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Quinoa Coconut Kheer


A delicious and scrumptious kheer made with Quinoa and coconut milk. Kheer, also called Payasam, is a traditional Indian pudding made with only 3 minimal ingredients like rice, sugar and milk. We all grew up eating it at every festival and cannot imagine any Indian celebrations without it. So, this time, I took the basic kheer and modified the ingredients to make it more healthier and creamier than traditional rice kheer. The results were undeniably mind-blowing!!! Quinoa coconut kheer is the only kheer I will make from now on, I promise!

2 bowls of kheer with nuts on top.

How this Quinoa coconut kheer idea happened?

One day, my mom called up at night and said that tomorrow is Eid and I have to make at least Kheer because its a tradition. It is during the COVID-19 quarantine time, my mind was struggling to keep track of days and most importantly, milk was pretty scarce. I had a milk delivery setup which delivers once a week and I was not sure if I could find milk at the stores either. So I thought, why don’t I make it with coconut milk which I had lying in my pantry since forever. I have made and loved Quinoa kheer in the past, so I jumped at the idea. This Kheer is made with all shelf-stable ingredients available in your pantry. Its creamier, healthier and delicious than regular kheer, so easy and can be made in one pot(I use my instant pot) in 20 min, are you sold yet?

What are the health benefits of Quinoa And why quinoa in a kheer?

Quinoa is an edible seed from south America and it has all the nine amino acids, rich in protein and fiber and is loaded with vitamins and minerals as compared to any other grains. The Incas used to call it “Mother Grain” and its available in 3 different colors. It is a complete protein, has antioxidant properties, low carb and improves blood sugar.

Quinoa seeds are covered with bitter tasting saponins that naturally repel insects and birds. So before we cook, its good to wash it nicely under running water.

Traditionally, rice is used to make kheer as I mentioned above but using quinoa in this recipe makes it much more healthier and rich in protein. Adding plenty of nuts to it makes it even better. The nuttiness of the quinoa goes really well with the creaminess of the coconut milk, you gotta try it to believe it! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and can be made vegan if you avoid ghee.

A picture of kheer in a white bowl.

What Ingredients to use for quinoa coconut kheer?

You can make kheer from a lot of grains. There is rice kheer obviously but you can also make kheer with seviyan/vermicelli, sabudana, etc. As I said, very popular dessert 😀. Lets see how we are making this kheer a bit different.

  • Quinoa: First, we are replacing rice with quinoa which is obviously much better. It has more protein and less carbohydrates compared to rice. Any color is fine and I prefer pre-washed quinoa but if you suspect that your quinoa is not washed, rinse it under cold running water to get rid of the bitterness or saponins.
  • Coconut milk: Its extracted from the coconut pulp and its naturally creamy and rich. It has Medium-Chain Triglycerides which help with weight loss and have saturated fats to help with the “Good cholesterol” levels. Get the unsweetened variety to control the sugar levels yourself. You can use regular milk if you are not a fan of coconut milk.
  • Coconut sugar: Okay lets talk about coconut sugar. I. LOVE. IT!!!! Its nutty, caramelized and has a deep coconut flavor. It is less processed and has low glycemic index compared to regular sugar. Brown sugar and regular sugar will work just fine. Jaggery is another great option.
  • Ghee: Its a good fat, good for your heart health. Including ghee in your diet is very much recommended. In case, you cannot get ghee, you can use coconut oil. I like to toast my nuts and quinoa in ghee, you can do a dry toast if you don’t like ghee in your kheer.
  • Mixed nuts, seeds and dry fruits: I like cashews and almonds in my kheer. And if you can find chironji/charoli, which are almond shaped seeds and taste wonderful. They have a nutty and crunchy texture and are rich in protein. These are all good fats, go ahead and add a whole bunch of them. Raisins are a must add as well. I love how they plump up when fried in ghee, then they burst with juices when you bite into them.
  • Saffron: These are herbs and spices that make the kheer more fragrant. Saffron is dried threads of saffron flower, has antioxidant and antidepressant properties and very expensive. They add a beautiful orange-ish glow to the kheer.
  • Cardamom: Cardamom is another spice which you need to have if you are serious about Indian food. Its extremely fragrant and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Just crush the pod and let it simmer in your dish, you can feel the aroma as soon as it hits the heat.

