How to cook perfect rice in an electric pressure cooker

By September 1, 2015

Stumped as to how to cook perfect rice? Here is the new, definitive guide! Using just a 1-to-1 water-to-rice* ratio, and pressing a button will result in perfectly cooked rice of any variety every time. Easy to remember, easy to do.
*wet rice (read on to discover the scientific details, and how we came to this easy method for cooking perfect rice in the Instant Pot electric multi-cooker!)

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Cooking rice can be tricky. A lot depends on personal and cultural preferences, and even if we could all agree on the “perfect rice”, the altitude of your location, the hardness of your water, and the age and dryness of the rice may all play a role in the results obtained.

Of course millions of people have been cooking rice for thousands of years and some “tried-and-true” techniques, as well as some myths have developed.

You may have wondered about the markings in the stainless steel liner in your Instant Pot. One of the features of your multi-functional Instant Pot is a rice cooker. Rice cookers have been very popular for cooking rice for many years. The cup lines come from that heritage, and serve as a rough guide for the amount of water for the number of *cups of rice (the small *cup that came with your Instant Pot).

Still, depending on the volume of rice you cook at any one time, your results may vary. One Instant Pot enthusiast, Deborah K., wrote us to share this account of her success using the Instant Pot to cook traditional Japanese rice (applies to all brands, e.g. Tamaki, Nishiki, Kokuho Rose, etc): 

“The ratio of Rice to Water is 1:1.25 (same as brown rice). I rinsed rice; used rice button on Instant Pot; 10-minute natural pressure release. The rice was perfect – even better than when I use our Japanese electric rice cooker (and verified by my Japanese-born family members who did not realize that my “best rice ever” was cooked in your pressure cooker).”

Another Instant Pot user reported good results with the same ratio when cooking brown rice:

“I cook brown rice for 22 minutes – 1 cups of rice with 1 1/4 cups of water – and that was pretty much the most perfect rice I’ve ever cooked “

So we can be fairly confident that for cooking 1 cup of rice, 1.25 cups of water is a reasonably good amount, but what if you want to cook more rice at one time?

Jill Nussinow, “The Veggie Queen has long advocated a “sliding-scale” of water to rice, in her ever popular pressure cooking cookbook, “The New Fast Food”. She recently revealed in our new Instant Pot® Community” Facebook group how she first became aware of this reality:

“My job was to acquire recipes to use, as well as helping direct the writing of the programs to get the software that would adjust for number of servings to work correctly. This is where the algorithms came in. I learned a lot and have passed it on to many people.”

A recent Cook’s Illustrated video is especially relevant to the Instant Pot – which is incredibly (and verifiably) water/moisture conserving, allowing for very little evaporation.

It turns out that the ideal water-to-rice ratio – in the sealed environment of the Instant Pot – is 1:1, with rinsed (wet) rice.

Different varieties of rice require various cooking times (pressure cooking is much shorter than mentioned in the video), but the water to rice ratio remains constant at 1 to 1, simplifying the “perfecting” process tremendously! Science and technology in the kitchen!

The video offers a good explanation of the physics and math involved in getting consistent and pleasing results when cooking rice. Keep in mind when watching that cooking pots differ as to evaporation rates, and it is worth pointing out that the Instant Pot provides a sealed environment, so evaporation is kept to a minimum, giving the most consistent results. Most cooking instructions assume lots of evaporation over time, so they call for more water along with the longer cooking times of some varieties of rice. Watch the Cook’s Illustrated video (and take notes if you are curious, or a skeptic!).

 

To read LifeHacker’s comments, click here.

After discussing this approach with Flo Lum, favorite Instant Pot video creator, she observed: 

“This is probably why the “Chinese” method actually makes sense now. There are two methods… One uses your full hand: when placed barely on top of the rice, the water should reach a certain point on the top of your hand. And the knuckle method: where you stick your middle finger tip into the water, barely touching the top of the rice, the water should reach the first knuckle. I never understood how it worked but now sort of makes sense. Ancient Chinese secrets.”

