Perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice

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I love making basmati rice in the Instant Pot because it comes out perfect every time.

How to cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot

This recipe for perfect instant pot 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
How to cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot

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.

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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.

How to cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot

Perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice

How to cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot

Perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is 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. Briefly soaking the rice in cold water allows the rice to absorb some water, which helps keep it soft and reduces starch, which can make it sticky.
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Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup basmati rice soaked for 15-30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.
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How to cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot

Looking for more delicious Indian Instant Pot recipes?  Check out my cookbook Indian Food Under Pressure!

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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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Comments

  1. Gore says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley. I’m thinking of adding a cup of frozen peas or frozen mixed veg to the rice when it cooks. Do you think I’d need to add extra water, or will there be enough in there to steam them?

  2. Shigufta says

    Hi just wanted to check when you say 1 cup rice you are using 1 measuring cup for the rice but 1 cup water is the measure cup you get with your IP ? Or the cup you have used to measure the rice ?

  3. Diane says

    5 stars
    I used Daawat traditional rice & it turned out wonderful.wanted to try the extra long same brand. do I cook it the same?

  4. Ruby Miller says

    5 stars
    Heelo, I have just joined this wonderful group…I am keto and only eat cauliflower rice..I am desperate to find someone who can direct me in how to achieve the flavour…Thank you.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Ruby, you can make jeera rice with cauliflower rice. Just heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and any other whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf) and once the cumin seeds turn brown, add the cauli rice and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

  5. Liz says

    5 stars
    I have tried making rice in the Instant Pot in the past and it has never turned out well. I think the key is the soaking! I had never done that before. I used Zafrani brand rice and it turned out great!

  6. Lauren C says

    5 stars
    Your directions are perfect! I made this twice now, both times I soaked rice about 20 min, added oil in the pot and even sauteed the rice for a quick minute as I coated the grains with oil. Used coconut oil. And I also subbed coconut milk (canned kind) for water and it came out great!! Making this rice every time now

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Candice, I’ve done it both ways (used a dry measuring cup for both and also dry for rice and liquid for water). As long as the ratio of rice to water is the same, it’ll be fine. Hope that helps!

  7. Erin says

    5 stars
    Just made this for the second time ( made a double batch today) and it is the easiest and best way to make basmati rice! I’ve tried using a rice cooker and it always came out mushy no matter what I did, using this recipe it comes out fluffy and perfect. I added some whole cumin seeds and black mustard seeds to the oil before adding the rice, delicious!

  8. Jen says

    5 stars
    I use variations of this recipe for any rice dish. The end result is absolutely perfect.

    For anyone who loves that Chipotle lime\cilantro rice, follow the steps above but add the juice of 1\2 a lime (subtracted from the total liquid amount, so I usually squeeze it into the measurement container before adding the water), 2 tablespoons of veggie oil instead of butter (avocado oil is sooo good) and 2-3 tablespoons of fresh, chopped cilantro. It tastes exactly the same.

    Thanks for posting this!

  9. selvyn says

    When I use my IP it says “burn” and stops cooking, tried several times. Anyone have a fix ?

    Tried several different recipies to cook rice including this one.

  10. Bea says

    5 stars
    Soaked rice for 15 minutes, used olive oil, doubled the ingredients, cooked for 6 minutes, kept in warm for 10 minutes, quick release and served immediately with pinto beans (which I cooked on IP while soaking rice), broiled lemon, butter, basil catfish and a slice of avocado. Absolutely fantastic! I’m from Puerto Rico and white rice is a staple dish. Your recipe is on point. My husband loved it. Thanks so much 👍🏼😁😋

  11. Beth Basilone says

    3 stars
    Really wanted this to be THE rice recipe. Sadly it came out sticky. Yes I soaked, drained, rinsed and drained it. Yes I swished it around. Fortunately I used a nonstick pot so the rice is only sticking to its self. Maybe it sat too long after the soak n drain? But basmati rice tastes wonderful even if it is a little sticky. I’ll try it again and re-rate it if I’m successful.

  12. Chris Pulleyn says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley,
    In the Chicken Pulao recipe you call for a bay leaf. Do you use Tej Patta or a regular bay leaf?
    Thanks!
    Chris

  13. Jamie says

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve made it 3 times today as an experiment, gradually increasing the servings. So far I’ve gotten up to 4 cups of rice, 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt using your method and it’s come out perfect every time! I’m looking forward to making this for my friends!!

  14. Martin says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley – Many thanks for posting this! I’ve tried several different methods for making basmati in a multicooker, but they’ve all resulted in mushy, overcooked stodge. I used your method (doubling up all the ingredients) and got absolutely perfect rice first time. Brilliant!

