I was talking with a friend recently about how to cook rice in the Instant Pot.
She had heard that cooking rice in the Instant Pot was foolproof, but the method was giving her terrible trouble, and she wasn’t sure what she was doing wrong.
Making the switch to cooking real foods is a big commitment and the Instant Pot can be a huge time saver – like using it to cook dry beans even if you don’t have time to soak them – but it’s only helpful if it’s working the way it should be.
Her complaints included the rice sometimes being crunchy and undercooked and the fact that the bottom of the Instant Pot insert was covered with a thick layer of burned-on rice.
Not only did this waste a ton of her time, soaking it, scraping it off, and cleaning it up, but she said she eyeballed how much it was one night, and it was close to a half-cup of rice. Nobody on a budget wants to throw away fifty percent of their rice every time they cook it!
I told her that the Instant Pot cooks rice perfectly as long as you get the ratios correct. So let’s dig in, and I’ll show you how to get perfect rice in the pressure cooker every time — brown, white, or even black rice.
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
What You Need to Know About Instant Pot Rice Recipes
There is actually a rice button on almost all Instant Pot models, so it should be brain-dead easy to cook rice in the Instant Pot. However, there are a couple of nuances that make it a little more complicated than it would appear at first glance.
1. Rice Variety Matters
The Instant Pot ‘Rice’ button is best for cooking long-grain white rice. Cooking other varieties of rice using the rice button WILL NOT result in perfect rice every time, no matter what anyone else says. Long-grain and short-grain rice are going to cook differently, as will brown rice and basmati.
Making the adjustment is easy – just use the ‘manual’ feature on the Instant Pot and adjust the cooking time as detailed below.
2. Finding the Right Rice to Water Ratio
Most packaged rice will call for a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. For example, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice. In the Instant Pot, because nearly no liquid is lost through steam releasing, you can actually use a 1:1 ratio for most rice varieties.
So, 1 cup of rice and 1 cup of water – that’s it! Some find they want their rice a little fluffier, and if this is your preference, then you should use 1 1/4 cups water for 1 cup rice.
NOTE: You can double or triple the recipe and still get great results, but you shouldn’t try cooking less than one cup of rice in the Instant Pot.
3. To Rinse or Not to Rinse?
Rinsing the rice before cooking can remove extra starches from the rice and may help improve the flavor. Skipping the rinsing can make your rice a little more sticky, but I don’t mind that, so I usually omit this step.
If you want to skip it too, you can increase the water in the Instant Pot by a tablespoon or two. This will help make up for the tiny bit of liquid that escapes during the pressure cooking process.
4. Fat is your Friend
Adding a tiny bit of fat in the form of butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil if you don’t mind the flavor can go a long way in helping the rice not stick to the bottom of the Instant Pot insert.
Just a teaspoon of fat per cup of rice can make a big difference.
5. Salt for Taste, not for Method
It’s up to you if you add salt. Salt won’t help or hinder the cooking of rice in your Instant Pot, but it can make it taste better. So you might add a pinch to a quarter-teaspoon per cup of rice.
I use Redmond’s Real Salt for the great taste and the extra minerals. Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase!
Brown Rice in the Instant Pot – Some Special Considerations
Most of the instructions for Instant Pot brown rice will be the same as white rice, except that cook time doubles, and you may need to fiddle with your water ratio as well.
Most brown rice calls for 45 minutes of cook time on the stovetop, and the Instant Pot can pretty much cut that in half. Somewhere from 20 to 28 minutes will be the sweet spot, depending on if you have short- or long-grain brown rice. I am generally able to get mine done at 22 minutes on low pressure.
Pro Tip: wherever you store your rice, leave a note for yourself about the water ratio and the number of minutes.
For example, we buy rice in huge, Costco-sized bags and pour each variety into a different glass jar in our kitchen. On the outside of that glass jar, it says, “1 cup rice, 1 1/4 cups water, 20 minutes IP.” That way, I never have to look anything up.
How to Cook Black Rice in the Instant Pot
Have you heard of black rice? It’s healthier than all other rice because rather than being a grain, it’s actually a seed. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants, just like blueberries.
It looks pretty crazy, but it tastes delicious.
We default to black rice most of the time unless we have guests who might be scared away. Most of my brands of black rice call for a 2 to 1 ratio of water.
We started cooking black rice in the Instant Pot with 2 cups water, 1 cup rice, and 20 minutes under low pressure. We’ve had success with that method, but have been working our water level down.
