Instant Pot basmati rice is easy to make, and faster than on a stovetop. Use this recipe to make perfect fluffy white or brown basmati rice!
Rice is an important staple all over the world, including the Asian subcontinent of India, where over 6,000 varieties are grown!
India is the world’s second largest exporter of rice, and of all the varieties grown there, basmati is one of the most well known. (source)
What is basmati rice?
Basmati is an aromatic, long grain rice. There are many different varieties but just two types; white and brown.
Because of its popularity with cuisines in the eastern world, you’ll find basmati rice included in many popular Silk Road recipes on this site.
It's used to make simple but flavorful dishes, like Lebanese rice pilaf and Greek spanakorizo and cumin scented jeera. Basmati rice is also used to make show stopping, elegant dishes like Persian crispy rice tahdig and Lubia Polo.
Instant Pot Basmati Rice
Depending on the variety, it can take over 30 minutes to cook brown rice on the stovetop, and 45 minutes for long grain varieties like basmati.
This is why I want to show you how to make basmati rice in an Instant Pot. Using a pressure cooker shortens the cooking time and practically eliminates the common problem of overcooking.
So, now that you know the benefits of cooking basmati rice in a pressure cooker vs. stovetop, let's get to it!
Choosing the grain
Whether you choose to cook white or brown basmati rice is completely up to you. There are nutritional and health benefits to both varieties.
The majority of my Silk Road recipes call for white basmati, simply because it has a shorter cooking time and I prefer the flavor.
The importance of soaking rice
Do a quick Google search on the top of whether or not you need to soak rice before cooking it. The results are mixed, and somewhat controversial.
Some people are firm believers in always soaking rice, no matter what the circumstances are. They say soaking rice removes components that are believed to be toxic.
Others, including myself, believe that it isn't always necessary, and is dependent on the cooking method and type of grain being used.
This is especially true for Instant Pot basmati rice. The pressure cooking time is exactly the same, whether or not the rice has been soaked.
By the way, the subject of whether or not to soak legumes is even more controversial! If you ever need to soak them and you forget, you can always use my method to quick soak beans.
Rice to water ratio for Instant pot basmati rice
It doesn't matter if the rice you are pressure cooking is white, red, black, or brown; the amount of water you'll need is exactly the same. However, if you don't soak the rice, it does require more water to cook.
Use a 1:1 ratio of water to rice if the rice is soaked.
To make brown or white Instant Pot basmati rice, use 1 cup of water to cook 1 cup of rice, or 2 cups of water for 2 cups of rice, etc.
Use a 1:1.25 ratio if the rice is not soaked.
This means, if you choose not to soak basmati rice, you will need 1 ¼ cups of water, or any other cooking liquid.
By the way, on the stovetop, you would need 2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of rice.
How to make it
- Rinse the rice. Place the rice in a mesh strainer under running cold tap water. Rinse until the water runs clear. Move your fingers through the grains to ensure that everything gets a good rinse.
- Add rice, water and ghee/butter to the Instant Pot.
- Set pressure valve, if needed. If you have an older model, you may need to set the valve to the "seal" or "closed" position.
Cooking time for Instant Pot basmati rice
Instant Pot basmati rice cooking times vary because white rice cooks more quickly than brown. This is because brown rice has the hull intact, which takes longer to cook.
The pressure cooking time for white basmati rice is 6 minutes, plus a natural pressure release time of 10 minutes.
Brown basmati rice takes 18 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot, plus a natural pressure release time of 10 minutes.
NOTE: I find that for white rice, cooking for 6 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release achieves the fluffiest, perfectly tender rice.
Any less time than that leaves it a bit too al dente, and there is still some water in the bottom of the pot.
The brand of rice you use doesn't matter, however the type of rice does. Pressure cooking white rice always takes less time than brown, red, black, or wild rice.
Be sure to use a fork to fluff your rice before devouring it. 🙂
Instant Pot Basmati Rice (White and Brown)
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
- Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer under cold water until water runs clear, using your fingers to move rice around. Shake off excess water.
- Add rinsed rice, water, ghee (or butter) and salt to a 6-quart Instant Pot (See Note 1).
- Cover with Instant Pot lid, and if using an older model, set the pressure release valve to seal.
- For white basmati rice: Pressure Cook at High Pressure and time for 6 minutes (See Note 2). For brown basmati rice: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 18 minutes.
- When timer goes off, wait 10 minutes, then release pressure (See Note 3). Use a fork to fluff up the rice and serve immediately.
- Typical ratio for making basmati rice in the Instant Pot is 1 to 1.25 (rice to water) when cooking. Although for firmer, al dente rice, add just 1 cup water.
- I have found that 6 minutes for white basmati works best as any less does not allow for all water to be absorbed into the rice and the bottom of the pan is slightly wet and sticky. For brown basmati rice: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 18 minutes.
- It will take the pressure cooker about 5-10 minutes to fully pressurize and the 10 minutes after cooking brings the total time to 26 minutes.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.