Perfectly cooked quinoa ready to use as a side dish or as a component in another recipe – straight from your Instant Pot! Easy to double and great for meal prepping! Here’s How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot!
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Quinoa is basically amazing and can substitute for rice in almost any dish. I particularly love it for meal prepping – since it goes with most main dishes (meat or vegan!), you can flavor it however you like, and it stores well in the refrigerator.
One day short of a year ago, I published a little article called How to Cook Quinoa in the Rice Cooker. Using a rice cooker is still a totally valid way to make quinoa, but I thought I’d work on a 2018 quinoa update – INSTANT POT VERSION. Some people don’t have rice cookers and do have Instant Pots. Some people have both and can use either very valid method to cook quinoa. You do you.
In last year’s how to cook quinoa post, I detailed the ingredients I normally use and my rice cooker methods. This time, I want to focus a little more on the Instant Pot and how my quinoa methods have changed.
First of all, the most common quinoa question:
Do I need to rinse quinoa before I cook it?
Short answer: No. It’s not a requirement. In fact, I used to advocate not rinsing if you couldn’t tell a difference in the taste or if the bitterness didn’t bother you.
Long answer: Butttttt now I’m sort of changing my tune. It wasn’t so much for the taste, but for the actual stuff that comes off the quinoa when I rinse it. I know it’s not bad for me, but looking at the rinsed quinoa water kind of grosses me out. So now I say, RINSE.
Grab a fine mesh strainer, a bowl of water, and your quinoa. Soak it, swish it, stir it up, until the water goes from clear to uhhm, not clear. Dirty quinoa water cloudy color. See below.
How do I cook quinoa in the Instant Pot?
Super easy. Everyone should be doing it.
Start by using a paper towel to spread coconut oil on the bottom interior of your Instant Pot insert. The cooked quinoa will lift off the bowl incredibly easily and you will have zero stickage after cooking.
This is not a requirement, and your insert certainly will not be ruined if you skip it, but I’m very fond of this method.
This is what it looked like when I didn’t use coconut oil versus when I did, just to see how it worked with the Instant Pot. I like the one on the left better, and it was slightly easier to clean. You can see a little bit of the cleaner Instant Pot bottom peeking through on the left.
Next, add your rinsed quinoa and liquid to the Instant Pot following a ratio of 1:1.25 quinoa to liquid (1 1/4 cups liquid for every 1 cup of quinoa). This ratio is straight from the Instant Pot manual. You can use water or your preferred flavor of broth.
Make sure all the quinoa is saturated and under water so it cooks properly. No need to stir – I just shake the pot a little bit and the quinoa settles evenly at the bottom.
Place your lid on, set the steam release valve to Sealed (why yes, I have forgotten to do this), and set to Manual or Pressure Cook (same function – different models) for 1 minute.
When it’s done pressure cooking, let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes, then hit the quick release valve.
Wait. Did you say 1 minute of pressure cooking?
Yes, indeed I did. It’s right out of the Instant Pot manual. And I tested it just for you!
The quinoa will continue to cook during that 10 minutes after the Instant Pot beeps to say it’s done, since there’s still plenty of pressure built up.
During testing, I tried releasing the pressure immediately – I found that the quinoa wasn’t fully cooked and there was still a decent amount of liquid left that was not absorbed into the quinoa.
After the float valve has gone down, remove the lid and fluff your quinoa. GOOD AS GOLD.
That’s basically it. The whole process takes just over 20 minutes, including the time for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure after sealing. You can now use this quinoa in any recipe you like, including any of the following:
- Meal Prep Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki Quinoa Bowls
- Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bake
- Make-Ahead Quinoa Party Salad
Can I make a double batch of quinoa in the Instant Pot?
Yes! You totally can. My quick disclaimer is that I never actually have done this, but I’m certain it would work as long as you follow the 1 : 1.25 quinoa to liquid ratio. Be careful not to overfill your Instant Pot if you’re going for a triple batch.
More volume in the Instant Pot may need more time to heat up and reach pressure, but cooking time would remain the same.
More How-To’s from PMP You Might Enjoy:
- How to Make and Freeze Homemade Pizza Sauce
- How to Make Homemade LaCroix with a SodaStream
- How to Cook Quinoa in the Rice Cooker
Here’s how to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot! Great for meal prepping or a side dish to any meal!
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1 1/4 cup liquid or broth
- coconut oil
- pinch of salt, optional (see note)
- Instant Pot (affiliate link!!)
- Using a paper towel, wipe coconut oil on the inside of the Instant Pot, including inside the bottom and up the bottom half of the cooking insert pot. This prevents sticking, though it is not required.
- Add quinoa and liquid to the Instant Pot. Jiggle the Instant Pot insert to make sure all the quinoa is covered with water.
- Place the lid on, make sure the steam release is Sealed, and set the Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook for 1 minute.
- When it’s done pressure cooking, let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes, then hit the quick release valve. The quinoa will continue to cook during this time.
- After the float valve has gone down, remove the lid and fluff your quinoa with a fork. Use in any recipes or as a side dish! Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Though most Instant Pot recipes require at least 500 ml (just over 2 cups) of water to create enough pressure for cooking, this recipe is based on the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6-qt User Manual quinoa cooking ratio and has worked for me 100% of the time. Please keep in mind that due to the nature of pressure cooking, there may be inconsistencies with more complicated recipes or when adjusting this recipe to meet your needs.
I don’t add any salt if I’m using broth instead of water.
This recipe can be doubled – just stick to the 1 : 1.25 quinoa to water ratio.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 111
- Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 20g
- Protein: 4g
To make this recipe, I used:
Thanks for checking out How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot! I can’t wait to experiment and work on some amazing Instant Pot recipes! Let me know how this works for you – I’m still getting used to the Instant Pot myself. Tag me or use #projectmealplan on social media to share!