kayla

    Used Canadian Quinoa and it turned out mushy 🙁

    Reply

  16. Alison


    Just made this to use tomorrow in Quinoa Breakfast Bowls and it turned out PERFECT! So much easier than making on the stovetop and less mess/sticking. Thank You!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m glad you liked it Alison! This is definitely my favorite way to make quinoa!

      Reply

  17. Matilda


    I used truRoots sprouted quinoa and also got very mushy quinoa. Not all the water had evaporated. For others who had this issue, I am pretty sure that simply reducing the amount of water would do the trick—some recipes recommend a 1:1 ratio of water to quinoa, and the Instant Pot recipe book that came free with my unit recommends a 1.25:1 ratio. So next time I will just reduce the water.

    Reply

  18. DRoo


    This was perfect! I followed your Instant Pot instructions, using 1 cup quinoa with 1.25 cup hot stock (didn’t need more salt). Delicious, fluffy & tasty. Thanks so much! I’ll be prepping my quinoa this way from now on!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m glad you liked it!

      Reply

  19. WP


    Recipe worked well – confusing that your nutritional breakdown table does not show serving size?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi – The nutritional information is for one serving. There are four servings total for this recipe.

      Reply

  20. Liz Brodfuehrer


    This was the very first recipe that I ever made in my new instant pot, and it turned out perfectly! I had to put the baby to bed after 8 minutes of natural pressure release, so I vented it and there was just a tiny bit of water in it, but it was cooked so well! I unplugged it and closed the lid, and when I came back an hour later to eat dinner it was perfect. Thanks for my first hit recipe!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad it worked out for you Liz!

      Reply

  21. Cyn


    Worked great with a quinoa, amaranth, millet blend I bought @ Costco. Thanks!

    Reply

  22. Kylie


    Perfect every time! I substitute chicken broth for the water and add a bit of Galic or rosemary depending on what I’m making with it. Thank you!

    Reply

  23. Sascha


    I didn’t have spray so I poured in about a teaspoon of olive oil instead and it turned out perfectly. Thank you for this recipe. So much quicker than the traditional over the stove method, which is so necessary for me with 3 kids aged 4 and under. ☺️☺️☺️

    Reply

  24. Charley


    Turned out perfect. Very simple.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad it worked for you Charley!

      Reply

  25. Tricia T-B

    If I double the recipe is it still one minute of pressure cooking?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Tricia – Yep, cook time is still the same!

      Reply

  26. Jessica Wilkin


    Thank you! My quinoa came out perfect!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that. Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply

  27. Olga

    I also toast my quinoa directly in IP with some butter or oil to.give it an extra layer of flavor

    Reply

  28. Johannah Ridley


    PERFECTION!!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Yay! I’m so happy it worked perfectly for you!

      Reply

  29. Patricia Esparza


    Perfect quinoa, thank you for the recipe

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you liked it Patricia!

      Reply

  30. Lisa Leonard


    I’ve made this recipe multiple times now and it has been perfect each time! Thank you! Now I’m off to check out your other IP recipes 🙂

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that Lisa! Thank you for stopping by!!!

      Reply

  31. Andreea


    Absolutely brilliant 😊 I did not know the little tricks with rincing, salt, oil 😊 I used about 1 cup quinoa and only a bit over 1 cup water. Delicious and fluffy 🤗 Thank you

    Reply

  32. Erin

    Do you need to adjust the time at all if you’re making more than 1 cup of quinoa? Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Erin – Nope. Cooking time remains the same.

      Reply

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