by Olena

Instant Pot Quinoa

by Olena

instant pot quinoa with a serving spoon

Why Make Pressure Cooker Quinoa?

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

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.

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!

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.

Print

Instant Pot Quinoa

5 from 1 reviews

A complete guide how to cook perfect Quinoa in Instant Pot 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.

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