how to boil rice in an instant pot

How To Cook Rice In An Instant Pot – 5 Easy Steps And Veteran Tips

Many people who own an instant pot somehow overlook or are not aware that they can cook rice in this pot. In this article, we would be sharing with you on how to cook rice in an instant pot . We would also be sharing some expert tips that would help you get the perfect rice all the time.

Before we share one of the methods that has been tried and proven, there are some disclaimers.  Everyone would not agree on what constitutes the “perfect rice”; this is because individual taste and preferences differ. 

Additionally, there are several factors that impact upon the result you would get whenever you use an instant pot to cook rice. These factors include the following:-

  • How fresh or dry that the rice is
  • The quality of water in your location; for example, hardness of water
  • Altitude of the location

That said however, we would share this basic method that can be tweaked to suit individual or location differences.

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Basic Method/Setting For Cooking Rice In An Instant Pot

Parboiled or Long Grain White Rice

The most basic method of cooking rice with an instant pot is the equal part water to rice ratio. For example, measure 1 cup of water into your instant pot, then measure 1 cup of rice, rinse and add to the water.

Next cover the pot, ensure that it is on the sealed position and then set to cook. The instant pot is pre-programed to automatically adjust the cooking time depending on the quantity of rice you add to the pot. However, this function is only for long grain white or parboiled rice.

Other Types Of Rice

If you want to cook other types of rice in an instant pot , you’ll have to use the manual setting. The name on the button may differ depending on the model of instant pot . Some models call it the pressure cook smart program while others call it the manual function.

So when you’ve measured the ratio 1:1 go ahead and set the instant pot according to the type of rice. Here’s a list of suggested timings for each type of rice:-

Brown Rice (short/ long) – 22-28 minutes

Basmati Rice (white) – 4-8 minutes

Wild Rice Mix – 25-30 minutes

Jasmine Rice – 3-5 minutes

Steps For Preparation

  • Measure your rice and water in a ratio of 1 to 1. So whatever quantity of rice you measure would require the same quantity of water.

  • Pour the water into the pot, then rinse the rice and add to the pot.

  • Cover the pot and set the lid to the seal position.

  • Remember that the rice smart program would automatically set the time for parboiled or long grain white rice.

  • For other types of rice, select the appropriate cooking time.

  • Ensure that the keep warm function is turned off. This is to ensure that the rice does not continue to cook after the cooking time is up. If the keep warm function is on, your rice would stick to the bottom of the pot if left in it for long.

  • When the cooking time is up, allow the pot to release naturally. For more information on this, click here to read our article on how to use an instant pot.


The reason for formulating this basic ratio of water to rice is because the instant pot is sealed and does not let out steam while in use like regular pots. This means that the rice would absorb all the water you put. Secondly, no matter the kind of rice, they all require the same volume of water as their own volume to cook. And finally, the ratio is easy to remember.

This ratio therefore is just a base from which you can adjust the cooking to how you want your rice to be. So, if you want a softer or mushier texture for your rice then you add more water.

You use far less water to cook rice in an instant pot as compared to a rice cooker or regular pot because the rate of evaporation in an instant pot is very minimal.  Whereas a rice cooker evaporates large quantity of water as steam.

When you rinse out the rice before cooking, you inadvertently add some extra spoons of water to the overall water volume. This means that if you don’t rinse out your rice before cooking, you should add some extra spoons of water while cooking.

how to cook rice in an instant pot
Different types of rice

More Details On How To Cook Different Types Of Rice

We have spent some time discussing how to cook white rice (mainly) but also made brief mention of other types of rice. In this segment however, we would go into more details on the timing for different types of rice.

Wild Rice

There are arguments about the state at which wild rice can be said to be perfect. Some say perfectly cooked wild rice is the one that the grains have completely burst open; others argue that it is the one that the grains are on the edge of bursting open whilst yet another group argue that it is wild rice with grains that are not burst open at all.

