Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Do you have only 30 minutes to put dinner on the table? Then try this Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa!

One pot, vegan, gluten-free and it gets done in 30 minutes or less! Perfect for those busy nights!

If you love all the Instant Pot vegetarian/vegan recipes that I share on the blog, please join me on this Facebook Group – Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes. The group would share/feature vegetarian instant pot recipes and ideas from all around the web!

mexican quinoa in a round black bowl, garnished with diced avocados and a lime wedge

Last week I was in Salt Lake City to attend a blogging conference. I really enjoyed it! The thing is that blogging can get really lonely, the human interaction is minimal plus not many people understand the work that goes behind it.

So it was great to be among like minded people who get what you do and in general it was just nice to catch up with my virtual blogging friends.

I shared a lot from the conference on my Instagram stories, so if you want to keep up with what goes in my kitchen and life beyond blogging, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.

The first thing I did after coming back was to go grocery shopping and then make this Mexican Quinoa. This is one of my favorite things to make in the Instant Pot!

mexican quinoa in a round black bowl, garnished with diced avocados and a lime wedge

This Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

✓ is one pot meal

✓ gets done in 30 minutes or less!

✓ is vegan and gluten-free

✓ flavored with cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder

✓ leftovers makes great lunch and also perfect for lunch-box

I love easy meals and I am sure you love them too. You guys have been loving the Thai Peanut Noodles that I shared on the blog recently and so I thought of sharing more easy dinner recipes with you guys.

When it comes to easy dinner, I always go back to my trusted Instant Pot. It never disappoints me!

mexican quinoa served in a small blue plate with a fork on the side

How to Make Mexican Quinoa

To make this mexican quinoa is really easy. The prep work is minimal and the result is so good. I really love recipes which require less prep work, I am not a fan of chopping and peeling.

All you have to do is to saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno in little oil and then add the tomato, beans, corn and quinoa along with the spices to the pot.

Add water and let it cook on high pressure. Finish off with cilantro and lime juice! I also like to add some diced avocados before serving.

 

Helpful Tips

  1. I have used fire roasted crushed tomatoes here, you may use plain crushed tomatoes too.
  2. De-seed the jalapeño to make the dish less hot.
  3. Adjust spices levels to taste. Add more of the chili powder if you like it hot.
  4. I added 1.25 cups water to this recipe and it results in a softer quinoa (more like rice as you can see in pictures). If you want quinoa seeds to be more separated and be more like the way it looks in salads, use 1 cup water.
  5. Some of the newer Instant Pot models get the BURN message frequently. If you face similar problems with your IP, add the crushed tomatoes at the end (on top of everything) and DO NOT stir after adding the tomatoes. Close the pot and cook as usual.

Hope you guys like easy one pot Mexican Quinoa recipe. It’s healthy, flavorful and the best part is that it is so easy to put together!

Method

Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add oil to it and then add the chopped onion, garlic and jalapeño. Saute for 2 minutes until onion is softened.

Add the black beans, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and corn kernels. Mix well. I used frozen corn kernels and put them in warm water for 5 minutes before adding to the pot.

Please note if your IP has the problems of getting BURN message, do not add tomatoes at this point. Add everything else and add tomatoes at the very end. Do not stir after adding the tomatoes.

Add the spices – cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder. Also add the salt and black pepper and mix.

Add the quinoa and toss until well combined.

Add water or vegetable broth and mix.

Close the pot with its lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 1 minute with the pressure valve in the sealing position.

Let the pressure release naturally.

Open the pot, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add cilantro and lime juice.

