Learn how to cook fluffy quinoa in the Instant Pot! This guide tells you everything you need to know, from prep to cook times to serving suggestions, about cooking the most perfect quinoa.Jump to Recipe
The easy way to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot
This Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe shows you the easy, hands-off way of cooking this healthy grain. The end result is flavorful, fluffy, and perfect quinoa you can serve with practically anything!
Cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot is something you can do on a weekly basis. The leftovers stay fresh in the fridge throughout the week, making this grain a delicious and protein-packed addition to meal prep, weeknight dinners, lunches, and more. It adds bulk to simple green salads, soups and stews, and pairs well with your favorite proteins and vegetables.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about cooking pressure cooker quinoa perfectly. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes, the flavors are never boring, and the Instant Pot does all of the work!
Watch How To Make Fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa
Rinsing quinoa before cooking
Rinsing the uncooked quinoa grains before cooking is SO important for flavor and texture. Quinoa has a natural coating on the outside called saponins. According to Quinta.ca, “Saponins are a naturally occurring phytochemical that give unwashed quinoa a bitter taste.”
If you want your cooked quinoa to taste its best, rinse the grains under cold running water in a fine mesh sieve. That’s it! Add to the pot afterward, then cook as normal.
The main star of this recipe is obviously quinoa, but to help it taste its best, you need 2 other simple ingredients:
- Quinoa – Quinoa is a nutrient-packed grain you can use in meal prep, dinners, lunches, stews, salads, and so much more. Just 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of plant-based protein. It’s also a wonderful source of fiber, manganese, iron, magnesium, and more. Read more about the health benefits of quinoa here.
- Broth or water – Cooking quinoa in chicken broth (or another type of broth) infuses the grains with extra flavor compared to water. Try to use the low-sodium variety or, if it contains salt, simply omit the Kosher salt.
- Kosher salt – For flavor.
How to cook fluffy quinoa in the Instant Pot
Rinse the quinoa under running water, then add it to the Instant Pot. Pour in the chicken broth or water and salt. Give everything a good stir.
Seal the lid on top and cook on High Pressure for 1 minute. Allow the pressure to naturally release until the pin drops.
Carefully remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Serve with your favorite recipe or store it in the fridge or freezer for later. Enjoy!
Tips to make the best quinoa
- In the Instant Pot, the water-to-quinoa ratio is 1 ½ cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa. This differs from the stovetop ratio: 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of quinoa.
- 1 cup of dry quinoa = 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
- After fluffing the quinoa, you can eat it right away or place the pressure cooker lid back on top for 10 minutes. The steam in the pot will result in even fluffier quinoa.
- Stir butter and fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, in with the quinoa for extra flavor.
How to use Instant Pot quinoa
The options here are practically endless! Before you start searching for recipes to pair with quinoa, check out these suggestions for inspiration:
- It can add bulk to simple green salads.
- Pair it with chicken breasts and baked asparagus for a healthy meal prep option.
- Serve it as a simple side dish next to BBQ Chicken Quarters.
- Use it as the base in grain bowls topped with pickled radishes, leafy greens, roasted cauliflower, and chickpeas.
- Many veggie burger recipes add quinoa for extra protein, bulk, and nutrition.
- Use it anywhere you would normally use rice or orzo pasta, like in this Lemon Chicken Soup or Miso Salmon Bowls.
- Replace the pasta with quinoa in this Lemon Basil Pasta Salad.
- It bulks up this Turkey Quinoa Chili perfectly.
- Use the leftovers in a cold quinoa salad with fresh herbs, red onion, feta cheese, edamame, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and any other fresh vegetables you love.
Frequently asked questions
Minimalist Baker says that soaking dry grains overnight can make them easier to digest and helps them cook quickly. Feel free to soak the dry quinoa if you want but it isn’t a necessary step.
This recipe makes enough quinoa for 4 people (¾ cup per person).
Technically, the quinoa has a 1-minute cook time. But with the time it takes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, then naturally release that pressure, the total cook time is approximately 17 minutes.
Storing and freezing
Storing: After it’s done cooking, let the quinoa cool for about 15 minutes before packing it into airtight containers and storing it in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Freezing: Transfer the cooked and cooled quinoa to airtight freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 1 month.
Reheating: Cooked quinoa can be eaten both cold and warm. To warm the leftovers, zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds or heat them in a saucepan on the stove with a splash of water or broth to prevent the grains from drying out or sticking.
Looking for more recipes that go well with quinoa?
- Lemon Chicken and Orzo Pasta – Replace the orzo with freshly cooked quinoa.
- Butter Lettuce Salad – A scoop of chilled quinoa will make this salad a meal.
- Healthy Taco Bowls with Mexican Beef – Use quinoa as the base for a protein boost.
- Sweet and Smoky Oven Baked Salmon – For a side dish with this healthy dinner.
If you give this Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe a try, let me know in the comments below. I love seeing your pictures too, so please tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog and use #lenaskitchenblog so I can share them to my page!
Easy Instant Pot Quinoa
- Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. This gets rid of any bitterness.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot, then add the chicken broth or water, and salt.
- Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
- When the cooking time ends, allow the pressure to naturally release until the pin drops down, about 10 minutes. Release any additional pressure if needed.
- Carefully open the Instant Pot lid. Fluff the quinoa and serve. You can add some butter and fresh herbs to add extra flavor.
- Rinse your quinoa: This helps to get rid of any bitterness.
- Cooking Time: Total time includes active cook time, release time, and the time it takes for the Instant Pot to heat up (~8 minutes).
- Storing: Leftover quinoa keeps well, refrigerated, for 4 to 5 days. Make sure it has cooled to room temperature before covering and chilling. You can also portion the quinoa into freezer bags and freeze the quinoa until you’re ready for it. It will keep in the freezer for about a month.