Instant pot pulao with step by step pics. This is a quick and one-pot method to make mix vegetable pulao in the instant pot. The recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Serve this delicious pilaf with a side of yogurt or raita or salad for a hearty meal.
I make rice-based dishes like Pulao or biryani often at home. After getting the instant pot, I make all the rice recipes in it.
About This Recipe
- Spicy: This vegetable pulao is slightly spicy. here the four ingredients which contribute to the spice and heat are Ginger, garlic, green chillies and red chilli powder. apart from these four ingredients, the other whole spices also lend their warm flavors to the dish. This spiciness can be reduced by skipping green chillies and the spice powders. If making for small kids then I suggest to skip or reduce the spices.
- Herbs: the addition of fresh herbs like coriander and mint leaves also gives a fresh flavor & taste. So this pulav is not very spicy but slightly spicy and has a complex flavor and taste.
- Rice: use basmati rice, preferably aged basmati rice for the best results. I soak basmati rice for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Soaking makes the rice grains cook faster. I always recommend to use aged basmati rice when making pulao or biryani. You can also use non-sticky variety of long grained rice. Any non-sticky variety of medium to short grained rice also works well.
- The texture of cooked rice: The final pulao has well-cooked rice grains yet fluffy and separate.
Pulao is one dish which I make almost once or twice a week. Earlier I used to make veg pulao on the stovetop, but now I make it in the IP. If you want to make pulao in a pan or pot, then check this Vegetable Pulao Recipe.
Serve spicy instant pot pulao with a side Veggie Salad, Kachumber or Raita or roasted papad. You can also serve it with plain curd (yogurt) or Spiced Buttermilk.
How to make Instant Pot Pulao
1. First rinse 1.5 cups basmati rice (260 grams) in fresh water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in enough water in a bowl for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 to 30 minutes drain the water and keep it aside.
When the rice is soaking, prep all the veggies and keep them ready. Chop the vegetables in small to medium-sized pieces so that they cook well and are not undercooked.
Sauté in instant pot
2. Switch on the IP and press the sauté button for 15 minutes on less mode.
3. When the IP signals hot, then add 3 tablespoons of oil to the steel insert. Add all the whole spices:
- 2 small tejpatta or 1 medium to large tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 4 to 5 black peppers
- 1 small piece of stone flower or kalpasi (optional)
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 1 or 2 single thin strands of mace
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
Note the essential spices needed are cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, cloves and Indian bay leaf. The remaining spices you can omit if you don’t have them.
4. Stirring often fry the spices till they become fragrant and splutter for some seconds. Do not burn them.
5. Now add ½ cup of thinly sliced onions. Set the mode to normal mode on sauté. Press the sauté button once to get this option.
6. Mix the onions with spices and oil. Begin to sauté them.
7. Stir and saute till the onions start to become golden. You have to stir often so that the onions cook evenly. First, the onions will soften and then become light golden.
8. Continue to stir and sauté till the onions become golden or are caramelizing.
9. After the onions have become golden, quickly add the following ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 1 to 2 green chilies (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional).
10. Sauté for some seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
11. Then add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes – about 1 medium tomato chopped.
12. Sauté tomatoes for one to two minutes stirring often.
13. On the IP, press the cancel button and then add all the spice powders listed below:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 pinch of asafoetida (optional)
For a gluten-free pulao skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
14. Mix the spice powders very well with the onions and tomatoes. The spices will get cooked with the residue heat of the steel insert.
Add Mixed Veggies
15. Now add 3 cups chopped mixed veggies (I used a mix of cauliflower, french beans, potatoes and carrots) and ¼ to ⅓ cup peas. As far as the mixed veggies are concerned, you could add your choice of veggies.
The usual veggies that can go in a mixed vegetable pulao are potato, carrots, fresh or frozen shelled grean peas, cauliflower, capsicum, sweet corn, beetroot, broccoli etc. It is an excellent way to use leftover veggies also.
16. Press the sauté button again and set the time to 3 to 4 minutes on medium mode. Mix the veggies with the spice mixture. Deglaze and stir so well so that the bits and pieces of onions, tomatoes stuck to the pan are removed. The moisture from the vegetables will help in deglazing.
17. Now add the soaked rice.
19. Stir and mix very well yet gently. Sauté the rice for a minute. The oil should coat the rice grains. Deglaze if required while sauteing the rice.
20. Add 2 cups of water. I do not prefer al dente texture in rice, so I add a bit more water while cooking. If you prefer an al dente texture, then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
21. Season with salt as needed. Stir and mix again. Check the taste and the water should feel a bit salty.
Make Instant Pot Pulao
22. Cover the instant pot with its lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high pressure for 5 minutes.
23. Once you hear the beep sound after 5 minutes of pressure cooking, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes give a QPR (quick pressure release). Keep a check of the 10 minutes. If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting overcooked.
24. Fluff the rice gently with a fork or spoon.
25. Serve spicy instant pot pulao with onion raita or boondi raita or onion tomato raita or cucumber raita or with a side vegetable salad.
You can also accompany sliced onion rings, lemon wedges, roasted papad and a mango pickle by the side.
More Instant Pot recipes
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more veetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Instant Pot Pulao
- 1.5 cups basmati rice – 260 grams
- enough water for soaking rice
vegetables and other ingredients
- 3 tablespoons oil – use sunflower oil or any neutral tasting oil. ghee can be substituted with oil.