Well, whichever category you fall into, you can achieve your desired ‘perfection’ by using the following cooking timings:-

  • For wild rice with the grains not burst cook for 28 minutes and then allow to release naturally.

  • For completely burst grains cook for 32 minutes.

  • To achieve a mix of both burst and unburst, cook for 30 minutes.

Wild Rice Mix

To cook a mix of wild rice in an instant pot, you would have to do a little bit of experimentation. The reason we say so is because the blend of wild rice you decide to use can vary from what we have experimented with.

That said however, a good starting point is to cook for 28 minutes and allow to release naturally. This should give you some wild rice with grains that are not burst and the other types of rice would not be soggy.

But the honest fact here is that with wild rice mix , we can only give you an idea of the least time to use. At the end of the day, you would have to find out the best cooking time.

Brown Rice

The thickness of the grain of rice is what determines how long it would take it to cook. Long grain brown rice and short grain brown rice with the same thickness cooked at the same time.

If your brown rice is the thin Basmati type then it would cook in 22 minutes. Whereas the thicker short grains would cook in 24 minutes.  Remember that this is not inclusive of the time it would take the instant pot to release naturally. This would take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

In this period of time, the pressure valve would drop to show that it has finished releasing but if it doesn’t drop then you can open the pot after 20 minutes.

Black Rice and Red Rice

These varieties of rice are thicker than others and require more time to absorb water and cook.  With these types of rice, you cook at high pressure just like all the other types. But the cook time would be 30 minutes and then natural release.

The best way to get a hang of all the varieties of rice is to get an instant pot recipe and follow it strictly. This would help you get a hang of what to expect when cooking an instant pot rice recipe.

The accompanying video would help you get a better grasp of what we have discussed so far:-

Sushi Rice

Because you want your sushi rice to be sticky, you have to cook it longer than the normal long grain white rice.  So instead of cooking for 3 minutes, you cook for 5 minutes (remember it has to always be at high pressure) and then do the natural release.

Below are some tips for getting the best sushi rice:-

  1. The best type of rice to use are California rice(medium grain) or polished white  Japanese rice (short grain). They are usually labeled as sushi rice in the stores so you can specifically look out for them.

  2. Wash the rice to remove the excess starch; you would know that the rice is rid of all the starchy excess when the water you use to wash it becomes clear. This would require about 3 to 4 times.  The reason why you need to wash the rice is because the starch residue would not allow the rice to be absorbent of the ingredients required for perfect sushi rice.  

  3. Do not store your prepared sushi rice in a freezer or fridge, this would ruin the consistency of the rice. Rather place in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl and cover with a damp dish towel or saran warp.  Leave at room temperature for as long as 12 hours.

  4. Do not use metallic bowl to store your prepared sushi so that it would not acquire a metallic taste.  In fact, ensure that the material of the bowl you would use to store the prepared sushi would not transfer any taste or smell to your dish.

Expert Tips For Cooking Rice In An Instant Pot

Get The Right Quantity Of Rice To Cook Per Time

Knowing the right quantity of rice to cook per time in your instant pot is key to having perfectly cooked rice.  It is recommended that you do not fill your pot to the extent that it would be more than 2/3rds after your food is done.

Rice is one of the foods that expand after cooking. Most dry white rice would expand to three times its volume after cooking. So if you want to have 3 cups of cooked rice, all you need is 1 cup of dry raw white rice.

Following from the above therefore when you use an instant pot to cook rice, you have to factor in expansion.

Find out how many cooked cups of rice would reach the 2/3rd mark. Then divide it by three; that’s the right quantity of dry rice to cook in the pot.

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Use The Natural Release

It is advised that you use the natural release when cooking rice in an instant pot. This would ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. If you must do a quick release for lack of time, ensure you start out with at least 10 minutes of natural release.

Use The Measuring Cup That Comes With Your Instant Pot

It is best to use the rice measurement cup that comes with your instant pot. This is because it helps you to get the rice water ratio more accurately.  The instant pot has a measurement marking for quantity of water to use for cups of rice added. So your accuracy would depend on using the right measurement cup.

