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Small Appliances

How to cook delicious rice in your Instant Pot

New Instant Pot? Here's how to whip up tasty steamed rice in it every time.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Instant Pot multicookers are capable, time-saving gadgets. Right out the box though, they're not as convenient for prepping basic white rice. The printed manual and bundled recipe book give only vague instructions. Instant Pot's own guide clashes with many rice recipes on its website.   

To settle the matter, I personally tested my hand at batch after batch of Instant Pot rice. This guide lays out what worked for me in simple steps you can try yourself. Soon you'll be leaning on your new Instant Pot to pull double duty as a speedy rice maker too.

Rice cookers and the Instant Pot

When you cook white rice on the stove, the typical ratio is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. With rice cookers you don't need to remember ratios at all. Just measure rice with the cooker's cup accessory (typically 180ml, or 6.1 fluid ounces). Then fill the machine's pot to a precalibrated water line to match your uncooked rice amount.

These machines often have multiple water lines. The one you choose depends on the rice variety you plan to prepare. Not so with an Instant Pot. There's just one series of suggested water lines. It matches the water levels that standard rice cookers suggest for white rice. It also translates to a 1:1 ratio (1 part rice to 1 part water). Most importantly the water lines account for displacement caused by the volume of rice itself (measured by that 180ml cup).

Instant Pot also recommends a 1:1 ratio for all grains of cooked rice. This included everything from brown to jasmine, basmati and wild rice. The only variable that changes is how long it should cook.    

Brian Bennett/CNET

Step 1: Measure your rice

With your Instant Pot's cup accessory, measure out the dry rice you'd like to cook in level cups. Now put the rice inside the inner pot liner. Next take the inner pot out of your appliance and set it aside -- in your kitchen sink or nearby is ideal.

You can rinse rice in the Instant Pot steel inner pot or use a rice strainer like this one.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Step 2: Rinse it well

Fill the inner pot with a healthy amount of cold water. You don't need to be exact, but you should have enough liquid to submerge the grains by about 2 to 3 inches. Gently swirl the water and rice slurry with your hand. The water should quickly become cloudy or milky. Carefully drain most of the water and repeat the process. It typically takes about four rinses for water in the pot to become clear.   

There's one advantage to using that special rice up that came with your Instant Pot. Just fill the liner up to the water level that matches the cups of rice added.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Step 3: Fill the pot

Next fill the Instant Pot's liner with the rest of the water you need. Leave the wet rice in the pot and don't worry about straining it. Just add (or subtract) enough water to reach the correct line. Remember you're aiming for the line next to the number of rice cups you've added.

Now seal the lid by swiveling it closed to its locked position. Make sure the steam release valve is set to "sealing."

Step 4: Get things cooking

We'll use your Instant Pot's "Rice" cooking program. This function was designed specifically for white rice. It's an automatic cooking mode that runs between 10 to 12 minutes. When the program finishes, wait another 15 minutes for the appliance to cool down and release its internal pressure naturally.

Here's a nice, fork-fluffed batch of American-style long grain white rice.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Step 5: Fluff and enjoy

Swivel the lid open. You should be greeted by the lovely sight and smell of freshly cooked rice. Don't forget one vital step though. Grab a fork and softly run it through the bed of rice. This fluffs the grains and mixes in any residual water at the bottom of the pot.

I successfully prepared batches of American-style long grain rice this way. The same goes for short-grain Japanese rice. These are the grain types I personally eat most often. Of course, if the texture that comes out isn't to your particular liking, tweak away. Try a little less water if your results taste too soft or sticky. Go the other way if your rice is a little too al dente.

The Instant Pot can make quality Japanese-style short grain rice too. Just stick to that 1:1 ratio.

Brian Bennett/CNET