Considering all of this, we tested various water to rice ratios, and can confidently recommend this as a convenient starting point in your search for your “perfect rice”:

Cooking rice in the Instant Pot, the 1:1 water to rice ratio method:

  1. Measure dry rice, set aside. (about 1 “cup” minimum recommended, any “cup” you choose)
  2. Measure same amount of water, add to Instant Pot’s inner pot/liner.
  3. Rinse rice, add wet rice to the measured water in the inner pot.
  4. Lock on the lid, and set the steam release valve to “sealing” position.
  5. Select your pressure cooking time.
    ~The “Rice” button is timed for white or parboiled rice only.
    ~For other types of rice, set “Manual” to correct time (by pressing “-” to adjust the cooking time) for the type of rice you are cooking, in the case of brown rice, for example select 22-25 minutes depending on your preferences and any local issues, like high elevation.
    ~See abbreviated timing chart below, or use your preferred pressure cooking time for your variety of rice.
  6. Let the rice rest for about 10 minutes after cooking is finished before releasing any remaining pressure, and serve.

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The foundation for this 1:1 recommendation is due to two things being true:
1. The Instant Pot allows very little water evaporation due to Instant Pot’s superior sealing ability.
2. Rice absorbs its volume in water when cooked long enough.

Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, no more mushy rice, with a few stating the rice was cooked, though a bit too “al dente” for their preferences, (these individuals where happier when using a small amount of additional water). Consider this your starting point, record any adjustments you may make, and soon you will have your personal recipe for perfect rice in the Instant Pot!

Pressure cooking times (in minutes) for some common varieties of rice:

White rice: 3-8

Basmati (white) rice: 4-8

Brown rice (long/short): 22-28

Wild rice mix: 25-30

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Comments

59 Responses to “How to cook perfect rice in an electric pressure cooker”

  1. Sharon says:

    Made brown rice using this method and 23 min pressure and it was too soggy, will try less time next round

    [Reply]

    Leota Reply:

    Hi Sharon, Too soggy sounds like too much water, not time cooked.

    [Reply]

  2. Carly says:

    Okay looking to make cilantro lime rice for coworkers on Monday. I really don’t want to do a test run and make 8 cups of rice ahead of time. I’m going to use Jasmine rice. Can any one help me here? 1:1 ratio? Time and pressure? Thanks!

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  3. Lisa says:

    After many years of marriage my husband informed me the other night he LOVES brown rice! I never knew, lol.
    I tried it in recipes in my IP, failed miserably! Tried it on the stove top, after over an hour of cooking from boiling to low it was still crunchy! Told my husband I’m thinking the only way he will be getting brown rice here is with soy sauce added to white rice. Today I googled again and found this recipe!
    It worked perfectly!! No more crunch!! Thank You!!

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  4. What is th maximum quantity of rice that can be cooked in an 8 litre pressure cooker?

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  5. Dave says:

    I was raised using the old imperial cup not the American cup I know how frustrating it can be.
    Metric on further confused the matter at least here in Canada. After the war the American influence in recipes overwhelmed much of our printed industry.
    The Designers of the Instant Pot while Canadian market most of the initial product to the US who use the American Cup size.
    Once you get used to the measurement used you should find everything in the recipes dead easy and work in spite of everything.
    I found the Rice setting is where I began as it is fully automated, while it may be true that the water amounts may vary once you have your local differences adjusted (hard water does make a difference)
    You will also find as the manual points out different rice requires different amount of water and or cooking time.
    Those raises on the old fashioned manual Pressure Cooker know all about this.
    From day one I have enjoyed using the Instant Pot as it simplifies my life and minimizes the number of separate appliances.

    [Reply]

  6. Jill says:

    I’ve been playing with adding rice to SOUP or a dish with a lot of sauce, so the tips here have been very helpful. On the stovetop or my rice cooker, using broth or various seasonings liquids cooking the rice adds a ton of great flavor

    Tonight, I thought I’d see if I could do “stir fry” with less standing-in-front-of-the-stove time. started with a pound or so of frozen pork loin, added 1/2 cup each hoisin sauce and roasted pepper “finishing sauce” (sweet-sour-hot). I also added a couple cups of water, some beef bouillon paste, and some soy sauce, then stirred in 1 CUP RICE (converted).

    I pressure cooked this on low (soup button) for 8 minutes, releasing the rest of the pressure after 5. The rice was totally done, but the rest of the dish wasn’t, so I added my peppers and onions, sliced my pork and put it back in, and set the instant pot for another 2 minutes at low pressure.

