Learn how to cook brown rice in the Instant Pot! The process is almost entirely hands-off, and the rice comes out tender and fluffy every time.
If there’s one recipe that made me an Instant Pot convert, it was this Instant Pot brown rice. Let’s be honest: cooking brown rice on the stove is no one’s favorite thing to do. It requires 40+ minutes of hovering nearby, nudging the heat up and down to keep the pot at a lively simmer. But this Instant Pot brown rice recipe is almost entirely hands-off. Once you get it going, you can focus on making the rest of your meal without giving the rice a second thought, knowing that it’ll come out fluffy, tender, and perfectly cooked. Try it once, and you’ll never cook brown rice any other way.
How to Cook Brown Rice in the Instant Pot
To make this Instant Pot brown rice recipe, you’ll just need two ingredients: short-grain or long-grain brown rice and water.
Before you add the rice to the Instant Pot, make sure to rinse it thoroughly. This step removes starches from the rice’s surface that can cause it to become super-sticky and gummy when cooked. To rinse rice, I like to place it in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Then, I run it under cold water until the water in the bowl runs clear.
After you rinse the rice, place it in the Instant Pot. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of water for every 2 cups of rice. You might notice that this ratio of water to rice is lower than what you’d use if you were cooking the rice on the stove. That’s because much less water evaporates from the Instant Pot, so you don’t need as much to cook fluffy, tender rice.
Once you add the water, it’s time to cook! Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, and Pressure Cook on High for 20 minutes. The entire cooking process will be longer than this, as it’ll take a few minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure. When the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. This will take about another 20 minutes, giving the rice a chance to steam and absorb any water remaining in the pot.
When the float valve drops, remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and enjoy!
Instant Pot Brown Rice Tips
- Let the pressure release naturally. Think about cooking brown rice on the stove: after the rice simmers, you remove it from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. In this Instant Pot brown rice recipe, allowing the pressure to release naturally achieves something similar. It gives the rice a chance to fully absorb the liquid in the pot, becoming fluffy and tender instead of mushy or water-logged. If you quick-release the pressure instead, you might end up with excess water (or undercooked rice) in the pot.
- A bigger batch works better. I have a 6-quart Instant Pot, and I’ve found that I need to cook at least 2 cups of rice at a time for it to cook evenly without burning. If your Instant Pot is 6 quarts or larger, you’ll need to do the same. If you have a smaller, 3-quart Instant Pot, 1 cup of rice might work just fine.
- Freeze the leftovers. This Instant Pot brown rice freezes perfectly! If you’re not going to eat it all within a few days, spread it in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze for 2 hours. Then, transfer the rice to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. It reheats quickly in the microwave. I love to keep a stash on hand for adding to grain bowls and salads or serving with curries and stir-fries.
More Favorite Cooking Basics
If you love this Instant Pot brown rice recipe, try cooking one of these grains or legumes next:
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Forbidden Black Rice
- Wheat Berries
- Creamy Polenta
Instant Pot Brown Rice
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice, well-rinsed
- 2½ cups water
- Combine the rinsed rice and water in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Secure the lid and Pressure Cook on High for 20 minutes.
- Allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. This will take 20-30 minutes. When the float valve drops, remove the lid.
- Fluff the rice and enjoy.