Instant Pot Basmati Rice

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You’ll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker. Get the recipe below and learn how to make the perfect restaurant-style Basmati rice. 

Basmati rice served in a black bowl placed in front of Instant Pot
Instant Pot Basmati Rice

I am a South Indian which means not a day has passed by when I have not had rice. Considering the fact that I have lived over four decades, that’s a lot of rice I have consumed :-).  That also means I am very particular about how it is cooked. It should be perfectly cooked with each grain distinct especially when you are making Basmati rice. 

What is Basmati rice?

It is a variety of long-grained, aromatic rice that is primarily grown in the Indian subcontinent. It has a nutty flavor and is commonly served in Indian restaurants in the US. It is also more expensive than any other rice variety, that’s why when I was growing up in India cooking with Basmati rice was saved for special occasions. 

How to make Basmati rice in Instant Pot

I have had rice cookers in the past and have made rice over stovetop too but making rice in the Instant Pot is my absolute favorite method – takes less time than rice cookers and is hands-free unlike making it on the stovetop.

Instant Pot Basmati Rice Water ratio

Follow 1:1.25 ratio i.e for every cup of rice, use 1.25 cups of water. The ratio remains the same when you are doubling or tripling the recipe.

Instructions to make Basmati rice in Instant Pot

  1. Wash the rice till the water runs clear.
  2. Soak the rice in twice the amount of water for 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you are in a rush. 
  3. Add water (same amount of water as the rice) to the inner pot. 
  4. Drain the rice and add it to the inner pot. Mix well. 
  5. Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing. 
  6. Pressure cook for 3 minutes under high pressure. 
  7. When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before moving the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure. 
  8. Open the lid and let the steam escape. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork and it is ready to serve.
A collage of images depicting step by step images to make Basmati rice in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Basmati rice – step by step

Notes

  • 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. 
  • Do not use the ‘Rice’ smart program. It doesn’t work well for Basmati rice. 
  • If you are making Basmati rice pot-in-pot, pressure cook on high for 6 minutes and release pressure after 10 minutes. 
  • There is no one way of making Basmati rice in the Instant Pot, you could cook for 5-6 minutes and release the pressure in 5 minutes or you could follow this recipe. One thing to remember is don’t cook beyond 6 minutes – it is unnecessary. 

Read this: The failproof way to make basmati rice over the stovetop and microwave.

Tips for perfect Basmati Rice

  1. Pick the right brand – Royal Basmati Rice is the one I recommend and have been using for more than a decade. There are other brands available but stick to the Indian or Pakistani ones to get the authentic varieties.
  2. Wash / Soak the rice – Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and extra starch (makes it easier to digest). If time permits, soak the rice.  Soaking elongates the grains and makes it less brittle.
  3. 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 for 10 minutes before releasing pressure. 
  4. Add ghee (optional step) –  After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee to it. 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 end result is a restaurant-style buttery Basmati rice that doesn’t dry out at all. 

Variations

  1. Saute the rice in a tablespoon of ghee and add about 1/4th teaspoon salt to make it more flavorful. 
  2. Add star anise, cloves, and cardamom along with the water.

Troubleshooting rice

If you follow this recipe, you shouldn’t run into these problems. But sometimes we eyeball ingredients instead of measuring them, and things can wrong if our estimates are not accurate. Here’s how we can fix most issues – 

Undercooked rice – hard and chewy

  • Reasons
    • 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 2 tablespoons of water for every cup of rice and cook again for 2 more minutes. Immediately release pressure. 

Clumpy rice

  • 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

Burnt rice

  • Reason – 
    • Not enough water.
    • The sealing ring was not inserted properly.
    • Cooked for an excess amount of time.
  • Solution – If the burnt flavor hasn’t permeated the top layer, salvage as much as you can. Throw away the rest. 

Frequently asked questions about cooking rice in Instant Pot

What is the total time to cook Basmati rice in the Instant Pot?

For two cups of rice, it took 9 minutes to build pressure and 3 minutes to cook. With 10 minutes of resting time, it takes about 23 minutes to cook 2 cups of Basmati rice in the Instant Pot. 

