Follow my tips to make perfectly cooked Instant Pot Brown Rice. With a pressure cooker, you can make perfectly cooked short-grain brown rice every time!
Brown rice may not be your favorite type of rice, but once you learn the technique of cooking Instant Pot Brown Rice, you will want to make it every day! It’s also healthier than white rice, so let’s discover how delicious brown rice can be.
Cooking Short-Grain Brown Rice in the Instant Pot
Before we start, take note that this method is for cooking Japanese short-grain brown rice. If you are using medium- and long-grain rice, you will need to look for a different recipe.
Short-grain rice has a rounder body as compared to medium or long-grain rice which is slimmer and elongated. It releases starch when cooked, so the rice is moist and has a sticky texture. Brown (whole-grain) rice is a whole grain with a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber while white rice is stripped of the fiber.
In this recipe, I’ll show you how to cook brown rice for Japanese-style meals. The brown rice will be cooked in only water and salt. Unlike some western-style brown rice recipes online, there’s no broth or seasonings required.
Normally it takes a long time to make brown rice on the stovetop or in the rice cooker, but this recipe uses an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to speed up the process. Not only it saves time, but it also yields chewy and perfectly cooked brown rice.
3 Tips for Making Instant Pot Brown Rice
If rice is a big part of your diet, then learning how to cook proper brown rice would be an essential kitchen skill. Let me show you 3 important tips to make delicious brown rice.
1. Soak Rice
The most basic, but very important tip is to soak rice. Whether you use short-grain white rice or brown rice, the short-grain variety requires soaking. As the rice kernels are fatter, it takes more time for the moisture to get through to the core of the grains. So we must give a headstart by soaking the rice in water. Here is the time range for both white and brown rice:
- White rice: 20 to 30 minutes.
- Brown rice: 6 to 12 hours.
If you are cooking brown rice for dinner, start preparing in the morning. If you want to cook it for breakfast, soak the rice before going to sleep.
2. Add Salt
Brown rice has a naturally bitter tone. Salt helps to remove the bitterness from the rice and facilitates the absorption of water. A small amount of salt can also bring out the sweetness of brown rice.
3. Use a Pressure Cooker
As brown rice has several thin layers of bran coating the grain, there are a few benefits when you cook brown rice in a pressure cooker:
- The heat will penetrate into the core of the brown rice.
- The cooking temperature is above 100ºC, which results in sweetness in flavor and mochi-mochi (perfectly chewy) texture.
- Cooks evenly, and the rice texture will be the same throughout.
“Kani Ana” – Perfectly Cooked Instant Pot Brown Rice
Kani Ana (かに穴) or crab holes is the sign that your brown rice is cooked perfectly.
When cooking the rice, the steam bubbles push through the rice from the bottom of the pot, they create small holes in the rice. These indentations represent holes where crabs go in and out on the beaches. So we call them crab holes or kani ana. The picture below shows you the perfectly cooked brown rice dotted with several holes on the surface.
Make Ahead and Freeze Brown Rice
Since brown rice takes some time to cook, you can make it ahead and freeze it for later use (learn how to freeze rice). When I am short on time, I just need to defrost the rice in the microwave and it’s ready to enjoy just like freshly made brown rice out of the cooker.
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How to Cook Brown Rice (Instant Pot Brown Rice)
2 Rice Cooker Cups
- 2 rice cooker cups brown rice (180 ml x 2 = 360 ml; 160 g x 2 = 320 g)
- ½ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt (optional, but salt will help reducing bitterness of brown rice)
- 400 ml water
3 Rice Cooker Cups
- 3 rice cooker cups brown rice (180 ml x 3 = 540 ml; 160 g x 3 = 480 g)
- ¾ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt (optional, but salt will help reducing bitterness of brown rice)
- 600 ml water
- Use a rice cooker cup to measure rice. Scoop 2 rice cooker cups of short-grain brown rice and put in a large bowl.
- Rinse the brown rice a few times.
- Rub the brown rice between hands and rinse with the water several times (It’s called “momi arai” もみ洗い).
- Add water to cover the rice and let it soak for 6 to 12 hours (at least 6 hours). Soak extra time during winter months.
- Drain and shake off the water completely.
- Add the drained brown rice in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
- Add salt.
- Add the water and evenly distribute the rice in the pot.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot, press 'Manual' and set 20 minutes on high pressure.
- Allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then "Quick Release” the pressure. Cover the steam vent with a kitchen towel and twist the valve to cover your fingers.
- Open the lid. It’s a success when you see small holes on the rice surface (we call them “Kani Ana” – crab holes).
- Fluff the rice using a rice paddle/scooper. Serve the brown rice immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for 1 month.
- Pressure cooker