Testing For Doneness

If you open your instant pot and discover that there’s still some water left in the pot then you need to cook for longer.  The way to know your rice is done is when the water is completely dried out and you have the texture that you desire.

Note however that you can drain out excess water if there’s still some water in the rice but it has reached the desired texture.

Use Enough Liquid

It is not compulsory that you use only water to cook your rice. You can choose to add some other kind of liquid such as vegetable or meat stock. Recipes such as coconut rice would require that you use coconut milk.

Just ensure that you do a kind of half and half for other liquids. This means that you use half the quantity of water required and then replace the other half with the desired stock, milk or liquid.

Try Out Different Recipes

You need to try out different recipes to really get the best of cooking rice in an instant pot.  There are recipes that call for soy sauce, green onions, cilantro and other ingredients that produce extra yummy and flavor rice meals.

The more you experiment, the more you find out what works best for you and your family.

To Rinse or Not To Rinse

It is best to rinse out the rice before cooking because first it removes any dirt whether from the processing or storage. Secondly, rinsing helps to reduce the starch in the rice. Third reason is that it would make the rice less sticky. And finally, the rice would taste better. 

Reheating Rice In An Instant Pot

The best method that would help your rice retain its consistency when you reheat it in an instant pot is the pot –in- pot method.

Place the leftover rice in a heat proof container and put the container on the trivet of your instant pot. Pour a cup of water into the instant pot and cover the pot. Ensure that the lid is set to the sealing mode and then set the pot to steam for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes is done, use the quick release method to release pressure and open your pot.

Bear in mind that the container with the rice should not be covered.

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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking Rice In An Instant Pot

If you are new to using an instant pot, you are sure to make some mistakes and hopefully learn from them. But if you have just broken up the box of your instant pot, we want to save you the trouble of making mistakes.  Some of these mistakes include the following:-

Starting Out With The Wrong Liquid

We are sure you have heard it said over and over that you must always have at least 1 cup of liquid in your instant pot.  Yes it is true that you require 1 cup of liquid but not all types of liquid would work.

Creamy liquids or milk may not be the best type of liquid to start out with. If your recipe calls for 2 cups of water and you want to substitute 1 cup with another type of liquid, it would do you a world of good to find out whether said liquid would work well in an instant pot.

In the same vein if an instant pot recipe calls for a liquid ingredient that you are wary of, do a little bit of research to know the right timing for the addition of that liquid.

One other thing to bear in mind on this point is that some ingredients are best added when the food is almost done or even completely done.

Overfilling Your Pot

We have already talked about this earlier but it bears repetition. Do not exceed the 2/3rd limit of your pot (cooked /end product). If you overfill your pot, you would have your food explode all over the place when you open the pot.

In a situation where you have over filled your pot and you need to release naturally, then you do it incrementally. Crack the pressure valve open a little and see the pressure of steam it release. Do this until you are able to safely open the pot.

But to avoid all that stress, just adhere to the quantity guideline we gave earlier.

Cooking Food With Different Cook Time At Once

This point pretty much explains itself.  Do not place food with a wide disparity of cook time in the pot to cook at the same time.

Buy accessories that would allow you to cook different food in the pot at different points in the cooking. One of such accessories is a steamer insert; this would allow you to steam more delicate food items in the course of cooking.

Using The Rice Button To Cook All Types of Rice

The rice button on an instant pot is for white rice only. All the other types of rice require that you use the manual setting. This would allow you to set your cooking time appropriately.

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All we have discussed above is not all there is to cooking rice in an instant pot; there’s much more to it. However, cooking no matter how complex the recipe is not rocket science but rather an art. Since it is a culinary art, there are different ways of achieving the desired result for each individual.

Therefore what we have done in this article is just drop few  steps and tips that would help you get started.

As with most of our articles on “how to” we feel that a video would help to clarify some points and give our readers more inspiration.

So we’ll leave you with a second video:-

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