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. Thanks for figuring this out. I love quinoa but cooking it on the stove or in the microwave is too fussy, for me at least.

    1. This works great. I actually do mine for 2 minutes but I’m at mile high altitude so I’m not reaching the max pressure you are…I think the extra minute makes it perfect here.

  2. I want to emphasize the first step in Laura’s quinoa cooking instructions. The first time I cooked quinoa I didn’t know it needed to be rinsed well under running water before cooking it and the resulting cooked quinoa was bitter tasting. I thought I didn’t like quinoa until I later learned that that bitterness will disappear if you rinse quinoa well before cooking it.

    By the way, quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah, not quin-OH-a.

    1. The pronunciation is great- the first time my husband and I tried it at our local healthfood store/restaurant they couldnt understand what we were asking for because we were saying Qwin Oh A haha

  3. It came out perfectly. I usually buy frozen quinoa from Trader Joes so I was surprised at how good fresh quinoa is, even without seasonings.

  4. This turned out absolutely perfect the very first time! It is so easy and so delicous… better than when I made it stove top. Thank you!!!!

  5. This was perfect. My quinoa never comes out this well. This method have me the fluffiest quinoa ever!

  6. Whoo Hoo !!! Perfection at last. Many thanks.

  7. I followed the directions very carefully and also measured ver carefully. I observed the PC time as well as the natural depressurizing time for 10 minutes. The result was a very watery layer underneath the fluffy portion. I ended up carefully hearing out the remaining water for the greater part of ½ hour. I’m at sea level.

    1. Carlos can you tell us about your pressure cooker? What brand and model is it? If you’re using a stovetop model what is the stovetop? Induction?



    2. I’m using a gas stovetop and a Fagor pressure cooker. It works well for all other recipes, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful cooking quinoa.

    3. It is a brand new Fagor pressure cooker.

      1. Carols, this tells me that maybe you’re not familiar with using it yet. Specifically, being able to tell when it reaches pressure and at what level to turn down the heat that it has. It’s part of the learning curve of using your pressure cooker and takes a bit of getting used-to. What seems to have happened here, is that the quinoa was over-cooked and it could be just because the cooker was on a high flame or going into over-pressure before you began pressure cooking (the quinoa is cooking during this time as well).

        I recommend going through the cooking lessons on this website (see sidebar under Start Here) and familiarizing yourself more with how your pressure cooker works and then giving quinoa another shot.

        Ciao and Welcome!


        1. Okay. That makes perfect sense to me. From the short experience I’ve acquired so far, it seems like I need to learn a bit more about different foods and how they cook. Thank you!


  8. I love the bowl. Where can I find it?

  9. I buy Quinoa from Costco and it’s pre-rinsed…YAY!
    I haven’t tried it in my Instant Pot…doing it now!

  10. Perfect! I used the InstantPot Duo 6 qt and red quinoa.. I got distracted, so it went into the keep warm cycle for 17 minutes and was STILL perfect.

    Question: If I double the recipe, should I cook it longer?

    1. C.J. I just received my Instant Pot as well and I am new to pressure cooking. What settin did you use to make the quinoa?

      1. Martha, hit “Manual” and then hit the “-” until you get to 1. : )



        1. Thank you!!

  11. Please disregard my question. The answer is at the very beginning of the recipe. My apologies for not paying attention.


  12. Thank you! AMAZING and fluffy with no extra water or burnt pieces!

  13. I have found that even “pre-rinsed” quinoa tastes better if you rinse it first. Thank you for figuring out the timing for us, Laura. I like to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and using it to make a variety of things all week long.

  14. Ah, I love your website and make your risotto recipe religiously, but this one did not turn out well for me. Please help! I followed the directions exactly (I made the double portion) and prepared the quinoa in my Instant Pot, but it came out gummy and glopy, if that makes sense.

    1. Terri, are you at a different altitude, by any chance? My only other guesses as to why this didn’t work out is that maybe the water used was very cold (this can happen in the winder) or the quinoa was not well drained after rinsing.



      1. Hi Laura, I’m sorry for the delay in replying. I’m not at a high altitude and the water wasn’t very cold. It is possible that I did not drain the quinoa as well as I should have. I’ll try again with well drained quinoa and see if that changes the results. Thank you for your help in troubleshooting this recipe!

        1. OK, let us know how it worked! It’s very important to keep the liquid rations as stated for rice and grains (and even seeds) to make-up for the fact that there is almost NO evaporation in the pressure cooker!



          1. I just wanted to say that I’ve tried the recipe several more times and have had varying degrees of success depending on how thoroughly it’s drained. This last time I actually lined my drainer with a kitchen towel and squeezed all the water out with the towel, the result was perfectly fluffy quinoa! Thanks! :-)

            1. Terry, this dish shouldn’t require sooo much work! Get a fine mesh strainer – it’s good for lots of things including making greek yogurt and sprinkling powdered sugar on desserts! I have this one, I use the little one for loose tea, the medium one for kefir and the big one for quinoa, millet and tapioca. : )




              1. If the quinoa is too wet after rinsing, I turn the UP on share and lightly toast the quinoa to dry up the excess moisture. Works every time.

