The secret to perfectly soft and fluffy Basmati rice in the Instant Pot is getting the timing right and having the correct liquid-to-rice ratio. Once you’ve got those down, you’ll get perfect Basmati rice every time! Read on to learn everything you need to know to make the perfect Instant Pot Basmati rice.
My favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot is rice. I’m absolutely tickled by how perfectly and consistently the Instant Pot cooks rice - and not just plain old white, short-grain rice, all kinds! The Instant Pot does such a fantastic job that it’s impossible to make me want to go back to cooking rice on the stovetop; agonizing over how it’s turning out, taking peeks when I shouldn’t. Rice always turns out hit or miss for me on the stovetop. But not in the Instant Pot!
Ever since I first tried white Basmati rice a few years ago, it's been my favorite. It has a wonderful nuttiness to it that plain white short-grain rice lacks. When cooked properly, it's wonderfully fluffy yet firm and not sticky.
What is Basmati Rice?
Basmati rice is an aromatic long-grain rice that is traditionally served in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. Cooked, basmati rice is soft and fluffy with a slightly nutty, slightly floral flavor. It’s unique in flavor and texture from plain old white short-grain rice that’s for sure!
Basmati rice is one of my favorite types of rice because of its fluffy yet firm texture and nutty flavor. I pair Basmati rice with everything from stir-fry to burrito filling.
Note: I am only discussing white Basmati rice here, not brown.
To rinse or not to rinse?
Yes, you should definitely rinse your basmati rice before cooking. Why? Because doing so removes surface starches that - left in place - can really gum up the works, so to speak, resulting in gummy, clumpy rice. Yes, it’s an extra step but a necessary one to achieve perfectly cooked rice. So bust out that fine mesh strainer beforehand and get your rinse on.
You don’t necessarily need to rinse your rice until the water runs clear. I find that rinsing for 30-45 seconds is all it takes, followed by a few vigorous shakes to remove excess water.
You may also come across some sources that instruct you to soak Basmati rice for 30 minutes before cooking. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Totally unnecessary, in my opinion. Simply rinse your rice for fantastic results - achieved quickly.
My Instant Pot
There are a few different versions of the Instant Pot on the market, with differences ranging from capacity to functionality. This is the Instant Pot I own and used in this Instant Pot Basmati Rice recipe; it’s an 8-quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker with 14 One-Touch Programs.
How do you make Basmati Rice in the Instant Pot?
Making Basmati rice in the Instant Pot is SO simple (I promise!), provided you get the timing right and ace the liquid-to-rice ratio. I personally like a firm, fluffy rice, so I opt for a 1:1 ratio of Basmati rice to water, but if you want softer grains, add 1 ¼ cups of water to 1 cup of Basmati rice.
Ingredients needed for Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice
- 1 cup water (or 1 ¼ cup water if you’d like softer rice)
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
How to Cook Basmati Rice in the Instant Pot
Rinse rice under cold running water in a fine-mesh strainer for 30-45 seconds. Shake the strainer vigorously to remove excess water.
Add rinsed rice, water, and salt (optional) to your Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water for firmer rice, and 1 ¼ cups of water for softer rice.
Stir to make sure all rice is submerged; this will ensure even cooking.
Put the lid on your Instant Pot, making sure the pressure release valve is sealed.
Select Pressure Cook on High Pressure and set for 6 minutes. The pressure cooker will take around 7 minutes to pressurize before it begins cooking the rice.
Once the rice has cooked for 6 minutes, let the Instant Pot naturally pressure release for 10 minutes. Set a timer on your phone so you don’t forget!
At the 10-minute mark, open the pressure release valve and remove the lid. There should be very little pressure left to release. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Fluff the rice up with a fork and dig in!
Yield: 1 cup of dry Basmati rice yields 3 cups of cooked Basmati rice.
Tip: Remove the Basmati rice from the Instant Pot and transfer it to a serving bowl immediately. Then put the pot in the sink and fill it with warm, soapy water. This will make clean-up easier as rice residue can be challenging to clean up after it dries on.
