Cooking brown rice has never been easier! The InstantPot (or any pressure cooker) comes to the rescue in this recipe creating the most deliciously light and fluffy brown rice pilaf.

InstantPot Brown Rice Pilaf

Disclaimer: there are a few Amazon affiliate links for the pressure cookers below (which is where I bought mine from); feel free to shop around for the best price!

InstantPot to the rescue again! When I first posted about the InstantPot (and pressure cooking in general) over six months ago, I wondered if all the world would still be enamored with the InstantPot come mid-year. I haven’t done any type of scientific research, but judging by the number of requests I get for InstantPot/pressure cooking recipes, I’d say the love is still going strong.

I use my InstantPot and stovetop pressure cooker all the time. Several times a week, at least – and often I have both going simultaneously around dinnertime. I’m a huge fan (or perhaps just a big pressure cooking nerd), and that’s an understatement.

Here is a growing list of my favorite pressure cooker recipes.

InstantPot Brown Rice Pilaf

I’ve been making simple brown rice in the InstantPot for months now (1 1/4 cups liquid + 1 cup brown rice + pinch of salt for 22 minutes, natural release), but a few weeks ago I wanted to elevate the already delicious brown rice just a touch to go with this tender grilled salmon (heads up: that right there is a perfect combo for dinner).

Taking a minute to quickly sauté onions or shallots in butter, lightly toasting the rice and using broth instead of water, takes every day brown rice (that’s pretty stellar in the InstantPot already) and makes it a million times better.

And it’s not really any harder than my usual brown rice system. This InstantPot brown rice pilaf is good stuff and pairs well with so many dishes.

Brown rice is deliciously wholesome, but it can be a bit tricky to cook perfectly so it’s fluffy and tender (anyone who’s had to eat crunchy nubbins of brown rice due to inept cooking is totally feeling me on this issue, am I right?). Pressure cooking the brown rice into a pilaf (basically adding a bit more flavor) is the perfect solution to all brown rice woes.

What are you using your InstantPot for these days? 

One Year Ago: Healthier Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
Two Years Ago: Fresh Strawberry Gelato {i.e. Italian Ice Cream}
Three Years Ago: Grilled Honey Chicken and Veggie Kebabs

InstantPot Brown Rice Pilaf

Yield: Serves 6

InstantPot Brown Rice Pilaf

This recipe can easily be made in a stovetop pressure cooker. Decrease the cooking time to 22 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion or shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain or basmati brown rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Add the butter to the insert of the InstantPot and select the saute function. When the butter melts, add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions is starting to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in the garlic and broth.
  4. Secure the lid. Select Manual and decrease the time to 22 minutes.
  5. After the cook time is over, let the pressure naturally release. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

56 Responses to InstantPot Perfect Brown Rice Pilaf

  1. Mari says:

    Have you ever tried this with wild rice?

  2. Jamie says:

    So has anyone tried laying some chicken on this rice and cooking everything together?

  3. Amy says:

    Do you think this would work with short grain brown rice? I don’t have any long grain at the moment.

  4. Meg says:

    I’ve been making your brown rice recipe in the oven for a few years, but I’m super excited to try it in my new Instant Pot because it will be so much faster (sometimes I forget to start the brown rice in the oven early enough and am left without enough time). Yay for efficiency!

  5. Kathleen says:

    This was amazing! So simple & so good! I was able to let this rice cook on its own while i whipped up the rest of dinner (your honey garlic chicken FTW). Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Clare says:

    My kids devoured your rice. Thank you. I used Texmati rice and did 15 minutes and it was fab. They won’t eat onions (texture) but I used TJ’s riced broccoli and they didn’t even notice.

  7. Aimee says:

    Okay, Mel, I need your opinion. I believe I’m getting an InstantPot for Christmas. My 6 qt slow cooker broke. I still have a 2 qt that still feeds my young family unless there is bones in the meat. Is there anything you still recommend doing only in a slow cooker that the InstantPot can’t do? Thinking of not getting a new slow cooker to save on space.

    • Mel says:

      If it helps at all, I’ve gotten rid of my other slow cookers now that I have the IP. I really use it for everything. I will say that I’m still trying to figure out the perfect setting on the IP’s slow cooker options, but it hasn’t deterred me from still using it.