Add in the diced avocados and serve Mexican Quinoa immediately. You may also top it with guacamole, salsa or some sour cream!

mexican quinoa in a round black bowl, garnished with diced avocados and a lime wedge

If you’ve tried this Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

mexican quinoa in a round black bowl, garnished with diced avocados and a lime wedge
Manali
Mexican Quinoa flavored with cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. This easy one pot meal is made in the Instant Pot and is the perfect meal for those busy days. Vegan & gluten-free.
4.8 from 35 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 5
Calories 374 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped, de-seed for less heat
  • 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels I used frozen and added them to warm water for 5 minutes
  • 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa uncooked, 180 grams, rinsed well, I usually rinse quinoa for 1-2 minutes
  • 1-1.25 cups water or vegetable broth use 1 cup if you want quinoa grains more separated
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado diced

Instructions
 

  • Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add oil to it and then add the chopped onion, garlic and jalapeño. Saute for 2 minutes until the onion is softened.
  • Add the black beans, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and corn kernels. Mix well. I used frozen corn kernels and put them in warm water for 5 minutes before adding to the pot. [Please note if your IP has the problems of getting BURN message, do not add tomatoes at this point. Add everything else and add tomatoes at the very end. Do not stir after adding the tomatoes].
  • Add the spices – cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder. Also add the salt and black pepper and mix.
  • Add the quinoa and toss until well combined. Then add the water or vegetable broth and mix.
  • Close the pot with its lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 1 minute with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the pot, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add cilantro and lime juice.
  • Add in the diced avocados and serve Mexican Quinoa immediately. You may also top it with guacamole, salsa or some sour cream!

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 14gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 531mgPotassium: 743mgFiber: 14gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 570IUVitamin C: 13.7mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 4.4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

134 thoughts on “Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

    1. 5 stars
      Made this today and it turned out much better than I expected. Thank you for a tasty recipe. I followed the recipe almost entirely. I used 2 whole, diced Jalapeno’s, and used veggie broth. We topped with fresh chopped cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream and a dash of kosher salt. I had 2 bowls it was so good!

    1. It doubled perfectly in the 6 qt Instant Pot.
      I cooked it way longer than the 1 minute under high pressure but I dont remember how long. Maybe 10 minutes then 4 more.

      1. that’s called the time it takes to release pressure. You pressure cook for only 1 minute but after that it takes around 15 minutes to release pressure. Quinoa can’t possibly cook in 1 minute. I have mentioned the cook time as 20 minutes which includes the time taken to release pressure.

  1. Hi there, can I double this recipe with the same cook time etc? I have a large family, but I am not familiar with my Instant Pot yet.

  2. Hi, followed your instructions about the BURN message and we still got it. Any ideas, possibly more liquid than 1.25 cups?

    1. hmm no idea…that’s plenty of liquid to get to pressure..the newer IP models are having this problem is what I have heard..you shouldn’t have got the burn message after you followed the steps

    2. 5 stars
      I also got the burn message but no fear! I now make this and place into a pyrex dish on top of a trivet with a cup of water added to the pot. Stops the burn. Super tasty.

  3. 5 stars
    Manali this recipe is super delicious!! I’ve made it three times and sent it to four friends. One friend has made it and loves it too. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! Even my meat loving hubby loved it. Gonna make a double batch next time and freeze . Thanx Lin

    1. Cooking time is in the recipe- ” Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 1 minute with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.”

      Not sure why you are getting the burn message even after not stirring the tomato. Someone posted this method you can try- “I also got the burn message but no fear! I now make this and place into a pyrex dish on top of a trivet with a cup of water added to the pot. Stops the burn. Super tasty.”

  5. From the pictures, it looks like you use diced tomatoes, not crushed tomatoes. Making the swap might help with the burn notice

  6. You only pressure cook for 1 minute?? Sorry I am new to instantpot, but mine doesn’t seem to do much with just one minute

    1. 1 minute is the high pressure time. The instant pot takes time to come to pressure (depending on amount of liquid) and then it also takes time to release pressure. This recipe calls for natural pressure release which means u would allow the pressure to release on it’s own which can take anywhere between 10 to 15 mins..the total time is enough for the quinoa to cook! hope this helps!

  7. Hey! I’m very new to my IP (third time using) so I followed the recipe without the tomato modification… Then I of course got the “burn” message. Soon after it showed the burn message, it beeped like it was done and went to “keep warm” and the pressure valve was still up. So I let it release naturally and it only took a few minutes, and the quinoa is not done. Since everything is already mixed together do I just try to pressure cook it again the same way??? Thanks for any help!

