Perfectly cooked Quinoa in Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot. Two ways – In the main pot and pot-in-pot. Just add quinoa and water, set the timer and come back to perfectly cooked quinoa. This quinoa Instant Pot recipe is now our go to method for cooking quinoa.

Perfectly cooked Quinoa Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Two ways – In the main pot and pot-in-pot. Just add quinoa and water, set the timer and come back to perfectly cooked quinoa. This Instant Pot quinoa is now our go to method for cooking quinoa.
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What is better than quick and hands-off food? Nothing! Especially if you are a parent juggling many, many things. If you agree, this Instant Pot Quinoa is exactly what you have been looking for 🙂

No need to wait for the water to come to boil over a stovetop, or watching the quinoa, turn off the stove or even burn the quinoa at the bottom of the pan. Just add the quinoa and water and push a button, walk away, and come back to perfectly cooked quinoa. Use this quinoa for salads, as a side with a curry, or add it to a soup. It is perfect for meal prep too.

You can also cook quinoa along with vegetables. Check out this delicious Quinoa Chili, Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf and Quinoa Khichdi recipe.

Why quinoa over rice?

Here are some reasons to choose quinoa over rice:

  • Quinoa has fewer calories and carbs
  • Quinoa has more protein than all other rice
  • Quinoa keeps you full for longer
  • Quinoa can help with weight loss and improve lipid profile
Instant Pot Quinoa - Kirkland brand

My preferred brand of Quinoa is the one shown in the picture that I got from Costco. It is also available on Amazon. I like to alternate between different types of sides, such as quinoa, brown rice, white rice, or some type of bread.

Another favorite gluten-free alternative is buckwheat. Check out how to cook buckwheat in the instant pot.

How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa in the Pressure Cooker?

Here I am sharing two ways to cook Quinoa. Sometimes when cooking only quinoa or when cooking quinoa in larger quantities, you want to make it in the main pot. However, at other times, you want a cup of quinoa and don’t really want to deal with cleaning the whole large steel pot. At such times, pot-in-pot quinoa comes in handy.

Quinoa Instant Pot Recipe in the Main Pot

It can’t get any easier, just add quinoa and water to the pot. If you like, this is the time to add salt butter, or oil as well. You can also use broth in place of water to make quinoa.

Instant Pot Quinoa in main pot

I set it for 1 minute at high pressure and let the pressure release naturally. Fluff with a fork and enjoy the perfectly cooked and separate grains of quinoa.

Instant Pot Quinoa ready in main pot

Quinoa Instant Pot Recipe with Pot-in-Pot Method

To cook pot-in-pot quinoa, you need a trivet and a pot you can place on the trivet.  If I am preparing only quinoa, I use the trivet with the instant pot.  If you are cooking the main dish along with the quinoa, you will need a long legged trivet.

You will also need a pot that can be placed in the pressure cooker.  Here is one on Amazon – Ekonova Stackable Stainless Steel Insert Pans.  You can also do PIP for quinoa in a Pyrex glass bowl, but these need a couple of extra minutes to cook the quinoa.

Learn more about the instant pot pot-in-pot method with this comprehensive guide!

Instant Pot Quinoa - Pot-in-pot place on trivet

Add about a cup of water in the main steel pot, place the trivet, and then the bowl of quinoa and water.

Instant Pot Quinoa Pot-in-pot ready

Just 4 minutes at high pressure and a natural pressure release. Perfect quinoa is ready. Fluff it with a fork and enjoy!

Advantages of the pot-in-pot method to cook quinoa 

  • You can cook less quantity at a time.
  • You don’t need to wash the large instant pot insert if cooking quinoa.
  • You can cook in the serving bowl itself.
  • You can cook a complete meal at once and save precious time. With entree in the main insert and quinoa in a bowl on a trivet. This could work with any main dish that takes about 3-6 mixtures to cook in the main steel insert. Some examples are – Mom’s Chicken Curry, Saag Paneer, Dal Fry, or Panang Curry with Chicken.

Try cooking Quinoa in the Instant Pot, and let me know how you like it.