How to make rice in large quantities?

While cooking in large quantities, make in smaller batches to allow the rice to cook evenly. Also, rice expands three times in volume, so don’t go past the halfway mark in the Instant Pot after adding rice and water. 

How to make restaurant-style Basmati rice?

After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee to it. 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 end result is a restaurant-style buttery Basmati rice that doesn’t dry out at all. 

Ghee added to Basmati rice as a last step
Add ghee to the rice in the last step

How to reheat leftover rice in Instant Pot?

  1. Add the leftover rice in the steel insert of the Instant Pot.
  2. Add one tablespoon of water for every cup of rice.
  3. Pressure cook for zero minutes.
  4. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately. 

To be honest, reheating rice is faster in the microwave but you have rice stored in the Instant Pot, I would follow the method above. 

How to cook rice using the delay timer?

  1. Add the rice along with the water (1:1.25 ratio) in the Instant Pot.
  2. Set to Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. 
  3. Press ‘Delay Start’ or ‘Timer’ (in old models) and use the + and – button to set a later time (max time you can set is 24 hours) for the cooking to begin. The count down will start. 
  4. Cover the lid. The cooking program will begin after the set time.

Serving suggestions

Serve rice hot with curry of your choice. My personal favorite is eating with dal makhani or butter chicken

Restaurant-style Dal Makhani served with rice and garlic naan
Restaurant-Style Dal Makhani

Other favorite ways to cook rice in the Instant Pot include

  1. Jeera rice – aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds.
  2. Vegetable biryani– an aromatic biryani that is loaded with veggies.
  3. Chettinad chicken biryani – a specialty biryani from Chettinad.
  4. Shrimp biryani made super easy using Instant Pot.
  5. Ven Pongal  This South Indian breakfast recipe made from rice and lentils is a great way to start your day.
  6. Indian Yellow Turmeric rice – This fragrant rice goes well with roasted vegetables and any protein and all it needs is 20 minutes!


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Basmati rice served in a black bowl placed in front of Instant Pot

Instant Pot Basmati Rice

4.07 from 15 votes
You'll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker. Get the recipe below and learn how to make the perfect Basmati rice. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Pressure Building Time + Resting time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the rice using a strainer till the water runs clear.
  • Soak the rice in twice the amount of water for 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you are in a rush.
  • Add water to the inner pot. 
  • Drain the rice and add it to the inner pot. Mix well.
  • Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
  • Pressure cook for 3 minutes under high pressure.
  • 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 for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork and it is ready to serve.

Notes

  • I have used a standard measuring cup for the recipe and 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.
  • Do not use the ‘Rice’ smart program. It doesn’t work well for Basmati rice.
  • If you are making Basmati rice pot-in-pot, pressure cook on high for 6 minutes and release pressure after 10 minutes.
Read this: To make basmati rice over the stovetop and microwave.

Tips for perfect Basmati Rice

  1. Pick the right brand – Royal Basmati Rice is the one I recommend and have been using for more than a decade. There are other brands available but stick to the Indian or Pakistani ones to get the authentic varieties.
  2. Wash / Soak the rice Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and extra starch (makes it easier to digest). If time permits, soak the rice.  Soaking elongates the grains and makes it less brittle.
  3. 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 for 10 minutes before releasing pressure.
  4. Add ghee (optional step) –  After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee to it. 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 end result is a restaurant-style buttery Basmati rice that doesn’t dry out at all.
Variations
  1. Saute the rice in a tablespoon of ghee and add about 1/4th teaspoon salt to make it more flavorful.
  2. Add star anise, cloves, and cardamom along with the water.

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 7gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 106mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg

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.

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Keyword : easy, Fluffy, perfect

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8 Comments

  1. I tried to make 3 cups of rice following your instructions and it turned out very sticky. I had soaked the rice with 2 separate rinses for maybe too long…an hour? Could that have ruined it?

    1. Soaking it for too long can end up making the rice mushy. I don’t soak it half the time unless I am making Biryani. Hope this helps.

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