Instant Pot Quinoa

a variety of quinoa colors in bowls next to an instant pot pressure cooker

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 1 mins
Pressure and Release: 18 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yields: 3 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
104 Calories
2g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 104
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 108mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 160mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Using the Instant Pot to cook quinoa means there's no stirring, no messy boil-overs, and cleanup is a breeze. It's just a matter of combining the quinoa with some water and salt in an oiled Instant Pot and pressing a button.

This recipe calls for plain white quinoa, but it's easy to make it with other varieties as well. Tricolor and red quinoa need an extra minute of cooking time, and black quinoa requires two extra minutes. Water and salt amounts and release time are the same as with the white variety.

It's easy to scale the recipe up with no cooking time changes if you need more than three cups. Use your cooked quinoa in salads, side dishes, or add it to vegetable soup to make it more substantial.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 1/4 cups water

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for instant pot quinoa
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Spray the interior of the Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray or apply a thin layer of cooking oil. The quinoa tends to stick if it isn't sprayed or lightly oiled.

    spray the instant pot with nonstick spray
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Put the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water until the water runs relatively clear.

    rinsing quinoa
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Transfer the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot and add the water and salt. Swirl to combine.

    quinoa in the instant pot ready to cook
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Lock the lid in place and check to make sure the steam release knob is in the sealing position (on some models). Choose high pressure and set the timer for 1 minute (2 minutes for tricolor or red and 3 minutes for black). It will take 4 or 5 minutes for the pot to reach full pressure. When the cooking time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, and then carefully release the remaining pressure.

    instant pot lid (6-qt Duo Evo Plus)
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa.

    fluffing the instant pot quinoa
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Taste and season as desired.

    overhead photo of 3 kinds of quinoa cooked in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How To Store and Freeze

Refrigerate cooked quinoa—within 2 hours of cooking—in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

To freeze cooked quinoa, transfer it to a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months for best quality.

Why Do You Need To Rinse Quinoa?

Quinoa seeds are coated with saponins, a natural compound that can make them taste bitter or soapy. Saponin also contains toxins that can cause issues for some people. Rinse quinoa well, and if you are sensitive, give it a 20 or 30-minute soak before rinsing and cooking.

Is Quinoa Gluten-Free?

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. However, quinoa does contain prolamins—a protein found in many cereal grains—so it might not be well tolerated by some people with celiac disease.

Is Quinoa Low In Carbs?

While quinoa is nutritious and high in fiber and protein—it contains all 9 essential amino acids—it is not a low-carbohydrate food. One cup of quinoa contains about 39 grams of carbs, which is about the same amount as in white rice and about 50 percent more than in brown rice.

How Can I Add Flavor To Quiona?

Like many grains, quinoa is rather bland on its own, so it is like a blank canvas. For a French twist, add some roasted garlic along with a dash or two of fines herbes or herbes de Provence and kosher salt. Or add some Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil or dried Italian seasoning for an Italian flavor profile. Cajun seasoning or chili powder with dried oregano are excellent seasoning choices as well.