How to Make Rice in an Instant Pot (Instant Pot Rice)

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  • Ever tried cooking steamed rice with an Instant Pot? This post will teach you an easy, fail-proof method to make perfectly plump and shiny Japanese steamed rice in an Instant Pot, every single time!  

    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.

    Steamed rice is an essential part of the Japanese meal. If you don’t own a rice cooker but have an Instant Pot in your kitchen, you can definitely consider using this smart device to make rice for your Japanese dinner. Today we’ll go over how to make rice in an Instant Pot, along with some important tips that I’ve learned from my experiments.

    Watch How to Make Rice in an Instant Pot (Instant Pot Rice)

    Ever tried cooking steamed rice with an Instant Pot? This post will teach you an easy, fail-proof method to make perfectly plump and shiny Japanese steamed rice in an Instant Pot, every single time!

    The 3 Dilemmas Before Making Rice with the Instant Pot

    Before I go straight to the Instant Pot Rice recipe, I want to tell you why it took me a long time to share this post. If you follow my blog for some time, you probably know that I have my Instant Pot for a while and I love using it to make various dishes.

    But why haven’t I used my favorite Instant Pot to cook steamed rice?  Here’s why I had avoided using the Instant Pot to cook rice:

    1. The rice sticks to the bottom of the inner pot.

    Having shiny, slightly sweet, plump, and delicious Japanese rice is the true comfort and luxury for me, so I am willing to spend a little more to purchase short grain Japanese rice from Japan (currently enjoying rice from Kyushu region). When I heard from others about rice sticking to the pot, I determined that I would not cook my precious rice in the Instant Pot. Not one piece of rice would go to waste in my house.

    2. The Instant Pot is for the main dish.

    Since I use the Instant Pot mainly to cook the main dishes, it’s impossible for me to use it to cook rice at the same time. Unless I am using two Instant Pots for this matter.

    3. My Zojirushi rice cooker does an amazing job.

    A rice cooker is an essential appliance at Japanese household. My Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker makes perfect rice every time, and I can even schedule the finished cooking time so the rice is always ready for dinner. That’s another reason why I didn’t need my Instant Pot to cook rice for me.

    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.

    Finally, the Testing

    For the past 3 years or so, I’ve received numerous requests from readers who wish to learn how to make perfect rice in the Instant Pot. Some of you even wrote me a very personal email that I just felt that I had to give it a try. After all, if I could save hundreds of people from wasting their rice, it’s worth my effort.

    I’ve tried two methods:

    1. Manual pressure cooking with different time periods and natural release timing.
    2. The preset “Rice” mode on the Instant Pot.

    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.

    What I Learned – 5 Most Important Tips to Make Japanese Rice in the Instant Pot

    Instant Pot Rice

    1. Soak rice for 20 minutes.

    I tried both soaking rice and skip soaking rice prior to cook rice in the Instant Pot. Whether it’s cooked in manual mode or “Rice” mode, when I didn’t soak rice, it did not become tender all the way through.

    This is probably the only difference between cooking other types of rice. I often get asked why we need to soak Japanese short grain rice. Unlike the other types of rice, Japanese short grain rice is plump, and it takes time for the moisture to go through. Therefore, we always soak the rice first, giving the dry rice a head start in absorbing moisture.

    Instant Pot Rice

    2. Drain rice really well.

    After soaking the rice in water, you will need to make sure that rice is completely drained and no excess water is left in the rice. If you don’t drain it well, you actually end up with more water while cooking the rice.

    Instant Pot Rice

    3. The ratio for water to rice is 1 to 1.

    The golden rule for the ratio for Japanese short grain rice to water is 1 to 1.1 or 1.2. So if the rice is 180 ml (1 rice cooker cup), you will need 200 ml water.

    When the rice is cooked in the Instant Pot, the steam does not escape from the pressure cooking. Therefore, the best ratio for the rice to water is one to one.

    Instant Pot Rice

    4. Cook in high pressure for 2 minutes.

    After testing a few different variations, the best cooking time for short grain rice is 2 minutes on high pressure. I’ve also tried using the “Rice” mode on the Instant Pot, which is set to 12 minutes on low pressure. As both manual and “Rice” mode takes 5 minutes to pressurize, “Rice” mode takes extra 10 minutes to cook.

