Quinoa Pressure Cooker Recipe

Pressure Cooker Quinoa

I came up with the 1-minute Quinoa pressure cooker method five years ago after seeing wildly different cooking times cited by other experts.  I didn’t like ending-up with mushy gruel-like quinoa or something that looked perfect and then totally fell apart when touched by a fork.

When I test an ingredient for pressure cooker timing I always shoot for the shortest cooking time needed to have the ingredient fully cooked.  And when I say fully cooked, I mean that the seeds crack open to show off their little root but still hold together enough to fluff, stir and mix without falling apart.  In the case of quinoa, I got the timing all the way down to 1 minute at pressure – a quick high-temperature shock and lots of steam in the residual heat is all that is needed to reach quinoa perfection.

The quinoa pressure cooking time is the same for stove top and electric pressure cookers because even though electrics cook at a slightly lower pressure (aka temperature), the extra couple of minutes electrics take to open during the natural pressure release make-up the difference.

Pressure Cooker Quinoa

Once you’ve got the basic method down you can mix it up by switching the cooking liquid to stock, coconut milk or some other ingredient that will work in your recipe. Sprinkle in your favorite herbs or spices (like thyme, lemon zest or cumin), too.  Salt can be added or left out – I find a pinch per cup of dry quinoa greatly enhances the flavor.  Fats and oils – which I usually recommend for pressure cooking grains – can be left out because quinoa’s grain-like seeds don’t release starchy foam while cooking.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 1 min. High(2) Natural

4.7 from 24 reviews
PERFECT Pressure Cooker Quinoa
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 2-4
  • Serving size: ¼th
  • Calories: 172
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.8g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 31g
  • Sugar Carbs: 3g
  • Sodium: 41.5mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 3g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe can easily be doubled by simply putting twice the recommended ingredients in the pressure cooker. The pressure cooking time does not change if the recipe quantity is increased.
  • 1 cup (175g) quinoa
  • 1½ cup (375ml) water
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  1. Put the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under running water for a few minutes using your hands to rub the grains together.
  2. Place the quinoa, water and salt in the pressure cooker.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 1 minute pressure cooking time.
  5. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural pressure release.
    Electric pressure cookers: Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down (about 15 to 20 minutes).
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes).
  6. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve.

Fluffy Pressure Cooker Quinoa

FLUFFY Pressure Cooker Quinoa (Instant Pot) EASY Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Quinoa



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  1. This IP newbie followed the directions precisely and the result was perfectl quinoa. Far better than any stovetop method or procedure I have unsuccessfully followed. Many thanks for sharing your “IP IQ” with us!

  2. I use an 11QT stove top pressure cooker. I was afraid of scorching the quinoa so I put the quinoa and water in a stainless steel mixing bowl and placed it on a trivet inside the PC. I only needed a 1/2 cup of quinoa for a bean burger recipe I was doing so I used 1/2 cup quinoa and 3/4 cup water, in the mixing bowl. I then put another 3/4 cup water in the bottom of the pressure cooker. I brought to 15lbs then set the timer for 5 minutes and then naturally released. Turned out perfect and with no scorching. I would probably try 7/12 minute and 1.5 cups of water if making a full 1 cup of quinoa.

    1. Jeff, you shouldn’t need to increase the pressure cooking time when you increase the quinoa. But if these are the quantities you habitually cook – may I recommend looking for a smaller (lightly used or deeply discounted) pressure cooker?



  3. I have tried this recipe a few times now, exactly the same way every time. It has been hit and miss. It has been perfect. It has been gloppy. Last time I made it, perfection…tonight…slop. My theory is that sometimes it may take longer for the unit to decompress than others. I think this could be more accurate with a set time to quick release if the natural release hasn’t worked by then. I think the difference between 15 minutes and 20 minutes could be the difference between perfect and unpleasant.

    1. This recipe is not something I have tried, but I think Razzy is on to something.

      With just 1 minute at pressure even very slight variations in quantities will have a marked effect.
      If you are not already,I would suggest that you weigh your ingredients in. They will be far more consistent this way. I have done the experiment with flour and am well aware that it is very easy to get variations of up to 25% even when taking all due care measuring out dry ingredients. Digital scales are very cheap these days and are very consistent even if they are not always as accurate as I would like. The consistency means that you will get the ratios right which is what really matters in cooking.

      Also, on my stove top I have noticed that variations in ambient (room) temperature can have a marked effect on both time to pressure and time to lose pressure. Both will affect overall cooking time.

      1. Believe it or not, I actually did measure by grams! :) After the first time, which I botched due to my own inattention (which I’m not counting here), I have been pretty darn precise with the recipe. I agree that ambient temperature may have a lot to do with it. Age of quinoa could play a factor. But, it’s been hit and miss. The two pots that were perfect were really perfect. And the two that weren’t, really weren’t.

  4. Kyle,
    I’m only guessing and Laura will likely respond, but I’m not sure that a set time for quick release will solve your problem. I’m guessing that the same quantity of quinoa and water set for the same cooking time would take the same amount of time to release the pressure. I don’t know why the unit itself would vary. Well at least that’s what I’d suspect if using an electric PC. With a stovetop it’s hard to make sure the temperature is absolutely identical each time, especially with gas but even with electric. However, perhaps the quinoa itself might vary depending upon its age. Older grain might be dryer than fresher grain and absorb more water – thus a dryer result. Fresher grain would have more inherent moisture and thus might produce a “gloppier” result with the same amount of water.