    Next time, I’ll try 5 minutes at low pressure for anything with uncooked rice in it, then check and do a second cooking step if needed.

    The rice does smell & taste great! And with the amount of liquid I used, there’s plenty of extra sauce, which we like. If you want more of a casserole consistency, I’d use just a little more water than rice.

    [Reply]

  7. C says:

    Used the instructions above – equal amounts plain white rice, wet, and water. Used the rice setting. Let it come down naturally. Not only was the rice not “perfect” – it was mostly raw. Useless directions.

    [Reply]

    SueB Reply:

    Mine was gummy. Next time I will try the extra 1/4 cup water per cup rice (1 1/4) and see if that helps. I just added a little extra water and cooked 2 min in a covered bowl in Micro this time to soften it up. Trying to get away from the micro in future.

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  8. Michael says:

    Had some Uncle Ben’s long-grain parboiled rice and thought I would give it a go. I read a lot of comments and contemplated the listed cooking times in my Instant Pot recipe book versus the stovetop time on the bag. The bag said 20 minutes simmering, then five standing. I figured 12 minutes and 10 minutes resting would do the trick. I put 2 cups water in the pot and added two cups wet rice. It turned out great! Thanks for all the info. I’m new to Instant Pot but after three days I am in love with it!

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Very little sticking, btw, and no scorching.

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    Leota Reply:

    I, too, had good results with the measurements and instructions using par-cooked, not instant, long grain rice. I let it steep for 12 instead of 10 minutes and it was a teeny bit mushy, so I fluffed it up, and left it sit with the lid off to allow the extra moisture to steam off. It is a good pot of rice.

    [Reply]

  9. Lynn Fox says:

    For brown rice why can’t I just add additional time for 22 minutes to rice program button I have duo ip 60 v2

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Hi Lynn,

    The Rice program is fully automatic. It adjust pressure cooking time based on the volume of rice/water mixture. So changing the pressure cooking time of the Rice program is not possible.

    You can use the Manual (or Pressure Cook) program to cook brown rice for 20~30 minutes, depending on preferred texture.

    [Reply]

  10. Randy says:

    Thank you so much for this informative video. I recently purchased the 8qtr Instant Pot and tried to cook white rice yesterday. 4 cup of rice, and added water to the level 4 mark in the inner pot, and selected rice setting. The pre-program setting was 12min and low pressure, but after IP got to pressure (roughly 11-12min later), the cooking time changed to 22min. Do you know why it changed the cooking time to 22min? When done, the rice was very mussy. after watching your video, Iguess for now I have to use the manual setting with 12min. What about the pressure setting for rice, should I set it to low pressure or high pressure? What the significance of the low and high pressure? Is there a way so that cooked rice not stick to the bottom of the pot? Thanks

    [Reply]

    Nicole Reply:

    Same Randy! I was just coming here to see what I did wrong.

    [Reply]

    Diane Reply:

    Did you ever get an answer? If not, here are my comments. You were correct in there being a one-to-one ratio for the rice and the water, but adding water to the 4 cup line in the pot after you have already added the rice won’t give you that ratio. The rice already takes up a lot of space, so will want to measure out 4 cups of water using a cup measure and add that amount to the pot. Also, the pot will automatically change cooking time based on the weight of food in the pot. So, if you want it to stop cooking before the time it shows when it gets to pressure, just watch the timer and turn the pot off. So, in your case, you could turn the pot off when the timer counts down to 10 minutes. Also, I have found it is good to let the pot sit idle for 10 minutes before manually releasing the pressure. I get a good pot of rice that way. Hope all this helps!

    [Reply]

    Griffeth Wodtke Reply:

    But but but — she wants to know whether you use low or high pressure!!!! As do I. No one seems to say

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Please see our blog about the effect of cooking with High or Low pressure here http://instantpot.com/what-are-the-effects-of-cooking-rice-in-a-pressure-cooker/

    The setting on Instant Pot IP-DUO and IP-Smart series uses Low pressure, for the esthetic reasons. IP-LUX series uses High pressure in rice cooking.

