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This easy recipe for Instant Pot Brown Basmati rice yields perfectly cooked, fluffy rice every time! This fragrant/aromatic rice can easily be prepared using the pot-in-pot method, making mealtime a breeze.
As a South Indian, I am very passionate about rice. I don’t think a single day has passed that I haven’t had rice in some form or another. Whether it’s a delicious dessert like my rice kheer recipe or a simple rice side dish, I feel like eating rice is in my DNA.
But when you consume rice daily, it is best to eat a type with a good nutrition profile.
That’s why I love Brown Basmati rice.
Not only is brown Basmati rice good for you, but it’s also very delicious. It has a nutty aroma and fluffy texture and is easy to make using my favorite appliance: the Instant Pot! This magical device prepares meals in less than half the time of traditional stovetop or rice cooker methods.
This rice recipe is no exception – it cooks up quickly in the Instant Pot with little hands-on time and yields perfect rice every time. And thanks to the saute function, it can be toasted with a bit of ghee for improved texture and flavor. You can’t do that in your typical rice cooker!
What is brown Basmati rice?
Basmati rice is an aromatic and delicious variety of rice widely consumed and prized for its texture. Basmati rice does not tend to clump together like some starchier varieties, so it is often served at Indian restaurants.
Brown basmati rice is the whole-grain version, which has both the germ and bran left intact. This leaves it with a brown color and a lovely nutty taste. Like all brown rice, brown Basmati tends to be slightly chewier than its refined version.
Brown vs. White Basmati rice
While brown Basmati rice is a whole-grain, white Basmati rice is made by removing the nutritious bran layer(also called the husk) and the germ, leaving just the starchy white portion behind. This process is also sometimes called “polishing,” and it results in rice that is less substantial and more subtle in both flavor and texture.
Brown rice is higher in dietary fiber and vitamins, while white rice tends to be more digestible. Whether you select brown or white rice for your dish is a matter of flavor and preference.
Why this recipe works
- It’s an easy way to make Basmati rice without having to watch a pot on the stove.
- You can easily make pot-in-pot Basmati rice by using a trivet and pairing it with your favorite Instant Pot curries and dals.
- No soaking is necessary – meaning you can get nutty and fluffy rice without all the extra prep work.
- A healthy alternative to polished rice varieties, meaning it is perfect for everyday dinners.
Here’s what you need to make the recipe
- Brown Basmati Rice – Tilda and Royal are the brands that I recommend. You could also use organic brown Basmati rice if you prefer.
- Storebought or homemade ghee – This adds a nice nutty flavor to the rice and improves the texture. You can use butter or olive oil for a vegan version.
- Salt – A touch of salt helps bring out the natural flavors of the rice.
- Cups of water – Use the following 1:1.25 rice-to-water ratio i.e, for every cup of rice, use 1.25 cups of water.
Cooking Brown Basmati rice pot-in-pot
While this article, the complete guide: Pot in Pot Indian cooking, goes in depth about this cooking technique, here’s a quick guide, Brown Basmati rice can be cooked pot-in-pot with any curries that have a cooking time between 25-35 minutes.
- Scalable recipe: You can easily double or triple the recipe without changing the cooking time.
- The cooking times between various brands will vary. You may have to try a few different cooking times between 15-22 minutes to get the right texture you want.
- Wash / Soak the rice – Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and excess starch (which makes it easier to digest). If time permits, soak the rice. Soaking elongates the grains and makes them less brittle.
- Let the rice rest – Once cooked, let the rice rest – this allows the steam to redistribute, and all the layers of the rice are evenly cooked. That is why it is important to wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure.
- Add ghee (optional step) – After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee. Once it melts, fluff the rice with a fork. Adding ghee amplifies the nutty flavor of Basmati rice and makes it even more fragrant. The result is a restaurant-style buttery Basmati rice that doesn’t dry out.
- Avoid a clumpy mess – If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.
Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice
- 1 cup Brown Basmati Rice
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil optional
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 1.25 cups water
- Rinse the brown rice using a strainer till the water runs clear.
- Select the Saute program in the Instant Pot and set it to Normal.
- Add one tablespoon of ghee or oil in the inner steel pot.
- Drain the rice and add it to the inner pot.
- Saute the rice for about 30 seconds. Press cancel.
- Add water along with salt to the inner pot. Mix well.
- Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing. Pressure cook for 20 minutes (soft rice) under high pressure. If soaked, cook for 15 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before moving the valve to 'venting' to release pressure.
- Open the lid and let the steam escape.
- Wait a minute or two, and then fluff the rice gently with a fork. Serve with your favorite curry.
- This recipe was tested in an Instant Pot Duo – 6 quart. To make this in an 8-quart Instant Pot, make at least 2 cups of brown rice since 8-quart needs at least 2 cups of water to come to pressure.
