Instant Pot Quinoa

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Instant Pot Quinoa is incredibly easy to make in your electric pressure cooker. It requires just a 1 minute pressure cooking cycle, and turns out perfectly fluffy every time.

quinoa in bowls by the Instant Pot

Unlike cooking quinoa on the stove, you don’t have to worry about this gluten-free free seed sticking to the bottom of the pot  as it cooks, in case you get distracted in the kitchen. (Hello, this is me.)

The Instant Pot will automatically switch to low-heat when the cooking cycle is complete, so this method is practically fool-proof. It also works well for cooking other grains, like Instant Pot Brown Rice, Oatmeal, and Steel Cut Oats.

Since quinoa is a complete source of plant-based protein, with all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It’s the perfect addition to your meal prep routine, and is helpful for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Cook a big batch over the weekend, and add it to bowls, salads, and stir-fries all week long. It has more fiber than rice, to help keep you feeling full!

instant pot quinoa lifted up on a spoon.

How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot

1. Rinse the quinoa. 

Quinoa contains saponins, which can give the outer coating a bitter flavor. You can help improve the taste by placing the dry quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinsing it under running water for 30 seconds.

It’s a quick step that makes a big difference!

quinoa rinsed and added to instant pot.

2. Add water.

Transfer the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot, and cover it with water. Unlike cooking quinoa on the stove top, the ratio of water to quinoa is different with pressure cooking, because there is NO evaporation in the sealed pot.

For every 1 cup of quinoa that you want to cook, use 1 cup of water for cooking. You can also swap the water for chicken broth or vegetable broth, if you prefer, or add a pinch of salt if you’d like to boost the flavor. No other ingredients are required!

You can double or triple this amount of quinoa, without changing the water ratio or cooking time. The only thing that will change is that it will take longer for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, due to the larger quantity in the pot.

Be sure to use cold water when using your Instant Pot, unless a recipe tells you otherwise. Using warm or hot water will change the cooking time slightly, and might affect the final result.

quinoa cooking for 1 minute in instant pot.

3. Cook.

Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, and make sure the silicone sealing ring is properly placed. It should have some wiggle room. (Watch  my Instant Pot Tutorial if you want to get familiar with how to use your Instant Pot.)

Move the steam release valve to Sealing, to make sure the pot will pressurize.

Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button on your machine to cook at high pressure for 1 minute. It will take roughly 8 to 10 minutes to pressurize, so the Instant Pot will say “ON” until then. s

You’ll know the pot is pressurized when the floating valve in the lid pops up.

floating valve pressurized and not.

When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. In other words, don’t do anything else until 15 minutes has passed.

This will let the quinoa finish absorbing the water, without burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

4. Fluff. 

When the natural release is done (the screen will read L0:15) move the steam release valve to Venting. You’ll know it’s safe to open the lid when the floating valve has dropped.

This usually happens during the natural release process if you are only cooking 1 cup of quinoa, but if you cooked a larger quantity of quinoa, it may need a minute or so to allow the pressure to finish releasing.

natural release screen and quinoa fluffed with fork.

Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Now it’s ready to serve!

This fluffy quinoa makes the perfect side dish, or you can add it to salads for extra texture and protein.

You can store leftover quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or, you can freeze it for up to 3 months, if you’d like to freeze it into individual serving portions to thaw later.

Why Use the Instant Pot?

Overall, cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot takes a similar amount of time as cooking quinoa on the stove. The benefit of pressure cooking is that you don’t have to watch the pot as it cooks!

All you have to do is press a button and walk away, while the Instant Pot handles the rest.

It will keep your cooked quinoa warm until you are ready to serve it, too.

quinoa in the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon.

Quinoa Recipes to Try

Wondering how to use quinoa? Try one of these delicious recipes below.

Be sure to check out my other Instant Pot recipes, if you’d like more step-by-step guidance, too. I wrote the book on healthy Instant Pot cooking (literally!) if you’d like even more ideas in cookbook form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this recipe work for other colors of quinoa? Yes! I’ve tested this method with white quinoa, red quinoa, black quinoa, and a tricolor blend. Keep in mind that the darker colors of quinoa will have a more chewy texture compared to white quinoa.

