Instant Pot Quinoa (in just 1 minute!)

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This Instant Pot Quinoa is one of the fastest things I make in my electric pressure cooker. It requires just a 1 minute pressure cooking cycle, and turns out perfectly fluffy every time!

how to cook quinoa in the instant pot

How to Use the Instant Pot

When it comes to new appliances, I’ll admit that 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 being said, 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. Watch my Instant Pot tutorial video, if you want a fast 3-minute overview.

You’ll want to make sure that the lid is sealed properly before cooking, and you’ll need to fully release that built-up steam before attempting to remove the lid.

Tip: The Instant Pot has safety features built-in, so 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.

sealing venting lever position on instant pot

I bought the Instant Pot with the yogurt function (try my Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt if you want a dairy-free option!), 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.

How to Make Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot

I used my intuition the first time I made quinoa in the Instant Pot, by simply hitting the RICE button. 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. (The 1-minute method is my favorite now, because it works with any model of electric pressure cooker.)

How Long Does it Really Take?

Keep in mind, that just because this quinoa cooks in a 1-minute cooking cycle, doesn’t mean that it will be ready to eat that fast. You always have to take into account the time it will take for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, and the time it takes for that pressure to naturally release.

In general, I usually add 20 minutes to the cook cycle for a more accurate estimate of when a recipe will be ready to eat. So, this recipe will be ready in close to 21 minutes, but you don’t have to be in your kitchen watching the pot while it’s working– and that’s the beauty of the Instant Pot.

cooked quinoa in the instant pot bowl with wooden spoon


quinoa in instant pot
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Instant Pot Quinoa (in just 1 minute!)

This Instant Pot Quinoa cooks in just a 1-minute pressure cooking cycle, for fast and fluffy results every time. I love how it's totally hands-off & fool-proof!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword how to, instant pot, quinoa
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Pressurize Time: 22 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 156kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa , rinsed
  • 1 cup water


Method #1: 1-Minute High Pressure (my go-to method!)

  • 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 Sealing position. Use the Pressure Cook or Manual button to cook at high pressure for 1 minute. It will take 8-10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure before the cook cycle begins.
  • When the cooking is done, let the pressure naturally release for 12 minutes. (In other words, don't touch anything until the screen reads LO:12) This lets the quinoa steam inside, without burning to the bottom of the pot.
  • When the time has passed, turn the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining steam pressure. By this time, there shouldn't be much, if any, steam left inside the pot. It's safe to open the lid when the floating valve has dropped. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa and serve warm.

Method #2: Rice Setting

  • Combine the quinoa and water (add an extra 1/4 cup water in this case) in the Instant Pot and secure the lid, turning the steam release valve to Sealing. Press the Rice button, or manually set the pressure cooker to cook for 12 minutes on low-pressure. It will take roughly 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure before the cook cycle begins.
  • When the cooking is complete, quickly release the pressure by turning the steam release valve to Venting. (Make sure your hand isn't directly over the vent so you don't get burned by the steam!) Remove the lid when the floating valve drops, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Serve warm. 



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.


Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Per Serving: Calories: 156, Fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 27g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 6g

Need more healthy Instant Pot recipes? Be sure to check out The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. You can see a sneak peek here!

healthy instant pot cookbook

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 recipes:

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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!

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