    I suspect you measure exactly, both the quinoa and water, but if you “estimate” the amount of water rather than measure it exactly, that could result in varying result.

    Whatever the problem, I hope Laura can help. Perfectly cooked quinoa is wonderful; gloppy quinoa, not so much.

  5. I have a question. Is it ok to use hot water to speed up the time the pressure cooker comes to pressure?

    1. To a point. But you may need to add a little time to the pressure cooking. The food is cooking while it is coming to pressure. Just not as quickly. If you short cut the heating, you run the risk of undercooking. Owners of induction stoves have found this out to their cost. Still it is a simple fix if food is undercooked.

      1. Thank you. I did wonder if part of the heating up time was also cooking time.

        1. I just cooked it and used hot water. It came out out perfect

  6. On Sunday evenings, I do a fair amount of cooking in my Instant Pot for the week ahead. I tend to cook using the pot-in-pot method in order to minimize the amount of clean up between the different items I cook. The first time that I made this, I cooked the quinoa in a bowl that I placed on the steamer insert inside the IP. I reduced the water and increased the cook time to 2 minutes, but it wasn’t long enough to get beyond gloppy quinoa. I tried again this evening using 1 cup quinoa and 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water in a lidded steel flan pan. I cooked on low pressure with the lid clamped onto the flan pan for 3 minutes at low pressure, and then used natural pressure release. Perfection!

    1. I have been using and experimenting with the pot in pot method much more since getting the Quinoa perfected. It works great for rice as well – I go 10 minutes an that. I love the easy cleanup and the ability to serve right from the pot I cooked in.

  7. I don’t get how people can’t make this perfect recipe work! I have used pressure cookers most of my life, both electric and manual, with no issues. This recipe, at 1to 1/12 even works in my 2 quart Cooks Essentials pressie cooker… Awesome! Grazie , Laura!

  8. Thank you! Just cooked the quinoa followed your recipe in my cute 2qt electric pressure cooker, came out perfect!

  9. How can i adjust cooking times with PIP?

    1. Why PIP when you can just cook it straight in the pot? If you look couple posts above someone has shared the PIP method

      1. Here are my reasons for making it using bain marie method: sometimes I make a small amount & the pot is too big; other times I make a bigger batch but I make it right in the pyrex container I’m going to use to store it so I don’t have to wash the big pot. :)

    2. Princess, if using an aluminum or stainless steel container the pressure cooking time remains the same. I have not timed this with containers made of other materials (as silicone increases cooking time and glass & ceramic take longer to heat-up).



  10. Being my Fagor stove top pressure cooker is 11 qt in capacity, it is sometimes difficult to cook small amounts of grains and beans without scorching them. There is usually not food and water to barely cover the bottom of the cooker leaving these delicate morsels directly in contact with the hot bottom, especially during the pressure building stretch. Going PIP allows me to cook smaller quantities without the risk of scorching. The easy cleanup and ability to serve from the PIP is just an added bonus. I realize I could BUY a smaller cooker, but that would be a waste of $$ IMO because the PIP works just as good and requires no additional storage space in my kitchen

  11. The recipe says you can double it, but I’m wondering if there’s any trouble if you triple or quadruple it?

    1. You could likely triple or quadruple the recipe as long as you didn’t go over the maximum fill line.

    2. As you add more liquid, and quinoa, the cooker will take longer to reach pressure. So, if you’re quadrupling it set the cooker to “0” pressure cooking time (if your model can do it) to make-up for it a little bit. Also, don’t fill the cooker more than 1/2 full with the quinoa and water. What size pressure cooker do you have?



  12. for Kyle—–you might just check that your cooker has actually sealed. I have a GeekChef and I still haven’t figured out why about 1/3 of the time it doesn’t seal the first time. It will act like it’s sealed and start counting down and when it’s done and I release it find it was not pressuring at all. That might explain the gloppy batches.

  13. It turned out perfectly! I doubled the recipe and did the natural release for 15 minutes. Thank you!

  14. The best quinoa I’ve ever made, light and fluffy! Even the kids noticed it was better!

  15. Love this recipe.
    I use pre-washed quinoa, making it really quick and easy.
    Perfect every time.
    Thank you So much!

  16. I followed the directions and weighed the ingredients, but sadly my IP didn’t come to pressure and gave me a “burn” message. The quinoa on the top appears to be good maybe? Bummer!

    1. Amy, this is highly unusual. Can you tell me the model and size Instant Pot you used? Also, is the quinoa pre-cooked or did you soak it first?



  17. Worked perfectly for me, thanks.

  18. Wondering if the recipe would be the same if the quinoa is sprouted first. Thank you. Previously I had always used one cup of unsprouted quinoa to 1 1/2 water for 5 minutes with natural release as directed by the Veggie Queen in her “The New Fast Food” cookbook. But will give your method a try – thank you.

    1. I have not pressure cooked sprouted quinoa, but if it’s anything like sprouted beans it will take MUCH less time to cook. Since unsprouted quinoa only takes a minute… maybe just bring the cooker to pressure?!? Please come back to let us know how it worked out and what timing you were able to figure out for your sprouted quinoa.



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