Red quinoa is also thought to contain more antioxidants than the other varieties, likely due to the betalains it contains. (Which give it the red hue.)

Do I need to add oil? You do not need to use cooking spray or oil when cooking quinoa in the pressure cooker. With this short cooking cycle, nothing should stick or burn to the bottom of the pot. I’ve heard that adding a touch of oil can help reduce foaming in the Instant Pot, but this shouldn’t be an issue unless you are cooking copious amounts of grains at one time.

Can I use a quick release? No, I don’t recommend ever using a quick release when cooking something starchy, like grains or pasta. This can cause starchy water to shoot out of the steam release valve, and you’ll risk clogging the lid. From a safety standpoint, and a cleanliness standpoint, it’s better to use a natural release.

How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup of dry quinoa make? On average, you’ll get 3 cups of cooked quinoa for every 1 cup of dry quinoa that you cook. Be sure not to fill your Instant Pot more than halfway full with quinoa and water, to allow for expansion as it cooks.

quinoa in bowls by the Instant Pot
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4.39 from 31 votes

Instant Pot Quinoa

Instant Pot Quinoa cooks in a 1 minute cooking cycle, with perfectly fluffy results every time! It's the perfect protein-packed side dish or salad topping.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot quinoa
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Pressurize Time: 20 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 209kcal



  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup water


  • Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under running water for 30 seconds. This quick step will remove any bitterness and help the quinoa cook more evenly.
  • Transfer the quinoa to the Instant Pot and cover with 1 cup of fresh water. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to "Sealing." Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button on your machine to cook at high pressure for 1 minute. It will take roughly 5 to 8 minutes for the pot to pressurize, so the screen will read "ON" until then.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. This will allow the quinoa to finish absorbing the water, without burning to the bottom of the pot.
  • When the screen reads L0:15, move the steam release valve to Venting to make sure there is no more pressure left in the pot. You'll know it's safe to open the lid when the floating valve has dropped. (Usually this happens during the natural release with this recipe.) Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. It's ready to use right away.
  • Leftover quinoa can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.



Nutrition information is for roughly 1 cup of cooked quinoa. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
Need to make more quinoa? You can double or triple this recipe without changing the cooking time. The only thing that will change is that the pot will take longer to pressurize, so the overall time will be slightly longer because of that.
Did you know you can also cook quinoa using the rice setting on your Instant Pot? It cooks for 12 minutes at low pressure, so in that case, you won't need as long of a natural release, in case you're curious about that.


Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 3mg

If you try this Instant Pot Quinoa method, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it! Browse my Instant Pot recipes for more ideas, and let me know if you have any requests for the future, too.

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Yes please more IP recipes!!!


This cooks quinoa perfectly, thanks!


Yes, more Instant Pot Recipes please!!!


More IP recipes please.

Heather McClees

Great tips! I love my Instant Pot and like you, I definitely had to read the manual first even though I never read manuals either (unless necessary). I still haven’t tried cooking quinoa in it yet but love that you used the Rice function on the machine. Can’ t wait to try it!

Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen

That’s a great tip! I make quinoa all the time, and it usually comes out mushy when I make any more than 1 cup at a time. I’m definitely going to try this next time (already have a few cups’ worth in the fridge for lunch this week). Thanks for the suggestion!


1 cup of quinoa, 1.5 cups of liquid. Cook under pressure for ONE MINUTE, yup one minute then natural release. You will have perfect quinoa.


Hi Megan,

I am curious how you calculate the calories. Quinoa approximately triples in size when cooked. So 1 cup will give about 3 cups cooked. And according to (which I discovered lately and is amazing) 1 cup of cooked quinoa is ~222 calories, so 3 cups is ~666 calories. I love you and read all your posts since subscribing 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    My recipe plugin does all of the nutrition calculations automatically when I enter a recipe, so I can’t quote how accurate it is. This post makes about 4 servings (for me, anyway), so the calculation divided the calories in the dry quinoa by 4. The calorie info is for roughly 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa.


