Instant Pot Brown Rice – How to cook brown rice in an Instant Pot perfectly every time +3 ways to flavor it–Cilantro Lime, Garlic Herb & Coconut Ginger!
Confession: I’m usually more of a white rice kinda girl. Anyone else?
There are benefits to both kinds of rice. White rice is often easier for many folks to digest and lighter in taste & texture. Brown rice is heartier, with more fiber & protein and a slower impact on blood sugar.
We’ve been cooking up brown rice a little more often lately as we use up our pantry staples, and today, I’m going to show you my favorite way to cook brown rice: in the Instant Pot!
Here’s how to make perfectly cooked Instant Pot Brown Rice + 3 yummy ways to flavor it when you could use a little flavor boost.
Here’s all you need to get started…
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE INSTANT POT BROWN RICE:
- AN INSTANT POT! I use the 6-quart size and have loved it for everything we’ve tried, from big batches of chili, to soups, sauces, pasta, beans, oatmeal, and more. (You can use other pressure cookers, but the timing and button directions will vary.)
- UNCOOKED BROWN RICE. I generally use long-grain brown rice varieties, like brown basmati.
- WATER OR LOW-SODIUM BROTH. I most often cook my rice in water, but broth will add another layer of flavor if you go that route. (Note: you WILL be able to taste the broth in the rice, so only use it if you like the flavor of the broth!)
- SALT. Then, to add flavor, I like adding salt to my Instant Pot Brown Rice.
HOW TO COOK BROWN RICE IN THE INSTANT POT, STEP-BY-STEP:
- RINSE THE RICE in a fine-mesh sieve for at least 30-60 seconds, or until the water runs clear. (This will remove excess starch and prevent your rice from being sticky.)
- POUR RINSED RICE INTO YOUR INSTANT POT.
- POUR WATER OVER THE RICE, being sure to cover it.
- ADD SALT and cover with the lid.
- SECURE THE LID & CHECK THE VENT. Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and double-check that the pressure valve is set to “SEALING” not “VENTING” (otherwise, it’ll never come to pressure!)
- PRESS “PRESSURE COOK” BUTTON & SET TIMER FOR 20 MINUTES. Cook rice on manual pressure (labeled “pressure cook”) for 20 minutes.
- NATURAL RELEASE STEAM for 10-12 minutes.
- QUICK-RELEASE REMAINING STEAM. After 10-12 minutes of natural pressure release, quick-release any remaining steam.
- Press CANCEL to turn off the heat. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
(Note: If your rice isn’t quite tender, add 1 Tbsp. water to the pan and seal the lid with the heat off. Let the residual heat from the pan steam the rice for 2-3 minutes more before opening the lid and checking again.)
Once you have perfectly cooked Instant Pot Brown Rice, you can enjoy it plain, or try one of my 3 yummy flavors…
FLAVOR 1: CILANTRO LIME BROWN RICE
To make cilantro lime brown rice, I add the juice of 1/2-1 lime + 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro to the rice. (For even more pronounced flavor, you can add a little lime zest, too!).
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice goes especially nicely with anything in the Tex-Mex family. It’s a great side dish paired with some black beans, or as a building block for burrito bowls.
WE LIKE CILANTRO LIME BROWN RICE WITH:
- Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas
- The Best Fish Tacos
- Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos
- Cafe Rio Sweet & Spicy Pork
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Honey Lime Tilapia or cod
FLAVOR 2: GARLIC HERB BROWN RICE
To make Instant Pot garlic herb brown rice, I melt a little butter or ghee (you can use olive oil for a vegan version!) in a small pan on the stovetop and add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1-2 tsp. freeze-dried parsley), 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and stir to infuse the butter. When the rice is done, just stir the melted herb butter into the rice!
This flavorful garlic herb brown rice is absolutely lovely as a side dish. Serve it with roasted veggies to make Buddha bowls, or alongside your favorite proteins–fish, grilled chicken, steak, chicken sausage, etc. I sometimes add toasted almonds for a little crunch!
WE LIKE GARLIC HERB BROWN RICE WITH:
- Pecan Crusted Chicken
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
- Easy Bruschetta Chicken
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Tenders
- Meatloaf Minis with BBQ Sauce
FLAVOR 3: COCONUT GINGER BROWN RICE
To make coconut ginger brown rice, I add 1/2 tsp. fresh (or frozen!) ginger to water or broth before pouring over the rice. When the rice is finished cooking, stir in 2-3 Tbsp. of toasted coconut. (I toast coconut in a dry pan on the stovetop for 5-6 minutes, or till it’s golden.)
This slightly sweet toasted coconut ginger brown rice is lovely paired with spicier dishes (like curries), in tropical applications (like island rice bowls), or with Asian-inspired dishes, like stir-fries.
WE LIKE COCONUT GINGER BROWN RICE WITH:
- Butternut Squash Curry
- Chicken Satay With Creamy Peanut Sauce
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce + Your Favorite Veggie Stir-Fry
- Healthy Beef & Broccoli
- Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
- Healthy Sesame Chicken
FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST INSTANT POT BROWN RICE:
DON’T FORGET TO RINSE YOUR RICE! For perfectly plump brown rice, you really don’t want to skip the rinsing step before cooking. It’ll remove extra starch and keep your rice from getting sticky or gluey.
MY RICE ISN’T *QUITE* DONE YET…HELP! Different varieties (and even brands!) of rice can vary slightly in their cook times. If your rice is slightly underdone after cooking, don’t panic! Just add 1 Tbsp. water to the rice in the Instant Pot, seal the lid, and let the rice rest for a few minutes before opening again. This will allow it to steam and soften further.
HOW TO FREEZE COOKED BROWN RICE. Cooked brown rice freezes BEAUTIFULLY. I scoop cooked, cooled rice into freezer-safe containers or freezer-safe bags (my preference), and pop them in the freezer. When I use containers, I leave a tiny amount of space at the top to allow for any expansion during freezing. With bags, I press any excess air out of the bag and lay the bags flat. Once they’re frozen, they’ll thaw faster and store better in the freezer! To thaw, just place in the refrigerator a few hours before reheating.
MORE KITCHEN TIPS TO TRY:
- How to Keep Cilantro Fresh for About 2 Weeks!
- Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats + 7 Flavors to Try
- The BEST Way to Mix Natural Peanut Butter
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies, Baking + More!
HELPFUL FOR INSTANT POT BROWN RICE: