20-Minute Instant Pot Palak Rice (Spinach Rice)

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Make a filling bowl of Palak Rice in just 20 minutes with your Instant Pot. This filling and flavorful Spinach Rice is packed with warm spices and fresh vegetables for a gluten-free dish everyone will enjoy!

A dark grey bowl with palak rice topped with mint and a colorful dish towel to the left and a silver spoon to the right.
Instant Pot Palak Rice

What is Spinach Rice?

This easy to make, Spinach (or palak in Hindi) rice recipe is an Indian dish that involves cooking rice with vegetables, a spinach puree, and many aromatic spices.

It’s a gluten-free and vegetarian side dish perfect for any weeknight.

Serve it as the main dish with a side of yogurt or raita or serve this Palak rice as an accompaniment to another main dish.

Recipe inspiration

Palak rice, or spinach rice, has been a recipe in our family for many years! Our nanny used to make it and every time she did I would wipe my plate clean.

She didn’t necessarily measure anything or followed a recipe as such but it would always yield the most flavorful and filling spinach rice. Here’s how she would go about it –

  1. She would gather all the greens that she could find in the refrigerator and would puree it with spinach.
  2. Then she would start the cooking process with a tempering of cumin seeds and whole spices.
  3. The next step would be to add green-colored vegetables such as bell peppers, beans, and peas and saute them with the spice powders.
  4. The spinach puree would then be added to this mix.
  5. When the mixture came to a boil, leftover rice would be added and gently stirred in.

This is my attempt to recreate her magic in an Instant Pot.

Why this recipe works

  • Comes together in about 20 minutes making it the perfect weeknight recipe!
  • Loaded with veggies like spinach, peas, and bell pepper that are good for you.
  • Stores well – tastes great even after a few days in the refrigerator.
  • Naturally vegetarian. Skip the ghee and make it vegan.
  • This easy spinach rice recipe tastes great at room temperature as well making it perfect for school/office lunch.

How to make this recipe

Ingredients at a glance

A bowl of rice soaking in water at the top left next to a bowl of fresh baby spinach in the top right, and a plate at the bottom middle with a bell pepper, cilantro, peas, and mint leaves on a wooden counter.
Palak Rice Ingredients

Rice – The main ingredient of this dish requires a little prep work at the start. Simply soak Basmati rice for 20-30 minutes before beginning.

Spinach Puree – A spinach puree made from fresh baby spinach, cilantro, mint leaves, Indian or Thai green chilies, and water gives this palak rice recipe a bright green hue while also providing many nutritional benefits.

Bell Peppers & Peas – The bell peppers add a slight change in texture to the spinach rice while the peas provide a sweet and creamy burst of flavor to the rice.

Spices & Seasoning – For a deeply flavorful bowl of spinach rice I season this dish with olive oil, ghee, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt, and sugar.

Step by Step Instructions

Start with soaking the rice

To begin, rinse the Basmati rice with running water until the water runs clear. Then transfer to a bowl and soak the rice in 4 cups of water for 20-30 minutes.

Make the puree

Next, blend the baby spinach, mint leaves, cilantro, green chilies, and a cup of water together until pureed.

Cook the dish in the Instant Pot

Preheat an electric pressure cooker by selecting sauté. Then press the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait until the display reads “Hot.

Once the inner pot is hot, after about 30 seconds, add oil. Allow the oil to heat up, then add the cumin seeds.

When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add the cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, and bay leaves to the inner pot. Sauté them for 10-15 seconds.

Next, add the chopped bell pepper and peas. Sauté for 1 minute.

After a minute, add the chili, coriander, cumin, and garam masala powders to the inner pot. Mix them in and sauté for about 10-20 seconds.

Add the pureed spinach mixture along with salt and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil.

Do a quick taste test at this time. The salt should be on the higher side.

Drain the rice. Add rice on top of the veggies and spices. Add just enough water (approximately 3/4th cup) to completely submerge the rice.

Press “Warm/Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.” Set the time to 6 minutes and adjust the pressure selection to low. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it in place. Make sure the vent is in the sealing position.

Once the cooking cycle completes, the Instant Pot will switch to the “Warm Cycle”. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button and carefully release the pressure after 5 minutes. Open the lid and let the steam escape.

Add 1 tablespoon of ghee and wait 5 minutes before fluffing the rice and mixing in the ghee.

Serve this Spinach Rice hot with raita or yogurt.

A dark grey bowl with palak rice and peas topped with fresh mint leaves.
Spinach Rice

Recipe notes

I made this dish using baby spinach because it is milder and sweeter than mature spinach. That allows me to puree the spinach without blanching without the dish turning bitter.

While you are more than welcome to blanch the baby spinach before pureeing, I found the step unnecessary. By skipping the blanching process you save time as well as dishes!

If you only have spinach in hand, here’s how to blanch it

How to blanch spinach

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Once boiling add the spinach into the pot stems pointing down.
  3. Gently push the leaves down into the water and boil for about a minute or two until the stems soften.
  4. Remove the spinach from the boiling water and dump it into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

How to prep ahead

Busy weeknights need quick and easy to put together meals. For this palak rice recipe, follow this few steps to prep in advance:

  • Dice the bell pepper in advance and store it in an airtight container until you are ready to cook the spinach rice.
  • Blend the spinach puree ahead of time and keep in an airtight container. For the freshest flavor, I would recommend prepping this part no more than 2 days before you make the rice. You could always freeze this mixture for up to a month for a quick dinner.

