Instant Pot for Beginners: How to Cook White Rice

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Did you buy an Instant Pot on impulse when you saw a great Black Friday or Prime Day deal? Is it just... Sitting in the box gathering dust? I guarantee you're not the only one! It's a daunting prospect, figuring out how to use a new appliance that shoots hot steam out the top if you use it wrong. The first time I used ours, I sprayed liquefied oatmeal onto the kitchen ceiling! 

So. Let's start with the basics, shall we? Rice is a good place to start! And I guarantee it won't end up on your ceiling, unless you throw it up in the air like confetti.

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Instant Pot White Rice

Serves 8+
30 minutes total time

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups white rice, rinsed (I use this strainer)
3 cups broth or water
1 tsp salt

1. Put olive oil in Instant Pot (6qt or 8qt, both work!) and press "saute" button. Add rinsed rice and stir until translucent, 2-3 minutes.

2. Add broth/water and salt. Stir to combine, making sure to scrape any errant grains of rice off the sides of the pot.

3. Close lid, making sure vent is shut. Press the "clear" button on the Instant Pot, then "Rice" (12 minutes at low pressure)

4. Allow 5 minutes natural release, then use quick release when cook time is through, or allow steam to release naturally. Fluff, salt to taste, and serve.

Note: I generally cook 3 cups of rice anticipating that we'll have some left over for another meal - 1/4 cup dry rice per person is usually a good amount to plan on cooking if you don't want leftovers. You can cook any amount of rice as long as you have at least 1 cup of liquid in the pressure cooker. It will always be a 1:1 ratio of liquid:white rice. Do *not* try this with brown rice!! The ratio & cook time will be different. If you save cooking liquid from meats cooked in the pressure cooker, use those for rice! You'll end up with the most flavorful, delicious rice you've ever had.

With the sauteing + time it takes to come up to pressure & release, this *doesn't* take 12 minutes to cook, it's closer to about 30 minutes. But that's 30 minutes that are mostly hands-off, and this is so easy that a 7-year-old could do it solo while you take care of other dinner tasks! Plus it doesn't take up space on the stove, won't stick to the pot, and comes out perfect and fluffy every time.

If you want to take the flavor up a notch, try adding a few things after cooking:
- the juice from a whole lemon+minced parsley+chopped feta
- the juice from one lime+chopped cilantro
- minced chives+parsley+basil

The possibilities are endless!

I'm curious—are you an Instant Pot newbie? Total pro? Skeptic? Let me know what you want to learn to cook next!


  1. I’ve read about Instant Pots, and still haven’t decided if it would be worth having one. So, maybe you can help. This recipe doesn’t appear to be faster or more hands off than cooking rice in a regular pot. So why is this method better? I know you mentioned stove space, not sticking, and fluffiness, but those have never been a problem for me. Does the Instant Pot actually feel like less work?

    1. These are good points! For me the big benefit with this particular recipe is that I can "set it and forget it" - the other day I got everything in there, started it, and then left to pick John Paul up from karate. When I got back, it had been finished for 20 minutes and was still perfect :) I never had issues with rice when we had a gas stove, but it's been impossible for me to make it well on our finicky electric stove (which also has a really small top, so I can only fit two pots at once). This frees up space for other things on the stove, I can put the kids in charge if need be, and I don't have to babysit it! But for me, bone broth and meats are the major advantage to the Instant Pot, rice is just a side benefit, and a good place to start!

  2. I am trying to decide between an instant pot and a pampered chef quick cooker. We are a family of 6 (oldest child is 8), so I'm not sure if we would need the 6 qt. or 8qt. Also, I make my own yogurt in the crockpot right now, so I would want my instant pot or quick cooker to be able to make yogurt. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Have you ever made your own refried beans in the instant pot? I've been making mine in the crockpot as well.

    1. I've made yogurt in the Instant Pot and it works really well! I do dried beans in it pretty often, also, but I always finish up refried beans on the stove because it's easier to stir them that way, but you could do it in the Instant Pot pretty easily if you don't want to dirty another dish :) As far as 6qt vs. 8qt, I'd probably just go for whichever one goes on sale on Black Friday! Just make sure it's at least the 7-in-1, because the 6-in-1 doesn't have the yogurt function. We started out with a 6qt and it was totally fine for a family of 8, and then I also good an 8qt when I found a good deal! I use them both, it's cheaper than getting a new stove ;)


I *love* reading your kind comments and will always try my best to reply right here in the comment box so we can keep the conversation going! If you have a blog of your own, please do link to it so I can visit back :)

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