    1. I would just put on stove top and let it cook now since everything is already mixed. Next time, just don’t stir the tomato, looks like your IP has a burn issue problem.

  8. Is the quinoa supposed to be pre soaked? I followed the recipe using dry quinoa, and it was completely uncooked after letting the pressure release naturally.

    1. No not at all..I am surprised this happened..natural pressure release takes time..that with the time taken to build pressure is plenty for the quinoa to cook..I cook quinoa every week this way- 1 min high pressure with natural release..sorry I really can’t say what went wrong here 😕

    1. Hi Josh, are you following the steps for burn notice and still having the issue? you can make this on stove, top…follow all steps as it is..add 1.5 to 2 cups water..cover and let cook for around 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.

    1. you can make this on stove-top…follow all steps as it is until adding quinoa..add 1.5 to 2 cups water..cover and let cook for around 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.

  9. My pressure cooker won’t let me set it below 5 minutes. Any suggestions? If I watch it and turn it off after one minute on the pressure cooker timer, do you think that will work?

  10. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I added a diced red pepper as well. Also topped with grated cheese, diced green onion and a cashew cream. Will definitely make again.😁

  11. 5 stars
    My husband says quinoa tastes like dirt and will not eat it. But last night, after I prepared this recipe (after telling him all the ingredients except that one, which was sitting on the counter in front of him), he not only ate a large portion — he enjoyed it and is happy there are leftovers! Thank you for this! It was easy, fast and used ingredients I consider staples. I will return to this recipe regularly.

  12. 5 stars
    Very tasty and easy to make. I added a little extra chili powder and some chipotle powder to give it a kick and my family really liked it. Will definitely make this recipe again.

    1. 1 star
      I followed the recipe precisely and the result was an overly tomatoey flavored mushy mess. Even adding more of the spices, plus adding taco seasoning could not fix it. It should be half the amount of tomatoes and it should be the diced variety.

      Better yet, I would forget the Instant Pot and simply make it a dry salad. None of the ingredients really need to be sauteed nor pressure cooked. Just cook the quinoa separately, then while the quinoa is still warm, add the veggies and spices to get them acquainted.

      1. sorry it didn’t work out for you. Not sure what went wrong if you followed the recipe to the T. the ingredients definitely work for me and have worked for so many others as well.

    1. You may, you will have to cook for 20-25 minutes then and quinoa will be super cooked by then. If you want to use dry beans, I would suggest cooking them first and then using in this recipe

  13. Hi!

    I just tried this recipe and when the pressure released the quinoa was not at all cooked. Do you have any suggestions for when I try again?

    Thank you it looks yummy and I really want to make it properly.

    1. Hi Meaghen, hmm I am not sure why this happened because I cook quinoa almost every week this way- 1 minute high pressure with natural pressure release. This is a tried and tested recipe so it should have worked. Are you sure your pot came to pressure? Because if it came to pressure then it takes around 15 minutes to release pressure which is plenty time for the quinoa to cook.

  14. This recipe should probably be modified for larger instant pots. I doubled the ingredients for my 8 quart instant pot and got the ‘burnt’ message three times.

    Maybe it is my fault? I did read in the comments that other had people had scaled up for their larger instant pots successfully, so I thought I’d try.

    Oh well.

    1. this recipe was tested in a 6qt. I don’t have a 8qt unfortunately. Sorry it didn’t work for you but many people have doubled it successfully.

  15. Hi Manali,

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks delicious. One question. I do not have insta pot. If I need to cook this in conventional pressure cooker, how many whistles will be needed to cook the quinoa completely. Plus would it kill the nutritional value of quinoa if cooked in the pressure cooker instead of insta pot?