  15. Michelle says

    5 stars
    This really is the perfect rice when made as written! I’ve tried skipping the soaking step (because I can never leave a recipe alone), and it’s just not as good. I’m not usually a big rice eater, but this recipe has me eating it straight out of the pan!

  16. Carole says

    5 stars
    Excellent! First time trying to cook basmati in my new IP, and this turned out wonderfully. Thank you! Now to experiment with cardamom, what other commenters have been using.

  17. Sarika says

    5 stars
    Timing for this worked out beautifully. I have tried making basmati rice in instant pot previously using timing from other recipes and the rice was always either undercooked or mushy and overcooked. This recipe turned out beautiful. Nice grains of rice, just like my mom makes. 🙂 I did add some fresh cardamom, whole cumin, and whole black pepper in the beginning to the ghee to add some more flavor.

  18. Ritu says

    Hi,quick question…Is the 6 mins timer after building pressure. Is it necessary to add oil ghee in it because when I cook basmati rice in pressure cook over cooking range it doesn’t stick. Maybe because its a heavy bottom. Thanks

  19. Sadi says

    Ive never made rice in IP. Im in the UK but my roots are from Northern Pakistan so we make good Pulao, Biryanis etc. I use Laila Basmati and Kamran Basmati rice but we also use another rice for special occasions. I was wondering if you are familiar with Sela Rice, its a longer grain and requires more cooking time in order for it to be cooked perfect.
    Would you by any chance know if i can use this method and cooking time for Sela rice. Thank U 🙂

    PS: will try your method this weekend…..fingers crossed!

    • My Heart Beets says

      I’ll have to check those two brands out – thank you for sharing! I actually use sela rice most of the time – the brand I link to in the post (my favorite) is sela! Let me know what you think if you give this recipe a try!

  20. Jerry says

    5 stars
    Used black salt and a pinch of smoked sea salt, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and was the best tasting “plain” basmati rice I’ve ever made.

  21. Matt says

    5 stars
    Our daughter would only eat rice if we got it at an Indian restaurant – and she loved the first batch we made! (Phew) I added a 1/2 teaspoon or so of cumin seeds but otherwise followed the recipe. We all loved it and will definitely be making it again and again! Thanks 🙂

    • My Heart Beets says

      Matt, so happy to hear that! I wonder if she’d like my matar pulao – it’s a bit more flavorful – my son prefers it to plain mainly because of the peas. Anyway, thanks for letting me know how it went!

  22. Kathy Wahl says

    5 stars
    I followed the instructions as stated (including using the Aahu Barah rice) except that I needed a bit more rice so I used 1 1/4 cups rice and 1 1/4 cups water. I left the time the same (6 minutes), let the pressure release naturally and the rice turned out perfectly! Soft, fluffy and not sticky at all. After it was cooked I added a bit of ground saffron and it was delicious. i will definitely do this again.

    • Gina says

      For a cup of rice I usually add about 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, a couple of green cardamom pods, 2-3 cloves, 1 bay leaf and about 1/2 of a cinnamon sticks. I add all that to the oil then add the rice.

        • My Heart Beets says

          Honestly, I’m not sure – I always walk away after starting it! I can’t imagine more than 5 minutes for just 1 cup of rice? Are you making a lot of rice or just 1 cup? The amount in the pot will affect the amount of time it takes to reach pressure.

  23. William says

    This is wonderful, thank you so much! After soaking, is there a time limit on how long I can keep the rice set aside before cooking?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Will, I would probably plan to make it right after you soak it – I’m not sure about keeping it set aside after soaking so I can’t say for sure. Let me know how it goes!

    • My Heart Beets says

      I haven’t tried but hopefully another reader will chime in! You can also ask this question in my Instant Pot for Indian food facebook group – someone there may be able to reply faster 🙂

    • Julia says

      Question….did you get an answer as to whether you can triple or quadruple this recipe? I too am feeding a crowd….

  24. Laura says

    Made this tonight to go with your dal makhani and it was delicious! It was a huge hit with my family, even my 2 year old. Can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  25. Indu says

    Hello Ashley,
    I tried this recipe with Daawat Basmati rice and it turned out great.
    You suggested to buy ‘Aahu Barah Basmati Rice’, so bought that. Washed the rice a few times, soaked it per your instructions. However the rice comes out sticky as well as smelly(like parboiled rice smell). Can’t get family to eat this rice.
    Is this how the rice is supposed to be?

