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A close up of a bowl of yellow easy Instant Pot pilau rice.
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4.85 from 20 votes

Easy Instant Pot Pilau Rice

Easy Instant Pot Pilau Rice is a faster way of making this tasty spiced Indian rice dish. Cook in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker for 3 minutes, then leave for a natural pressure release for 15-20 minutes.
Servings: 4
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 mins
NPR15 mins
Total Time23 mins


  • 1 tbs Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Onion - (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Cardamom pods
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice - 200g
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock or Broth - 240ml
  • 2 Bay leaves


  • Pour the oil into the bottom of the Instant Pot cooking pot. Set the machine onto the low sauté function. Crack the cardamom pod in a pestle and mortar or on a chopping board with the side of a heavy knife. Add the cardamom, turmeric and cumin to the oil and fry for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add the finely chopped onion along with the spices and cook with them until soft.
  • Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the spice and oil mixture
  • Pour over the stock, add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and give a quick stir. Add a little salt.
  • Programme the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes with the keep warm function switched on.
  • Once cooked allow a natural pressure release (NPR) for 18 minutes. The rice will have absorbed all the liquid.
  • Fluff with a fork before serving.


To prevent a burn error
  • Sauté on low and switch off before you add the rice.  If the pot is too hot the stock will boil when you add it too much will evaporate and you won't have enough liquid. If this happens add another 1/4 cup of water.
  • After adding the liquid scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure there isn't any onion or spices stuck to the bottom.
Recipe variations
  • You can leave the onion out for an even simpler dish.
  • When cooking recipes that use half an onion, I dice one whole onion, and freeze what I haven't used in an airtight container. Onion fries well from frozen; it's a great time saver.
  • You can of course use different spices.  How about half a lemon rind to make lemon rice?
  • There is no need to rinse the rice.  However, if you do rinse the rice then reduce the amount of stock by 2 tbs
  • The rule for cooking rice in an Instant Pot is to use the same quantity of liquid to rice by volume.
  • Make ahead, cool and keep in the fridge for no more than 48 hours.
  • Leftovers can be frozen - Pack into an empty takeaway container, allow to cool and then freeze.
  • Use hot broth or stock so the Instant Pot comes to pressure quicker and speeds up the total cooking time.   
  • You can increase quantities, but don't make less of this recipe as the Instant Pot needs a full cup of liquid to come to pressure.  If in doubt check the user manual for your electric pressure cooker.
Nutritional Information
  • This recipe is worth 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion
• Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
• Unless stated otherwise cup conversions have been made with an online tool. For accuracy please check with your favoured conversion tool. We recommend buying inexpensive digital kitchen scales.
Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Pilau Rice, Homemade Pilau Rice, Pilau Rice