1-minute Quinoa Golden Pressure Cooker Pilaf

pressure cooker quinoa recipe
This fluffy and spicy quinoa pilaf is pressure cooked in just 1 minute.  It continues cooking using the cooker’s own residual heat and  steam – without any energy at all!

I developed this recipe to use in last summer’s pressure cooker demo tour.  It uses the 1-minute pressure cooker quinoa method which was born of cautious testing of my small hard-to-get quinoa supply. I further refined the technique by adjusting the quinoa to liquid ratio – in a moment of inattention I added less water than what I recommend and.. Surprise!  The result was even better.

The inspiration for this recipe was  Arroz Amarillo (a Spanish rice dish that is tinged with saffron) but it resembles arroz in color only. The flavors, instead, were borrowed from a cuisine that was easy to love during my 25 years in California: Mexico.  Quinoa is neither Spanish nor Mexican but, instead Peruvian. So, this wholly new recipe celebrates all three countries!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger  none    1 min.    High(2)  10-min. Natural

1-minute Quinoa Golden Pilaf - pressure cooker recipe
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
You can use any color quinoa without changing the cooking time. For example, I just covered the bottom of my measuring cup with a little black quinoa, and then topped it off with white to add a little variety.
  • 2 cups whole grain quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
  1. Rinse quinoa well under water until it runs clear (a few minutes)in a fine mesh strainer. Rub the grains around the strainer to ensure the full removal of the invisible bitter coating of "saponin"- a natural insect repellent.
  2. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat add the oil and garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds and then mix-in the turmeric, cumin and salt.
  3. Add the water, and tap the quinoa from the strainer into the pressure cooker - being careful to remove any stray quinoa from the lip of the pot.
  4. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. For stove top pressure cookers, turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
  5. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and begin counting 10 minutes of natural open time. Then, slowly release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
  6. Tumble quinoa into serving bowl. Fluff with a fork and decorate with fresh herbs before serving.

InstantPot or Instant Pot recipe