I love making basmati rice in the Instant Pot because it comes out perfect every time. This recipe for perfect basmati rice is straight from my cookbook, Indian Food Under Pressure.
I wanted to share this “recipe” for basmati rice on my blog because it seems like a lot of people have trouble making basmati rice in their Instant Pot. I’m basing this off of the posts that I see asked in my Instant Pot for Indian Food Facebook group.
There are a few things you need to know in order to make a good pot of basmati rice in an electric pressure cooker. As a food blogger, it’s kind of funny to me that I’ve had to test this simple recipe so many times – but trust me, this really is the best way to make rice. So please follow my method – there are only a few steps but each step really matters.
Why Make Basmati Rice? And What is Perfect Basmati Rice?
Because it’s delicious! Basmati rice is an aromatic long grain rice that has a slightly nutty flavor to it. It’s delicious alongside Indian food – especially north Indian dishes like butter chicken, keema or dal makhani. But really, you can serve basmati rice with any of my Indian recipes.
How can you tell when basmati rice is cooked properly? You can tell when basmati rice is cooked properly because the grains are separate and don’t stick together. The texture of the rice should be soft and fluffy – not watery or mushy.
Do I need to Soak Basmati Rice before Cooking?
My answer to this is YES. Briefly soaking the rice makes a BIG difference for two reasons.
- Soaking the rice in water allows the fragile grains of rice to absorb a bit of water which in turn helps keep the grains soft and “bendable” if you will.
- Soaking the rice helps reduce some of the starch which can make the rice sticky. When it comes to basmati rice, you do not want it to be sticky or mushy.
To sum it up – by soaking rice you’ll be less likely to have broken grains (thanks to the water absorption) and you’ll be more likely to have separate grains (thanks to reduced starch).
A few more tips:
- Don’t forget the cooking fat. You can use whatever fat you’d like – I typically use oil or ghee. It helps to keep the grains separate.
- Don’t mess with the ratio! I know 1 cup water might not seem like enough but cooking rice is different in an Instant Pot versus the stovetop. Over the stovetop, water evaporates but in an Instant Pot it does not.
- When the rice is done make sure to wait 10 minutes, then turn the valve to release any remaining pressure. By waiting 10 minutes, you’ve given the rice enough time to settle down and by releasing any remaining pressure after 10 minutes, you’re allowing a teeny bit of water to escape in the form of steam which I think actually helps prevent the rice from becoming mushy at the bottom.
What Type of Basmati Rice to Use?
There are many different varieties of basmati rice as well as different brands out there and while I have tested several different brands using this method, the fact is that there’s no way to test them all. You may have to adjust the cooking time according to the brand you use. Please leave a comment letting me know what brand of rice you used and how this dish turned out for you!
I have tried and tested several brands and this recipe always works for me. I prefer to make rice using two brands: organic basmati rice from Trader Joe’s (mainly because it’s organic and not necessarily for the flavor) or my family’s all-time favorite rice: Aahu Barah Basmati Rice which I buy either on amazon or at an Indian grocery store if I can find the brand locally. They are not a blog sponsor – I’m just a huge fan of their rice. It is honestly the best basmati rice I’ve had – and it’s kind of weird to say that out loud because who has a favorite brand of basmati rice? But once you try it, you’ll understand why. It’s just different from other varieties of basmati rice.
The method for cooking rice below works perfectly every time. I can’t wait to hear how this recipe for basmati rice works out for you! Look at those beautiful fragrant grains just waiting to be served alongside a delicious curry.
Basmati rice is an aromatic long grain rice that has a slightly nutty flavor to it. You can tell when this type of rice is cooked properly because the grains don’t stick together. I suggest soaking the rice in cold water because it allows the rice to absorb some water which helps keep it soft and it also helps reduce starch which can make the rice sticky. There are several types of basmati rice and so you may have to adjust the time according to the brand you use. I typically use organic basmati rice or Aahu Barah basmati rice (our favorite!) and the method below results in perfectly cooked rice.
- 1 cup basmati rice, soaked for 15-30 minutes
- 1 tablespoon oil of choice
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 15-30 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Press the sauté button and allow the pot to heat up for a minute. Then add the oil and swirl it around the pot. This will help ensure that the rice doesn’t stick. Add the rice, water and salt to the pot and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.