Learn how to make easy Instant Pot quinoa. You will love this nearly hands-off method of cooking quinoa if you’re a pressure cooker user. Try it today! 

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Quinoa is so nutritious and a pressure cooker is an easy way to prepare it. Make a double batch so you can always have it on hand, ready to use.

How long it takes: 22 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Instant Pot pressure cooker
Servings: 6

Fluffy instant pot quinoa in a round white bowl.
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If you guys haven’t made quinoa in your Instant Pot, now is the time.

Quinoa is nutritious. Quinoa is a good source of plant-based protein and is naturally gluten-free. Quinoa is considered by some to be a “superfood”. It’s more nutritious than rice and can be flavored in many of the same ways (be sure to try the cilantro lime variation on the recipe card!), making it a perfect choice for a side dish.

Stretch your meat dollars by adding quinoa. Quinoa and chicken are combined in green chile chicken quinoa casserole. We love these stuffed peppers with chicken and quinoa. Quinoa is a meat substitute in vegetarian chili or my vegan Bolognese sauce.

Uncooked quinoa in a bowl.

About Instant Pot Quinoa

This is a basic how-to recipe. You can easily double the amount of quinoa and water, making plenty to put in the freezer to use later (learn how to freeze quinoa here).

Cooked quinoa can be added to lots of favorite dishes. Boost the protein and fiber in many of your recipes by adding quinoa. Making Instant Pot quinoa is a great way to have quinoa on hand for quinoa pancakes, breakfast quinoa (similar to oatmeal), quinoa muffins, quinoa salads, quinoa bowls, and more. Try this quinoa salad with Brussels sprouts and pepitas or quinoa chickpea salad with blackberries. So good!

Should I Toast Quinoa?

Toasting the quinoa before cooking it adds a nutty flavor that you may enjoy. You can also add uncooked toasted quinoa to salads, breakfast cereals, or roasted vegetables to add a bit of crunch and protein. Keep reading to learn how to toast quinoa.

Ingredient Notes

All you really need for this recipe is uncooked quinoa, water, and salt. Any type of quinoa will work (red, white, black, or tricolor). If you’d like, try using broth instead of water for a flavor boost. If you use broth, you may want to decrease or omit the salt.

Check out the recipe card for more variations on this recipe!

Ingredients needed for recipe.

How to Make Quinoa In an Instant Pot

It’s so easy! Here are the simplified steps, but as always, scroll down for the complete printable recipe.

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Some brands of quinoa are pre-rinsed. The package should state if it’s pre-rinsed; if not, assume that you’ll need to rinse it.

Quinoa being rinsed.

Coo. If desired, spray the inside of the Instant Pot lightly with nonstick spray. Place quinoa in the Instant Pot insert and add salt, and water or broth; stir to combine.

Cook one minute. Turn valve to seal and set the pressure cooker for Pressure Cook for one minute (or Manual, High). It will take approximately 6 minutes for the pressure cooker to come to pressure.

Instant pot set for 1 minute.

Natural release for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure and carefully remove lid.

Serve. Fluff quinoa with a fork, season as desired, and serve!

Quinoa being fluffed with a fork.

Is quinoa a protein or a carb?

Quinoa is a seed and is considered a whole grain. It is a carb that contains fairly high amount of protein and has a low glycemic index. It is one of the few grains that has all nine essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein (Healthline).

How long do I cook quinoa in an Instant Pot?

Only 1 minute! Of course, if you’ve used the Instant Pot before, you know there’s a little more to the story than that. It does take time for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and with this recipe, you’re also going to let it naturally release for ten minutes.

How much does 1 cup of dry quinoa make?

1 cup of dry quinoa will make about three cups of cooked quinoa. If you double this recipe, use 2 cups of dry quinoa to make about 6 cups of cooked quinoa.

Do you need to wash quinoa before cooking?

Different brands of quinoa have different recommendations but I recommend giving it a quick rinse in a fine mesh strainer. In the Instant Pot, rinsing the quinoa before cooking also cuts down on the chance of it foaming up too much.

What is the quinoa to water ratio for cooking quinoa?

In the Instant Pot, use 1 ¼ cups of liquid per every cup of dry quinoa. Either water or broth can be used.

