Learn how to cook Fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa with the quick & easy “zero-minute” method! Deliciously rich & nutty gluten-free Supergrain with a slight satisfying bite. Simple healthy side dish, salad topping, or substitute for rice.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) is an ancient gluten-free seed of an edible plant. It has been eaten for thousands of years by the Inca Empire.
There are 3 Main Types of Quinoa: Red Quinoa, Black Quinoa, and White Quinoa.
Though it’s not a true grain, it’s prepared and served similar to a grain (i.e. rice).
Quinoa is very versatile, easy to eat, easy to digest, and easy to make.
You can eat it on its own as a side dish, breakfast dish, a substitute for rice (can be used for cooking pilaf!), mix in stews or soups, or toss in salads.
Why is Quinoa Good for You?
Quinoa is often described as a “superfood” or a “supergrain”. In recent years, it has rapidly become one of the most popular healthy superfoods.
It has an incredible nutrient profile, boasting as one of the most nutrient-dense carbs.
It’s high in dietary fiber, high-quality protein (more than any other grain), dietary minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids!
How to Cook Quinoa in Instant Pot?
Ingredients: We’re keeping it as simple yet tasty as possible. So we’re only using 4 simple pantry ingredients – White Quinoa, Unsalted Chicken Stock, Fine Salt, and Olive Oil.
Flavor & Texture: Savory, nutty, earthy flavors; fluffy with a slightly satisfying chewy texture.
Cooking Time: From start to finish, the whole process takes less than 20 minutes.
Equipment: You’ll need your Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker.
Ease Level – Super Easy: It’s super easy to cook with minimal preparation and minimal pantry ingredients, basic cooking skills & cooking equipment. Yet it’s still tasty!
Ingredients for cooking Quinoa in Instant Pot
The ingredient list is short for this super healthy quinoa recipe 🙂
Quinoa: we used white quinoa to test & develop this Instant Pot quinoa recipe. Try to buy pre-rinsed quinoa that has rinsed off the bitter-tasting saponin coating.
Do we have to rinse Quinoa?
Quinoa has a protective coating called saponin that tastes bitter. However, most packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed to remove the saponin. Check your package if they instruct you to rinse or not. For bulk quinoa, rinse with cold water to help remove the saponin to reduce the bitterness.
Unsalted Chicken Stock: Different brands or even different boxes of the same brand of salted chicken stock can differ in levels of sodium. So we prefer to develop recipes using unsalted chicken stock for more control & consistency on the dish’s flavor profile.
Tools for Cooking Quinoa in Instant Pot
Step-by-Step Guide: Instant Pot Quinoa
*Note: Check your quinoa package to see if they instruct you to rinse or not because most packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed to remove the saponin.
For bulk quinoa, rinse with cold water to help remove the saponin to reduce the bitterness. Then, drain really well.
*Pro Tip: If you’re rinsing the quinoa, make sure to drain really well to avoid throwing off the Water to Quinoa Ratio.
Optional – Toast Quinoa
This optional step will increase the aroma & flavors of the overall instant pot quinoa.
First, press the “Saute” button on Instant Pot, then wait 1 minute.
Pour 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil in Instant Pot, then add the quinoa in Instant Pot.
Toast the quinoa in Instant Pot until fragrant (around 2 to 3 mins).
Pressure Cook Quinoa
Now, add ¼ tsp fine salt and 1 cup (250ml) unsalted chicken stock or cold water in Instant Pot.
Use a wooden spoon to scrub the bottom to make sure no quinoa is stuck to the bottom.
With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.
Pressure Cooking Method:
- Toasted Quinoa: Pressure Cook at High Pressure 0 minute, then Natural Release for 10 minutes
- Non-Toasted Quinoa: Pressure Cook at High Pressure 0 minute, then Natural Release for 12 minutes
After natural releasing, turn the Venting Knob to the Venting position to release the remaining pressure.
Open the lid carefully.
Serve Instant Pot Quinoa
Finally, fluff the tasty Instant Pot Quinoa, then serve as a side dish, or use it for salads and soups.
What to Serve with Quinoa
Quinoa is a very versatile ingredient! You can serve it as a simple tasty side dish substituting rice. You can also add them to salads, stews, and soups. Another tasty idea is to make your own quinoa bowls with eggs, veggies, and avocadoes.
You can serve Quinoa with these tasty recipes:
Enjoy your fluffy & tasty Instant Pot Quinoa!
Instant Pot Quinoa
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- Rinse Quinoa: Most packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed to remove the saponin to reduce the bitterness. If necessary, give it a quick rinse with cold water, and drain really well.
- Optional – Toast Quinoa: Press the Saute button on Instant Pot, then wait 1 minute. Pour in 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil, then add in the quinoa. Toast the quinoa until fragrant (~2 – 3 mins).
- Pressure Cook Quinoa: Add in ¼ tsp fine salt + 1 cup (250ml) unsalted chicken stock or cold water. Use a wooden spoon to scrub the bottom to make sure no quinoa is stuck to the bottom. With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cooking Method:Toasted Quinoa: Pressure Cook at High Pressure 0 minute, then 10 minutes Natural ReleaseNon-Toasted Quinoa: Pressure Cook at High Pressure 0 minute, then 12 minutes Natural ReleaseAfter natural releasing, turn the Venting Knob to the Venting position to release the remaining pressure. Open the lid carefully.
- Serve Quinoa: Fluff quinoa & serve. You can use quinoa as a side dish, toss into your salads or soups. Enjoy~
Other Instant Pot Side Dishes