  8. Debbie says:

    I made the rice following the recipe directions and it came out perfect. What adjustments are required to ingredient quantities or cooking time to double or triple the recipe in the 6-quart IP?

    • Mel says:

      Mostly, you just want to make sure not to fill the IP more than halfway when cooking rice (same goes for beans). Otherwise, you can just double or triple all ingredients (as long as they fit in the insert).

      • Jamie says:

        I don’t fill my IP more than halfway with rice or beans, but the water line is higher than half. I have filled the waterline clear to the top line. I haven’t had a problem, but am i misinterpreting what I shouldn’t be putting past the halfway mark?
        I have read that if you don’t do natural release with rice and beans the steam valve can get clogged with starch from those foods.

  9. Gail says:

    I want to try your recipe but I am not sure if on Manual, I set the pressure at low or high.

  10. Melissa says:

    I just made this tonight and it didn’t turn out – the rice remained uncooked and the bottom of my IP liner was pretty scorched. I followed the recipe exactly — thoughts? I am not a super-experienced IP user, so I’m not sure what technical issue could have caused this, if any. The rice I used was long grain brown.

    • Melissa says:

      Never mind, I think I accidentally had it set to vent and not pressure. That would explain it, I think.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melissa – to be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve made this dozens of times without that happening – any chance your instantpot never came up to pressure? I’ve had that happen before with another recipe (the silicone ring wasn’t in tight enough) and it continued to simmer without actually cooking under pressure. Does that make sense?

    • Jamie says:

      You might have also left it on saute instead of stopping your IP after sauteing and then restarting as pressure cooker.
      Try again! It is great!

  11. Tristina says:

    This was such a hit – thank you!! I served it with your orange glazed meatballs and my family gobbled it up. I even sent some of the unglazed meatballs (with ketchup) and some of the rice pilaf in m y kids lunches the next day – they loved it!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Keep the instant pot recipes coming, please!! I, like many of the commenters am new to owning one. I would love a post on the ins and outs, and tips and tricks you have discovered along the way, if you are willing!

  13. Melanie says:

    I know you are into food storage, so here is my question: how do you store brown rice? I had mine stored in an airtight bucket but when I checked it last night, it had gone rancid. Is it best to just buy smaller bags and store it in the freezer? Got to go get some so I can try this recipe! Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melanie, that’s a great question. I usually buy it in bulk at Winco (a grocery store in my area) and store it in little 1-gallon buckets in my pantry (and use it as we make recipes). So I haven’t stored it longterm yet to see how it would fare. But I want to! Especially because I’d rather have brown rice than white rice in my longterm food storage. Rainy Day Foods (Walton Feed) sells it in sealed, large super pails. My plan is to order some the next time the food storage gals in my area put in an order. That way I can have it sealed for longterm storage and I’ll probably continue to buy it from Winco for our current eating. Does that help?

    • J says:

      Unfortunately, brown rice only keeps for 6-8 months because of its oil content, which hasn’t been stripped away, as it has in white rice. If it is refrigerated or vacuum packed it will last longer, but I’m not sure how long.

    • Jamie says:

      I have some white rice in my long-term storage, but unfortunately, if you’re going to have brown rice for more than about 6 months, you have to store it in the freezer. I, too, am frustrated by this. I wish rice was like wheat and didn’t go rancid.

  14. Lindsay says:

    Okay, Mel, help me out here. Just got an Instant Pot a couple months ago. I’ve used it twice, but I was disappointed enough that I haven’t been super motivated to pull it out since.

    I used it once for your semi-recent chicken curry that had coconut milk and tomatoes in it. The dish was good, but it felt like it would have been faster to make on the stove: by the time the thing achieved pressure, cooked, then released pressure, then achieved pressure, cooked, and released pressure again, it… well, it wasn’t nearly as fast as I was expecting.

    I also used it to make rice once. Again, the whole building up pressure + cook time + naturally releasing pressure made me feel like my old rice cooker would have been a lot faster.

    What am I missing here? I thought pressure cookers were faster–and as far as cook time goes, they are–but with all the other time added in for it to do its thing, it feels like I’m waiting around a lot more. (Plus, I am a cooking control freak who likes to check on my food as it cooks, so the whole guesstimating the time so you don’t overcook the chicken is a bit stressful, but I recognize that’s a whole other issue!)

