Instant Pot Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

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This sweet, creamy, milky rice pudding is a popular Indian dessert that you can make in minutes, thanks to the instant pot!

instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com

What is Kheer?

Kheer is a creamy rice pudding that requires three essential ingredients: rice, milk, and sugar. We almost always have those three ingredients at my house, making this an easy dessert to throw together at the last minute. If you’re dairy-free or vegan, full-fat canned coconut milk works as a great substitute for whole milk in this recipe.

In addition to the three main ingredients, you can also add spices like cardamom and saffron to the kheer. You can also top it with crushed nuts and raisins. These extra ingredients add flavor, aroma, and texture to the kheer.

If you’ve never tried kheer before, it’s essentially a milky pudding-like dessert with a thinner consistency than American rice pudding. Even though most folks refer to kheer as an “Indian rice pudding,” I’d say it’s actually more like a dessert soup. I guess “dessert soup” isn’t really a thing, though.

The great thing about kheer is that you can serve it year-round. When the weather is cold, I prefer to serve warm kheer, and when it’s hot outside, I like to serve it chilled.

Origins of Kheer

If you’re interested in the history behind this dessert, in his book, The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson writes that kheer likely originated in Persia, “where a similar dessert is known as sheer birinj (rice pudding).” Sheer is a Persian word that translates to milk. The word kheer, derived from Sanskrit, means milk too (though interestingly enough, in Persian, the word kheer means something entirely different… a bodily part I won’t mention here, but perhaps my Persian readers will get a good chuckle).

But Indian food historian K.T. Achaya writes in his book, Indian Food: A Historical Companion, that payasa, a dessert made of “rice cooked in milk and sugar” is mentioned in Buddhist literature, which would likely predate the sheer.

To me, the idea of combining milk, sugar, and rice seems pretty obvious, especially when you’re working with few ingredients, so I can see how both of these origin stories might be true. Perhaps one version was already present and then later given another name? After all, the word kheer is typically used in north India (which was conquered by the Mughals), whereas in south India, this type of dessert is referred to as payasam.

instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com

Anyway, you can make many different kheer varieties, but the most popular type of kheer is made with rice. This type of kheer is also known as chawal ki kheer, which translates to “rice kheer.” I also have recipes for carrot kheer and a south Indian dal kheer, better known as moong dal payasam. 

Why Make Kheer in an Instant Pot + My Secret to Keeping Milk from Burning:

Before getting my electric pressure cooker, I rarely made kheer, and that’s because it would take ages to make on the stovetop. You’d have to stir and stir and stir to keep the rice from sticking and the milk from boiling over. Not anymore.

This dessert is now effortless to make in an Instant Pot.

If you’ve made kheer before, then you know it can be tough to prevent milk from burning at the bottom of the pot. I have a secret to making kheer in the instant pot – a method that will keep the milk from scorching. Once you try my recipe, I’m sure you won’t go back to making kheer on the stovetop again.

So what’s my secret to keeping the milk from burning? It’s the first step in the recipe below – basically, you want to press the sauté button, add water and wait until it is steaming before adding milk. Heating the water before adding the milk will keep the milk from burning. So simple, right?

instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com

Remember to top the kheer with nuts and golden raisins! I like serving kheer in cute little glasses, but that’s optional. 😉

Instant Pot Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com

Instant Pot Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

Kheer, a creamy rice pudding, is one of my favorite desserts to make and eat. It requires just a few essential ingredients: rice, milk and sugar. I almost always have those three ingredients at my house. You can serve this dessert at any temperature and it’ll taste good. When the weather is cold, I prefer to serve warm kheer, but if it’s hot out, then I like to serve it chilled.
5 from 46 reviews
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Servings 4 -5
Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
 

  • ¼ cup basmati rice soaked for 15-30 minutes
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 cups whole milk or full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom adjust to taste
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Crushed nuts (pistachios, almonds, or cashews)
  • Golden Raisins

Instructions
 

  • Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 15-30 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • Press the sauté button and add 1⁄2 cup water to the pot. Once the water begins to steam, pour the milk into the pot. (Make sure the water is steaming before adding the milk as this will prevent the milk from burning at the bottom of the pot.) Add the rice, stir.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Press sauté. Add the sugar, cardamom and saffron to the pot. Stir until well combined. The kheer will thicken as it cools. If you prefer a thicker pudding, press sauté and stir until desired consistency.
  • Serve this dessert hot, warm, cold or at room temperature. Top with nuts and raisins prior to serving.

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instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com
instant pot kheer by ashley of myheartbeets.com

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About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Alex says

    5 stars
    Okay, thanks! Could I make this using your homemade coconut milk recipe, but use coconut flakes instead with a ratio of 1C coc /2 C water?

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Alex, I have made this with full-fat canned coconut milk but not with homemade. I think homemade coconut milk will result in a thinner consistency but I think it will still taste good, just less decadent. Let me know how it goes if you try!

  2. Ahmed says

    5 stars
    What’s the difference between La Mancha and Negin saffron? I clicked on your link and they have two different varieties.

  3. Alex says

    5 stars
    I have a question. Can I make this with sonamasoori rice, instead of basmati? It’s all I have. And is sonamasoori rice basmati rice? (obviously I’m new to this still) 😉

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Alex, you can use sona masoori rice – the kheer will still be great. It’s really up to your personal preference for which to use – they both have their own aroma/flavor. Basmati is long grain rice and sona masoori is medium-grain rice. Basmati is typically grown and eaten in north Indian and sona masoori in the south. Hope that helps to explain the difference!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      I don’t think I’ve tried doubling this kheer recipe (at least not that I can remember) but I typically suggest doubling all ingredients listed (including water) and keeping the cook time the same. Hope that helps!

  4. Erin says

    Followed directions but it came out watery even after letting it cool for over a half hour? How can I fix this?

  5. Amara says

    Hi Ashley,
    Any ideas on how we can make mango kheer? Do you think adding mango pulp after pressure cooking and sauteeing it down would work, or would that be too much liquid?

  6. Radz says

    5 stars
    Hi, thanks for a quick great recipe to make pal payasam ! Or rice kheer. This is the second time I am making it. I tried making it with non- diary oat milk the second time and it turned out delicious- can hardly say the difference.

    I must say the first time I did the original version with regular milk and added 1 container of condensed milk. It was true to authentic South Indian version of pal payasam with out hours of labor.

    Thank you once again! Your moong dal halwa recipe turned out great too.

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      I’m so glad you like this so much! Also, great to know it works well with oat milk – I’ve tried this with coconut milk but love oat milk, so I’ll have to try that next 🙂 I’m sure it’ll be helpful for readers too!

        • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

          Hi Anjali, I haven’t tried this with condensed milk but if you decide to use that then I wouldn’t add sugar since condensed milk is already sweetened. If you experiment, please let us know how it turns out!

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