Fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa

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Making quinoa has never been easier thanks to the Instant Pot! Learn how to cook fluffy, naturally gluten-free quinoa with just 4 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of hands-on time!

A black bowl with fluffy quinoa and a silver spoon with a wooden handle to the right.
Instant Pot Quinoa

Sometimes making healthy meals can feel overwhelming and the idea of prepping a week’s worth of recipes seems daunting. Thankfully, the Instant Pot cuts down the amount of time you actively spend cooking to help you make easy and healthy dishes you can easily eat on all week.

This Instant pot quinoa recipe takes less than 5 minutes of hands-on time to prep enough quinoa to feed your family all week. You can also easily freeze leftovers for quinoa at the ready anytime you need it!

Why we love this instant pot quinoa recipe

  • Fail-proof recipe – yields perfectly fluffy quinoa every time.
  • Less than 5 minutes of hands-on time.
  • Naturally gluten-free makes it perfect for everyone and any diet.
  • Perfect for meal prepping!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa, pronounced “KEEN-wah”, originated in South American. It’s considered a healthy, superfood packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One of the most common misconceptions about quinoa is that it’s a grain. In reality, the quinoa you cook and eat is a seed.

This healthy seed makes the perfect replacement for rice and also can be made into flakes and flour making it an excellent product for gluten-free eating.

Different Types of Quinoa

Quinoa comes in a variety of forms and colors. The most common types of quinoa include white, black, red, and tri-color quinoa.

  • White quinoa – The most common type of quinoa, white quinoa tends to be used as a replacement for rice due to its mild flavor and smell.
  • Black quinoa – Probably the rarest quinoa to find at the grocery stores, black quinoa has a crunchier finish than white quinoa and also has a slightly sweeter finish.
  • Red quinoa – Red quinoa holds its shape better during the cooking process making it an excellent addition to salads or grain bowls. It’s a bit nuttier in flavor and has a crunchier finish than white quinoa.
  • Tri-color quinoa – This form of quinoa happens to be a blend of white, black, and red quinoa. While the white grains are soft and mild in flavor, the black and red grains provide a little more structure and shape as well as a crunchier finish.

To learn more about the different kinds of quinoa, check out this article about the 7 Types of Quinoa.

The instant pot with fluffy cooked quinoa and a large spoon to the top left.
Fail-proof Instant Pot Quinoa

How to make Instant pot quinoa

Ingredients at a glance

  • Quinoa – I used white quinoa for this recipe.
  • Water – Helps provide steam and moisture in the Instant Pot to help cook the quinoa to a perfectly fluffy finish.
  • Ghee – Used to toast the quinoa and bring out a nutty flavor.
  • Salt – Adds a little flavor to the quinoa.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under running water until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to ‘Saute’ mode and adjust the setting to ‘More’. Once the display reads ‘Hot’ add the ghee.
  3. After the ghee heats up, add the rinsed and drained quinoa with the salt and sauté for a minute or so.
  4. Add the water to the inner pot and mix well.
  5. Deglaze– using a spatula dislodge any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
  7. Pressure cook for 1 minute under high pressure.
  8. When the cooking cycle completes, wait 10 minutes before moving the valve to ‘venting’ to release the pressure.
  9. Open the lid and allow the steam to escape. Wait for one to two minutes and then fluff the quinoa gently with a fork before serving.

Recipe notes

Tips for perfect quinoa

  1. Rise the quinoa before cooking. This rinses off the saponin – a bitter-tasting compound that naturally coats the seeds.
  2. Let the quinoa rest. This allows the steam to redistribute and evenly cook the quinoa.
  3. Remove from the inner pot. If you are not serving the quinoa immediately, remove the quinoa from the inner pot to prevent it from drying out and sticking to the bottom.

Substitutions

  • Ghee – If you do not have ghee swap it out for butter or avocado oil.
  • Water – One of the best ways to add in a little more flavor to this instant pot quinoa recipe is to sub half of the water with chicken or vegetable broth.