- I used a standard measuring cup for the recipe, not the rice cup that came with Instant Pot.
- If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.
- Reheating leftover rice – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.
Variations to try
- Using stock and butter – To add richness and flavor to your rice, try using veggie or chicken stock instead of water and unsalted butter instead of ghee or olive oil.
- Vegan – If you want to make brown Basmati rice in the Instant Pot but prefer it to be vegan, try olive oil in place of the ghee.
- Herbs – Feel free to experiment with the addition of herbs and other seasonings. A favorite of mine is cilantro lime rice, which is perfect for pairing with a variety of dishes.
How to prep ahead
Rice is best when eaten fresh, but you can prepare brown Basmati rice in advance if you would like. Just follow the cooking instructions for the recipe, let the rice cool down completely and then transfer the cooked rice to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Reheat according to the instructions below.
Refrigerator: Up to 3 days in an air-tight container.
Reheating leftover rice – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.
Freezer: Store it for a month in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.
Serve it with
This brown Basmati rice can be used as a substitute for white Basmati rice. You can also use the pot-in-pot method so you can cook the rice at the same time as your main dish. Here are a few of my favorite Instant Pot curries:
- Restaurant-style Instant Pot dal makhani – You’ve got to try this creamy and delicious Punjabi lentil curry that graces the menus of Indian restaurants worldwide.
- Langarwali dal – a creamy mixed lentil curry that cooks effortlessly in the Instant Pot.
- Instant Pot Sukha Kala Chana – While it is often served as prasad (religious offering) it makes for an easy side dish on busy weeknights.
- Punjabi Rajma Masala – This Dahba-style recipe is flavorful and delicious. The combination of rajma and chawal (rice) makes this dish special.
Frequently asked questions
While it is not essential, soaking Basmati rice reduces the cooking time and softens the grains. This helps them absorb more water and be less sticky when cooked.
Soak Basmati rice for 30 minutes. You can do a few things to make rice fluffy – Saute in ghee or oil or add ghee once the rice is cooked. Once the rice is cooked, use a fork to fluff the rice. This helps redistribute the steam and makes the grain fluffy and separate. Lastly, let the rice rest for a few minutes before serving.
Brown Basmati rice is not the exact same as your typical “brown rice”. The standard brown rice available in supermarkets is short or medium-grain rice, while brown Basmati rice is long-grain rice. This makes for distinct differences in texture as well as flavor. Standard brown rice also tends to be a bit sticker than the Basmati variety.
Both brown Basmati and brown Jasmine are good choices when it comes to rice. They are both whole grains and are easy to incorporate into your favorite meals. Basmati rice, however, is much lower on the glycemic index, making it a better choice for those who are avoiding blood sugar spikes.
Any regular brown rice is a good choice since it will be whole-grain and high in fiber and vitamins. Some brown rice varieties are better than others, but brown Basmati is at the top of the list for the healthiest rice. Because of its low glycemic index, it’s gentle on the blood sugar and contains more complex carbohydrates than any other variety.
Other rice recipes to try
If you enjoyed making this fragrant brown Basmati rice in the Instant Pot, I highly recommend you try one of my many rice recipes. Here are a few of my most popular:
- Instant Pot Basmati rice – Using the Instant Pot makes for perfectly cooked rice in less than half the time of a rice cooker.
- Jeera rice (cumin rice) – This aromatic and flavorful rice pairs well with a variety of dishes but is delicious enough to stand on its own.
- Instant Pot Red rice – Learn how to cook plump and nutty Kerala matta rice in a fraction of the time with the Instant Pot.
- Instant Pot brown rice – Master the process of making brown rice in the Instant Pot and get perfect results every time!
If you follow this recipe, you shouldn’t run into these problems. But sometimes, we eyeball ingredients instead of measuring them, and things can go wrong if our estimates are inaccurate. Here’s how we can fix most issues –
Undercooked rice – hard and chewy
- Not enough water.
- The sealing ring was not inserted properly.
- Cooked for an insufficient amount of time.
- Solution – Check if the sealing is properly inserted. Add two tablespoons of water for every cup of rice and cook again for two more minutes. Immediately release pressure.
- Reason – Rice has not been rinsed properly.
- Solution – Rinse properly next time. Sorry, no fix!
Cooked rice with leftover water
- Reason – Added more water than needed.
- Solution – Use a strainer to drain the excess water. Saute on low heat till the water is absorbed.
Mushy / Overcooked rice
- Reason – Overcooked because of excess water.
- Solution – Repurpose it for yogurt rice (dahi rice) or rice pudding (rice kheer).
- Reason –
- Not enough water.
- The sealing ring was not inserted properly.
- Cooked for an excess amount of time.
- Solution – Salvage as much as you can from the top if the burnt flavor hasn’t permeated the top layer. Discard the rest.