Learn how to make perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice, fragrant and long-grained rice that pairs very well with most sides and mains. This fool-proof recipe will give you basmati rice with distinct long grains!
A fluffy pile of perfectly cooked aromatic basmati rice is heaven on a plate! Basmati is 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-Recipes as well.
Basmati rice can be made in three ways - On the stovetop, in a traditional rice cooker, or in the Instant Pot. I’ve been using the Instant Pot to make Basmati rice and Jasmine rice for the last few years. It took a while to learn the right rice to water ratio and how to make basmati rice correctly in the pressure cooker.
What is Basmati Rice?
Basmati is a variety of long-grained rice that originates in India. Commonly used in Indian cooking, basmati rice has a delicate aroma that is very unique, making it perfect for recipes that are inherently flavorful and aromatic, such as biryani. The quality of rice will vary by brand – use premium-quality rice such as Tilda or Daawat (available on more online shops or local Indian stores), for best results.
Basmati rice pairs perfectly well with a lot of Indian Recipes, especially with Indian curries. Try pairing it with Chicken Curry, Butter Chicken, or, if you are looking for vegan options - try my Chickpea Coconut Curry and Vegetable Korma.
How to cook rice in the Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has a pre-programmed 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 cook Basmati rice in the Instant Pot in two ways -
- Use the main insert to cook the rice directly in the Instant Pot
- 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)
Step 1. Start by rinsing the Basmati 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.
Step 2. Soaking the rice – Soak the rice for 10-15 minutes in cold water - this will help the rice to retain its shape while cooking, and prevents the long grains from breaking.
Step 3. In the Instant Pot, add the drained rice, followed by an equal amount of water. In this recipe, I have used 1.5 cups of Basmati 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 of keeping the lid open, use a fork to fluff up the rice grains.
If you're looking for more rice recipes, look up my recipe for Instant Pot Jasmine rice.
Making rice in the Instant Pot using pot-in-pot (PIP) method
To make Instant Pot basmati rice using the pot in pot method, 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.
Open up the lid of the Instant Pot and let the Basmati rice sit, uncovered 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 I made by cooking Thai chicken curry and basmati rice using the PIP method in the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Rice Cooking Timings
Here is a handy cheat sheet for cooking various types of rice in an Instant Pot. The timing varies by type of rice, as does the proportion of water and the time for pressure release.
Troubleshooting this recipe
Why is my Basmati rice sticky and clumpy?
Basmati rice can clump up for a few reasons: Excess water - You may 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 Basmati 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:
Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Vegetarian and Vegan Sides
Instant Pot Paneer Tikka Masala
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