    Georgia Reply:

    I noticed that when I measure with a measuring cup it doesn’t reach the same measure on the marked spot in the pot. For instance, I needed 3 cups of water. I measured out 3 cups and it barely went over the 2C marker on the inner pot. Maybe it was just too much water. try measuring with a cup instead of the pot. hopefully that will fix it

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    The measures on the inside of the pot are not meant to match the same # of cups of water. They’re to show how much water to use with that many scoops of rice. The rice will displace water and cause the water level to rise.

    [Reply]

    Busybee1141 Reply:

    This probably is too late, but may help others. The”cup” measure that MATCHES the measuring lnes Inside the pot, is the 180 grams cup that comes with the IP. This measures 3/4 of a cup and matches the lines in the pot. Not knowing this messed up someone’s rice because they used the line for the water but used an actual CUP MEASURE for their rice. Consequently, not enough water. If you prefer a true cup size, use it and also use it for the water. True 1:1 ratio. Personally, I think the IP should have been lined for a true cup size to avoid this confusion.

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Hello Busybee,

    We’ll understand your suggestion regarding the CUP markings on the inner pot. As Instant Pot are being sold in UK/EU as well as US/Canada, the cup size unfortunately are different in the two continent. We’ll add the Liter mark to the inner pot. Nevertheless, the 1:1 water:rice ratio will get the rice cooking right. You then add additional water for softness preference.

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Hi Busybee,

    We understand your suggestion regarding the CUP markings on the inner pot. As Instant Pot are being sold in UK/EU as well as US/Canada, the cup size unfortunately are different in the two continent. We’ll add the Liter mark to the inner pot. Nevertheless, the 1:1 water:rice ratio will get the rice cooking right. You then add additional water for softness preference.

    [Reply]

    PATRICIA SADLER Reply:

    The Instant Pot’s cup measurements are consistent with every brand of rice cooker and other similar appliances on the market. 6oz = 1 cup is not what it’s saying. That would be inconsistent with both Imperial & Metric measurements.
    It means that 6 oz of dry rice is considered, once cooked, equals 1 portion (the standard serving size for 1 person).

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    Personally I think that Americans should abandon the use of “cup” measures entirely, and use logical and unambiguous quantities of weights for dry ingredients (metric or pounds and ounces – either is fine) and volumetric for liquids (metric or pints and fluid ounces).

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    Sorry – hit the reply button too soon – I meant to also say…

    “As Instant Pot are being sold in UK/EU as well as US/Canada, the cup size unfortunately are different in the two continent”

    Cup measures are NOT used in Europe – they are an entirely North American concept.

  11. Mirella says:

    Hi, I use a semi brown rice and I am figuring how to do it in the perfect way. When I’m using the manual program, what type of pressure do I have to choose? The Low or the High (as in the Rice setting)? I didn’t pay attention and the first time I used the Rice program (since the rice wasn’t rinsed.. no wet rice and 1:1 ratio) and it obviously came out not perfectly cooked, so I add half a cup and set on manual low pressure for 1 minute and after 5 minutes I released the pressure. It was really good but I would like to do it in one stand….. so, do You think that 13 minutes on Low pressure with a ratio of 1:1,5 an a release after 5 minutes could be the best or You may have other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    [Reply]

  12. Sandy says:

    I notice that no salt or oil is added to the water and rice. Can you still include it? I am a novice to the IP.

    [Reply]

  13. Peggy says:

    I was a little nercous about cooking arroz con pollo, Mexican chicken and rice, in the pressure cooker since i knew I would be using different ratios of liquid to rice than on the stovetop. I first browned the chicken strips with oil on the saute setting,then added 3 c white longgrain rice,browned it adding garlic and onion. I then added 4 c of chicken stock and the rest of the seasonings,and set it on Rice setting for 20 min. It came out great! I hope that helps someone. 😀

    [Reply]

    Peggy Reply:

    OOps, I meant 15 min,because of the chicken,and I did not rinse the rice.

    [Reply]

  14. Del says:

    Is there any type of insert cooking pot that would sit inside the instant pots inner pot so you can cook rice and then cook a meal in the inner pit after removing the rice and said inserted pot to save time and cleaning of the insert between rice and your meal?