- ½ cup thinly sliced onions or 1 medium to large onion, finely sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped tomato or 1 medium sized chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves , chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves , chopped – optional
- 2 teaspoons ginger+garlic paste or 1 inch ginger and 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed in mortar-pestle
- 1 to 2 green chillies , chopped or 1 to 2 serrano peppers
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
- 3 cups chopped mixed veggies (i used a mix of cauliflower, french beans, potatoes and carrots)
- ¼ to ⅓ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
- 2 cups water or add as required
- salt as required
- 2 small tejpatta (indian bay leaf) or 1 medium to large tej patta
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 4 to 5 black pepper
- 1 piece small of stone flower (pathar ke phool or kalpasi or dagad phool) – optional
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom – optional
- 1 or 2 single strands of mace
- 1 star anise – optional
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – optional
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Rinse basmati rice in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes drain the water and keep aside. When the rice is soaking, chop all the vegetables, herbs and keep them ready.
making instant pot pulao
- Switch on the ip and press the sauté button for 12 to 15 minutes on less mode. when the ip signals hot, then add 3 tablespoons oil in the steel insert.
- Then add all the whole spices mentioned in the above list. Fry the spices till they become fragrant and splutter. Do not burn them.
- Note that you do not need all the spices. The essential spices needed are cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and indian bay leaf. The other spices you can skip if you don't have them.
- Then add thinly sliced onions. Set the mode to normal mode on sauté. press the sauté button once to get this option.
- Stir and saute till the onions start to become golden. You have to stir often, so that the onions cook evenly.
- Now add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilies and chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves (optional).
- Saute for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté them for 1 to 2 minutes stirring often.
- Later on the ip, press the cancel button and then add all the spice powders – turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder or cayenne pepper, coriander powder and a pinch of asafoetida (optional). For a gluten-free pulao skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
- Mix the spices very well with the onions and tomatoes.
- Now add the chopped mixed veggies and green peas.
- Press the sauté button again and set the time to 2 to 3 minutes on medium mode. Mix the veggies with the spice mixture. Deglaze and stir so well so that the bits and pieces of onions, tomatoes stuck to the pan are removed. The moisture from the vegetables will help in deglazing.
- Now add the soaked rice. Mix very well yet gently. sauté the rice for a minute. The oil or ghee should coat the rice grains. If possible deglaze also while sautéing rice.
- Add 2 cups water. I do not prefer al dente texture in rice, so I add a bit more water while cooking. If you prefer an al dente texture, then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
- Season with salt and stir again. Check the taste and the water should feel a bit salty.
- Cover the instant pot with its lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once you hear the beep sound after 5 minutes of pressure cooking, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes give a qpr (quick pressure release). Keep a check of the 10 minutes. If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting over cooked.
- Fluff the rice gently with a fork or spoon.
- Serve spicy instant pot pulao with onion raita or cucumber raita or boondi raita or with a side vegetable salad. You can also accompany sliced onion rings, lemon wedges, roasted papad and a mango pickle by the side.
- Chop the vegetables in small to medium-sized pieces so that they cook well and are not undercooked.
- You can use ghee instead of oil.
- Skip green chillies (or add less) and skip all the spice powders for a non-spicy pulao.
- While sautéing, you can use both the low and normal mode of the sauté option in the ip.
- Always deglaze after adding vegetables, rice and water.
- You can add your choice of vegetables like carrots, green peas, cauliflower, sweet corn, potato, beets, bell pepper etc.
- For an al dente texture in the rice grains, add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
- For best taste and texture use aged basmati rice. You can also use any non-sticky variety of long-grained or medium-grained rice.
- Mint leaves can be skipped.
- Remove the steel insert from the ip after the pulao is cooked, so that the rice grains do not continue to cook further.
- Do keep a check of the 10 minutes npr (natural pressure release). If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting over cooked.
- Whole spices which can be skipped are fennel seeds, star anise, black cardamom, stone flower.
- Instead of fennel seeds you can also use 1 teaspoon ground fennel powder.
- Mint leaves can be skipped. 1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves or ground mint can be added.
- Follow all the steps and then add 2.75 to 3 cups water if cooking in a pan or pot. You may add water as required.
- Cover and cook till all the water has been absorbed and the rice grains have become fluffy and tender.
- Use a thick bottomed deep pan or pot.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This post contains amazon affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This Instant Pot Pulao post from the archives first published in June 2010 has been recently updated on 19 January 2022.
Comments are closed.
Thank you for all your lovely recipes, I have been following you for a year! If you were to make this recipe with brown basmati rice, how would you change the cook time and water to rice ratio?
welcome emily and thank you. with brown rice, soak brown rice for 2 hours (or for more hours or overnight) as this helps in cooking them faster. moreover, when brown rice is soaked it cooks at about the same time as cooking vegetables, so you do not get overcooked or mushy vegetables. if you use unsoaked rice, then by the time the brown rice grains are cooked, the vegetables will get mushy and pasty.
cook this spicy pulao recipe in a pan or pot and not in a pressure cooker as it would become difficult to check the rice if made in a cooker. the amount of water to be added depends on the quality of rice and the cooking method used. so an approx of 3 to 3.5 cups water will work in this recipe. first, add 3 cups water and begin to cook. later when the water looks less and the rice grains are not cooked, then add ¼ to ½ cup of water depending on how much the rice grains have cooked or need cooking. hope this helps.
Will be a staple in my house! One pot and delicious! Family loves it. I made this, your south Indian potato korma, and a whole moong dal recipe today all in pressure cooker and was so pleased with the time and easiness. You rock!
thanks again cheyenne. special thanks for the time and effort you took to post the feedback and review one each recipe. glad to read all the reviews you posted. yes, pressure cooking does save time.
Made this a few days ago. Very nice.thanks for sharing.
Regards and take care
thank you marina for this feedback. glad to know.
I made this.came out well.nice recipe.thank you
welcome and thankyou anjali 🙂
These recipes are very helpful for me to cook new variety of food
See More Comments