    Don’t mean to put this all on you, but am I looking at this wrong? Short of using the Instant Pot to make applesauce or a pot roast, does it really and truly actually save you time?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Lindsay – I totally get what you are saying! The first time I used my pressure cooker (not an electric one, just an old-fashioned stovetop) I was like, what am I missing here? It does take time to come up to pressure and then cook and then release pressure. So all those recipes that say “3-minute steel cut oats” are flat out lying in the time department (it will take about 25 minutes start to finish to cook up those oats). I was a skeptic for a long time, even after I got the InstantPot because all the claims of fast cooking seemed to leave me with unmet expectations. For me, the main reason I use and love my InstantPot is because it is entirely hands off. Granted, I didn’t have a rice cooker before this, but I can put the rice in and let it be without fussing over the stovetop to make sure it doesn’t boil over. I think where the InstantPot saves time is with meat, especially roasts and the like. I can make BBQ pulled pork as tender as a slow cooked pork roast in 45 minutes vs 8 hours. But yes, for the faster dishes already (like rice, oats, even some main dishes like the chicken curry), what you get with the InstantPot is no-fuss, hands-off cooking.

      Does that help at all? I’m fully confident you can grow to love your InstantPot (if you find things that are more your style to cook in it; I fully fell in love when I made cheesecake in the InstantPot) but you don’t have to feel the pressure (haha, pun intended) to use it for every single recipe that ever comes out of your kitchen. It’s definitely a different fit for everyone depending on how they want to use it.

      • Lindsay says:

        Thanks for the response, Mel–I feel validated. Now that I have more accurate expectations, I’ll dust it off and try again! We don’t make many roasts, but I think that would be an excellent thing to try next.

        • J says:

          I love my pressure cooker for making pinto beans. They are done in 45 minutes instead of all day in the crock pot. I also like it for “baked” potatoes. I don’t have to wrap them in foil, the skins turn out tender, and they are done in a jiffy. If you like crispy skins you can rub them in oil and throw them on the grill or under the broiler for a few minutes.

    • Liz says:

      I make several things in the instant pot that do not save time, but will re-iterate what Mel said … hands off and walk away. Additionally, this time of year, at least with the electric pcs – no added heat to the kitchen.

      Example: I cook the equivalent of 2 whole chickens per week … mostly for my older dog with an iffy stomach. No saved time, especially as I could roast 2 at a time in the oven. BUT, I’m going for tender shredded chicken and it somehow feels easier in the instant pot and I prefer the cleanup with the ip vs a roasting pan. AND the chicken is so moist and shreddable vs roasted or even poached. (**if you want a pretty chicken for the table use the oven 🙂 )

      For myself, I found that once I had the time dialed in for what I make often – and I kept a lot of notes as I was trying things – I AM able to walk away and I’ve had no overcooking issues.

      All of that said, it still comes down to cook’s preference. I consider myself an accomplished cook and baker but I don’t have a stand mixer which most would say is something they would not live without. But, I bake/cook for 1 person vs family and/or groups. My instant pot cooking tends to be separate items: chicken, roasts, rice, beans, pasta, veg (steamed which is no faster than mwave or stovetop, but I like the ip consistency). I store or freeze and then pull meals together from those items.

      Hope you find some ways of using the Instant Pot that you like!

  15. Tami says:

    I laughed out loud because last night we just had “crunchy nubbins of brown rice due to [my] inept cooking”! I absolutely need to try this recipe! Thanks

  16. Lynn says:

    Mel, I love your blog, your recipes, your openness! Just splurged and bought myself an Instant Pot and its sat on my counter for 2 wks. No one in my family (aunts, grandmothers etc) ever used a pressure cooker. They were all afraid of it exploding so this is new to me and this is why altho I am wanting to use it, I am a bit hesitant. I want to/ am going to roast a chicken this wkend. Thanks for the nudge

  17. Keri says:

    I don’t have an instant pot, just a stovetop pressure cooker. Is the time to cook once it is up to pressure 22 minutes?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Keri – great question! I had a note in the recipe about this but for some reason it didn’t publish. I added it again, but yes, you can definitely make this in a stovetop pressure cooker. Decrease the cooking time to 20 minutes (and also moderate the heat at the beginning so it doesn’t burn on the bottom).

