Instant Pot – Rice

Any vessel that can hold rice and water can cook rice. Using a pressure cooker or pressure multi-cooker to cook rice may not be the best use of that device, but it depends on the meal being prepared. It might be used to cook something else. The cook has to plan which vessels and techniques to use. A plain old pot on a stove top, a rice cooker or a pressure cooker all might cook rice to be used in a stir fry or served with dal or other dishes.

For steamed long grain white rice, including Basmati, I normally use a normal pot on the stove, but I may use the Instant Pot when I will add the rice to a wok (e.g. nasi goreng) or when I am working on another dish on the stove and want to get the rice ready at the same time.

An Instant Pot or other pressure multi-cooker will cook steamed rice in the pressure cooker program. A stovetop pressure cooker will too. The preheat and the time at operating pressure bring the water to a boil, and to operating temperature. Then rice boils and simmers during a natural release period. Using the pressure cooker progam with natural release tracks the normal approach to steamed rice cooked in a pot on a stove.

Stove recipes for more complex rice dishes can be carried out in Instant Pots and other pressure multicookers, with limitations. Instant Pots and other pressure multicookers are high energy devices that saute and pressure cook, but do not necessarily perform will at simmering.

There are pressure cooker techniques and recipes for:

  • pulao and pilaf;
  • risotto (normally made with starchy short grain white rice e.g. Arborio, Carnarolli);
  • paella (normally made with certain varieties of short grain white rice e.g. Bomba)

The Instant Pot web site recommends cooking rice, other than a few varieties known to work in the rice program, using the pressure cooker program. Laura Pazzaglia’s review of the instant Pot Ultra model suggested not using the rice programs in Instant Pots and other pressure multi-cookers:

Pressure programs designed to cook rice and grains.  Because of the decreased evaporation, conventional rice recipes (water to grain ratios) will need to be updated for use in the cooker.  We have written a comprehensive guide for pressure cooking rice and grains with the appropriate ratios and cooking times.  If the “Rice” setting won’t let you adjust the cooking time, use the “Pressure Cook” setting and adjust the pressure to Instant Pot’s recommended “low” following the same cooking times and ratios recommended in our guide. Remember not to ever fill the inner pot more than the 1/2 full mark with rice/grains and their cooking liquid.

The usually impeccable Laura Pazzaglia incorrectly used a 1:2 ratio of long grain white rice and water (1.5 cups rice, 3 cups water) in her printed work, but adjusted to 1:1.5 in her online guide (link in quote above). White Basmati  rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker at the ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.25 cups water.

The bain-marie method (rice and water in a heat proof ceramic or glass vessel on a trivet above water in base of the pressure vessel; Laura Pazzaglia describes this for white rice in her online guide – link in quote above) produces cooked rice. Some ceramic vessels can be used for cooking and serving, and for storage of left-over cooked rice.

Brown rice works in a pressure device, with 1.5 cups of rice and 2 1/8 to 2 1/4 cups of water, at high pressure. I find that the cooking time should be 22 minutes rather than the 20 minutes suggested in Laura Pazzaglia’s table in her guide.

Modern web information posted by Instant Pot about the Rice program states it uses low pressure, with natural release. It seems to be for making steamed (white) rice, but can be used for other dishes. The rice program may operate at the same pressure set for the pressure cooker low pressure setting. It makes automated adjustments to cooking time. Instant Pot may have modified the rice program and has changed terms and directions in certain models.

ModelSettingRiceDefault Auto
UltraLow12 minutes
Low2 cups 12 minutes 14 minutes
DuoLess2 cups8 minutes
Normal12 minutes
More15 minutes

There is a suggested recipe and method for the rice program for parboiled or long grain white rice. Instant Pot’s web site suggest using rinsed rice and water in a 1:1 ratio.

Madhur Jaffrey thought the Rice program did well to make steamed Basmati white rice in her Duo model, in Instantly Indian Cooking. She used rice and water at the ratio of 1:1.3.

MaoMaoMom’s Kitchen recipe for Chicken Potato Rice presented on her web site currently uses the Rice program. The recipe presented in the 2018 Instant Pot Recipe Booklet said Rice Program, set to 35 minute, was a mistake. The comments on the online recipe indicate misunderstandings about the setting, the manual and the recipe.

Resources and recipes for Instant Pot, pressure cookers and pressure multi-cookers:

Tsp. (fraction)Tsp. (decimal)Grams

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