Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf

Finally, a quinoa pilaf that isn’t bland or mushy! This easy Instant Pot quinoa pilaf is a side dish the entire family will love!

My kids used to refuse to eat quinoa unless it was my southwestern quinoa salad or easy quinoa fried rice. But after having success with two variations of rice pilaf I wanted to try to master quinoa pilaf and we did with today’s recipe!

Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf |

Just Minutes to Prep

So what is Quinoa? It is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins and several types of minerals. It isn’t actually a grain but is really just edible seeds that are gluten-free and are easy to digest. But it’s kind of an acquired taste! 

I’ve had quinoa served as a side dish several times and have been really disappointed because it was bland or mushy. Luckily I have created a quinoa recipe that is flavorful, light and fluffy!   

Want to know the secret? It’s the Instant Pot!

And it only takes 5 minutes of prep and 1 minute of high-pressure cooking! Yes, you read that right…it only takes 1 minute! And you get perfectly fluffy, light and tasty quinoa pilaf! 

Quinoa pilaf in the instant pot

How to Cook Quinoa Pilaf

This is the same method I use in most of my rice dishes,

Begin by rinsing quinoa to help remove the bitter coating and it aids in creating an overall better flavor!

Then sauté celery, onion, garlic, and quinoa. Sauteing/toasting the seeds helps remove that bitter taste and ensures that they come out fluffy instead of mushy.

After about 5 minutes, pour in the chicken broth and add the seasonings.

Close the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 1 minute. Yes, you read that right… it only takes 1 minute.

Then you’ll let the pressure release naturally– So in all, it takes about 20 minutes total in the Instant Pot.

Once the pressure has released remove the lid and stir in the parsley.

Fluff the pilaf with a fork and then serve immediately!

Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf recipe

Quinoa Pilaf Recipe Tips

Pro-tip: When the seeds are all fully opened the quinoa will look fluffy and almost like popped popcorn. That’s the goal for this dish. 

 Store: store cooked quinoa in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. You can also store quinoa in the freezer for up to a year.

Reheat: To reheat quinoa it is suggested that you add 1-3 tablespoons of extra water to every cup of quinoa that you are reheating. You can also add additional moisture back by covering the bowl with a paper towel to promote steam.

I knew this recipe was a winner when my kids asked for seconds! They were a little hesitant to try it at first, but then they loved it, and so did I! We served this pilaf alongside pork tenderloin and roasted veggies. It was a total hit!

For more recipes, check out:


Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf |

Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf Recipe

Finally a quinoa pilaf that isn't bland or mushy! This easy Instant Pot quinoa pilaf is a side the entire family will love!
4.84 from 12 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 276kcal
Print Recipe


  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter - divided
  • 2 tbsp minced celery
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cup white quinoa
  • 2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp parsley - freshly chopped


  • Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. When hot, add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, add celery, onion, garlic, and quinoa. Toast for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
  • Add remaining butter, chicken broth, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Place lid on and lock. Turn on MANUAL mode with high pressure selected for 1 minute (yes, ONE minute). Allow for natural release (this usually takes about 10-15 minutes).
  • Remove the lid and stir in parsley. Fluff with fork and serve immediately.


  • Mushrooms make a great addition to this pilaf. If you plan on adding them, chop them, sauté them in a skillet until they're nice and brown, and then add them along with the parsley.


Serving: 6g | Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 418mg | Potassium: 394mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 3mg

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  1. Will be ordering a 3qt Ultra soon. My question regarding this recipe is: Do all the seeds open when cooking for only one minute? I understand the whole steam thing, but is that enough. I have cooked quinoa in a pot before and not all the seeds(mainly the non-white ones) open, which leaves a very crunchy texture. The un-opened seeds cause a great deal of gastric pain for me.

  2. I made this exactly as written and my boyfriend wants me to make it again asap. It was a great, non-mushy, non-bland way to do quinoa in the instant pot!

  3. I was really hoping this would be good. It was FANASTIC. I didnt add the extra 2 tablespoons of butter. I
    forgot. I did shred one cup of zuchninni and drained it then added to the sauteing phase. Supper yummy.

  4. If I wanted to add a bunch of chopped chard to the recipe , do you think I would need to alter anything besides maybe upping the spices and such ?

    1. Yes, I’d suggest adding a bit more of each of the dry spices and seasonings. Maybe even doubling the garlic and pepper. Hope that helps 🙂

  5. I’m interested in trying this recipe. Are the seasonings used (onion, celery, and garlic) dried seasonings, or freshly chopped and minced (not from a seasoning jar)?

  6. Ive not had luck with 50/50 quinoa snd water using brown quinoa in my instsnt pot. It was more mushy but i didnt saute first. Would that make the difference? Also i like to rinse quinoa to remove bitter taste.

  7. Hi I recently got a Rice & Grain Instapot. Do I cook it that one same amount of time & do same steps as using large one? Can you tell me the flavor of this grain? Tia

    1. I just used a white quinoa & I haven’t used a rice & grain instant pot, so I am not sure if it would be the same time. I am guessing it would.

    2. 5 stars
      Made this for the first time tonight. I did add a little extra water. I’m printing this recipe to make again. It was definitely a hit with my husband, myself, AND our two year old.

  8. 5 stars
    My family LOVED this recipe! Even my picky daughter who will barely eat anything tasted it and LOVED it! This will definitely be a regular occurrence on our weekly dinner menu!

    1. Well, that makes me so happy! Thank you for trying it & tell your daughter, I am glad she tried it!

  9. 5 stars
    Hello, our family had this tonight and everyone loved it. I was just wondering if it would work to cut the recipe in half. We had a lot leftover. 

  10. 5 stars
    This is very good, I added some sliced almonds. I wanted a mild, but flavorful side dish to A fall stuffed acorn squash dish. This recipe did not disappoint. Super yummy and will be made again……oh and so easy