  18. Kate says:

    I am a brand new and enthusiastic InstantPot owner. I can’t wait to make both your simple brown rice and this brown rice pilaf, plus all of your other pressure cooker recipes! Can you please advise me on how I can make an IP rice or potato recipe AND a protein dish for the same meal? I’m thinking I can make one, wipe the insert out and make the other, keeping the first warm in a low-temp oven. Have you found a best practice way to do this? I would love to buy two IPs, but storage is an issue.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kate – sounds like making one and keeping it warm is the best bet! I have a stovetop pressure cooker also so if I want to make two pressure cooking recipes, I use the InstantPot and my stovetop model.

      • Mel says:

        Also, you may not need to full InstantPots – I know they sell the inserts separately so if you bought a 2nd insert, that could help a little.

        • Kate says:

          Thanks so much for the suggestions, Mel. This brown rice pilaf is splendid and by far the best brown rice I’ve ever made. Served it alongside your divine broccoli beef and my family loved the two together! So nice to have the rice cooking perfectly in the background while I made the stir fry.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve read about a technique which I haven’t tried myself… this is for beans and rice but if it works could probably be adapted to meat. The beans and water go in as normal, the rice goes in it’s own stainless steel bowl with usual rice-water ratio. Beans and rice are about the same time 20-25 minutes so they both cook fine together.

      With a meat that needed a longer time, I would try releasing pressure at the 20 minute to done mark and adding the rice and water in it’s own bowl then.

      I usually cook an amount of rice, freeze some, refrigerate some and warm it up when needed. The main thing holding me back from trying this method, though, is a stainless steel bowl that fits in the instant pot 🙂 I guess the other issue might be room in the instant pot if cooking family sized portions of meat and rice…

  19. Holly says:

    I recently got an instant pot and am loving your recipes! Do you do the natural pressure release with the instant pot on the automatic keep warm setting or do you turn it off after the 22 minutes?

    • Mel says:

      If I’m gone, I let the warm setting kick in (the pressure will still release on this setting), otherwise, I turn it off and let it release.

  20. LauraT says:

    Thank you for taking the extra time to create and post pressure cooker recipes. I bought mine on a stellar deal on Amazon Prime Day and am loving the food it creates. Although I am new, I appreciate having another way to make awesome food with your recipes.

  21. Lisa says:

    Thanks. Always helpful to have a staple recipe on hand.

  22. Desiree says:

    Yay!! I just used my Instant Pot for the first time last night and made beef brisket. I’m going to try this rice tonight!
    Thanks Mel!!!

  23. Liz says:

    I’ll try not to write a short novel here! I loved the Instant Pot before (purchased Jan of this year), but I am REALLY loving it this summer as I don’t have to add heat to the kitchen for so many things, but my summer favorites are:

    pasta: 6-7 min 1 part pasta, 2 parts salty water quick release. I usually dunk the pasta in ice water and then refrigerate for use in cold salad mixes but it is also good for a hot dish (Corn, bacon, parmesan pasta is making the internet rounds lately and good!)

    sweet corn and corn broth: steam (medium pressure) 2 minutes, quick release. I use 1 cup water per ear of corn and my corn is coming with slightly trimmed husks. Put the cobs back in the pressure cooker with more water and manual/20 min/natural release. Strain and you have delicious corn broth.

    Beets – instead of an hour in the oven, put 3-5 of similar size in steamer basket, manual, 22 minutes, natural release.

    I do whole chickens per your method: 8 min per pound for shredded chicken. For the brown rice, I found I needed about 25 min so just a heads up for others if it isn’t how you’d like it, experiment. I don’t know if it is my little bit of altitude (3350 feet) or just me or just my instant pot. I hadn’t thought of a pilaf IN the pot – thanks, Mel! Oh, and I saw Hawaiian Fried Rice in the Weekly menu – sounds like a great option for leftover rice.

    • Mel says:

      Always love your tips, Liz – especially for the InstantPot. Thanks for sharing! That’s good to know about the brown rice…I wonder if that does have something do with elevation? Hmmm, interesting!

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