When it comes to new appliances, I’m not one to read manuals. I always try to use a new appliance intuitively first, and in most cases, I feel that really good appliances are pretty easy to understand without extra instruction needed. (That’s why I love my Vitamix, and even my MacBook… I’ve never had to read their manuals!)
The Instant Pot is almost one of those appliances, but not quite.
I think it’s super-duper important to learn how to correctly use the lid of any electric pressure cooker, because you need to make sure that the venting and sealing lever at the top is turned to “seal” when you want to pressure cook something. (If you don’t seal the lid, no pressure will build up and your food won’t be cooked properly.)
You also need to make sure to fully release that built-up steam before attempting to remove the lid, so you don’t wind up with a pressure cooker horror story of the lid blasting through your kitchen ceiling. (I will say, I feel pretty safe with the Instant Pot because it won’t let you remove the lid without releasing the steam– I think you’d really have to struggle to do something dangerous with it.)
I bought the Instant Pot with the yogurt function (stay tuned on that, because I’m still trying to master making vegan coconut milk yogurt at home), and I will say that you definitely need to look up how to use that function– it’s NOT intuitive. But, neither is making yogurt until you practice, so a quick Google search helped me out in both regards.
I give you this disclaimer about me NOT reading the manual because my go-to method for cooking quinoa is probably not the “correct” way to cook it. I just used my intuition the first time, by simply hitting the RICE button on my Instant Pot, and voila! My quinoa was cooked to perfection with just the push of a button. No waiting for water to come to a boil over a stove top, and no worrying about burning the quinoa at the bottom of the pan, either. You literally just push a button and walk away until it beeps that it’s done. That’s my kind of cooking.
Since discovering this method and sharing it in my Instant Pot Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowl recipe, a reader mentioned to me that there’s another way to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot. I think both methods take a similar amount of time overall, but I thought I’d share both options with you today in case you have a preference.
Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy this convenient way to cook quinoa soon. It’s such a time-saver for meal prepping!
Here's a quick tutorial showing you how to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot. The cooking process isn't necessarily faster than using the stove top, but the method is very hands-off, letting you do other things around your house while the quinoa cooks to perfection.
- 1 cup quinoa , rinsed
- 2 cups water
Combine the quinoa and water in the Instant Pot and secure the lid, making sure that the lever on top of the lid is turned to the "sealed" position. Press the RICE button, or manually set the pressure cooker to cook for 12 minutes on low-pressure.
When the cooking is complete, quickly release the pressure by turning the lever on top of the lid to "vent." (Make sure your hand isn't directly over the vent so you don't get burned by the steam!) Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Serve warm.
Alternatively, you can combine the quinoa and water in the Instant Pot and secure the lid, making sure that the lever on top of the lid is turned to the "sealed" position. Manually set the pressure cooker to cook on high-pressure for 1 minute.
When the cooking is done, allow the lid and vent to stay closed for at least 10 minutes, to let the pressure naturally release. This lets the quinoa steam inside. After the pressure has released, be sure to turn the lever on the lid to the "venting" position to release any remaining steam, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.
You can double or triple this recipe without changing the cooking time. The most I've ever made at one time is 3 cups of quinoa with 6 cups of water, and I wouldn't recommend making much more than that because you don't want to overfill your pressure cooker.
What should you do with all of this cooked quinoa?
I like to use it as a higher protein substitute for rice, with a topping of Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala or Easy Coconut Curry. We also use quinoa instead of rice for making “fried rice” and quick stir fries. You can also freeze cooked quinoa into 1-cup portions for easy reheating in the future.
More Instant Pot and pressure cooking recipes:
- Quinoa Burrito Bowls
- Red Lentil & Kale Curry
- Vegan Mac N’ Cheese
- Make-Ahead Quinoa Breakfast Bowls
- Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Reader Feedback: Do you like seeing recipes for the Instant Pot? Let me know if you have any requests for the future!