We actually need only 3 ingredients Quinoa, coconut milk and sugar, but extra ingredients like nuts, saffron and cardamom add more flavor and fragrance to your kheer. Its entirely up to you to decide what to add to your kheer.

Which appliance to use? Instant pot or Pressure cooker or stove-top?

I prefer Instant pot any day. Its all dump and cook and gets done in a jiffy. Pressure cooker also works perfectly, there would be no problem at all. Stove-top needs a little babysitting but will get the job done. You have to monitor it pretty closely, stirring it continuously and not let it burn, but it will still work great. I am going to note down all the methods in my recipe card below.

Quinoa Coconut Kheer

Recipe by Blissful Bites by TayCourse: DessertsCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


NPR time in instant pot


Cooking time for Stove-top method


Total time in instant pot or pressure cooker



Creamy and scrumptious Quinoa kheer made with coconut milk.



  • In an Instant pot:
  • Turn on the saute mode on your Instant pot. Add the ghee and let it melt.
  • Add mixed nuts and let them get a bit toasted. Remove them from ghee and keep them aside. Add raisins and let them get plump. Remove them and keep them aside as well.Saute mode on Instant pot and frying the nuts in ghee.
  • Add quinoa and roast it for a minute. When you hear popping sounds, add half a can of coconut milk.
  • Add 2 cups water and turn off the saute mode. Switch on the Pressure cook/Manual mode and set the timer for 5 min, vent in sealing mode.Roast quinoa, add coconut milk and turn on pressure cook mode on Instant pot.
  • Once the time is done, let the pressure release naturally(NPR) and open the lid carefully.
  • Add sugar, Saffron threads. the rest of the coconut milk to the cooked quinoa. Add 1 cup water to the can, shake it once and add that water to the quinoa too. Let it all come to boil.add coconut milk, sugar and saffron to kheer.
  • Add the coconut pieces, crushed cardamom pods, nuts and raisins in and let the kheer cook more to become thick. Adjust the sweetness and consistency of the kheer as per your taste. Serve it hot or chilled.collage of coconut, cardamom and fried nuts getting added to Kheer.
  • In a pressure cooker:
  • Heat the pressure cooker and add ghee to the pan. Fry the nuts and raisins till they are toasted and remove them from the ghee.
  • Add quinoa and toast it for a minute. Add half the can of coconut milk, 2 cups water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Let the pressure release and open the lid when it cools down. Add the remaining coconut milk and 1 more cup of water. Add sugar and saffron threads and let it come to a boil.
  • Add crushed cardamom pods, coconut pieces and fried nuts to the kheer and let it boil till it becomes thick. Adjust the sweetness and consistency as per your taste. Serve it hot or chilled.
  • On the stove-top:
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add ghee. Once the ghee melts, add nuts and toast them till they are golden. Fry the raisins till they are plump and juicy. Remove them from ghee and keep them aside.
  • Add quinoa and toast till they are popping. Add 2 cups water, all of coconut milk, sugar, saffron, cardamom pods and let it come to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer till the quinoa is cooked or about 30 min. Add water in between if needed to adjust the consistency.
  • Add coconut pieces, nuts and raisins and boil till the kheer becomes thick. Adjust the sweetness and consistency as per your taste. Serve it hot or chilled.


  • I like to toast the nuts in a little ghee and toast my quinoa as well to get a nutty flavor out of quinoa. If you want to skip this step, just dump quinoa, coconut milk and pressure cook.
  • If you are using milk instead of coconut milk, add 1/4 cup water and let it come to boil before adding milk or else milk kinda curdles which is not pleasant in a kheer.
  • You can most definitely use homemade coconut milk, about 2 cups will do.
  • Sugar can be added before or after the pressure cooking. It doesn’t matter when.
  • Quinoa should be pre-washed one. If your quinoa is not pre-washed one, rinse it under cold running water to remove the saponins.
  • I personally like the kheer chilled, I feel its more creamier that way. The kheer also becomes super creamy the next day.
  • You can avoid all the frying of nuts and quinoa and just put in quinoa, coconut milk, 2 cups water and sugar all together in the instant pot/pressure cooker and make a simple kheer in traditional way.

Please follow the above mentioned notes and you can have healthy and tasty quinoa kheer in no time. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions and if you tried and liked the recipe. We love to hear from you!

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