5 from 20 votes

Perfect 1-minute Quinoa in Instant Pot (with Pot-in-Pot option)

Perfectly cooked Quinoa in Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot. Two ways – In the main pot and pot-in-pot. Just add quinoa and water, set the timer and come back to perfectly cooked quinoa. 
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 3


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1.25 cup Water


  • Wash quinoa in a mesh liner until the water runs clear.

Cooking in the pot

  • Add water and quinoa to the pressure cooker. Close lid with vent in sealing position. Start the pressure cooker in MANUAL or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 1 mins.
  • When the pressure cooker beeps, do natural pressure release. Fluff with a fork. Quinoa is ready.

Cooking with pot-in-pot (PIP) method

  • Add 1 cup water to the main insert of the pressure cooker. Place trivet in the main insert.
  • Add water and quinoa to a steel or oven-safe bowl. Place the bowl on the trivet.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker with vent in sealing position. Set in pressure cook or manual mode for 4 minutes at high pressure.
  • When the pressure cooker beeps, do a natural pressure release. Fluff with a fork. Quinoa is ready to be served. 


  • If you like, you can add salt or or butter/oil before pressure cooking quinoa.
  • You can also use broth in place of water to make quinoa.


Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 319mgFiber: 3gCalcium: 27mgIron: 2.6mg

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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Recipe Rating


  1. The recipe worked perfectly with red quinoa. I let it rest after pressure dropped for about 20 minutes. All the water was absorbed. The quinoa came out light and fluffy.
    Meeta’s recipes turn out perfectly every time I try them. One thing I love is her precision regarding the amount of water to add to the grains and seeds. They never come out with too much liquid left at the bottom. In general, even when doing stovetop cooking, I leave things to rest a bit and soak up liquid while cooling.
    I would love more of these pot in pot instructions for all grains and seeds. I also especially wish there were precise directions for pot in pot cooking of grains after sprouting and draining the water. Even stove top directions are lacking online for these.

  2. Actually, I let the quinoa cook for another couple of minutes and it ended up cooking perfectly… I would just be sure to either cook it a minute or two longer or just let it rest in the pot before opening for 10 more minutes or so after the pressure has dropped so the quinoa can absorb more water.

    1. Glad to hear the quinoa cooked perfectly with the pot-in-pot method. It is important to let the quinoa rest for 10 minutes after pressure cooking is complete, and do a 10 minute pressure release. Thank you for sharing back your experience, Thomas!

  3. Just a warning to anyone who wanted to try the Pot In Pot method…it did not work. Did everything as instructed… 4mins on high, 1 cup water in pot, 1.25 cup water in bowl with the quinoa, no presoaking. Came out both soggy and uncooked at the same time. The outside quinoa was over cooked and soggy. The inside was under cooked and quinoa was hard. I’ve tried other PIP quinoa cooking methods before and had similar outcomes. Perhaps quinoa just isn’t meant for the pot-in-pot method?

      1. Hi Katherine – I am not sure why this happened. As you can see in the photos, I got perfectly cooked quinoa with the pip method. I would suggest to fluff the quinoa and then let it stay in the instant pot with the lid on for a few minutes. This will help to cook any hard quinoa grains.

  4. Loved the recipe but the sad part was about the stories and why quinoa and so many other stories behind it and the way quinoa impacted your life… so much reading…. reading is more time than actually making the quinoa itself. So maybe less of dramatic stories and jump to recipe would help

    1. Hi Laxmi – Glad you liked the quinoa. All of my recipes have a “Jump to Recipe” button right at the top of the post, so feel free to use that to skip the details. I also include any tips in the recipe notes, so you won’t miss any information.

  5. I used the PIP recipe this morning and it was spot on. I did use 1.5 cups water because I like my quinoa to be a little soft.

  6. For PIP method, 1 cup water in main pot – how much water mixed in with the quinoa in the smaller pot? Is it another full cup?

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My quinoa came out perfect. Whenever I’ve cooked it on the stove, it always comes out mushy. But, not in the instant pot! I also want to thank you for all the recipes on your site. I’ve tried several and they’ve all been a success!

    1. Hey Sheila – So glad to hear you found the perfect quinoa in the instant pot. Thank you for sharing your review. It is always helpful to hear feedback on the recipes 🙂