    Instant Pot Rice

    5. Natural release for 10 minutes and then release the pressure.

    Because we do not want “mushy” texture for rice, we must release the pressure from the Instant Pot after 10 minutes. The rice is still being cooked during this natural release stage, but 10 minutes is plenty of time for the rice to finish cooking.  After 10 minutes, there is not much pressure left, so you don’t need to worry about releasing the pressure.

    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.

    Final Thoughts

    With the above methods and tips, you can make perfectly plump and shiny Japanese steamed rice in an Instant Pot. My personal preference is using the manual mode as it’s 10 minutes faster than “Rice” mode and the texture of the rice was perfect.

    Does the rice stick to the bottom of the pot? Well, surprisingly not when you open the lid right after 10 minutes of natural release. I can fluff up the rice nicely without any question.

    Instant Pot Rice

    The only caveat is you do have to serve or scoop out the whole pot of rice immediately after it is done cooking. There is enough moisture inside the pot that you can fluff and spoon out the rice smoothly without it sticking to the bottom.

    However, if you leave the rice inside the inner pot for some time, the rice sadly sticks. And it’s become a hassle to remove the remnants of cooked rice. You would end up having to soak the inner pot in water. It does come off clean eventually, but there is no way I could save the last piece of rice in the Instant Pot (Update: if you buy this non-stick inner pot, no more waste!).

    Instant Pot Rice

    Would I continue to make rice in the Instant Pot? I would not, because I really don’t like wasting my rice. I much prefer to cook the main dish in the Instant Pot that goes well with steamed rice that’s cooked in the rice cooker.  Two important appliances that could go hand in hand.

    For those of you who are preparing main dishes with other cooking methods like roasting, pan-frying etc, you can definitely cook your rice in the Instant Pot. Maybe you don’t cook rice very often and prefer not to invest in a rice cooker. Or maybe you’re cooking a large batch of rice in advance for freezing purpose. Then go ahead to use the Instant Pot. That’s what this post is for, and I hope you find it useful.

    Will you cook rice in the Instant Pot? Let me know in the comments below.

    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.

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    5 from 3 votes
    Perfectly cooked rice served in a rice bowl along with miso soup.
    Instant Pot Rice
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    17 mins
    Soaking Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    42 mins
     

    Ever tried cooking steamed rice with an Instant Pot? This post will teach you an easy, fail-proof method to make perfectly plump and shiny Japanese steamed rice in an Instant Pot, every single time!  

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: instant pot, rice
    Servings: 4 people
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    Instructions
    1. Measure the rice, submerge the rice in water, stir the rice around with your hands, and drain quickly. The first water should be drained as fast as possible since the dry rice would quickly absorb moisture. The first water is not clean and should not be absorbed.

      Instant Pot Rice 1
    2. Rinse the rice under cold water, by gently rubbing the rice with your fingertips in a circling motion. Submerge the rice in water and pour out the starchy water.
      Instant Pot Rice 2
    3. Rinse and repeat until the water becomes clear. Soak rice in water for 20-30 minutes.
      Instant Pot Rice 3
    4. Here's how the rice looks before and after soaking for 20 minutes.

      Instant Pot Rice 4
    5. Drain water completely. Set aside for 10 minutes. If you don’t have time to wait, then shake off the excess water the best you can.
      Instant Pot Rice 5
    6. Transfer drained rice and measured the amount of water in the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
      Instant Pot Rice 6
    7. Make sure the rice is evenly distributed and flat. Close the lid.
      Instant Pot Rice 7
    8. Set HIGH pressure for 2 minutes. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting.” The float valve goes up when pressurized. When it’s finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then proceed with quick release (DO NOT EXCEED. I recommend to set a timer.) by turning the steam release handle to the “venting” position to let steam out until the float valve drops down. Hold a kitchen towel and do not place your hand or face over steam release valve. The steam should be left only a little bit after 10 minutes of natural release.
      Instant Pot Rice 8
    9. Fluff the rice with a rice scooper and serve warm.
      Instant Pot Rice 9
    To Store
    1. The best way to store Japanese rice is to freeze, even if you use it the following day.  Read this post.

      How To Store Cooked Rice (Keeping your rice moist, fresh, and delicious) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Recipe Notes

    Rice Mode: 5 min (pressurize) + 12 min (low pressure) + 10 min (steam)

     

    Manual: 5 min (pressurize) + 2 min (high pressure) + 10 min (steam) 

     

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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