    Thanks

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Indu! I will have to look for that brand – glad it turned out great! 🙂 As for aahu barah, it should definitely not be sticky or smelly – I buy aahu barah all the time and it has never been sticky or smelly so it sounds like there is definitely something wrong with it… it is a parboiled rice but again, there shouldn’t be a smell to it…

  26. Sarah says

    I haven’t made the redolent yet, but am excited to try it out for dinner. I do have to THANK YOU for such detailed instructions for each step. Being new to cooking, it was nice to hear why I had to soak the rice. I’m looking forward to more of your recipes.

  27. MJ says

    I just tried making this recipe but I don’t know what went wrong. I used 2 cups rice, 2 cups water and 2 tblsp olive oil. I set the instant pot to 6 Mian in high pressure. It went into warm mode after 6 mins and I left it alone in warm mode. After 10 mins the IP started beeping and it had the message “L000” flashing and so I opened the pressure valve. I let the air release for a few mins but when I opened the pot, the rice is sticky and not dry and fluffy. 🙁

  28. Cade says

    5 stars
    I struggled with preparing basmati rice for a long time.
    From making it the traditional way which is very time consuming and still would not come out right every time to just using my Instant pot to steam it.
    But your recipe worked the 1st time and it was great!
    Thank you very much.
    Cade

  29. Cate says

    I have made this three times and it is perfect every time. I did find that the rice stuck to the sides of the instant pot but this was solved with a quick shot of cooking spray on the inside of the pot before I melted the ghee. This is hands down the best basmati rice recipe for the IP. Grains are perfect and so is texture. I have also soaked the rice for longer and it is still amazing. Thank you!

  30. SUSIE says

    IF I WANT TO MAKE RICE FOR 8 PEOPLE IN THE INSTANT POT ACCORDING TO YOUR DIRECTIONS HOW MUCH RICE AND WATER SHOULD I USE AND IT THE TIME THE SAME?
    THANKS, SUSIE

  31. Jess says

    5 stars
    Best rice I’ve ever made! My husband and I have often wondered how Indian and Lebanese restaurants make perfect rice that doesn’t clump. I’ve tried many different techniques and this one finally worked!

  32. Chris says

    5 stars
    Made it tonight with 2 broken bits of 1 star anise to perfume the oil during the sauté step, and upped the salt to 3/4 tsp. It paired perfectly with a Thai green curry with chicken.

    This recipe is Nirvana. Thank you!

  33. Kristi says

    5 stars
    This recipe worked PERFECTLY! I’ve never been able to make basmati rice and I was so impressed with this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  34. Nancy White says

    Hello, I am serving 8 for dinner. Please let me know how much rice to use and if I should increase the cook time.
    Thank you !

    • My Heart Beets says

      Nancy, I’d suggest doubling the recipe – if you do this, keep the cook time the same. It’ll just take longer to reach pressure due to more contents in the pot – the cook time should still be set to 6 minutes with a 10 minute NPR.

      • Diana Hipsley says

        the rice u recommend on Amazon has 1 review that says it smells moldy & tastes the same. Is this an issue or just someone w a super nose? I’ve been using Tilda & Daawah w good results

        • My Heart Beets says

          Hi Diana, if you like those brands I’d say stick with them. The problem with amazon is that you just never know I guess, but if it’s prime, you should be able to return without issues.

  35. Len says

    5 stars
    First time using IP with Tilda Basmati rice. Turned out great. It seemed a little sticky right out of the pot but some frisky stirring with a fork and it’s what basmati is supposed to be–fluffy and tasty!

  36. Tyler says

    Hello,
    The rice certainly turns out good but it also sticks to the pot. I’m having this problem with all web recipes of basmati rice (And I’m following each one to the letter). I’m wondering, do you let the pot go into keep warm mode for the natural release time or do you cancel it after the pressure cooking is done and then release the steam after 10 min?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Tyler, did you swish around the oil so it covers the entire bottom of the pot? I let it go to keep warm mode while it naturally releases pressure then after 10 minutes, I release any remaining pressure. Keep warm does continue to cook it a bit, so if my method doesn’t work for you then try canceling the keep warm mode or unplugging the machine while you wait 10 minutes.

  37. Emily says

    What if I need to double the amount of rice, should I cook longer? Probably a stupid question! Thanks in advance!

  38. Dinis says

    Hi Ashley!

    Quick question (actually, not only about this recipe but the IP in general): for the 10 minute natural release, do you leave the IP in keep warm mode or do you turn it off completely?

    Thanks!

    • Len says

      I’ve read tests re: Keep Warm on or off. Results were generally IT DIDN’T MATTER. De-pressurize time was basically the same using either on or off. I like to keep it on as it tells me how long it’s been since cooking “stopped” and was ready.