How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot

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.

how to cook quinoa in the instant pot

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.)

sealing venting lever position on instant pot

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!

cooked quinoa in the instant pot bowl with wooden spoon

4.41 from 5 votes
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How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
14 mins
 

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. 

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 156 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa , rinsed
  • 2 cups water
Instructions
Method #1: Rice Setting
  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

Method #2: 1-Minute High Pressure
  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

Recipe Notes

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. 

instant pot 7-in-1 pressure cooker isolated on white background

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:

Reader Feedback: Do you like seeing recipes for the Instant Pot? Let me know if you have any requests for the future!

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Comments

Amy

Yes please more IP recipes!!!

Marie

This cooks quinoa perfectly, thanks!

Nancy

Yes, more Instant Pot Recipes please!!!

AlisonG

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!

Sherry

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.

Bruno

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 cronometer.com (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.

Shirleen

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.

Kelley

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

Kathleen

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!

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