When I use the venting position I drape a kitchen towel over the top and then turn the lever to venting. No water spray on cabinets and counter! Ill be using your method today to make you quinoa tabbouli from No Excusrs Detox. I love your recipes. Easy and budget friendly.


Would LOVE more instant pot recipes!!! Bring it!


Thank you so much for letting us know we can cook quinoa in the instant pot! One more way to get quinoa into our diets!


I made this the way the recipe called for and mine seems a little “undone.” It’s still pretty firm. I’m not sure if that’s the texture of quinoa since this is my first time making it, but I feel like it should be a little softer. More chewy. Should I do something different?

    Megan Gilmore

    Was all the water absorbed? I always taste test when I take off the lid to see if it’s tender, and in the case of certain quinoa varieties (like red quinoa) I’ll leave the lid on a little longer and just let the steam help it get softer.

Nicole Shillings

I just made this and it turned out perfect! I used chicken stock and some herbs. I’m tossing it with some veggies to make a nice cold salad.


Just made this but doubled the water and quinoa. The texture was perfect! Love how simple this was. Thinking I could easily season with a slight bit of salt or lemon zest or both! I am enjoying with the dried black beans recipe I did separately in the instant pot — (1-lb dried black beans, 4c veg stock, 2c water, 2tsp salt, 1 TBsp onion powder, 2-tsp garlic powder, 1-TB paprika, dusting of cumin since I’m not a fan of it but it did come thru nicely on finished end). Nice comfort food on cold day. This website is such a great find so soon after I purchased my instant pot! Thanks for the wonderful healthy recipes!!!


I have searched your website and I can not find if you recommend a specific kind of Quinoa , I have seen sprouted, whole grain, and red quinoa just to name a few. Which one do you use to cook with most often?

    Megan Gilmore

    I use white quinoa most often. I think all quinoa is “whole grain” so that sounds like a marketing label, and in my experience red quinoa takes a little longer to get tender than white quinoa.


Amazing! First time ever using my Instant Pot. Best quinoa I ever made. I used the rice setting and it was perfectly cooked!


Greek recipes


The math doesn’t seem to add up. 1 cup of quinoa, 1.5 cups of water. Your recipe notes said you made 3 cups of quinoa and 6 cups of water. Wouldn’t it be 4.5 cups of water, not 6?



Thank you for your blog, it’s very good!

Question: Is there a difference in the cooked product between the slow low pressure vs. regular 1-minute high pressure; or do they feel and taste about the same?

Sherry L.

I tried the rice method using the red and white quinoa blend. The time said 16 minutes and could not be changed (I have the 3 qt. mini Ultra IP). However, this worked well for the red seeds. If those go uncooked and still crunchy, I would be in agony for a couple of days. Anyway, now I just get the white quinoa. I will try the “1 minute” method on the white quinoa tonight.


I used method #2 with red quinoa and the result was PERFECT! And no sticking to the pot like it does in my rice cooker. Thank you!


Why when you 3x the recipe do you double the water. I did #2 method & it turn out great 👍. Would like to 3x this time but not sure how much water to use?

    Megan Gilmore

    Sorry for the confusion! I used to make this recipe using 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, but I’ve found that the texture is better when you only use 1 cup of water. I changed the recipe and forgot to change the notes at the bottom! If you 3x the recipe, you’d use 3 cups water. The time stays the same, but it will take longer to come to pressure because there’s more liquid in the pot.


      Thanks for the reply. I have made the quinoa two times now using white & red mix quinoa on #2 method, first time a single batch second I double it they both turn out great 👍. Thanks again.


I follower this recipe exactly and the quinoa is burned to the bottom of the pot

Jennifer Kanwit

I’d love to see more of your vegetarian instant pot recipes 🙂


I finally made quinoa in my IP! I used the low pressure method, and it came out perfect. One quick thing I do when I make quinoa is toast it prior to cooking.

On the saute setting, a tbsp of olive/avocado oil, then the dry quinoa. Toast until it creates a nutty smell.

Then add the liquid and cook according to the above directions I find it lends more flavor in the finished product.