Add-ins and substitutions
This Instant Pot Basmati Rice recipe only calls for 3 ingredients - rice, water, and salt (which is optional) - but you can do more to flavor your rice as it cooks. Try these flavorful add-ins and substitutions.
Instead of water….
Try beef, chicken, or vegetable stock or broth. This is an easy way to instantly boost flavor as your Basmati rice cooks. Give this Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth a go!
Note: Pay attention to the sodium content in the stock or broth you are using; you may not want to add extra salt or you may need to adjust the salt accordingly.
When using water, sometimes I'll add a splash or two of pickle juice or juice from pickled jalapenos. It's a great way to repurpose leftover liquid from pickled goods. It also adds salt and a little hint of flavor to the cooked rice.
I wouldn't recommend replacing all of the water with pickle juice, however, as the resulting flavor of the rice will be overpowering. You want the nutty flavor of the Basmati rice to shine; adding a smidge of pickle juice just adds a hint of flavor.
Butter or ghee or oil (like olive oil). Some people swear by adding butter (or ghee or oil) because it imparts flavor and it helps keep the grains separated while they cook. If using salted butter, you may need to adjust the salt accordingly (or leave it out).
You don't need to limit yourself to plain salt when making Instant Pot Basmati Rice. Try adding in a few dashes of these suggested seasonings while your rice cooks. Let your main dish guide what seasonings you add while you cook. For instance, I like to add a little garlic salt and cumin when serving with burritos.
- Garlic salt
- Onion salt
- Dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, etc.)
- Turmeric (which will give the resulting rice a lovely yellow hue)
Or stir in fresh herbs like basil or oregano after the rice has finished cooking, right before serving.
Short answer, no don't use the Instant Pot rice button. According to the Instant Pot website, “the “Rice” Smart Program automatically sets the time for white or parboiled rice only.” Since Basmati rice is a different kind of rice you should use Pressure Cook (manual) settings when cooking for the best results.
Store leftover Basmati rice in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To freeze, store in a freezer-friendly plastic bag, making sure to remove as much as air as possible. For best results, use within 3 months.
It takes 6 minutes of high-pressure cooking in the Instant Pot, followed by letting the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. You'll have perfectly fluffy basmati rice if you follow those instant pot cooking instructions.
The secret to fluffy, not stick basmati rice is to rinse it before cooking - and preparing the rice in an Instant Pot! Rinsing your basmati rice before cooking removes surface starches that - left in place - can really gum up the works, so to speak, resulting in gummy, clumpy rice.
I am team rinse when it comes to preparing basmati rice for cooking. Just a quick 45-second to 1-minute rinse is all it takes, and you can do so right before cooking. This removes excess starch and prevents the basmati rice grains from sticking together once cooked.
Reheating and Thawing
Reheat refrigerated Basmati rice in the microwave (times will vary depending upon your microwave) until heated through. You can also reheat in a skillet over low to medium-low heat. Put the rice in the skillet, smooth into an even layer and put a lid on it until heated through. I like to put down a little oil first and cook until it gets a little crispy.
Thaw frozen Basmati rice by leaving it on the countertop or in the refrigerator until thawed. To quickly thaw, submerge the sealed plastic bag of rice in lukewarm water until completely thawed.
What does Basmati Rice go with?
Try pairing this Instant Pot Basmati Rice recipe with these dishes:
Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- Rinse rice under cold running water in a fine mesh strainer for 30-45 seconds. Shake the strainer vigorously to remove excess water.
- Add rinsed rice, water, and salt (optional) to your Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water for firmer rice,1 ¼ cups of water for softer rice.
- Stir to make sure all rice is submerged; this will ensure even cooking.
- Put the lid on your Instant Pot, making sure the pressure release valve is sealed.
- Select Pressure Cook on High and set for 6 minutes. The pressure cooker will take around 7 minutes to pressurize before it begins cooking the rice.
- Once the rice has cooked for 6 minutes, let the Instant Pot naturally pressure release for 10 minutes. Set a timer on your phone so you don’t forget!
- At the 10-minute mark, open the pressure release valve and remove the lid. There should be very little pressure left to release. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Fluff the rice up with a fork and dig in!