  15. I too had a ‘gloppy’ outcome with this recipe. I’ve made it twice now in my Instant Pot with the same results. I am not at a high altitude and I drain the rinsed quinoa well. I timed very carefully and so not sure why I’m getting this result. I’m going to try a different ratio of quinoa to water. I just read that the America’s Test Kitchen people say the ratio for quinoa and water that they use is 1:1. When I cook on stovetop I use 1 C quinoa to no more than 1.25 C water and it’s just right. So think I’ll try 1 C quinoa to 1.25 C water using your same instructions.

  16. It was perfect with my Instant Pot… Thanks, Laura!

  17. This was perfect! I followed exactly and got beautiful quinoa. I’ve tried other methods, and this was the first time it wasn’t gummy or burnt. Thanks for figuring it out!

  18. Ended up perfect thanks! Would it work if i halved the quantities? made so much! x

    1. That will depend on your pressure cooker. The liquid given as 1.5 cups. That is the minimum for most Electrics. You should never use less liquid than the minimum for your model. So you will muck up the ratios if you halve the dry ingredients but not the liquid.

      If you have a stove top you may be able to halve the liquid too. My Kuhn Rikon has a minimum liquid requirement down around a quarter of a cup, so it would be no problem in that PC,

  19. I am a long-time quinoa eater and a long-time (20 year?) stove-top pressure cooker user. I never thought to use the pressure cooker for quinoa because it cooks fairly quickly. That said, my results were inconsistent.

    Enter the Instant Pot and your method. OMG, my quinoa is perfect! No scorching, no gumming up, no dryness. Just perfect quinoa.

    I loved my stove-top cooker for many years and defended it while one of my friends began to rave about the IP. Now I get it! No more having a break-in period every time I move and change stoves. No more scorched quinoa because of a lapse in attention.

  20. Aloha so much for this recipe. I used Bob Mills tri color quinoa and added turmeric and cumin seeds to the pot. Washed quinoa very carefully and let drain for 10 minutes to get all water out. Added two tablespoons of Ghee (homemade) to the water and Maldon Salt (pinch). PERFECT the first time out of the PC..!!!! what a wonderful way to get PERFECT quinoa (not soggy-not under done- and wonderfully flavored. I will add different spices for different dishes. Maybe some saffron – or Chai spices for desert dishes. Of course let us not forget Thai/Hawaiian spices – lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, ginger and chile peppers……..Yeah Hawaiian flavors !!! Rice puts me to sleep within 30 minutes of eating….and I sleep FOREVER too. Now I can make spring rolls with the Thai/Hawaiian flavored tri color quinoa…This is so simple….the only time you really spend active is rinsing the quinoa… the PC does the rest. Blessings, Anne

  21. Awesome!

  22. Perfect Every time! When I instruct my classes on PC’ing.. people cant believe that it take just 1 minute on high/15 Nat Release and it comes out perfect. It’s a oooooo and ahhhhh moment.

  23. Your proportions of quinoa to liquid are perfect. I like homemade turkey stock and cumin in mine.

    I’ve never rinsed quinoa. I guess I’ll wait until one batch tastes bad and then try rinsing. So far, no issue.

    1. William,
      Re. rinsing quinoa…

      “Question: Should I wash or pre-rinse the quinoa before eating?

      Answer: Depends on what type of quinoa you buy. When quinoa first launched in the US several years ago, the seeds weren’t washed as thoroughly as they are today. To prevent quinoa from tasting bitter, people had to rinse the quinoa several times to remove the natural saponin coating from the seed. Nowadays, most brands of quinoa are pre-washed and do not need rigorous rinsing. You can usually tell if the quinoa is free of saponin by examining the seeds themselves. Saponin is pink in color. If your quinoa claims to be pre-washed and is white in appearance, chances are the saponin levels are low, and your quinoa will not taste bitter.”

      It appears that the quinoa you’re buying has been pre-washed, hence no need to wash it – at least not that brand.

      Admittedly the quinoa I had that was bitter I made several years ago, so maybe what’s now available has been pre-washed well. I suppose it’a also possible that some folks taste that bitterness and some may not. If what you’re doing works for you, I say, “don’t change a thing.”

  24. Hi, Laura. I will definitely try this out this week. Could this be done in a bowl in the Instant-pot (with additional water to get it to pressure) rather than directly in the pot?

    1. Yes, you can use the bain marie method to pressure cook any grains – including quinoa! The pressure cooking time and opening method do not change.



      1. I meant to follow up: that it turned out perfect & I do this all the time now!
        Thanks, Laura!

  25. My question is do you need to rinse organic quinoa?
    Also I have a power pressure pressure cooker.
    What would the time and how much water to quinoa to use for this brand.
    Thank you

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