I feel pretty confident that you could use 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup rice and 20 to 25 minutes under low pressure and have it come out just great.Print
Use these methods to get perfect rice in your Instant Pot every time!
Rice (your desired variety)
- White rice will use a 1:1 rice to water ratio
- Brown Rice will use a 1:1.5 rice to water ratio
- Black Rice will use a 1:1.5 rice to water ratio
Salt (for taste)
Add the ingredients in the appropriate ratios to the insert of the Instant Pot. Follow the instructions below depending on which rice variety you are cooking.
White Rice – Use the ‘rice’ button on the Instant Pot.
Brown Rice – Use the ‘manual’ button on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 22 minutes at low pressure. You may need to increase the time slightly to accommodate for water quality or the age of the rice.
Black Rice – Use the ‘manual’ button on the Instant Pot and set the time for 20 minutes at low pressure.
I use a quick release when cooking rice in the Instant Pot, but if you are having issues with sticking or aren’t in a hurry you can try a natural release.
Instant Pot Rice Recipes can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled (just don’t fill the insert beyond 2/3 full), but you shouldn’t cook less than one cup of rice in the Instant Pot.
Long grain varieties may need a few more minutes under pressure to be fully cooked.
Keywords: how to cook rice in the Instant Pot, Instant Pot rice recipe
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Cooking Rice in the Instant Pot – Troubleshooting
There are so many variances in brands of rice that it may take a few times of trial and error to get it just right for what you have, but it’s worth it.
Environmental differences like altitude and water quality (the hardness or softness of your water) can affect cooking times as can the age and moisture content of your rice.
The important thing is not to get discouraged. Keep in mind, cooking on the stovetop can take some trial and error as well.
Here are some of the most common problems encountered when cooking rice in the pressure cooker and what to do about them.
If your rice is too crunchy, and yet all the water is absorbed, add a quarter-cup water per cup of rice the next time you cook it.
This would also be my first troubleshooting effort if the bottom of my Instant Pot was covered in burned rice, like my friend’s experience.
Another area to troubleshoot if your rice is burning on the bottom of the insert is whether you are using high or low pressure. Make sure that white rice cooks for 12 minutes at low pressure. If your Instant Pot only has high pressure, adjust the time down by 3-4 minutes to start.
Rice Didn’t Absorb Cooking Liquid
If you open the Instant Pot to find rice soup and it seems that none of the water is absorbed, one of three things probably happened.
- You added too much water. Cut it down by at least a half-cup per cup of rice next time.
- You didn’t cook it long enough. Brown rice needs 22 to 28 minutes, and white rice needs 12 minutes on low pressure. If you have rice soup, turn the Instant Pot back on for 5 to 10 more minutes and see what happens.
- Your Instant Pot may not have come up to pressure. Follow all of my troubleshooting tips in this post and make sure that your pin is coming up and that a lot of steam releases when you open the valve.
Anytime you have rice soup, you can absolutely turn the pressure cooker on again, and eventually, you will be able to save it. Also note that if you are using a liquid other than water, such as chicken broth, the absorption is impacted. Sometimes you need slightly less chicken broth than water.
Rice Sticking to the Bottom of the Instant Pot
Getting the rice to water ratio correct and adding a tiny bit of fat should alleviate the sticking issue, but if you are still losing rice to the bottom of the Instant Pot, I’ve got you covered.
I almost always use a quick release when I’m cooking rice, and I don’t have a sticking problem, but if you do, try using a natural release. A quick-release will rapidly expel available moisture in the form of steam.
If your rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot, this quick release could be the culprit. Just let the pressure come down naturally next time – it should only take about 10 minutes – and see if that fixes the issue.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
Once you have it, the Instant Pot is completely fail-proof when it comes to rice.
I love it because I can’t boil something over, which happens 90% of the time when I’m cooking on the stovetop, even if I’m standing right there. I also don’t have to worry about fiddling with the temperature, or whether I stir or not, or even setting a timer.
The Instant Pot goes right to holding on low when it finishes a cycle. So I often start my rice two hours before dinner just to make sure it’s done, and then I don’t have to think about it again. The rice tastes just fine, even if it’s been holding on low for a while.
Other Instant Pot Recipes and Techniques
- How to Use an Instant Pot + 10 Basic Techniques
- Pressure Cooker Italian Lentils and Rice Lasagna
- Healthy Baked Rice Pudding – Use up Rice Leftovers!
- Easy Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice – Great for Meal Prep!
- How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot
- Perfect, Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Barbacoa (Chipotle Style Copycat)