    Please guide. Thanks in advance

    Poonam

    1. Hi Poonam, I have never cooked quinoa in regular pressure cooker but I would say do 3-4 whistles? and then let the pressure release on it’s own. And no nothing should happen to the nutritional value if you cook quinoa in pressure cooker. Instant Pot is also a pressure cooker only, just that it’s electric. hope that helps.

  16. Flavors are great – unfortunately after depressurize there was still way too much liquid. We put it back in for another 5, so in the end a little mushy. Not sure what happened – we followed the recipe exactly but just wasn’t enough time.

      1. I also had too much liquid remaining. I think it’s because of the tomatoes. It’s not specified what kind are needed, only the amount. I used crushed, but in hindsight it looks like I should have used diced based on the pictures. Unfortunately this small detail makes the whole difference in the recipe between fluffy and soupy quinoa.

        1. definitely not the tomatoes, I am not sure what went wrong but this is a tried and tested recipe by many..it’s definitely not the tomatoes. diced or crushed won’t make a difference and I have in fact used crushed tomatoes here as mentioned in the instructions “Add the black beans, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and corn kernels. Mix well. I used frozen corn kernels and put them in warm water for 5 minutes before adding to the pot.”

  17. 5 stars
    I love this!!! I usually add more chili powder and leave out the corn but it’s delicious. I eat it with avocado on top and cheese, sometimes throw Separately cooked chicken in at the end. I love to eat this with Frito’s! Very filling even without meat. I also put it in a tortilla and my older son will eat it as a burrito! It makes a lot so I take it for lunch a few days in a row. Keeps well. Thank you!!

  18. 5 stars
    This is a go to week night meal for my family now. The only thing I modified was adding cut up Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage, and using chicken broth instead of veg broth/water. I double the recipe, and have left overs for lunch. Delicious and nutritious!

  19. Like so many others have said in the comments, this is now a go to recipe in our house – we love it. And it’s one of those meals you can really easily adjust depending on what you have/haven’t got in the fridge. The avocado really adds to it, great addition!

  20. 5 stars
    I’ve now made this twice successfully in my 6qt Instant Pot Duo, using the method of putting in diced tomatoes at the end without stirring before cooking. If the recipe is followed exactly as it’s written, you won’t have any problems. Sometimes I use 1 cup of broth, and sometimes just a bit more, and the quinoa comes out just right. Be sure to rinse your dry quinoa well, add the ingredients in the order listed, and you’ll be enjoying this meal in less than 35 mins. from start to finish. Thank you, Manali!

    1. the nutritional info is calculated automatically by a plugin. If a dish serves 4, it just divided the total calories by 4. It’s a rough estimate, here 1 serving might be around 1 cup. If you divide this dish in 5 equal portions then the nutrition info is for 1 portion of that. hope that helps

  21. 5 stars
    Best quinoa dish I’ve made. Lots of opportunity to adjust the flavor with seasonings, but the base is solid. Salt and lime help make sure it is tasty after cooking. Thanks!

  22. 3 stars
    We have a newer IP and this recipe didn’t work as advertised. But was great once we got it to work. We doubled the ingredients and followed everything to a T. First time set to pressure cook for 2 min. Allowed to naturally depressurize but got the burn warning. It was not cooked. We tried again. Same thing. Not cooked. We tried a third time by adding about 1/2 cup extra liquid. Finally got it to work.

    1. This recipe definitely does work as advertised. Sorry you had problems with it. I make it literally every week and so many have made it successfully too. The newer IP models are prone to the BURN message, since I don’t have a newer IP model, I can’t really say much about it. I have never got a burn message in my IP. Glad it worked in the end though.

  23. 5 stars
    Delicious! I used diced tomatoes instead of crushed because that’s what I had on hand frozen mixed veggies instead of just corn, and it worked out perfectly. Will definitely make again, thanks!

  24. 5 stars
    Hey Manali,

    Thank you for such an awesome recipe!! Tried it last night, turned out to be really well. I used normal tomatoes instead of roasted one as I didn’t have any at home, still turned out really well.

    Thanks again,
    Vaidehi <3

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