Basic Recipe: Pressure Cooker Quinoa

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
4 L or larger none 1 min. High(2) Natural

4.6 from 18 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.

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