Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice. Looking for a healthy side dish, especially for a curry or dal, ready in about a half an hour? Pressure cook a pot of brown basmati rice.
whole grains, still wrapped in their bran coating, and, as someone who grew up in the big Bran Fiber boom of the 90s, I know all about its health benefits. The problem is how much time it takes to cook brown rice. Stovetop white rice takes 30 minutes in the background while I prepare the rest of the meal. Brown rice is an hour or more on the stovetop. Or, it was, until my pressure cooker came along. I get my healthy brown rice in 30 minutes, matching my weeknight cooking style.
Now, I've covered Instant Pot Rice, like Brown Jasmine rice and White Rice on the blog before, so I keep getting questions about brown Basmati rice. I'm writing this recipe to point people toward it when they ask.
Basmati rice and Jasmine rice cook the same because they are both long-grained rice. There is a subtle flavor difference; I can easily taste the difference between jasmine and basmati rice, but I don't have the words to explain them. It's like the difference between Indian and Thai curries - a lot is going on, and they're obviously different, but I don't know how to explain it.
White Basmati Rice vs. Brown Basmati Rice
White and Brown Basmati Rice are the same rice species from the Indian subcontinent, with a distinctive nutty taste that other rice varieties don't have. White rice is processed to remove the hull, bran, and germ. Brown rice only has the hull removed; the "brown" in brown rice is the bran, still coating the rice. That difference in processing is why brown rice is a whole grain and healthier eating than white rice.
- Brown basmati rice (Or long grain brown rice)
- Fine sea salt
- Butter (or ghee, optional)
- Ground turmeric (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice
Rice in the pot: Stir the rice, water, salt, and (optional) butter into an Instant Pot.
Pressure cook the rice for 20 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes in an Instant Pot. (Use Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook -custom mode.) Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes (If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 10 minutes).
Yellow a handful of rice (optional): In a small bowl, Stir the ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric in 2 tablespoons of water until it dissolves. Add ¼ cup of the cooked rice to the bowl, toss to coat with the turmeric water, and let it sit for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, to absorb the color.
Serve: Fluff the rice with a fork, stir in the yellowed rice, and serve. Enjoy!
Turmeric Soak for Color: When I was testing this recipe, I wanted to have the sprinkling of yellow grains in the rice that I get at my local Indian restaurant. That yellow color comes from soaking a little of the cooked rice in turmeric, then mixing it back into the larger batch of white rice. I tried this with brown rice, and the difference is barely noticeable. (The picture above is from when I used the technique. I can see the yellow grains, but it's very subtle.) I have the turmeric soak as an optional step.
Soaking basmati rice: I also investigated soaking the basmati rice before cooking. Some recipes made a big deal about soaking to keep the grains separate. I didn't see much difference in the final product in my testing. So, I don't bother with soaking the rice. (If your Indian auntie insists you must soak your rice, don't let me stop you. I don't want the Indian aunties coming after me.)
Vegan: If you want a Vegan version of the recipe, skip the butter, or replace it with a neutral vegetable oil like canola oil.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Brown Rice
This rice makes a great side dish with Indian-style curries. I usually turn to my Instant Pot Quick Lentil Curry on weeknights or my Instant Pot Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans (Dal Makhani) when I'm feeling fancier.
Cooked rice does not keep for long. It carries bacteria spores (Bacillus cereus) that multiply in warm temperatures. To store cooked rice, cool it down quickly in the refrigerator, or freeze it within an hour of cooking. Store refrigerated rice for 2-3 days or frozen rice for up to 3 months, and make sure to reheat it completely (to at least 165°F) before eating. (Source: Safe Handling of Cooked Rice, University of Wisconsin Extension).Print
Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice Recipe
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice. Looking for a healthy side dish, especially for a curry or dal, ready in about a half an hour? Pressure cook a pot of brown rice.
- 2 cups brown basmati rice (Or long grain brown rice)
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon butter (or ghee, optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
- Rice in the pot: Stir the rice, water, salt, and (optional) butter into an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook the rice for 20 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 16 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes (If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 10 minutes).
- Yellow a handful of rice (optional): In a small bowl, Stir the ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric in 2 tablespoons of water until it dissolves. Add ¼ cup of the cooked rice to the bowl, toss to coat with the turmeric water, and let it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, to absorb the color.
- Serve: Fluff the rice with a fork, stir in the yellowed rice, and serve. Enjoy!
Make sure you get fresh brown basmati rice - the bran and wheat germ give it health benefits over white rice, but also contain oils that go rancid after about 6 months in the pantry. Try to get your rice from a store with a lot of turnover - I pick mine up from local health food stores or Indian specialty groceries - and get it in smaller quantities. (I know that big bag of rice looks like a deal, but it's not if I have to throw most of it away.) If you need to extend the shelf life, store uncooked brown rice in the fridge or freezer, which gives it about a year before it starts to turn.
6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: Instant Pot Brown Basmati Rice, Pressure Cooker Brown Basmati Rice
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Pressure Cooker Brown Jasmine Rice
Instant Pot Coconut Brown Rice
Instant Pot Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans (Dal Makhani)
Pressure Cooker Rice
Easy Instant Pot Coconut Rice
My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes
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Have you experimented with cool times for making half as much rice?
Mike Vrobel says
It takes the same amount of time
This is my go-to EVERY time I make brown basmati rice... you'd think I'd remember the very few steps with the number of times I've made it. This receipt turns out perfect. Thank you for the simplicity of it!
Mike Vrobel says
Mike from Austin says
I thought that I had the time for Instant Pot Brown Basmati rice recorded somewhere. I didn't. I Googled and got complete nonsense with WAY too much verbiage that never cut to the chase. Your posts are the perfect balance between story and recipe, and are easier and better tested than some commercial websites. (I left you Cooks Illustrated.) I thought, "Mike probably has something on this!". (After all, it was you who turned me onto the Instant Pot after I had burned through three stove-top pressure cookers. (One a vintage model that I got from my mother-in-law.) I love putting something on and not having to monitor it. Let me know the next time that you head to Austin. (I know that you do come here, but that your schedule is often intense.) You're still my go-to guy for recipes and techniques, and the reason I have a Weber rotisserie. (Charcoal rules!)
Mike from Austin
Mike Vrobel says
Mike, thank you for the kind words, and I’m glad my recipes are working so well for you!
Caryn Hart says
Just want to know if you wash the rice before cooking it.
Mike Vrobel says
No, I don't - straight into the pot.