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How to Use a Pressure Cooker for Rice Cooking

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Sometimes you have those days when you’re too impatient for the 20 or so minutes it takes for rice to cook in rice cookers. Maybe you’re hosting a gathering and you’re already out of perfectly cooked rice, or you just got home and are starving for a warm meal.

If you really have to have perfect rice but you don’t have a rice cooker available in the kitchen, then it’s time to bring out that pressure cooker just lying around in your cabinet

Can You Use a Pressure Cooker to Cook Rice?

Definitely. Using a pressure cooker or an instant pot is a good way to prepare meals in 15 minutes or less. It can cook perfect rice just like a rice cooker. Its quick cooking time can be particularly useful when you have guests over and want to cook rice and serve it as fast as possible. A pressure cooker can also be a decent substitute for rice cookers if you don’t have the budget to buy them yet.

However, there are some cons to using a pressure cooker when it comes to cooking rice. While a pressure cooker is faster, it has a learning curve to it. Some models of electric pressure cookers might need more supervision, while models like an electric pressure cooker and instant pot need less.

Different types of grains don’t have the same pressure cooking time and you’ll also have to figure out how much water a type of rice needs. Some models don’t have the option to click a pressure cook button unlike rice cookers and instant pot. You also have to take note of quick or natural release times.

While it may sound difficult, the process can be quite easy once you get the hang of it. We listed all the things you may need to know below to take out the guesswork in pressure cooking the perfect rice.

Different Types of Pressure Cookers

Before we start pressure cooking rice, you must first see which type of pressure cooker you have on hand. Different pressure cookers have different heat pressures and pressure release times. 

Naturally, you will need to adjust the cooking time and amount of water you’ll be using depending on the appliance you have in your kitchen.

Stovetop Pressure Cookers

stovetop pressure cooker

This type of pressure cooker cooks food faster and is more durable than an electric pressure cooker. However, to cook rice, they’ll require more supervision. They can reach up to 15 psi pressure, which can easily overcook some of your dishes if you’re not careful. 

Because they let out a small hiss of steam when the pressure reaches its maximum, the evaporation is higher compared to electric pressure cookers.

Therefore, recipes cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker require more or less ¼ additional cups of water, while electric cookers require less. Be careful not to add too much water though, if you don’t want to serve mushy rice.

Electric Pressure Cooker

electric pressure cooker

An electric pressure cooker is less durable compared to its stovetop counterparts, but it has all the technological advantages an instant pot or rice cooker could have, such as menu functions, pressure indicator, and a keep warm feature. 

In terms of pressure cooking rice, this is the preferred unit due to their lower pressures and very little evaporation. You can even cook instant pot recipes such as instant pot white rice and soups.

However, if you’re planning on cooking recipes that require high pressure, you’ll need to increase your cooking time. For example, if the recipe calls for 20 minutes of high pressure in a stovetop cooker, you’ll need to add 25 percent more time to cook it in an electric pressure cooker.

Instant Pot

instant pot

While technically not a pressure cooker, an Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cookers with the additional functions of rice cookers, slow-cookers, and yogurt makers. An instant pot can self-regulate, can slow-cook meat, and is practically multifunctional.

It is the best substitute for rice cookers and has far more menu functions than an electric pressure cooker. An instant pot also has natural release, making it easier for you to cook white rice or jasmine rice without having to worry about burning the bottom portion of the pot.

Instant pot white rice cooks slightly slower than white rice in pressure cookers, however it needs far less supervision. This means you can leave your instant pot rice cooking while you entertain guests. In terms of price, an electric pressure cooker costs less than an instant pot.

Instant Pot Rice vs. Pressure Cooker Rice

Instant pot white rice can be especially tasty, considering they’re cooked in a high-pressure and sealed environment. Rice absorbs the water more, leaving you with soft, fluffy rice.

Pressure cooker rice is very similar to rice cooker or instant pot rice when done properly. While both appliances may have similar functions, e.g both using pressure to cook food in the least amount of time possible, an instant pot has a lower PSI pressure than a pressure cooker.

In terms of cooking prowess, instant pots and pressure cookers are relatively the same. You can cook an easy instant pot recipe in an electric pressure cooker with almost the same result.