How to store cooked quinoa

  • Refrigerate – Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Freeze – Allow the quinoa to cool completely before storing it in a freezer-safe container. Keep frozen for up to 8 months. When you are ready to use thaw overnight in the refrigerator or allow it to thaw on the counter for about 1 hour.
  • Reheat – Add 1 tablespoon of water to every cup of leftover quinoa. Mix it well and microwave for about 1 minute.

Serving suggestions

Here are a few ways you can dish out your quinoa for a healthy meal.

  • Use it in place of rice.
  • Serve it as a side with chicken, salmon, or shrimp recipes.
  • Add it to a vegetable side such a green beans, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts.
  • Use it to top a salad for added fiber and protein.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best ratio of water to quinoa?

This depends based on your cooking method. If using the Instant Pot, the best ratio of water to quinoa is 1 to 1. 1 cup of water for every cup of quinoa.

Is quinoa healthier than rice?

Yes. While both make an excellent side for any dinner, quinoa is easily the healthier option. It contains more protein and fiber than rice making it the more nutrient-dense option.

Should you rinse quinoa?

Absolutely! Rinsing the quinoa helps remove saponin- a bitter-tasting compound that naturally coats the seeds. Even if your package says it’s been pre-rinsed I would recommend running it through the meh-strainer to ensure it is completely removed.

Is quinoa gluten-free?

Yes, the grain quinoa is naturally gluten free. However, some packages of quinoa might not be marked gluten-free because they were processed in a location where they might have been cross-contaminated with other gluten products.
If you follow a gluten-free diet you will want to ensure the quinoa you buy is labeled “certified gluten-free”.

A black bowl filled to the top with fresh quinoa with a towel to the left of the bowl and an instant pot pressure cooker in the back left.
Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

Other recipes you’ll love

  • Instant Pot Basmati Rice – You’ll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker. 
  • Vegetable Quinoa Pulao – Just like vegetable pulao, this quinoa pilaf is delicious and is a great way to work more veggies into your meals with quinoa – a healthier substitute for rice.
  • 20-Minute Instant Pot Palak Rice– This filling and flavorful Spinach Rice is packed with warm spices and fresh vegetables for a gluten-free dish everyone will enjoy!
  • Instant Pot Sukha Kala Chana– This flavorful sukha kala chana (dry black chickpeas) dish tastes divine when served with pooris and sheera. 
  • Healthy Instant Pot Hummus– With a few simple ingredients, you can easily whip up this delicious Instant Pot Hummus recipe for a gluten-free and vegan appetizer or snack!
A black bowl with fluffy quinoa and a silver spoon with a wooden handle to the right.

Instant Pot Quinoa

5 from 2 votes
Healthy, filling, and naturally gluten-free, this Instant pot quinoa recipe is the perfect addition to your weekly meal prep!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Pressure Building Time + Resting time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Fusion

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the quinoa using a fine-mesh strainer under running water till the water runs clear. Set it aside to drain.
  • Set the Instant Pot to 'Saute' mode and adjust the setting to 'More'. When the display reads 'Hot', add ghee.
  • Once the ghee heats up, add the drained quinoa and salt. Sauté for a minute or so.
  • Add water to the inner pot. Mix well.
  • Deglaze – use a spatula to dislodge any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
  • Pressure cook for 1 minute under high pressure.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before moving the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure.
  • Open the lid and let the steam escape. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the quinoa gently with a fork and it is ready to serve.

Notes

Reheating leftover quinoa – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover quinoa. Mix well and microwave it for about 1 minute. 
Tips for perfect quinoa
  1. Rinse the quinoa in a few changes of cold water to get rid of saponin – a bitter-tasting compound that coats the seeds. 
  2. Let the quinoa rest  – Once cooked, let the quinoa rest  –  this allows the steam to redistribute and evenly cook the quinoa. That is why it is important to wait for 10 minutes before releasing pressure.
  3. If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the quinoa from drying out and sticking to the bottom.

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 12gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 592mgPotassium: 479mgFiber: 6gVitamin A: 12IUCalcium: 44mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : easy, Fluffy, perfect

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