Instant Pot Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)


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

What is Kheer?

Kheer is a creamy rice pudding that requires three essential ingredients:

  1. Rice
  2. Milk
  3. 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.

What does Kheer taste like?

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

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

Is kheer better hot or cold?

You can serve kheer at any temperature – warm, hot, or cold. There’s nothing better than a bowl of warm kheer when it’s chilly outside. And when it’s scorching hot, a chilled bowl of kheer is the most refreshing dessert.

What do you eat with kheer?

Nothing, you just eat it with a spoon! You can top the kheer with crushed nuts and golden raisins if you’d like – I like the contrast in texture.

What type of rice is used?

I use fragrant white basmati rice, but you can use another type of white rice if you prefer.

How long does rice kheer last?

I suggest eating kheer within two days of making it.

How do you thicken Indian Rice Pudding?

To thicken this pudding, press sauté on the instant pot and stir until the kheer reaches your desired consistency. It will also thicken a bit as it cools down.

Instant Pot Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

instant pot kheer by ashley of

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 81 reviews
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Servings 4 -5
Cuisine Indian


  • 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


  • 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
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

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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  1. Jessica says

    Tried this at an Indian restaurant and fell in love…can someone help me? I don’t have a pressure cooker or an insta pot..does good old fashioned pot work? Or slow cooker? If so what is the time used for either??

  2. Ritu says

    5 stars
    Kheer turned out delicious and it was super easy to make. I added sugar after it was cooked. I doubled the recipe as I have a big instapot. Thank you!

  3. Travis says

    5 stars
    This recipe is my favorite of all the instant pot rice pudding recipes I’ve tried. I always make it vegan with coconut milk and it comes out perfectly every time. Everyone loves it — even the non-vegans — and most people don’t even guess there’s no dairy milk.
    I also make the rice the same way, but add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract at the end for an American-style pudding.

  4. Shikha says

    5 stars
    Thank you Ashley for experimenting and helping me use the instapot for this recipe. It makes the work much less and the tip about the water prior to adding milk was priceless. Thank you

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