Waste of good organic quinoa. What a burn – way too little water and got an error message on the Instant Pot! NOT ENOUGH WATER TO CREATE STEAM AND COOK THE QUINOA


Thank you for the recipe, it tastes good, but is very mushy. Should I try cooking it for 2min. instead of 1? Thank you.


Thank you for sharing your method, it worked great! Just wondered if the natural release time is 12 minutes as you have written or 15 minutes as shown in the video? I did 12, then saw the video.


I just made IP quinoa on manual, the way you suggested. This is the best and last time I will have to expeeriment. My quinoa came out perfectly.
Thank you for this recipe.

Nancy H.

Hi. I tried Method #1 for Quinoa and absolutely love it. So easy! My question: my Instant Pot has “Keep Warm” as an auto default. I’m new to using an Instant Pot. Do I turn it off when I need to allow the pressure to release naturally or leave it on?

Thank you! I am so excited to try new recipes. I’m work all day so this will definitely have me eating healthier!

    Megan Gilmore

    You don’t need to turn it off for the natural release. In fact, I like how it starts counting up so that I know how long the natural release has been going on. When the screen reads “LO:10” you’ll know the cooking cycle ended 10 minutes ago. The quinoa can start to stick to the bottom if you leave the keep warm setting on for too long, so if I’m not going to serve it for 30 minutes or more, I’ll usually turn that setting off and keep the lid on to keep it warm.

Sana'a Ali

Your one minute method is simply fool proof. No guessing games here for sure! Ty!


It must be my Instant Pot but I can never make anything grain-like in the inner pot. It always sticks or burns so I do the pot in pot method.

Decided to try your 1 minute method as it made sense that it would steam and prevent the burning/sticking.

I followed your recipe exactly however there was a crusty, almost burnt layer of quinoa in the bottom. I’ll continue with the pot in pot method for my IP as it just doesn’t play nice with foods like rice, oats, and quinoa.

But glad it works for others, such an easy way to cook quinoa!


Thank you for this recipe. My quinoa comes out perfect every time. I substitute the cup of water with a 1/2 cup of organic vegetable broth and 1/2 cup water.


Tried this method of cooking quinoa twice already. Cooks perfectly and so easy!

Meneghetti Michela

Hi, I live in Switzerland and just bought an instant pot. You cook in “cup”. How many grams is a cup? I love your recipes, they are very helpful for me as a beginner.
Thank you very much and kindest regards


Hi, when making quinoa in the rice setting, why is it quick release versus natural release ? If we did natural release will the quinoa overcook/burn?

Amy meltzer

I followed directions exactly for high pressure and got the burn notification. Any idea why?


It came out perfect. Thank you ♥️


FYI. Your recipe didn’t work. One cup of quinoa + 1 cup of water in 1 minute high pressure = a burnt pot and not fully cooked quinoa.

    Megan Gilmore

    Sorry to hear that! Did you double-check the sealing ring and that the pot was sealed, without any steam escaping? It sounds like steam would be escaping for the quinoa to burn on the bottom of the pot. You could try using 1/4 cup more water next time, but I wouldn’t add more than that or the quinoa will be soggy.

Claudia D Van Buren

I was trying to make a replica of the Panera mediteranian grain bowl. It is a mixture of rice and quinoa. I used red rice and white quinoa. Thanks for the directions.

Jack Brannen

Did not work at all

Emeril Lagasse

This is an amazing…and it looks soo yummy & sound so delicious…i will trying to make it …Thanks for sharing….
Love it!


Incredibly easy!

Nancy McMurray

I use your recipe every time I make quinoa, which is at least three times a week. It always comes out perfectly. Thank you so much!

Christina p.

This did not work out for me. I followed directions to a T. The quinoa was dry and undercooked. So I added another half cup water. It’s usually going to burn the bottom of the pot to resume cooking under pressure with so little liquid so I just sautéed it with the lid on low for 5 min and that cooked it the rest of the way. Ill be going back to a previous recipe ive used in the past which uses a 1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cup water ratio cooked on high for 3 min & 15 min natural release. I love all your other recipes tho! xoxoxo


Easy and helpful.
Thank you

Marnie mykes

I did this exactly as written and it came out perfectly! Thanks for the quick and easy recipe!

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