    [Reply]

  15. Sandy says:

    May I use boxed rice, such as Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice mixes, in the instant pot? If so, what are the proportions of rice:water?

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Yes, of course.

    Instant Pot cooks in a fully sealed environment. So the Rice:Water ratio is normally 1:1. If you prefer soft rice, add upto 20% more water.

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Yes, of course.

    Instant Pot cooks in a fully sealed environment. So the Rice:Water ratio is normally 1:1. If you prefer soft rice, add upto 20% more water.

    [Reply]

  16. JC says:

    Can you cook the rice in a pan ont top of the rack?. In my rice cooker the rice often sticks to the bottom sue to the heat.. Is this a problem with the Instant Pot?

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Yes, called “pot in pot” cooking, you can. Here is one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htdEOG7giqI

    [Reply]

  17. Eric Flores says:

    What about those living in the U.S. wanting to follow the advise of the USA Ride Federation about not rinsing enriched rice?
    http://thinkrice.com/all-about-u-s-rice/faqs/

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    All that is needed is for the rice to be “wet”, as that small amount of water is enough to compensate for any evaporation.

    [Reply]

    Eric Flores Reply:

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  18. Ally says:

    I see a lot of good info for times, but nothing on whether to use low or high pressure for brown rice at 22 minutes? I’m guessing low since the rice setting is set to low,but I’m not totally sure.

    [Reply]

  19. Jenny says:

    So we are in Colorado, high altitude. Is there a change I need to make?? Saw something about your altitude causing some changes.
    Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    For every 1,000 feet above 2,000-foot elevation, you must increase cooking time by 5 percent.

    [Reply]

    Lars Reply:

    Does this 5% increase apply to all things cooked in an Instant Pot?

    [Reply]

  20. Cindy says:

    Thank you for this most informative post. The 1:1 ration works perfectly for every type of rice I cook with (long grain brown, black, white basmati and wild rice). I usually cook just 1 cup of rice at a time and have found that for such small quantities, it is better to cook the rice in a small stainless steel bowl rather than in the Instant Pot’s large inner liner. I place the bowl containing my rinsed rice and water in the 1:1 ratio on a trivet, add 1 cup water to the bottom of the Instant Pot and set the timer as indicated in your guidelines. Works perfectly every time.

    [Reply]

    Bonnie Reply:

    So you use two total cups of water..one on bottom and one in rice bowl. Going to try that

    [Reply]

  21. Theresa says:

    If white rice is to be cooked only 3 – 8 minutes, why does the ‘rice’ button on the cooker result in 12 minutes of cook time? I’m confused about how long is the proper time for plain old long grained white rice.

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    The “proper” time would be what gives you the results you prefer, and there are different approaches. If you are happy with a shorter time, then that’s fine, however the “Rice” program is preferred by many.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Some instant pots have two pressure levels. The 12 minute time for rice is at low pressure. Maybe the 3 – 8 minute time is if you do it at high pressure, or on machines with no lower pressure setting?

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Yes, the 6~8 minutes cooking is with High pressure on Instant Pot IP-LUX series.

  22. Julia says:

    When i was cooking rise lots of steam was coming out. i did set the steam release valve to “sealing” position. what did i do wrong? Rise came out nice and fluffy but it burned a little at the bottom

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Which program did you select? What type of rice?

    [Reply]

  23. Pamela says:

    Thank you Donna.
    My Husband’s relatives in Minnesota just sent him some wild rice which was grown there.
    I just happened to get my Instant Pot yesterday and have been itching to give it a test drive so now you know what I’ll be doing today :)

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Hope it works well for you!

    [Reply]

    Pamela Reply:

    Update: Rice came out perfect! I used the 1:1.25 ratio and cooked for 30 minutes. Fluffy and moist.

    [Reply]

  24. Susan Sellers says:

    I’m cooking a large quantity of white rice, will I need to adjust the cooking time? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Hi Susan, pressure cooking time as well as water to wet rice ratio should stay constant, though you may notice it will take longer to come to pressure for larger volumes.

    [Reply]

  25. Karen Christiansen says:

    Thank you for this great, complete explanation. I followed exactly for my Kokuho rose white rice and it turned out PERFECTLY, first time.

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    So glad to hear Karen, thank you for the feed back!

    [Reply]

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