Learn how to cook Instant Pot quinoa with this comprehensive guide. We cover everything you need to know about cooking quinoa in the pressure cooker, its nutritional benefits, how to eat quinoa, how long it lasts, and more. Plus, we suggest some delicious quinoa recipes you can make with this versatile, seed grain.
Are you looking to incorporate a healthy and versatile grain into your cooking repertoire? Look no further than quinoa!
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a gluten-free ancient pseudo-grain (it’s a seed) that has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its exceptional nutritional profile. It’s high in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals; it’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly, and easily accessible; and, when it comes to cooking, quinoa is super versatile when it comes to using it in meals and recipes.
It’s pretty easy to make quinoa on a stove but when cooked in the Instant Pot, it becomes even more convenient, as it saves time and ensures a consistent and fluffy texture every time.
The Instant Pot shortens the cooking time by about 5-10 minutes compared to the stove-top and it’s a hands-free method as you don’t have to watch it to make sure the water doesn’t overboil. And should you forget to turn the Instant Pot off, the pressure will release on its own and quinoa will quietly sit and wait for you.
Plus, there are so many quinoa Instant Pot recipes you can make!!
You will need white quinoa, water, salt, and olive oil (this one is optional).
Cooking quinoa in an Instant Pot is a quick and convenient method that ensures perfectly cooked, fluffy grains every time. Follow these simple steps to cook quinoa in your Instant Pot.
We are using 2 cups of uncooked quinoa, which should yield about 3 cups of cooked grain.
Step 1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and strain. This helps remove any residual bitterness or saponin.
Step 2. Add quinoa, water, salt and olive oil to the Instant Pot. The general ratio is 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid, but you can adjust the amount of liquid to achieve your preferred consistency. We used 3 cups of liquid for 2 cups of quinoa and the consistency was perfect. Olive oil is optional but it gives the quinoa a little fat to keep it moist and fluffy.
Step 3. Lock the Lid and Set Cooking Time: Securely lock the Instant Pot lid in place. Set the pressure release valve to the sealing position. Select the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode and set the cooking time to 1 minute.
The Instant Pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure before the cooking time starts counting down. Once it reaches pressure, the cooking time will begin, and the display will show the countdown.
Step 4. Natural Pressure Release (NPR): After the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. This time is essential for the quinoa to finish cooking. It’s okay to go over 10 minutes but don’t be too tempted to release the pressure much earlier.
Step 5. Open the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. You can use it all at once or divide quinoa into portions to use in different meals.
White Quinoa vs Red vs Tricolor
When it comes to cooking white quinoa, red quinoa, or tricolor quinoa in the Instant Pot, the basic cooking method remains the same. However, there are some slight differences in cooking times and water ratios that you may need to consider:
- Cooking Time: White quinoa usually cooks faster compared to red or tricolor quinoa. While white quinoa typically requires 1 minute of high pressure cooking time, red or tricolor quinoa may need 2 to 3 minutes of high pressure cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the type of quinoa you are using.
- Water Ratio: The water-to-quinoa ratio may vary slightly depending on the type of quinoa. White quinoa generally requires a 1:1.5 quinoa-to-water ratio, while red or tricolor quinoa may need a 1:1.75 ratio. This ensures that the grains are adequately hydrated and cooked to perfection. Adjust the water amount accordingly when cooking different types of quinoa.
- Texture: Red and tricolor quinoa varieties tend to have a slightly firmer and chewier texture compared to white quinoa. Adjust the cooking time and water ratio to achieve your preferred texture.
How to Eat Quinoa?
So, now you might be wondering what to eat with quinoa or how to use it in recipes? Well, quinoa’s versatility allows for a multitude of serving options.
Enjoy it as a side dish – it goes with grilled meats, chicken, seafood or tofu and is a great base for stews, curries and braised dishes.
Use it as a base for salads – adding quinoa quinoa to a salad is a great way to boost carbs, fibre and protein of that dish and to add a few extra calories to make it more satiating. There are so many options like a trendy Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad, Southwest version or Greek-inspired creation.
Add to soups and stews – you can make quinoa chili or add it to any soup that calls for rice or pasta.
Create flavorful quinoa bowls – there are so many possibilities like our Mediterranean chicken quinoa bowl, vegetarian-friendly quinoa buddha bowl or Mexican burrito or taco bowl.
Eat it for breakfast – cooked porridge can be used to make a gluten-free, protein-rich porridge or to create a delicious quinoa breakfast bowl with yoghurt, fruit and nuts.
Use it as filling – mix quinoa with herbs, spices, onion, garlic, nuts, seeds and veggies and use it as a filling for stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls.
Quinoa pairs well with vegetables, proteins, dressings, and various cuisines, giving you endless possibilities.
More Instant Pot Quinoa Recipes
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Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe
- 2 cups quinoa white, rinsed under cold water
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold running water for a minute or two. This helps remove any residual bitterness or saponin.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot inner pot. Add water or vegetable broth and a pinch of salt if desired. We also add a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it extra moist and fluffy. Stir through. By the way, the general ratio is 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid, but you can adjust the amount of liquid to achieve your preferred consistency.
- Secure and lock the lid Set to Pressure Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. After the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. This time is essential for the quinoa to finish cooking. It's okay to go over 10 minutes but don't be too tempted to release the pressure much earlier.
- Open the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.