by Olena

Instant Pot Quinoa

by Olena

5 from 2 reviews

I noticed I cook staples like brown rice, eggs, quinoa, black beans and chickpeas in my Instant Pot all the time.  This time it’s Instant Pot Quinoa or how to cook perfect quinoa in a pressure cooker every time.

instant pot quinoa with a serving spoon

Why Make Pressure Cooker Quinoa?

Instant Pot quinoa. Do you have an Instant Pot? I am truly in love! If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.

Why on earth would you want to be cooking quinoa in Instant Pot when it takes 12 minutes on the stove?

Because it takes 30 seconds to add dry quinoa, water and salt. Then push a button and in 20 minutes you have perfect quinoa. That’s why. It’s the convenience of completely hands off cooking. No waiting to boil. No waiting to reduce heat. No waiting to turn the pot off.

But don’t be fooled. Total cooking time with Instant Pot coming to pressure, cooking and bringing down pressure is around 20 minutes.

pressure cooker quinoa on a fork

Types of Quinoa I Tried

I have tried cooking 2 types of quinoa in Instant Pot: white quinoa and red quinoa.

White quinoa is the most common quinoa of ivory colour. I usually buy a 5 lbs bag at Costco. It is quinoa you will see 95% of times in grocery stores, restaurants and friends’ homes. Red quinoa is more rare and is usually sold in health food stores. Its seed has a harder outer shell than white quinoa. Therefore, different cooking time and method. Red quinoa also has more earthy and sweeter taste.

Nutritional differences between red, white and black quinoa varieties are minimal.

Tip: While I haven’t tried cooking tri-color quinoa in Instant Pot, judging by the looks of many brands it consists of 66% of red and black quinoa. Therefore, I recommend to cook it using red quinoa method.

white and red quinoa in a bag

Health Benefits of Quinoa

I can honestly say we love quinoa. While the rest of the world might have gotten over the recent fad, our family loves quinoa. Especially that now kids are older and there is barely any mess on the floor. Quinoa is messy but healthy.

Quinoa is a seed but nutritionally it’s considered a whole grain. Quinoa is one of very few plant-based foods that is a source of complete protein that contains 9 essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t produce it, so this quality is especially important for vegans and vegetarians. When I try to eat less meat (all the time) I always make dishes heavy on quinoa like Mediterranean quinoa salad and spinach artichoke casserole.

Quinoa is also high in antioxidants, fiber, iron, manganese and vitamins B. Source – Medical News Today.

Quinoa to Water Ratio

1 cup quinoa : 1.25 cups water

5 containers of frozen cooked quinoa speak volume. I tried 1 cup quinoa : 1.5 cups water – total mush. Then I tried 1:1 ratio and quinoa was a bit too crunchy to my taste. However, my husband loved it. I think 1 cup quinoa : 1.25 cups water is perfect ratio for fluffy with a bit of bite quinoa. It is quite fluffy to make a quinoa salad.

Tip: Experiment. Tastes differ. If you really love chewy quinoa, use 1:1 ratio.

quinoa and water in measuring cups

How Long to Cook Quinoa in Instant Pot?

  1. Add 1 cup quinoa, 1.25 cups water and a pinch of salt.
  2. Stir as it helps to avoid uncooked crunchy seeds.
  3. Cook white quinoa on high pressure for 1 minute. Cook red quinoa on low pressure for 12 minutes or press Rice button.

Tip: While I haven’t tried cooking tri-color quinoa in Instant Pot, judging by the looks of many brands it consists of 66% of red and black quinoa. Therefore, I recommend to cook it using red quinoa method.

instant pot display with different cooking times and cooked quinoa

Quick or Natural Release?

Natural release for white. Quick release for red.

With 1 minute quinoa cooking method, you have to use Natural Release. Otherwise you let all that steam out and quinoa will not be cooked. I’m sure there is “how to cook quinoa with Quick Release”. With all my Instant Pot experience, I think that pressure cooker quinoa is more mushy. It will be same total cooking time.