The natural release function of both appliances makes it easier for you to cook perfect rice with excellent consistency, particularly when you rinse the rice with cold water beforehand.

How Much Water Do You Put in a Pressure Cooker for Rice?

pressure cooker on stove

Just like a rice cooker and an instant pot, the amount of water you add depends on what type of rice you’re pressure cooking. Some rice, particularly short grain, needs less water than long grain rice, like jasmine rice. You also need to take into account the lack of evaporation when cooking in a pressure cooker.

In a rice cooker, water evaporates as the rice cooks, and the amount of water is set so that the lost water is compensated for. The situation is different when it comes to a pressure cooker. The lid completely seals the entire inner pot and subjects it to high heat and pressure, making the cooking time quicker than normal. Since there’s a substantial lack of evaporation in the sealed environment, less water is needed.

Listed below is the amount of water you need for different types of rice:

  • Arborio Rice – 2 cups
  • Basmati Rice  – 1 ½ cups
  • Emperor’s Rice – 2 ¾ cups
  • Jasmine Rice- 1 ½ cups
  • Long Grain Rice, Brown – 1 ½ to 2 cups
  • Long-Grain White Rice – 1 ½ cups
  • Medium-Grain Brown Rice – 1 ½ to 2 cups
  • Medium-Grain White Rice – 1 ½ cups
  • Parboiled Rice / Converted Rice – 1 ½ cups
  • Red Rice – 2 ½ cups
  • Black Japonica Rice – 2 ½ cups
  • Short-Grain Brown RIce – 1 ½ to 2 cups
  • Short-Grain White Rice – 1 ½ cups
  • Sweet Brown Rice – 2 cups
  • Wehani – 2 cups
  • Wild Rice – 3 to 4 cups

A little bit of experimentation might be needed for you to have that perfect rice. It also depends on what kind of instant pot rice or pressure cooker rice you want to cook, e.g. a looser consistency with less moisture for fried rice recipes or a stickier texture for porridge and soups. 

You can check out other rice recipes here.

How Long Does It Take for Rice to Cook in a Pressure Cooker?

Again, it depends on what type of grain and how much rice you’re planning to pressure cook. White rice typically cooks for about 10 minutes of pressure cooking time, while other types of rice may take a little longer. It may take even longer if you use an instant pot or an electric pressure cooker instead of the stovetop version.

  • Arborio Rice – 7 to 8 minutes
  • Basmati Rice- 6 minutes
  • Emperor’s Rice – 20 to 25 minutes
  • Jasmine Rice- 4 to 7 minutes
  • Long Grain Rice, Brown – 10 to 18 min.
  • Long-Grain, White Rice- 4 to 5 min.
  • Medium-Grain Rice, Brown – 12 to 20 min.
  • Medium-Grain, White Rice – 5 to 7 min.
  • Parboiled Rice / Converted Rice- 6 to 8 min.
  • Red Rice- 7 to 9 min.
  • Black Japonica Rice-  7 to 9 min.
  • Short-Grain, Brown Rice – 12 to 20 min.
  • Short-Grain, White Rice – 6 to 8 min.
  • Sweet Brown Rice – 13 to 17 min.
  • Wehani Rice – 7 to 9 min.
  • Wild Rice – 20 to 25 min.

Cooking time also depends if you prefer to have a quick or a natural release when you cook rice.

Quick Release vs Natural Release

Natural pressure release is when you let your cooker cool down with the release switch still sealed. The unit’s heat and pressure naturally release for 10 to 30 minutes. When pressure is fully released, the unit’s float valve will drop and the lid will open.

It can take up to 30 minutes for the pressure to naturally release, so it must be taken into consideration when you’re cooking. Natural release for 10-20 minutes is ideal if you want your pressure cooker rice to come out with great consistency and nicer taste.

A quick release, unlike natural release, quickly removes the cooking pressure by switching the release switch to the “venting” position and removing the remaining pressure inside the pot. This is a great feature when you’re preparing quick-cooking ingredients like vegetables or even when cooking rice like basmati rice.