How to store

Once cooked, the spinach rice will keep in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Variations

  1. The mint and cilantro leaves make this dish so much more aromatic and flavorful. Don’t skip it if you can help it.
  2. Adding fennel seeds is optional – I wouldn’t have used it but a friend recommended that I do and I loved it. It has a sweet aroma and adds to the flavor of this dish.
  3. You can also add onions to this dish along with ginger and garlic but I wanted to keep the chopping to the minimum and that’s why I skipped it.

Serving suggestions

Serve this homemade palak rice with fresh raita or homemade yogurt.

Frequently asked questions

Is spinach rice healthy?

Yes. With over two cups of leafy greens cooked into the rice as well as peas and bell peppers, this spinach rice recipe contains many health benefits while also making a delicious side dish!

What are the health benefits of spinach?

Spinach provides many excellent health benefits. This leafy green vegetable is loaded with vitamin K, which helps keep your bones healthy.

Spinach also provides an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as having a good amount of magnesium and iron.

What can you add to rice to make it taste better?

There are many different ways to dress up a bowl of rice. In this recipe, I use fresh spinach, mint, cilantro, and tons of aromatic spices to elevate a bowl of Basmati rice.

Other ways to make rice better include adding a little salt and ghee, turning it into a pot of Lemon Rice, or mixing in some aromatic cumin seeds for a Jeera rice.


A light blue plate with a scoop of palak rice next to fresh raita.
Instant Pot Spinach Rice

Other recipes you’ll love

  1. Jeera Rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling.
  2. Lemon Rice – Got leftover rice? Then, turn it into Lemon rice – a popular and flavorful South Indian dish that you can make in less than 15 minutes. 
  3. Vegetarian Biryani – This rice dish is made by pressure cooking rice, vegetables in a spicy onion-tomato gravy to create this flavorful one-pot vegetarian meal that comes together in under 30 minutes.
  4. Authentic Curd Rice – The delicate and mild-flavored curd rice (also known as thayir sadam or yogurt rice) is a befitting finale to a sumptuous spicy meal. 


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
A dark grey bowl with palak rice and peas topped with fresh mint leaves.

Instant Pot Palak Rice (Spinach Rice)

5 from 1 vote
Learn how to make this flavorful spinach rice, packed with fresh vegetables and aromatic spices, in just 20 minutes with your Instant Pot.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Pressure building time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

To be pureed

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup Cilantro / Coriander leaves, packed
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 1-2 Indian or Thai green chilies (Bird's eye)
  • 1 cup water

Remaining Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the Basmati rice in running water till the water runs clear. Soak it in about 4 cups of water for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Puree spinach, mint leaves, cilantro, green chilies in a blender along with a cup of water.
  • Preheat the electric pressure cooker by selecting sauté. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot.” 
  • When the inner pot is hot, after about 30 seconds, add oil. Once the oil heats up, add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add cinnamon stick, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Saute them for 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper and peas and saute them for a minute.
  • Add the spice powders – chili, coriander, cumin and garam masala powders. Mix them in and saute them for about 10-20 seconds.
  • Add the pureed spinach mixture along with salt and sugar. Mix it well and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Do a taste test – the salt should slightly be on the higher side. 
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the rice on top of the veggies.
  • Add just enough water (approximately 3/4 cup) to completely submerge the rice. 
  •  Press “Warm / Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.” Adjust the time to 6 minutes and set the pressure selection at low. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position. 
  • Once the cooking cycle completes, the Instant Pot will switch to the Warm cycle. Press the Warm/Cancel button and carefully release pressure after 5 minutes. Open the lid and let the steam escape. 
  • Add a tablespoon of ghee and wait for 5 minutes before fluffing the rice and mixing in the ghee.
  • Serve hot with raita or yogurt

Notes

I made this dish using baby spinach because it is milder and sweeter than mature spinach. That allows me to puree the spinach without blanching without the dish turning bitter.
While you are more than welcome to blanch the baby spinach before pureeing, I found the step unnecessary. By skipping the blanching process you save time as well as dishes!
If you only have mature spinach in hand, here’s how to blanch it
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Once boiling add the spinach into the pot stems pointing down.
  3. Gently push the leaves down into the water and boil for about a minute or two until the stems soften.
  4. Remove the spinach from the boiling water and dump it into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

How to prep ahead

Busy weeknights need quick and easy to put together meals. For this palak rice recipe, follow this few steps to prep in advance:
  • Dice the bell pepper in advance and store it in an airtight container until you are ready to cook the spinach rice.
  • Blend the spinach puree ahead of time and keep in an airtight container. For the freshest flavor, I would recommend prepping this part no more than 2 days before you make the rice. You could always freeze this mixture for up to a month for a quick dinner.

How to store

Once cooked, the spinach rice will keep in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Variations

  1. The mint and cilantro leaves make this dish so much more aromatic and flavorful. Don’t skip it if you can help it.
  2. Adding fennel seeds is optional – I wouldn’t have used it but a friend recommended that I do and I loved it. It has a sweet aroma and adds to the flavor of this dish.
  3. You can also add onions to this dish along with ginger and garlic but I wanted to keep the chopping to the minimum and that’s why I skipped it.

Serving suggestions

Serve this homemade palak rice with fresh raita or homemade yogurt.

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

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 541kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 9gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 112mgPotassium: 361mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 2154IUVitamin C: 46mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 3mg

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.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : easy, One-pot,, Quick

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2 Comments

  1. I have made this multiple times and everyone loves it!! Amazing taste. The key in your instant pot rice recipes is cooking it for 6 minutes on LOW pressure. Pure genius! After trying others recipes which called for 4 minutes on High pressure and getting burnt offerings, I was about to give up. Also this recipe gets bonus points in the No Onion No Garlic category. God Bless you for the wonderful recipes, the detailed instructions and prep suggestions.

    1. Thanks, Gina for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. Glad you loved the recipe!

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