With Rice or 12 minutes on low pressure method, you have to use Quick Release. Because red quinoa had all that time to absorb water under pressure and it doesn’t need any more.

Browse all healthy Instant Pot recipes.

What to Serve Quinoa With?

Now, what do we do with all that quinoa? Especially me haha. I usually make quinoa for a side to go with a curry, stir fry or lean protein. Or for a healthier Italian dinner – top with my homemade meat sauce and you won’t miss patsa.

Small shaped quinoa is perfect to soak up the juices of baked chicken and peppers or whole chicken.

Add leftover quinoa to a soup at the very end, use in a meal prep or OMG quinoa salads! Quinoa makes the best salads ever!

Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 30 healthy Instant Pot recipes.

Healthy Cooked Quinoa Salad Recipes to Try

Can I Freeze Quinoa?

Cooked quinoa freezes beautifully. Just portion out desired amount and freeze in airtight containers for up to 3 months. I usually measure out enough quinoa to serve 4 of us as a side for one dinner.

More Instant Pot Resources

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.

Print

Instant Pot Quinoa

5 from 2 reviews

Instant Pot Quinoa or a complete guide how to cook perfect Quinoa in pressure cooker that is fluffy and a bit chewy.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white or red quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. In Instant Pot, add quinoa, water and salt.
  2. Close the lid and set pressure vent to Sealing.
  3. Cook White quinoa: Press Pressure Cook on High for 1 minute. Red quinoa: Press Pressure Cook on low (change pressure with Pressure Level button) for 12 minutes or press Rice button.
  4. Pressure Release White quinoa: Natural release –  let pressure come down on its own until pin drops (about 13 minutes). Red quinoa: Do quick release – turn pressure vent to Venting right after cooking is done.
  5. Open the lid and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  6. Serve as a side to go with a curry, stir fry or lean protein. Small shaped quinoa is perfect to soak up the juices of baked chicken and peppers or whole chicken. Add leftover quinoa to a soup at the very end, use in a meal prep or OMG quinoa salads! Quinoa makes the best salads ever!

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in a fridge or on a counter.

Notes

Tip: While I haven’t tried cooking tri-color quinoa in Instant Pot, judging by the looks of many brands it consists of 66% of red and black quinoa. Therefore, I recommend to cook it using red quinoa method.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

7 comments on “Instant Pot Quinoa

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  1. Hi,
    I have a question bc am new to IP and I soak my grains before making. Occasionally I skip that step if it’s sprouted or if it’s only alternative to eating food like substitute

    Is there a way to make quinoa and other grains after soaking in IP?

    I understand pressure cooking can slightly reduce nutrients but am also human and can’t always plan perfectly as life happens.

    Thank you

  2. Olena, I just love your stuff! I doubled it, so 2C white quinoa and 2.5C DIY broth, added a few bay leaves and a seasoning blend, did 2 minutes high pressure, natural release, and yeah, no watching, no nothing, and when I got out of the shower, it was done and waiting for me. And perfect! I cooked in IP yesterday a pound of soaked cranberry beans (the bean broth will make a future pot of quinoa), so I put in a bowl a layer of cold beans and lots of hot quinoa and some DIY dressing, I’ve got a meal, I tell ya!

    1. Awesome! I know, right?! I love not watching anything with IP. Were too scared to do 1 minute?:) So happy you are hooked too! I have so much quinoa now after testing, I will be making lots of salads I guess. What are cranberry beans? Your meal sounds delish. I love all those quick throw together bowls.

      1. Just seeing this now on 7-7-19! The reason I doubled the time is because I doubled the quantity. Same 1 minute of high pressure on the larger quantity, huh? Well, I came here today because I’m making quinoa and wanted to check your instructions, so I will keep this page open and report back later!

        I am on the 4th day of eating left-over healthy potato salad and I love it more each day!

        1. 3 cups of heavily rinsed and squeezed quinoa to just a tad under 4 cups of DIY broth. No spices or bay leaves, which was stupid of me. It’s PERFECT using 1 minute of high pressure. It finished NR in maybe 10 minutes and I didn’t go look until 40 minutes. Great instructions, Olena!

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