How Many Whistles Do You Need for Rice?

pressure cooker

It takes about 5-15 minutes for a pressure cooker to whistle, depending on what and how much rice you’re cooking. Rice, like jasmine rice and basmati rice, can take 3-4 whistles, sometimes less. Cooking brown rice may take longer. 

Cook time also varies depending on what type of pressure cooker you’re using and if you’re going to naturally release the remaining pressure or not.

Cooking Rice in a Pressure Cooker

Yield: Up to 4 cups of cooked rice

Cook time: varies depending on rice variety

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups of rice

Materials You'll Need

  • Pressure cooker

Procedure

  • Rinse rice under cold running water using a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Place inside the inner pot of the pressure cooker.
  • Add water. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook rice at high pressure for 3 to 4 whistles.
  • For the first whistle, cook on medium heat.
  • For the remaining whistles, lower the heat to a low flame and continue cooking at low pressure.
  • Switch off and natural release for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Open pressure cooker. Fluff the rice with a fork until the grains are separated. 

Cooking Instant Pot Rice

Yield: Up to 4 cups of cooked rice

Cook time: varies depending on rice variety

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups of rice

Materials You'll Need

  • Instant pot

Procedure

  • Rinse rice under cold water using a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Add rice to the instant pot. Swivel the pot until rice is spread in an even layer on the bottom.
  • Add water. Lock the lid and switch the position of the release valve to “Sealing”.
  • Click on the “Rice” menu and cook at low pressure for the set amount of time (refer to “How Long Does It Take for Rice to Cook in a Pressure Cooker” above).
  • Switch off and natural release for 10-15 minutes.
  • Open pressure cooker. Fluff rice with a fork until the grains are separated.

Notes

  • Washing rice under cold running water makes the rice fluffier when cooked.
  • You can also substitute cold water with broth or even coconut milk after you rinse the rice. Fluffy consistency and a richer taste is your desired result, so keep in mind the rice to the liquid ratio when cooking, particularly when you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker instead of an electric pressure cooker.
  • You can put in a few pieces of meat, spices, and butter before you lock the lid for a full meal.
  • You can also use the same method above to cook instant pot rice.
  • Take note of the natural release time. If you release naturally for 10 minutes, subtract about 2-3 minutes of cooking time to avoid overcooking.
  • Pressure release naturally for 10 minutes or more if you’re not in a hurry. You can use quick pressure release if you have to quickly serve the food to remove the remaining pressure.

You can also cook other rice recipes and instant pot meals in a pressure cooker, just like this instant pot recipe below.

Beans and Rice Recipe Cooked in a Pressure Cooker

Yeild: up to 6 cups

Cook Time: 50 minutes, with release for 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 dry black beans
  • 1 1/2 cup dry rice, brown
  • 1 can tomatoes, diced (fire-roasted)
  • 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onions

Materials

  • Saucepan
  • Stovetop or electric pressure cooker

Procedure

  • Rinse rice and beans under cold water using a fine-mesh strainer 
  • Place oil in a saucepan. Heat and sauté onions. 
  • Add sauteed onions to the inner pot of the pressure cooker.
  • Add rinsed rice, beans, and the rest of the ingredients
  • Set to high pressure and cook the rice and beans for 28-30 minutes.
  • Pressure release naturally for 10 minutes-15 minutes.
  • Open the pressure cooker and stir with a rice paddle to fluff rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let the rice sit to cool. Serve.

Enjoy your instant pot rice and bean meal, cooked in a pressure cooker!

Notes

  • You can use other rice, like Basmati rice or Jasmine rice. Simply rinse them in cold water and add to the inner pot. Keep in mind that they don’t have the same cooking time, so adjust accordingly.
  • While it’s ideal to natural release for 20 minutes or so, you can use natural release for 10 minutes. If you want to serve the dish while it’s still piping hot, simply quick release after you cook the rice.

Now that you’ve learned how to cook pressure cooker rice, maybe you can finally venture into the harder territory and try out your favorite pressure cooker recipes and instant pot dishes.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get perfect rice the first time or if the result isn’t as good when you’re cooking rice using a rice cooker or an instant pot. It takes a little bit of experimentation to get it right.

Pressure cooking may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn’t once you’ve learned how to navigate your pressure cooker. Good luck!

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Ji-hyun

Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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