How to make foolproof rice in an Instant Pot

Many grains of rice spilled on a gray table
White long-grain rice only takes 15 minutes in an Instant Pot. Navinpeep/Getty Images
  • The Instant Pot is a quick and easy method for cooking any type of rice.
  • The gadget requires equal parts water and rice since the water doesn’t evaporate during cooking.
  • It’s important to use the correct ratio and cook time for the type of rice you’re making.
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In addition to being excellent at pressure cooking and making yogurt, the Instant Pot can successfully replace your rice cooker, too. Mary Haymaker is the author of the blog Chattavore and teaches a variety of Instant Pot classes, making her a bonafide Instant Pot expert. She shares her favorite things about using the Instant Pot to make rice as well as handy tips and tricks.

  • It’s easy. “I honestly didn’t like cooking rice before I started doing it in my Instant Pot! Even though it’s a pretty simple preparation, I always felt like it needed a little too much babysitting and guesswork to get it just right,” says Haymaker. The Instant Pot takes away the guesswork by controlling the temperature and timing for you.
  • Set it and forget it. “I just set the time and walk away and my rice is perfect every time,” says Haymaker. There’s no need to keep a close watch – the pot will do it all for you and beep when done.
  • It’s quick. White rice takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and brown rice takes about 35 minutes, making the Instant Pot almost twice as fast as a rice cooker or the stovetop.
  • It’s versatile. You can use the Instant Pot to make a variety of rice, from short-grained to brown to black. You can also make rice dishes like red beans and rice, congee, rice pudding, and even risotto.

Instant Pot rice to water ratio

The most important thing to remember is that the ratio of liquid to rice is different than when cooking rice on the stovetop,” explains Haymaker. Most stovetop rice recipes call for a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice.

When using the Instant Pot, the ratio shrinks to 1 to 1 for most types of rice. “Because there is very little evaporation in the Instant Pot, you use equal parts rice to water,” says Haymaker.

Whole grains like brown rice benefit from a little extra liquid – use a ratio of 1.25 parts liquid to 1 part rice.

Should I use the “Rice” button?

All Instant Pot models come with a “rice” button which functions similarly to a rice cooker. While it’s convenient since you only have to press one button, it only works for long-grained white rice and is not recommended for other varieties like short-grain rice or brown rice.

“I never use the rice button,” says Haymaker. “I’ve had much more success just looking up cook times for various types of rice and using the manual pressure setting.”

What about brown rice?

Brown rice
Brown rice takes a total of 35 minutes to cook. vm2002/Getty Images

Brown rice is a whole grain, making it tougher than white rice. This means it needs a longer cook time and a little more liquid.

1. Rinse the rice. This step is optional but recommended. Drain well.

2. Add the ingredients to the pot. Add the drained rice and enough liquid for a 1.25 to 1 ratio of liquid to rice. That means if you’re cooking 1 cup of rice you should add 1 ¼ cups of water or broth. Season with salt and/or other spices as desired.

3. Cook. Lock the lid and switch the pot to the manual/pressure cooker setting. Program it to cook for 20 minutes (or 22 minutes if you like softer rice) at high pressure.

4. Use a natural release. Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes after the timer runs out.

How to make other types of rice in an Instant Pot

“All kinds of rice work well in the Instant Pot, from regular long-grain white rice to brown rice to risotto. It’s just important to do your research to figure out how long you need to cook the rice,” explains Haymaker.

  • Short-grained rice takes longer to cook than long-grained rice. Allow 8 minutes for white rice and 22 minutes for brown rice, using the same liquid ratios as above and a natural release.
  • Black rice or forbidden rice should be cooked the same as brown rice using the same cook time and liquid ratio.
  • Wild rice takes the longest to cook. Allow 25 minutes at high pressure and use a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice, draining any excess cooking liquid. Use a natural release.

Troubleshooting Instant Pot rice

Rice is too watery. Make sure you cooked it long enough so that it had a chance to absorb all of the liquid. “The most important thing to remember when cooking rice is to use the correct cook time,” says Haymaker. Drain the rice really well after rinsing to avoid adding too much extra water and make sure your lid is locked tight and the vent is sealed while cooking.

Rice is mushy. It’s likely been overcooked. Double-check you programmed the correct cook time. Measure the liquid carefully so that you don’t add too much.

Rice is burnt. If your rice burns on the bottom then there’s not enough liquid in the pot (again, measure carefully). Don’t make less than at least one cup of rice at a time so that you have the recommended minimum amount of liquid for pressure cooking.

Remember that adding other ingredients to the rice can affect the cook time and final texture. Haymaker adds “you may need to add a little time if your recipe has ‘wet’ ingredients such as diced tomatoes.”

Insider’s takeaway

Whether you’re hoping to get rid of your rice cooker or simply want a fast and easy way to make rice, the Instant Pot is the answer. For guaranteed success, use the right ratio of liquid to rice and the proper cook time for the type of rice.

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