White Rice in the Instant Pot


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Multitaskers are the best!

It’s so easy and fast to cook white rice in the instant pot, we ditched our rice cooker long ago. I’ll admit it took me some time to come around to the wonders of the instant pot – and I still think it has its drawbacks – but this is one function of the instant pot that definitely renders a standalone rice cooker (AKA a ‘single-tasker’) unnecessary.

All about the ratio

There are a surprising number of differing opinions about ratio, and it does depend on the cooking method. For white rice in the instant pot, I have found that 1:1 is just fine. In truth, there is probably a tad more water than rice, by volume, since the rice is wet when it goes in – but it’s negligible.

I also add a touch of salt and oil at the beginning of cooking. Again, there are many opinions out there about when to introduce salt, but I have found this method to produce rice to my liking!


Start by giving the rice a good rinse under cold running water. This is important because it rinses away the excess starch that can make the final product sticky and gummy. You want to continue to rinse until the water runs clear. One way to see this clearly is to put a dark-colored plate or bowl in the sink below where you’re working. That makes it easy to see if the water running off the rice is clear or cloudy.

Check out this handy Japanese rice washing bowl that I got a while back. It’s like a colander, but the holes are very small – small enough to easily catch the rice, whereas a normal colander might not hold in the rice. I also use this for rinsing delicate berries, lentils, and other things that might get roughed up by a normal colander.


Measurements depend on the amount of uncooked rice you start with.

For every CUP of uncooked rice, add 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of canola oil, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt. In other words:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked rice = approx. 3 cups cooked rice

And then just go up/down from there depending on how much cooked rice you want. 1 cup of uncooked rice yields approximately 3 cups of cooked rice.

Batten down the hatches

Once you have all your ingredients in the instant pot, secure the lid and make sure that the release valve is set to ‘sealing’. Then simply press the ‘RICE’ button on the instant pot!

While the instant pot heats up and build up pressure, the screen will say “On” – and it can seem like nothing is happening. This just means that the water is coming to a boil. The timer won’t start until the instant pot reaches full pressure. Once this happens, you will see the screen display the amount of time – in this case, 12 minutes. This timer will count down until it reaches zero.

To release or not to release?

Some recipes ask you to manually release the pressure as soon as the time is up. However, many require you to wait and do nothing for a certain amount of time. When you do nothing, it’s called ‘natural release’. In other words, you’re just letting the temperature and pressure come down on their own for a time, instead of opening up the valve and releasing all the pressure.

In this case, we want to let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then open things up. One handy thing about the instant pot is that when the timer reaches zero, it starts counting back upwards! So you can always see how long it has been since the cook time ended. So, for this recipe you will see the timer count down from twelve and then count back up to ten minutes.

After 10 minutes of natural release (aka doing nothing), carefully move the release valve from ‘sealing’ to ‘venting’. This will release any remaining pressure so that you can safely open the lid. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS RELEASE THE VALVE WITH A LONG SPOON AND/OR WITH A FOLDED TOWEL OVER THE TOP OF THE INSTANT POT. If there is still pressure inside the pot, steam will release rapidly when the valve is opened. This is not dangerous as long as you know it is coming. Placing a folded towel over the valve before releasing will keep the steam from dampening cabinets. It also gives a barrier between your hands and the steam, which can burn you. Steam burns are no fun. Keep your hands and head clear whenever you release pressure, and you will be fine.

Fluff & go!

After the steam has been fully released, you will be able to remove the cover easily. Fluff up the rice with a fork and leave it with the lid off for a few minutes. This lets any extra moisture evaporate a bit. There you have it! White rice in the instant pot!

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