by Olena

Instant Pot Quinoa

Olena Osipov
5 from 5 votes

Instant Pot Quinoa or a complete guide how to cook perfect quinoa in your pressure cooker that is fluffy, has a bite to it and simply the best!

instant pot quinoa with a serving spoon

Quinoa in Instant Pot

Instant Pot quinoa. 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. Total cooking time with Instant Pot coming to and bringing pressure down is 20 minutes. But it is completely hands off cooking.

  • No waiting to boil.
  • No waiting to reduce heat.
  • No waiting to turn the pot off.

pressure cooker quinoa on a fork

Types of Quinoa

I have tried cooking 2 types of quinoa in Instant Pot:

  • White quinoa: White quinoa is the most common quinoa of ivory colour. It is quinoa you will see 95% of times in grocery stores, restaurants and friends’ homes.
  • Red quinoa: Red quinoa is more rare, 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.
  • Tri-colour quinoa: 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.
  • Nutritional differences between red, white and black quinoa varieties are minimal.

white and red quinoa in a bag

How to Cook Quinoa in Instant Pot

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.

  • Quinoa to water ratio: 1 cup quinoa : 1.25 cups cold water. 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. Add salt and stir.
  • Cook: White quinoa on high pressure – 1 minute. Red quinoa on low pressure – 12 minutes or press Rice button.
  • Release pressure: White quinoa – Natural release. Red quinoa – Quick release.

quinoa and water in measuring cupsinstant pot display with different cooking times and cooked quinoa

Serving and Storing

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

More Instant Pot Recipes

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instant pot quinoa

Instant Pot Quinoa {Perfect Every Time}

Instant Pot Quinoa or a complete guide how to cook perfect quinoa in your pressure cooker that is fluffy, has a bite to it and simply the best!
5 from 5 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 156kcal
Author: Olena Osipov


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


  • In Instant Pot, add quinoa, water and salt.
  • Close the lid and set pressure vent to Sealing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Open the lid and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  • 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.


      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.


      Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      17 comments on “Instant Pot Quinoa

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      1. 5 stars
        I just used your recipe for my tri-color quinoa w/ the pressure on low for 12 minutes like you said plus the quick release & it came out perfect! It looked so pretty & colorful & the texture & consistency was exactly the way I like it. Thank you!

      2. 5 stars
        What a time saver! Always perfect quinoa! Success with tri-color quinoa too, cooked it for 1 min plus natural release for 14 min. Black quinoa a bit crunchy but we like it in salads that way, for extra texture 😉 Thank you Olena!!!

      3. If I make 3 cups of white quinoa and adjust the water accordingly is it still 1 minute cook time?

      4. Hi Olena! I am hoping you might be able to provide some ideas and instructions on how to give the quinoa different flavour when cooking it? My family really dislikes the natural taste of quinoa but we want to use it more because it’s healthy! Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

        1. Cook in low sodium broth and sprinkle with cheese after. Like Parmesan or gooey mozzarella. Everything tastes better with cheese. Hope it flies. 🙂

      5. 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

      6. 5 stars
        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. 5 stars
              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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