Learn how to make perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice, a fragrant and long-grained rice that pairs very well with most sides and mains. This fool-proof recipe gives you basmati rice with distinct grains, and prevents rice from getting mushy!
A fluffy pile of perfectly cooked aromatic basmati rice is heaven on a plate! Basmati is a staple rice at our home, and I make it every other day. It pairs very well with most of our favorite Indian recipes, and my tried and tested Asian-inspired recipes as well.
Basmati rice can be made both on the stovetop, rice cooker or in the Instant Pot. I’ve been using the Instant Pot to make basmati rice for a few years, with the right rice to water ratio and the right steps, basmati rice turns out perfect every time!
What is special about basmati rice?
Basmati rice should be cooked with grains that are separate. The quality of rice will vary from by brand – use premium-quality rice such as Tilda or Daawat for best results.
When cooked, basmati rice has a delicate aroma that is very unique, making it perfect for recipes that are inherently flavorful and aromatic, such as biryani.
How to make Basmati Rice in the Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has a preprogrammed mode for rice which I find works best for parboiled or regular long-grained white rice. However, the 'Rice' setting doesn’t work well for basmati rice. Basmati rice can be made using the 'Pressure Cook' or 'Manual' function of the Instant Pot.
You can do this in two ways - Use the main insert to cook the rice directly in the Instant Pot, or use a separate, small insert to cook rice Pot-in-Pot (PIP). Lets see how both of these methods work:
Making rice in the Instant Pot (using the main insert)
Start by rinsing the rice – this step is important; it gets rid of the impurities and excess starch. Rinse the rice 3-4 times until the water isn’t cloudy and is mostly clear.
Soaking the rice – I find that soaking the rice for 10-15 minutes in cold water helps the rice to retain its shape while cooking.
In the Instant Pot, add the soaked rice (drain the water), followed by an equal proportion of water. In this recipe, I have used 1.5 cups of rice and 1.5 cups of water. An optional step is to add a teaspoon of cooking oil and salt. I usually skip this step, but if you like your grains to be separate and not sticky at all, then go ahead and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Swirl the water, ensure the rice is submerged. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, and then release the steam manually.
Open the lid of the Instant Pot and let it sit for 5 minutes – this will allow excess moisture to leave the Instant Pot. After 5 minutes, use a fork to fluff up the rice grains.
Making rice in the Instant Pot using pot-in-pot (PIP) method
To make Instant Pot basmati rice using the Pot in pot method, we start by adding 1.5 cups of water to the Instant Pot.
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and soak the rice for 10-15 minutes. Then add the drained rice to a heat-resistant vessel. Add the trivet which comes with the Instant Pot to the main insert and place the smaller vessel with the rice on the trivet.
Add 1 cup of water to the soaked rice in the small vessel, and add oil and salt if needed. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure. Allow pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, followed by manual release of pressure.
As always, leave the rice open for 5-10 minutes for excess steam to escape before you fluff the rice with a fork.
Check out this Thai chicken curry and rice recipe which is made by cooking Thai chicken curry and basmati rice using the PIP method in the Instant Pot.
Troubleshooting this recipe
Why is my rice sticky and clumpy?
Basmati rice can clump up for a few reasons. Excess water - You could have added more water than necessary - make sure that your rice to water ratio is 1:1. Don’t skip the rinse - If you skipped the initial rinse, the rice can be sticky. Rinsing the rice will get rid of the excess starch, preventing the rice from clumping up. Too much soaking – Soaking the rice for more than 30 minutes can cause the rice to absorb too much water, making it sticky after cooking.
Why is my rice undercooked?
The timing for pressure cooking can vary by brand or rice used. If you find that despite following the instructions, your rice is undercooked, cover it with the lid of the Instant Pot for 5 minutes more, the residual heat will cook the rice evenly.
Basmati rice is the perfect accompaniment to so many Indian curries and sides. It pairs well with most dishes that are saucy and with gravies too. Basmati rice is also used to make one-pot rice dishes such as chicken biryani or egg biryani.
If you are making basmati rice in the Instant Pot, you will need to use water in a 1:1 ratio with rice. If you are cooking basmati rice on the stovetop, then a ratio of 1:2 rice to water will work best.
I always recommend soaking the rice for 10- 15 minutes in twice the amount of cold water, before cooking it. This will help the rice absorb the water better and I find that the grains retain their shape and stay intact after soaking them. Do not soak them for more than a maximum of 30 minutes, this can lead to mushy rice.
Yes! Freeze cooked and cooled basmati rice in covered airtight containers or in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Instant Pot Basmati rice goes perfectly well with the following sides and mains:
Vegetarian and Vegan
Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- 1.5 cups Basmati Rice
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil or use butter or ghee
For soaking the rice
- 3 cups cold water
- Start by soaking the rice in 3 cups of cold water for 10 - 15 minutes
- After soaking the rice, drain the water and add the rice to the Instant Pot.
- If you are using salt and oil (or butter/ghee), add it to the Instant Pot now.
- Add 1.5 cups of water to the Instant Pot, swirl the ingredients and make sure the rice is submerged. Hit 'Pressure Cook' on High for 5 minutes
- Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, let the steam release naturally for 5 minutes, then manually release pressure.
- Open the lid of the Instant Pot and let it sit for 5- 10 minutes to let excess steam escape
- Use a fork to fluff up the rice before serving.
Make sure that your rice to water ratio is 1:1.
Rinsing the rice will get rid of the excess starch, preventing the rice from clumping up.
Soaking the rice for more than 30 minutes can cause the rice to absorb too much water, making it sticky after cooking
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