Perfect Soaked Rice {Instant Pot or any pressure cooker}

How to make perfect soaked rice — or any grain — in your Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker).
Course Side Dish
Author Wardee Harmon



Step 1: Soak the Rice

  1. Get out your Instant Pot or pressure cooker manual (or the book Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass) and get the correct rice to water ratio for your particular variety of rice.
  2. Note: You are looking for the grain:water ratio for cooking, but will use it for soaking. I have noticed that the amounts recommended for most (if not all) pressure cooked grains is less than what we use for normal cooking. This is important. Less water is needed to achieve perfect grains when pressure cooking. This will come in handy later.
  3. Combine the correct amounts of rice and (warm) water in your Instant Pot stainless steel insert or pressure cooking pot. 

  4. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, or other acid per cup of water

  5. Leave it to soak for 7 to 8 hours or overnight.

  6. My example: I am cooking brown basmati rice. The manual's ratio is 1 cup of this rice to 1-1/2 cups water. I intend to cook 3 cups of dry rice, so I combine it with 4-1/2 cups of water and 4-1/2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in the Instant Pot insert.
  7. Make sense? Ok, let's move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Drain the Rice

  1. Get out a fine mesh strainer and put it inside a big bowl or another pot.

  2. Pour the soaked rice mixture through it, so the rice is caught in the strainer and the soaking water is caught in the bowl/pot.

  3. Measure the soaking water, so you know how much is left. Once you know the amount, you can discard it (water some plants or your compost pile).
  4. Put the rice back in the Instant Pot insert or pressure cooker pot. 

  5. Replace the same amount of soaking water that you just discarded — in the form of more fresh water or broth. (Broth makes yummy rice!)

  6. Optional: Add some sea salt for additional flavor. How much depends on the amount of rice you're cooking. 1 teaspoon of sea salt is good for 3 to 4 cups of dry rice.
  7. My example: it's a bit different each time, but normally just shy of 4 cups of water is what I catch after soaking — so that's how much I replace in the form of fresh water or broth. And I just add a few pinches of sea salt that I don't really measure.
  8. That was easy. Now Step 3…

Step 3: Pressure Cook the Rice

  1. Now you need to figure out how long to cook. Since your rice is soaked, the cooking times in your manual or reference are too long. Don't worry; it's easy to figure out how long to cook instead!

  2. Get out your Instant Pot or pressure cooker manual (or the book Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass) and look up the cooking time for your particular variety of rice.

  3. In your head, halve this time to get your adjusted cooking time for soaked grains. (If the time is a range, you can halve the lower amount or pick a mid-range of it to halve.)

  4. Now pressure cook your rice using that halved amount of cooking time on HIGH pressure.
  5. When the pressure cooking cycle is over, ideally let the pressure cooker de-pressurize naturally (about 20 to 30 minutes), or use the quick pressure release function. 

  6. Serve and enjoy!

  7. My example: the Instant Pot manual says 22 to 28 minutes for cooking my brown rice, so I took 24 (about the middle of that range) and halved that to get 12 minutes cooking time.
  8. Now it's time to evaluate your results!

Step 4: Evaluate the Rice

  1. Although the previous 3 steps should get you to perfect soaked grains — or pretty close! — it might be a tad bit off. That's ok, because you're nearly there so it's just small tweaks from here on out.
  2. If it's not quite right… it's time to ask some questions.
  3. How did your rice turn out?
  4. A little chewy? Next time, add a minute or so more pressure cooking time. And perhaps a bit more liquid.
  5. A little wet? Next time, increase the cooking time a bit. You might also consider reducing the cooking liquid just a bit, but try not to do this unless you can't get it right otherwise.
  6. Remember to take notes as you try different things so you remember what worked when and can duplicate your great results!

Recipe Notes

*the example rice here is brown basmati