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 69 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. Jenita says

    I made this dish, last weekend for a Diwali party. I’ve made this in the past with semolina vermicelli and has come out fantastic.
    This time i made it dairy free and gluten free. I used coconut milk and basmati rice, it was awesome. I needed to double the recipe and so used 2 cans of coconut milk, it was super thick when I opened the IP, so I had the thin it a bit with more water. I think 1.5 cans would have been sufficient. It was delicious. Coconut milk adds a whole different dimension to the taste. Gonna make this tonight again for another Diwali party, but with regular milk.

  2. Kishu Nagrani says

    5 stars
    the recipe was perfect
    Made it twice for friends and they loved it
    just needed to saute a little more to our concsistency

  3. Shazia says

    I’m so eager to try this recipe but I just have one question please, How many servings is this recipe for?

  4. Fatima says

    5 stars
    This is now my go to recipe.

    I started adding shredded carrots to it and it became gajrela. ❤️

  5. Harmeet says

    My instant pot always burns on the bottom and I can taste the burn flavour in the kheer. I have made with homo and 2% milk and always put the milk in only when the water is boiling and lots of steam is coming out. I find kheer is quite watery after the pressure cook, so I sauté for another 20 min. Any way to prevent the milk from burning?



    5 stars
    I’ve tried some of your other recipes and have really enjoyed them! I’m ready to try the instant pot kheer recipe, but have a quick question. Can I use maple syrup instead of sugar? If so, is it a 1:1 substitution and maybe slightly less water or milk? Thanks in advance for your response!

      • PRAVEEN C JOLLY says

        5 stars
        I did try the recipe with maple syrup. Instead of using 1/2 cup of sugar, I used 1/4 cup of organic maple syrup. The result is delicious! It is plenty sweet for my taste, but others may want to adjust the amount of maple syrup they add. It is easy to do because the maple syrup is added at the end. I’m glad this healthier version of the recipe (with less sugar) turned out so tasty.

  7. Ranoo says

    Hi I tried this recipe but the kheer is too thick.i would like it to be more liquid.mine looks like porridge.what do you suggest.? should I add more milk?water? Simmer it for how much more time? Thank you for your suggestions

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