If you’ve ever wondered how to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot, prepare for your life to be changed! Perfect, fluffy, tender quinoa in minutes – this is the only way I cook quinoa anymore, and it is easy as can be!

Cooking fluffy, perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot has pretty much made that indispensable machine worth it in my opinion.

I’ve had a 6-quart Instant Pot for several years now and I easily use it at least 3X a week just for rice or quinoa. Making quinoa on the stovetop isn’t exactly rocket science-y hard, but the hands off approach in the Instant Pot and resulting fluffier-than-fluffy quinoa has been revolutionary for me. 

Brown bowl of fluffy cooked quinoa.

How We Eat Quinoa

I serve quinoa almost anytime I make any meal with a gravy or topping. You know, stroganoffs and stir fry recipes and stuff like that. It’s high in protein and honestly just really nutty and wholesome and delicious. Here are a few favorite meals that always see quinoa served alongside around here: 

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff 
Easy Korean Beef
Asian Style Meatballs with Sweet Chili Sauce

Also, I make quinoa weekly just for this whole wheat quinoa bread (the most amazingly soft whole wheat bread you’ll ever have and our go-to sandwich, toast, and everything bread). And these little quinoa patties happen almost anytime I have leftover quinoa. And we cannot, absolutely cannot, forget about this amazing gluten-free chocolate cake that uses cooked quinoa as the base. 

Top down view of cooked quinoa in the Instant Pot.

Because quinoa can seem intimidating (and even a little weird) if you aren’t used to it, I wanted to show you how I make quinoa perfectly every time in the Instant Pot. I think it’ll make quinoa believers out of just about anyone. 

Even though many quinoas nowadays come prerinsed, I always give the quinoa another rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cool water just to be safe to get rid of the natural coating on quinoa which has a bitter flavor. Dump the rinsed and lightly drained quinoa into the insert of an Instant Pot that’s been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. 

Rinsing quinoa and pouring it in the Instant Pot.

For every cup of quinoa, I add 1 1/4 cups water and about 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt. I like this ratio of quinoa to water for a perfectly fluffy cooked quinoa. Feel free to experiment with different water/broth amounts if you like softer (or crunchier) quinoa.

Pouring water and salt into Instant Pot with the quinoa.

Give the quinoa a quick stir and then cook on high pressure for three minutes. A lot of Instant Pot quinoa recipes call for cooking it for zero or one minutes, but I like a slightly softer quinoa without a lot of crunch. Three minutes is perfect! It’s not mushy or watery…just perfectly soft with a very slight al dente bite to it. 

Stirring quinoa in the Instant Pot and setting timer.

At the end of cooking time, quick release the pressure and carefully remove the lid. Don’t worry, many, many (many!) times I’ve walked away and let the quinoa naturally release and even stay warm for a long time in the Instant Pot and it is still perfect.

Of course it’s a bit softer that way, but still wonderful. I always let it naturally release when I’m using it in bread but prefer to quick release if serving it with a main dish. 

Releasing pressure on Instant Pot.

Most, if not all, of the water should be absorbed. If it hasn’t, you might want to cook it for another minute (but I’ve never had that happen). Fluff the quinoa with a spoon and use as desired! 

Stirring cooked quinoa in the Instant Pot.

There are a million ways to enjoy quinoa, but in my opinion, there’s only one way to cook it. And that’s in the Instant Pot! It is fluffy, soft, quinoa perfection, and I can’t bring myself to make it any other way now. 

Because I reference cooked quinoa in lots of recipes, this little “how to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot” is a perfect placeholder recipe for those kinds of recipes. If you haven’t given quinoa a go in the Instant Pot, I urge you to try it! I don’t know that it necessarily saves time from the stovetop method, but being able to set it and forget it is straight up heaven sent. 

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on the size of your Instant Pot (rule of thumb is not to exceed the halfway mark with liquid/quinoa).

Spoonful of cooked quinoa in the Instant Pot.

One Year Ago: Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins
Two Years Ago: The Best Ground Beef or Turkey Tacos {20-Minute Meal}
Three Years Ago: {Pressure Cooker or Stovetop} Chicken Coconut Curry
Four Years Ago: Quinoa Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Granola Cookies
Five Years Ago: Grilled Asian Chicken with Peanut Noodles and Cucumber Sambal

Spoonful of cooked quinoa in the Instant Pot.

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly in the Instant Pot

4.75 stars (27 ratings)


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ¼ cup water or broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt, use less if adding broth instead of water


  • Lightly grease the insert of a 6-quart Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer with cool water and drain. Dump the quinoa into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the water and salt and give the quinoa a quick stir.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to seal, and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (select the manual or pressure cook button and dial up or down to 3).
  • When the cooking time has finished, quick release the pressure. Fluff the quinoa with a spoon and use immediately or refrigerate to serve later.


Instant Pot Tips: if you aren’t around to quick release the pressure, it doesn’t hurt the quinoa to let the pressure naturally release (and it can even hang out for a while on the warm setting). The quinoa will be softer this way, so if you like a hint of an al dente bite to your quinoa, you’ll want to quick release the pressure.
Increasing the Quantity: you can easily double or triple this recipe (increase all ingredients) depending on the size of your Instant Pot. Cooking time should stay the same.
Serving: 1 Cup cooked quinoa, Calories: 209kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 390mg, Fiber: 4g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe