How to Cook Rice in a Pressure Cooker with Perfect Seasoning

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Rice, a staple in many cuisines worldwide, often seems simple enough to prepare. Yet, achieving that perfect, fluffy consistency paired with impeccable flavor can sometimes be elusive. Enter the pressure cooker—a kitchen marvel that promises perfectly cooked rice in a fraction of the time.

But how do you harness its power while also infusing your rice with mouthwatering flavors? Let’s delve deep into the art of cooking rice in a pressure cooker, offering tips, seasoning combinations, and the nuances of when to introduce those flavors.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned chef, this guide will elevate your rice game, ensuring every grain is cooked to perfection.

Why Use a Pressure Cooker for Rice?

Pressure cookers utilize steam pressure to cook food faster than traditional methods. When it comes to rice, this means less waiting time and consistent results. Whether you’re cooking white, brown, or wild rice, the pressure cooker ensures that each grain is tender and separate.

How to Cook Rice in a Pressure Cooker with Rice Seasoning


  1. Rice (Basmati, Jasmine, or any preferred variety) – 2 cups
  2. Water – 2.5 cups (adjust based on the type of rice and desired consistency)
  3. Rice seasoning (store-bought or homemade) – 1 to 2 tablespoons
  4. Salt (optional) – to taste
  5. Oil or butter (optional) – 1 tablespoon


  1. Preparation: a. Measure out the rice using a measuring cup. b. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky. c. Drain the rice well using a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Seasoning Preparation (if making homemade seasoning): a. In a small bowl, combine your choice of dried herbs, spices, and salt. Common ingredients include dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Cooking the Rice: a. Open the pressure cooker and add the rinsed rice. b. Pour in the measured water. c. If using, add the oil or butter. This can give the rice a richer flavor and prevent sticking. d. Sprinkle the rice seasoning evenly over the rice. If you’re using store-bought seasoning, follow the recommended amount on the package. Adjust to taste. e. Stir gently to ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  4. Setting the Pressure Cooker: a. Secure the lid of the pressure cooker, ensuring the vent is in the sealed position. b. Set the pressure cooker to the “Rice” setting. If your pressure cooker doesn’t have a specific rice setting, set it to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. c. Start the pressure cooker.
  5. Natural Release: a. Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure cooker to release pressure naturally for about 10 minutes. b. After 10 minutes, carefully release any remaining pressure by turning the vent to the venting position.
  6. Fluff and Serve: a. Once all the pressure is released, carefully open the lid. b. Use a fork to fluff the rice gently, ensuring it’s well-separated and fluffy. c. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. d. Transfer the rice to a serving dish and serve hot.


  • The water-to-rice ratio may vary depending on the type of rice and the brand of the pressure cooker. It’s a good idea to consult the pressure cooker’s manual for specific guidelines.
  • For added flavor, you can use broth instead of water.
  • Feel free to customize the rice seasoning based on your preferences.

Enjoy your perfectly cooked seasoned rice!

How Long Can You Leave The Rice On Warm Setting Before Serving

Most modern pressure cookers come with a “Keep Warm” setting that automatically activates after the cooking cycle is complete. This feature is designed to keep your food at a safe temperature for serving without overcooking it. Here’s what you need to know about leaving rice in the pressure cooker on the “Keep Warm” setting:

  1. Duration: You can generally leave the rice in the pressure cooker on the “Keep Warm” setting for up to 4-6 hours. However, the optimal time for best taste and texture is usually within the first 1-2 hours.
  2. Texture Changes: The longer the rice stays on the “Keep Warm” setting, the more moisture it will lose. This can cause the rice to become drier and slightly overcooked at the bottom, where it’s in direct contact with the pot.
  3. Safety: From a food safety perspective, the “Keep Warm” setting maintains the rice at a temperature above 140°F (60°C), which is considered safe to prevent bacterial growth. However, it’s always best to serve and consume the rice within a few hours for the best quality.
  4. Recommendation: If you know you won’t be serving the rice immediately after cooking, it’s a good idea to fluff it with a fork after the pressure releases. This will help prevent the rice from becoming too compacted or sticky. Then, you can leave it on the “Keep Warm” setting until you’re ready to serve.
  5. Storing Leftovers: If you don’t plan to eat the rice within the 4-6 hour window, it’s best to transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. Cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 days. Always reheat leftovers to a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) before consuming.

Remember, the exact duration and results might vary based on the specific brand and model of your pressure cooker, so it’s a good idea to consult the user manual for any specific guidelines or recommendations.

Rice Serving Chart (1:1 Water-to-Rice Ratio)

Number of PeopleCups of RiceCups of Water


  • The above chart assumes that each person consumes approximately 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, which typically yields about 1/2 cup of cooked rice. This is a standard serving size for many adults.
  • Adjustments may be needed based on the specific type of rice, the cooking method, and individual preferences.
  • If you’re serving rice as a main dish or if you have big eaters, you might want to increase the amount of rice per person.
  • The 1:1 ratio is a general guideline. Depending on the type of rice and the desired texture, you might need to adjust the water-to-rice ratio. Always refer to the rice packaging or specific recipe for best results.

Different Ways to Flavor Rice

  1. Broths and Liquids:
    • Vegetable Broth: Replace water with an equal amount of vegetable broth for a savory, umami flavor.
    • Chicken or Beef Broth: Use chicken or beef broth instead of water for a meaty depth of flavor.
    • Coconut Milk: Replace half of the water with coconut milk for a creamy, tropical flavor. Great for dishes like Thai coconut rice.
  2. Seasoning Combinations:
    • Herbaceous Rice:
      • 1 tsp dried basil
      • 1 tsp dried oregano
      • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
      • Salt to taste
    • Garlic Butter Rice:
      • 2 tbsp butter (melted)
      • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
      • Salt to taste
    • Cumin and Turmeric Rice (Yellow Rice):
      • 1 tsp ground cumin
      • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      • Salt to taste
    • Lemon Herb Rice:
      • Zest of 1 lemon
      • 1 tbsp lemon juice
      • 1 tsp dried rosemary or thyme
      • Salt to taste
    • Spicy Mexican Rice:
      • 1 tsp chili powder
      • 1/2 tsp paprika
      • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
      • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional for extra heat)
      • Salt to taste
    • Asian-inspired Rice:
      • 1 tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 tsp sesame oil
      • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
      • 1-2 green onions, finely chopped
    • Mediterranean Rice:
      • 1 tsp dried oregano
      • 1/2 tsp dried basil
      • 1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
      • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (add after cooking)
      • Salt to taste
  3. Add-ins:
    • Vegetable Rice: Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped mixed vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers.
    • Nutty Rice: Stir in 1/4 cup of toasted almonds, cashews, or pine nuts after cooking.
    • Fruity Rice: Add 1/4 cup of dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, or apricots for a sweet and savory combination.
    • Mushroom Rice: Sauté 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms in butter or oil and mix them into the rice.


  • Always adjust seasonings to taste. The measurements provided are a starting point and can be modified based on personal preferences.
  • For even more flavor, consider sautéing the rice in a bit of oil or butter before adding the water and seasonings. This toasting process can enhance the rice’s nutty flavors.
  • Fresh herbs can be used in place of dried ones, but you’ll typically need to use about three times the amount.

Whether you add the seasoning to the pressure cooker before cooking or mix it in after depends on the type of seasoning and the desired outcome. Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Before Cooking in the Pressure Cooker:
    • Broths and Liquids: Always add these before cooking. For example, if you’re using vegetable broth, chicken broth, beef broth, or coconut milk, replace the water with these liquids and cook the rice in them.
    • Dry Seasonings: Spices like cumin, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, and ground ginger can be added before cooking. They infuse the rice with flavor as it cooks.
    • Aromatics: Ingredients like minced garlic, chopped onions, or sliced ginger can be sautéed in a bit of oil or butter at the bottom of the pressure cooker before adding the rice and water. This enhances their flavor and aroma.
    • Salt: If you’re salting your rice, it’s best to add it before cooking so the rice grains absorb the salt and are seasoned evenly.
  2. After Cooking in the Pressure Cooker:
    • Fresh Herbs: Ingredients like chopped cilantro, parsley, or green onions are best added after cooking to retain their fresh flavor and vibrant color.
    • Citrus Zest or Juice: Lemon or lime zest and juice can be stirred into the rice after it’s cooked to add a fresh and zesty flavor.
    • Butter or Oils: While you can cook rice with butter or oil, adding a dollop of butter or a drizzle of sesame oil after cooking can enhance the rice’s richness and flavor.
    • Cheese: If you’re making a cheesy rice dish, like the Mediterranean rice with feta mentioned earlier, it’s best to stir in the cheese after the rice is cooked to avoid potential scorching or uneven melting.
    • Nuts and Dried Fruits: Toasted nuts and dried fruits can be mixed into the rice after cooking for added texture and flavor.

For most seasonings, especially dry spices and broths, it’s beneficial to add them before cooking in the pressure cooker to infuse the rice with flavor. However, fresh and delicate ingredients, or those that provide a finishing touch, are best added after cooking.

The Arsenic Concern in Rice

What is Arsenic?

Arsenic is a toxic trace element found naturally in the environment. Its levels have increased due to pollution. There are two forms of arsenic:

  • Organic arsenic: Found mostly in animals and plants.
  • Inorganic arsenic: More toxic and appears in water, soil, and rocks.

Why is Arsenic Present in Rice?

Rice tends to have higher levels of inorganic arsenic compared to other foods. This is due to several factors:

  • Rice paddy fields may accumulate arsenic in their soil.
  • Rice easily absorbs arsenic from the water and soil it’s grown in.
  • In some regions, the irrigation water is contaminated with high levels of arsenic.

Health Implications of Arsenic

Long-term consumption of inorganic arsenic can lead to health problems like cancers, heart disease, nerve damage, and impaired intellectual function in children. It’s also linked to birth defects during pregnancy.

Reducing Arsenic Levels in Rice

Washing and cooking rice with plenty of clean water can help reduce arsenic levels. This method is effective for both white and brown rice. One study showed that this method can remove up to 57% of arsenic.

To further reduce arsenic:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly.
  2. Cook the rice in excess water (a ratio of one cup of rice to six cups of water).
  3. Drain any extra water once the rice is cooked.

Choosing the Right Rice

The amount of arsenic in rice varies based on its type and where it’s grown. Brown rice tends to absorb more arsenic than white rice. However, basmati rice usually has the lowest arsenic levels. Rice from California has been found to have the lowest arsenic levels among US-grown rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Parboil Rice Before Pressure Cooking?

Yes, parboiling rice before pressure cooking can help reduce arsenic levels. Ensure you rinse the rice thoroughly after parboiling and before cooking it in the pressure cooker.

How Much Water Should I Use in a Pressure Cooker for Rice?

The general recommendation is a 1:1 ratio of rice to water. However, when aiming to reduce arsenic, use excess water and drain the extra once the rice is cooked.

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