Instant Pot Quinoa
There’s no need to watch the stove with this easy Instant Pot quinoa. A great Instant Pot beginner recipe that’s versatile, healthy, and tasty.
After many years of cooking quinoa, I’ve found the easiest, most foolproof method of cooking quinoa is in the Instant Pot. This easy recipe is a go-to when I’m hungry and have no time or energy to cook. Topped with some grilled or roasted veggies and a drizzle of tahini dressing is my favorite.
Like our Instant Pot Sushi Rice, it comes out perfectly fluffy, moist, and evenly cooked every time. Instant Pot quinoa is tasty on as-is, freshly cooked and warm, or used in salads like our Chickpea Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate. Find more healthy plant-based Instant Pot recipes here or in my cookbook, Vegan in an Instant!
Quinoa to Water Ratio
Instant Pot Quinoa is easy as 1 Cup and 1 Minute. Quinoa is the easiest thing to cook in the Instant Pot, and you won’t ever need a recipe again if you just remember 1-1-1. One cup quinoa, one cup water, one minute. Though quinoa on the stove uses a 1:2 ratio, half the amount of water is needed when pressure cooking, as there is very little evaporation. If you find your quinoa is too mushy, reduce the water slightly in the future, while if it’s too dry, add no more than 1/4 cup more.
Do You Have to Rinse Quinoa?
Always rinse your quinoa unless you’re using my favorite brand, Ancient Harvest, which is pre-washed. If cooking dry quinoa, increase the water to 1¼ cups per cup. Why do we rinse quinoa? As well as removing impurities, rinsing removes the bitter tasting natural saponin coating, which is a defense mechanism for quinoa against birds who may otherwise eat it.
Quinoa Seasonings & Variations
If you’ll be using your cooked quinoa in recipes such as veggie burgers or salads, I recommend leaving it plain. However, if you’d like it as a side dish, alone, or as part of a grain bowl, here are a couple of my favorite ways to season quinoa.
- Garlic Herb: Sauté 2 garlic cloves in the olive oil for just a minute. Add the quinoa, water, and 1 teaspoon dried herbs such as thyme and oregano, or a mix like herbs of Provence. After cooking, stir in another clove of minced garlic and ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley.
- Cilantro Lime: Toss ¼ cup chopped cilantro and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice into cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Lemon Herb: Cook quinoa with 1 teaspoon dried herbs such as thyme and oregano, or a mix like herbs of Provence. Toss ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice into cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tips & Tricks
- To double your quinoa in the Instant Pot, the cook time will be the same, but the pot will take longer to reach and then release pressure.
- The cup that comes with the Instant Pot is smaller than one standard 8 oz. measuring cup. I use a standard measuring cup for this recipe, but you can use any size, while following the 1:1 quinoa to water ratio.
- Store leftover cooked quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 8 months.
- When cooking quinoa in soups and stews like our Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili, you don’t need to cook it first, just add it right in dry/rinsed but add a bit more liquid.
- Let your quinoa cool a bit before adding to salads like this one below which includes: shredded kale, chickpeas, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, and homemade Mediterranean dressing (a favorite for healthy meal prep).
- 1 cup quinoa (white or multi)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and shake most of the water out so that it's just damp. This will help remove the saponin coating which can cause bitterness.
- Add the oil, rinsed quinoa, water, and salt to the Instant Pot liner. The oil helps prevent sticking and foaming, and adds flavor.
- Lock the lid, with valve sealing. Select manual/pressure cook (high) for 1 minute. It will take the pot about 7 minutes to reach pressure before the countdown begins. You may see some sputtering of the valve, which is normal.
- Allow the pressure to fully release naturally. This will take about 13 minutes, but you can let the quinoa sit in the pot on "keep warm" until you're ready, up to an hour.
- Remove the lid. Use a wooden spoon or the plastic Instant Pot spoon to fluff the quinoa.
- Enjoy your freshly cooked quinoa immediately alone, as a side, or topped with veggies. Or cool and use in salads. It will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 8 months.
This recipe uses the minimum amount of water, as I find just-rinsed quinoa adds more liquid and we want to avoid mushy quinoa. If you find it too dry, try adding 1 tablespoon to ¼ cup more water in the future. If using pre-washed dry quinoa, such as Ancient Harvest, increase the water to 1 ¼ cups to start.
To double this recipe, keep the cook time the same, but keep in mind that it will take longer for the pressure to build and release.
You can omit the oil and salt if you like, but I like the flavor they add. Also, the oil helps keep the quinoa from foaming and keeps it moist.
See the main article for flavor variations like Garlic Herb and Cilantro Lime.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 360mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.