How Do You Toast Quinoa?

Rinse the quinoa well. Heat a heavy skillet over medium low heat. Add the quinoa in a single layer. Stir constantly with a wire whisk. As the quinoa heats up, it will bounce around a little and begin to turn golden brown. Keep stirring until it has a fairly uniform color, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the quinoa to a plate, spreading it out to cool.

Add toasted quinoa to salads or roasted vegetables. You can also cook the toasted quinoa in your Instant Pot, as directed below. It will have a deeper, more nutty flavor.

Quinoa on a spoon, showing texture.

Make It Your Own

Make-Ahead Ideas

If you want extra quinoa to freeze, make a double batch by doubling all the ingredients. Cook as directed. It will take longer for the Instant Pot to reach full pressure.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Refrigerate leftover quinoa in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to one week.

  • Freezing: Cool cooked quinoa completely. Using a measuring cup, scoop 1 or 2 cup portions into freezer bags and label with measurement. Flatten and freeze for up to 10 months.
  • Thawing: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, on the counter for a couple of hours, or in the microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Reheating: To reheat quinoa, microwave in 30-second bursts until heated through. If you prefer, reheat in a skillet or sauce pan over low heat.

Instant Pot Food Prep

Recipe

Instant Pot Quinoa

4.82 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 minute
Total: 22 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Learn how to make easy Instant Pot quinoa. You will love this nearly hands-off method of cooking quinoa if you're a pressure cooker user. Try it today! 
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (white, red, or mixture)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (reduce if using broth)
  • 1 ¼ cups water or broth

Instructions 

  • In a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa with cold water until water runs clear; drain well.
  • If desired, spray the inside of the Instant Pot lightly with nonstick spray. Add quinoa, salt and water to the pot; combine.
  • Secure Instant Pot lid and turn valve to seal. Set pressure cooker to manual (High) or to Pressure Cook, depending on the model, for 1 minute. It will take about 6 minutes to come to pressure. When it has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally (in other words, leave it alone) for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid, fluff quinoa, and serve.

Notes

  • Yield: 1 cup dry quinoa makes 3 cups cooked. Serving size: ½ cup. If you want extra quinoa to freeze, make a double batch by doubling all the ingredients. Cook as directed. It will take longer for the Instant Pot to reach full pressure.
  • Cilantro Lime Quinoa: After cooking quinoa, stir in 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro. Add salt to taste.
  • Cooked quinoa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 8 to 10 months.
  • Freezing Instructions: Cool cooked quinoa completely. Using a measuring cup, scoop 1 or 2 cup portions into freezer bags and label with measurement. Flatten and freeze for up to 10 months.
  • Thawing Instructions: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, on the counter for a couple of hours, or in the microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Recipe updated 5/18/2022. 

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 104kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 101mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 2g, Vitamin A: 4IU, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg

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

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10 Comments

  1. Anya says:

    The quinoa came out perfect. Never thought it could be this quick and easy to make quinoa, thanks very much!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      You are welcome! So glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  2. Carissa says:

    Two questions – First, I accidentally read directions wrong and added the lime juice before cooking the quinoa – will it turn out okay? Secondly, this is my first time with an instant pot – if I double the amount of quinoa and liquid, do I change the amount of time at pressure?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It should be fine with the lime juice in from the beginning. I haven’t tested it that way, but I don’t see any reason why that won’t work. If you double the recipe, you don’t have to change the time under pressure. It will take a little longer to come to pressure, though! I hope that helps!

    2. Carla says:

      Can you freeze this cilantro lime quinoa the same as you recommend freezing plain quinoa?

      1. Rachel Gurk says:

        That should work fine! The cilantro will likely get a little brown but it will still be tasty.

  3. Becky Hardin says:

    I love quinoa, but I never thought to make it in an Instant Pot. What a great idea! I need to try this lime cilantro flavor with tacos.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Oh you will love using your IP for quinoa! I’m going to make another batch today!

  4. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    I love IP quinoa! So fast and perfect every time! I need to add lime next time. Sounds delicious!

  5. Denise says:

    With two kids now in college, we’re down to three, I keep wondering if I really need an instant pot now. But, your recipes always look so good.