Ever since I got my Instant Pot a few years ago, I’ve stopped making rice any other way! It’s such a simple, basic method, and you never have to worry about it getting gummy or a pot boiling over on the stove. (New to the Instant Pot? Check out our post How To Use an Instant Pot: A First-Timer’s Guide.)
Every time I make rice, I achieve the same results: separate grains, with a pleasing, chewy texture. Pressure cooking does give rice a slightly different texture than stovetop cooking, and I have actually grown to prefer it prepared this way. Give it a try and see what you think!
HOW MUCH WATER FOR PRESSURE COOKING RICE?
You can cook any kind of rice in your pressure cooker, long or short grain, brown or white. (It even makes a killer risotto, but that’s a recipe for another day.) No matter what kind of rice I’m cooking, I use the same ratio of rice to water or broth, 1:1.
This is probably less water than you’re used to using for cooking stovetop rice, and that’s because there’s very little evaporation when you’re using the pressure cooker. This ratio produces fairly firm, separate grains—you can add a little more water, maybe about 1/4 cup extra, if you like softer rice.
HOW LONG TO PRESSURE COOK RICE?
The amount of water (or other liquid—you can also use stock) will remain the same. Different kinds of rice, however, take different amounts of time to cook under pressure. Wild rice and brown rice will require more time than white rice, for instance. Any variety can be cooked at either high or low pressure; it comes out a little fluffier at low pressure, and a little chewier at high pressure.
Although you can cook any variety of rice on the automatic “rice” setting, brown rice works better on either a manual setting, or a setting that’s specifically designed for whole grains, such as the “Multigrain” setting on the Instant Pot.
Here are my preferred cooking times for cooking rice in the pressure cooker:
- Brown rice: 20 minutes on high pressure for firm rice, or 22 minutes for softer grains
- White rice: 15 minutes on low pressure for firm rice, or 17 minutes for softer grains
RINSE WELL FOR FLUFFY RICE
I don’t always remember to do this step, but it helps when I do: Rinse the rice in a wire mesh colander under cold water for 30 seconds or so, or until the water runs clear.
Rinsing makes the rice fluffy, and seems to make more of a difference with white rice varieties verses brown; the latter is protected by its hull and doesn’t tend to have a lot of extra starch clinging to the outside of the grains.
JUST ADD WATER—OR BROTH. OR GARLIC. OR BUTTER.
Just like on the stove, you can cook rice in the pressure cooker with broth or water, use as much salt as you like, and add extra seasonings, a pat of butter, or a little olive oil for extra flavor.
I sometimes sauté a little garlic in olive oil before adding my rice and broth, which turns a basic pot of grains into a flavorful side dish! You can also use seasonings such as turmeric and coriander for some Indian-inspired basmati rice, or chili powder for rice to tuck into burritos.
USE A NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE
No matter what kind of rice you’re cooking, it’s a good idea to let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before opening the pot. This allows the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the grains, and helps it unstick from the bottom of the pot, too.
You *can* open the pot with a quick pressure release if you like, but it really does benefit from a little resting time!
MINIMUM (AND MAXIMUM) AMOUNTS OF RICE
One last rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you’ll need to cook at least 1 1/2 cups of rice in a 6-quart pressure cooker to get nice, even results. This is because the bottom of the pot isn’t perfectly flat, but slightly concave. If you use less rice, the grains in the middle of the pot will not cook as evenly, since they won’t be submerged in the water as much as the rice on the sides of the pot.
On the flip side, don’t overfill your pressure cooker with too much rice, either! It should be half full or less when you’re cooking any grains, beans, pastas, or other foods that can tend to foam up. I find that I get the best results when I cook between 1 1/2 and 3 cups of rice at a time.
By the way, you can always make extra rice and freeze the extra. Here’s how to do that!
Those are my best tips for cooking rice! Of course, you can also just follow the basic recipe below. Either way, enjoy!
MORE PANTRY STAPLES TO MAKE IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
How to Make Rice in the Instant Pot
- 2 cups rice (any variety)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Rinse the rice: In a fine wire mesh colander, rinse the rice under cold running water for about 30 seconds, until the water is less cloudy (it won't be quite clear). Drain off the excess water for a minute or so, until water is no longer dripping from the colander. (Note: If you’re using brown rice, you can skip this rinsing step.)
2 Add the rice and water to the cooker: Add the rice to the pressure cooker, along with the 2 cups of water and salt. Swivel the inner pot in the housing a little bit so that the rice settles into an even layer in the pot. Secure the lid with the release valve in its “Sealing” position.
3 Cook the rice on low pressure: If using white rice, select the “Rice” cooking program on its low pressure setting. (If your pressure cooker doesn’t have high and low pressure settings, just use the default “rice” setting.) The pressure cooker will adjust the cooking time automatically. For manual instructions, set the cooking time for 15 minutes on low pressure.
If using brown rice, select the “Multigrain,” “Pressure Cook,” or “Manual” setting and set the cooking time for 20 minutes at high pressure for chewy, separate grains of rice. For slightly softer rice, increase the cooking time to 22 minutes.
4 Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes: When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the pressure release valve to its “Venting” position to release the remaining steam.
Open the pot, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve. (Leftover rice? Freeze it!)
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