Instant Pot Basmati Rice with Coconut Milk

Fragrant, fluffy, and flavorful – this Instant Pot basmati rice has it all. Just rinse, stir, and let your pressure cooker do the work! Coconut milk adds extra flavor and richness, making this side dish the perfect addition to spicy or saucy meals.

bowl of white rice on a checkered napkin

Reasons to Love This Recipe

Looking for a perfectly fluffy, foolproof rice recipe to add to your meal prep rotation? This recipe has you covered.


Fragrant, basmati rice is so easy to make – just add to your instant pot, stir, and let the pressure cooker do the work!

Coconut milk gives this recipe an extra touch of plant-based richness and makes this side dish a flavorful addition to so many recipes. Serve it with zesty or spicy proteins like curry, stir fry, pineapple chicken, or a saucy shrimp dish.

grey bowl filled with white rice

Nutrition Tidbits

You may have heard that you should always opt for brown rice (or worse… no rice at all) but that’s not true! White rice may be slightly lower in fiber than brown rice, but it still offers some nutritional benefits.

Benefits of white rice include:

  • Provides a quick source of energy (Hello, post-workout fuel!)
  • Easy to digest
  • Contains important micronutrients like selenium, niacin, and iron
  • A comforting and delicious addition to many balanced meals
grey bowl filled with white rice

Cultural Notes

Basmati rice is grown primarily in India and Pakistan, making it an important food in both countries, but it is also enjoyed in the Middle East and around the world. This rice gets its name from a Hindi word that translates to “fragrant.” If you’ve ever smelled basmati rice, that makes a lot of sense!

Because of its lovely aroma and long, fluffy shape, basmati rice is perfect for soaking up saucy flavorful dishes like chickpea curry.

It also makes an excellent base for rice pilaf. Cooking basmati rice via the pilaf method (toasting dry beforehand, then adding water to simmer) is sometimes preferred for keeping these long rice grains intact.

This recipe uses a traditional method (rice and water are added at the same time) to make this recipe just a tad easier. Both methods are great!

two hands holding a bowl of white rice

Preparation Tips

Rinse that rice!

Basmati rice shouldn’t be soaked, but you should rinse it to get rid of excess starch that can make it too sticky.

You can use special rice rinsing (say that three times fast) bowls, a strainer over a water bowl or under the faucet, or just place your rice in a bowl of water to rinse.

You should rinse your rice (agitating it with your hand, then draining the water) about 2-3 times. You’ll know you’re done when the water runs mostly clear.

In the collage below, you’ll see my strainer-in-bowl method. I used this to show you the difference between your first rinse versus the last one.

Making the perfect fluffy rice

Fluffy rice is achieved by using the proper water to rice ratio, but luckily, I already have that figured out for you. Just add your ingredients, stir, and wait for your pressure cooker to work its magic.

When your rice is done cooking, fluff it gently with a wooden spoon and let it cool for just a bit before serving.

collage showing steps for preparing rice - start by rinsing rice at least twice, then cook in an instant pot for 12 minutes and fluff when done

Frequently Asked Questions

Does basmati rice need to be rinsed?

Yes. Basmati rice should be rinsed to get rid of excess starch that can make rice too sticky.

Does basmati rice need to be soaked?

Nope! Good basmati rice is aged to dry it out and concentrate its flavors. Soaking can counteract this, lessening the flavor and making your final product too sticky.

What’s the difference between basmati rice and other types of rice?

Basmati rice is fragrant, fluffy, and extremely long-grain, making it the most similar to jasmine rice. It can be either white or brown, depending on the processing. Short-grain white rice is nutritionally similar to basmati and jasmine rice but has a different shape and less fragrance.

Is it okay if your coconut milk is chunky?

Yes. Canned coconut milk can be a bit chunky at room temperature because of the fat it contains. It will melt as your rice cooks, so don’t worry if your rice and liquid mixture doesn’t look smooth before cooking.

bowl of rice topped with cilantro leaves

Recipe Modifications

  • Rice cooker version – I have tested this recipe in a rice cooker and it turned out great! Use the same amount of rice, coconut milk, and salt, but use the water lines in your rice cooker to determine how much water to add. (In mine, I filled it up to the 2 cup line because I added 2 cups of rice.) Close the lid and select the ‘start’ or ‘white rice’ button. This method takes a bit longer.
  • Make it without coconut milk – No coconut milk, no problem! Swap in an extra cup of water and a teaspoon of oil or butter.
  • Use the pilaf method – For extra delicious rice, start by thoroughly drying your rice after rinsing. Then, turn your pressure cooker to saute mode, add just enough oil to coat the bottom, and add your rice. Stir and toast gently to release all of the aroma that makes basmati rice so great. Then, press ‘cancel’ on the pressure cooler, add your liquid, and resume the steps in the recipe card.
  • Add flavor – You can also add flavor with spices using the pilaf method mentioed in the point above. Before adding your rice to the instant pot, add a generous sprinkle of your favorite spices (turmeric or curry powder would be lovely) and toast them. This will add some color, too!
  • Make without lime or cilantro – While lime and cilantro do add a bit of zest and color, this recipe tastes great without them too!
  • Use a different type of rice – Any long-grain white rice will work in this recipe. (Jasmine would be the best substitute.) If you want to use brown long-grain rice, increase the cooking time to 20 minutes. For other types of rice, see this cheat sheet from Instant Pot.
bowl of white rice on a checkered napkin
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Basmati Rice With Coconut Milk

This foolproof and fluffy coconut rice recipe is simple to make, thanks to a pressure cooker. Just rinse, stir, cook, and your fragrant basmati rice will be ready to enjoy in a snap!
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time27 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: instant pot, pressure cooker, white rice
Servings: 6
Calories: 382kcal
Author: Chelsea Jackle, RDN

Equipment

  • 1 pressure cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk 13.66 oz can
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 lime for garnish
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped, optional

Instructions

  • Rinse your rice, agitate it with your hand, and repeat 2-3 times until the water runs mostly clear. (You can do this in a rise rinsing strainer, a fine mesh strainer, or by placing the rice in a bowl of water and carefully draining it after with each rinse.)
  • Add rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to the instant pot. Close the sealing valve. Select 'Rice' and set the timer for 12 minutes. The pressure cooker will take 5-10 minutes to come to pressure and begin counting down.
  • After the 12 minutes are up, let the pressure cooker "natural release" (i.e. leave it alone and don't touch it) for 5 minutes. Then, do a "quick release" of the sealing valve.
  • Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a wooden spoon. Then, add a generous squeeze of lime and sprinkle with cilantro to garnish before serving.

Notes

  • Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used. 

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

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