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How To Make Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa

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Learn how to make perfect, fluffy Instant Pot quinoa using my foolproof method! This healthy grain is an easy addition to loads of meals, and it’s ready in minutes in the pressure cooker.

A bowl of cooked quinoa on a marble counter next to an Instant Pot.

Perfectly Fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa

The Instant Pot is one of the best ways to cook quinoa that’s perfectly fluffy every time. It’s definitely my new favorite method! I’ll use this nutritious grain in everything from soups to quinoa bowls, quinoa salads, and more. And I love having the option to quickly cook up a big batch of tender, fluffy grains to use for meal prep throughout the week. And the best part? It’s practically hands-free!

Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Recipe

  • Fluffy and flavorful. Rinsing the quinoa before cooking results in the best fluffy texture and rich, nutty flavor.
  • Healthier. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Quinoa is more nutritious than white or brown rice, and it works as a rice substitute in loads of recipes!
  • Foolproof. You’ll never need to worry about over or undercooking quinoa again. The Instant Pot is the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it method for perfectly cooked quinoa.
Overhead view of uncooked tricolor quinoa in a white bowl with a spoon for serving.

What Is Quinoa? 

Quinoa is actually the seed of a flowering plant. However, it’s classified as a whole grain. It comes in different colors ranging from white to red, to tricolored and black. Quinoa is high in plant protein and fiber, as well as antioxidants, and it’s considered a gluten-free grain.

What You’ll Need

You only need two ingredients to make perfect quinoa in the pressure cooker: quinoa (of course!), and cooking liquid. 

You can use any type of quinoa you’d like whether it’s red, white, black, or tricolor like the kind pictured. The key is in the ratio of quinoa to water. When cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot, you’ll need 1 cup of quinoa per 1½ cups of water, or stock, like chicken or vegetable.

Water is added to an Instant Pot filled with uncooked quinoa.

How To Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot 

Ready to cook some quinoa in the pressure cooker? Let’s get started. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and recipe details.

  • Rinse the quinoa. Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa under cold water. 
  • Combine and cook. Add the quinoa and cooking liquid (water or broth) to the Instant Pot. Seal the pot and cook at high pressure for two minutes. When the cooking time is up, let it release naturally for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve. Open the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving. 

Can I Make Quinoa on the Stovetop Instead? 

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I can’t recommend it enough! A multicooker does the job of slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, sauteing, and more, all in one pot. However, if you’d prefer to make quinoa the old-fashioned way, use this easy stovetop recipe for perfect, fluffy quinoa.

Cooked quinoa inside the Instant Pot.

Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa

The Instant Pot makes cooking quinoa a breeze, but a few professional tips never hurt. Here’s some final guidance for best results:

  • Rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can make it taste bitter and soapy if it’s cooked as is. Rinsing quinoa under cold water removes the coating and improves the taste and texture. Don’t skip this step!
  • Instant Pot quinoa calls for less water than the stovetop method. This is because the sealed nature of the Instant Pot means less evaporation.
  • Spray the inside of the IP with cooking spray. This cuts down on foaming and helps prevent the quinoa from sticking to the pot.
  • Double the recipe. As long as the ratio of quinoa to liquid stays the same, you can double or triple the recipe while keeping the cooking time the same. Be mindful that you don’t overcrowd the pot.

Variation Ideas

There are so many ways to turn a plain bowl of Instant Pot quinoa into something extra-flavorful. Try these ideas:

  • Add broth or stock. In place of water, use vegetable or chicken stock to add flavor while cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot. 
  • Aromatics. Impart even more flavor to your quinoa with other add-ins like bay leaves or cardamom pods. Add them in while the quinoa cooks, and pluck them out again before serving.
  • Add-ins. Try sweet or savory add-ins like chopped pecans, walnuts, dried fruit, sweet corn, butternut, feta, or seasonings like homemade sazon seasoning.
  • Dressing. Top cooked quinoa with your favorite healthy dressing. Try this Asian ginger carrot dressing or my basil green goddess dressing.
Overhead view of two hands wrapped around a white bowl of perfect, fluffy Instant Pot quinoa.

Quinoa FAQs

How much cooked quinoa does one cup of dry quinoa make?

One cup of dry quinoa yields approximately three cups of cooked quinoa.

What is the ratio of water to quinoa?

When cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot, You’ll need 1½ cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. This is a little less liquid per cup than what’s needed when cooking quinoa on the stovetop.

What is the best way to eat quinoa?

Too many to count! Quinoa is one of the most nutritious grains that tastes delicious in salads, bowls, soup, as a side dish, or as a main with your favorite add-ins or protein. See below for ideas!

Ways to Use Instant Pot Quinoa

Instant Pot quinoa makes the best healthy side dish. All it needs is a seasoning of your choice, a drizzle with olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon! Or, you can use it in any recipes that call for cooked quinoa, from grain bowls to Buddha bowls, and more. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Overhead view of Instant Pot quinoa in a white bowl with a spoon for serving.

Can I Make Quinoa in Advance?

Quinoa is one of my go-to easy meal prep ideas because it’s super quick to make a large batch that will keep throughout the week. Leftovers will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge, and there are so many delicious ways that you can use them (see above).

How to Store

  • Fridge. Once the quinoa has cooled, refrigerate it airtight for up to 3-5 days. Cold leftover quinoa is easy to use in salads and more healthy meals. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop, covered, with a bit of water added.
  • Freezer. Store the cooked and cooled quinoa in freezer bags or containers and keep it frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost quinoa in the fridge, or you can reheat it straight from frozen on the stovetop or in the microwave.

More Quinoa Recipes

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Instant Pot Quinoa

4.88 from 8 votes
Learn how to cook perfect, fluffy Instant Pot quinoa! This hands-free method makes tender quinoa that's great to use in salads, quinoa bowls, and more.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Water is added to an Instant Pot filled with uncooked quinoa.
Prep: 0 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Yield: 6
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup



  • 1 cup quinoa, red or tricolor
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid, water, vegetable or chicken broth


  • Rinse the quinoa under cold running water to remove quinoa's natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Some boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn't hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse.
  • Add quinoa and liquid to the Instant Pot. Turn valve to sealing.
  • Cover and cook 2 minutes on high pressure and then let pressure release naturally, about 10 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork then set aside to cool.

Last Step:

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Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.


Serving: 1 /2 cup, Calories: 81 kcal, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 1.5 g, Sodium: 5 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g


Photo credit: Jess Larson