Instant Pot Quinoa

Cook some healthy quinoa easier than ever, with your Instant Pot!

Cook some healthy quinoa easier than ever, with your Instant Pot!

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa isn’t actually a grain. It’s actually a member of the spinach and beet family and is a seed from a flowering plant.

The Whole Grain Council calls quinoa a pseudo-cereal because it’s cooked like a cereal grain and has a similar nutrient profile.

The thing that fascinates me the most about quinoa is that it’s very easy to grow. The yield from quinoa plants is immense and they are drought resistant. The United Nations has deemed quinoa a “super crop” because of its potential to feed the hungry around the world.

Is Quinoa Good For You?

Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that has all nine essential amino acids to be considered a complete protein. It’s also high in fiber and potassium.

For these reasons, it tends to keep you feeling full longer. It has many other health benefits on top of that.

Quinoa is quite high in fiber though so eating too much of it can be an issue if you’re not drinking enough water, or for other reasons. And, it has more calories than brown rice so do watch the portion sizes.

How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove

In addition to being easy to grow and very healthy, quinoa is also quick to cook. It takes a bit less time than white rice.

To cook quinoa on the stove, you combine it with a bit less than twice as much water (so 1 cup of quinoa would get 1 and ¾ cup water). Season it with salt and then bring it to a boil uncovered. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cover it and cook for 15 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes off of the heat, still covered. Then fluff it with a fork.

Why Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot?

As easy as it is to cook quinoa on the stove, I prefer to cook it in the Instant Pot. Why?

Because it takes way less time! Also, if I have something on the stove, I tend to stay nearby to make sure no disasters happen (like a boiling over pot). With the Instant Pot, I can set it and then walk away.

How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot

Spray the inner pot of the Instant Pot with cooking spray or rub it lightly with cooking oil to prevent the quinoa from sticking if it dries a bit at the end of cooking.

Into the inner pot of the Instant Pot measure 2 cups of (rinsed, see below) quinoa and 3 cups of water. I add 1 teaspoon of salt here. Stir.

Turn the Keep Warm setting off.

Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 1 minute, then do a natural release for 8 minutes. Next, turn the valve to release and let the rest of the pressure escape before opening the Instant Pot and fluffing the quinoa with a fork.

Between the 1 minute at high pressure, the 8 minutes natural release, and the time it takes the Instant Pot to come up to pressure, the quinoa ends up perfectly cooked. It’ll be light and fluffy!

Do You Need to Rinse Quinoa Before Cooking?

Some people say that quinoa nowadays is “pre-rinsed” so you don’t have to rinse it off. However, when I don’t rinse it, I taste a bitter flavor. That’s called saponin and it’s like a fine dust on the quinoa grains.

Because I really dislike that bitter flavor, I don’t risk it and I rinse my quinoa before cooking it every single time.

How to Rinse Quinoa

Measure the amount of quinoa you need into a fine mesh sieve like this.

Run tap water all over the quinoa in the sieve, letting the water drain away down the sink. Shake the quinoa around a bit so that all of it gets hit by water.

I find that turning my tap to a spray rather than a thick stream penetrates down into the quinoa better.

Then just give the sieve a shake a few times to drain away as much water as you can, and proceed with cooking according to the instructions here or whatever recipe you’re following.

What to Make with Quinoa

You can use quinoa as the protein for fajitas, like this.

I also love this quinoa version of tablouleh with feta on it here.

This recipe uses uncooked quinoa, but if you already have cooked quinoa, you can totally mix it with cooked cauliflower, cheese, and tomato sauce for a delicious vegetarian Italian Bake like this one.

Okay, now let’s get cooking that quinoa, huh?


Christine 😊


Instant Pot Quinoa

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Cook some healthy quinoa easier than ever, with your Instant Pot!


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups unsalted stock (or water)
  • 1 tsp. salt


  1. Spray the inner pot of the Instant Pot with cooking spray (or rub lightly with some cooking oil).
  2. Measure quinoa into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cool tap water to remove the dusty, bitter-flavored saponin from the seeds.
  3. Shake sieve to help purge excess water. Transfer quinoa to greased instant pot.
  4. Add the stock (or water) and the salt. Stir.
  5. Put valve to sealing position and close lid. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 1 minute.
  6. Once Instant Pot has reached pressure and cooked for the 1 minute, leave it alone to naturally release pressure for 8 minutes.
  7. Turn valve to Venting and allow remaining pressure to release until pressure button drops.
  8. Once the pressure button has dropped, remove lid and fluff quinoa gently with a fork.
Instant Pot Quinoa

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