Instant Pot white rice allows you to effortlessly batch cook a versatile side dish that goes with just about any meal. Follow these simple steps like rinsing, sitting, and steaming and you’ll have light and tender rice every time.
Cooking a pot of white rice is a go-to side dish for any eating occasion. Using an electric pressure cooker makes the job even more seamless, with very little need for constant attention. It’s the next level of rice cookers, that shortens the wait time while upping the excitement.
Please note that with so many types of rice available, a few adjustments may need to be made to the recipe. The size and variety play a role in the duration of cook time. However, the amount of water doesn’t change as much as you’d expect. Below are the basic steps for cooking different kinds of white rice, from preparation, settings, and cook time for the perfect batch.
Don’t skip the rinsing step
Rinse the rice with cold running water to remove any excess starches on the outside of the grain. This allows you to reduce the amount of sticking as the starches become gummy as they cook this creates a tackiness between the grains. I always do this step even when cooking rice on the stovetop.
The proper water-to-rice ratio
Cooking most kinds of rice in the Instant Pot needs a 1:1 water-to-rice ratio. For every 1 cup of rice, simply add 1 cup of water. The reason for the equal amounts is that rice requires the same volume of liquid for full absorption. This is plenty of water to help the starches absorb, swell, and soften the grains.
If you like a little more softness to the grains, adding an additional ¼ cup of water may help, especially for heartier grains like brown rice.
Setting selection and cook time
Use the “manual” button on the Instant Pot and set it to high pressure. This function provides the most control for any variety of white rice. I find that for long grain white rice, basmati, or jasmine, pressure cook for 3 minutes then natural-release for 10 minutes to yield separate, fluffy grains. If cooking short grain or medium grain white rice like sushi or calrose, use 1 1/4 cups water for 1 cup of rice. Pressure cook for 5 minutes and use the same natural-release time.
Natural-release has two benefits
That additional 10 minutes of natural release safely eliminates the pressure from the unit while gently steaming the rice. This process allows for full absorption of the hot water into the grains. Just make sure to press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button if not serving right away to prevent the rice from scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pot insert.
What about the “rice” program?
Selecting the rice button is a preset program that works well for certain kinds of white rice. It provides an automatic time adjustment using smart controls based on volume. However, I recommend only using this setting for long grain white rice or parboiled rice.
Maxing out quantity
The ingredients should not go above the halfway mark in the pressure cooker. Note that rice can expand 2 to 3 times its size, so do not overfill the insert. A minimum of 1 cup of rice can be made in a 6-quart Instant Pot, which yields about 3 cups of rice.
Making smaller individual portions
If you want to cook an individual serving of ½ cup dried rice, use the pot-in-pot method. This is where you mix the rice with equal parts water, then steam it in a smaller pot that sits on top of a trivet with 1 cup of water in the larger insert. Pressure cook for 5 minutes instead of 3 minutes, and naturally-release for 10 minutes.
Why less water is needed
In a pressure cooker, the ingredients are locked in an enclosed system where very little evaporation is occurring, only as the unit comes up to pressure. Therefore, no excessive amount of water is lost like with the stovetop method where you have to account for steam exiting the sides of the pot during the entire cooking process.
Instant Pot White Rice
- 1 cup (187 g) long grain white rice
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add rice to a fine meshed strainer. Rinse and wash under cool running water until it runs clear, scrubbing the rice in between your fingers several times, about 1 minute. Shake to drain excess liquid.
- In a 6-quart Instant Pot add rice, water, and salt.
- Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn and lock.
- Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 3 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. It will take about 7 minutes for the pot to heat and build up pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Once cooking time is complete, press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button.
- Allow the pressure to naturally-release for 10 minutes.
- Carefully twist the steam-release handle on the lid to "Venting" position.
- Carefully remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released from the pot.
- Gently fluff the rice with a fork. Serve the rice hot.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Recipe Yield: 2 to 3 cups depending on type
- For even softer grains of white rice add 1 ¼ cups of water.
- This recipe was designed for long grain white rice, extra long grain, basmati or jasmine.
- Cook short grain and medium grain white rice like sushi or calrose rice, use 1 1/4 cups of water. Cook for 5 minutes on high pressure and natural release for 10 minutes.