Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf/ Palak Rice (Spinach Pilaf)

Instant Pot Spinach rice pilafAromatic basmati rice cooked with buttery soft spinach in homemade ghee, that’s what makes this Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf so flavorful and hearty! Spinach Rice, or Palak (spinach) Pulav (rice pilaf), is a popular vegetarian side, where long-grain Basmati rice is cooked with fresh spinach, and seasoned with cumin seeds, garam masala (Indian spice blend) and ground coriander. Spinach Rice is finished with a light squeeze of lime and it tastes divine, just by itself. I like to add a few cashews or slivered almonds to spinach rice, they add a nice texture and contrast to the creamy spinach and the soft fluffy rice.

Flavor Variation: Spanakorizo

A very popular variation of this recipe is the Greek-style spinach rice, called Spanakorizo. That’s pronounced as span-a-ko-reezo. Now, try saying that 10 times fast 🙂 It is extremely easy to make Spanakorizo by switching a couple of ingredients in this recipe. Typically flavored with fresh dill, lemon zest and juice, this flavor-packed dish goes really well with a mediterranean themed menu. I pair it with these Lamb Chops, or my Mediterranean Chicken and everyone loves it in my home. The recipe for Spanakorizo is listed in the ingredient list.


Serving suggestion:

Instant Pot Spinach rice pilaf


Spinach rice seems like the perfect pairing with most Indian curries. My personal favorite pairings are with Butter ChickenChicken Tikka MasalaPaneer Tikka Masala and Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani). My local Trader Joe’s carries both these combinations in their frozen entrée section as well :-). There’s something about this combination that makes it blend so well. The buttery spinach compliments the rich curry in all these dishes.

Instant Pot Spinach rice pilafStove-top Recipe:

In this recipe, I’ve made the Spinach pilaf in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but this recipe can very easily be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how: Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high heat. Follow the instructions to saute everything, add rice, seasonings, water. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, add lime juice and mix. Let it sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving. These 5 minutes are especially relevant to help evaporate any excess moisture. As a result, the rice turns soft and fluffy.

Instant Pot Spinach Rice/ Palak Rice (Spinach Pilaf)

Print Recipe
Serves: makes 3 cups cooked rice Cooking Time: 6 mins Manual/PC, NPR 5


  • 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed 2-3 times, soaked for 20 mins if possible
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or butter
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 small onion or 2 shallots, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed/grated ginger & garlic (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
  • 6oz bag of baby spinach, chopped fine
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons Cashews or Blanched Slivered Almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala, homemade or Store-bought
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lime, about 1 teaspoon, to be added after cooking

  • Make it GREEK style (SPANAKORIZO)
  • 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed 2-3 times, soaked for 20 mins if possible
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion or 2 shallots, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, fine chopped or grated
  • 6oz bag of baby spinach, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Blanched Slivered Almonds(optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1 small lemon, about 2 teaspoons, to be added after cooking



Rinse rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have the time, soak it for 20 minutes. Rinse and drain before using.


Heat ghee on SAUTE mode. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle, about 15-20 seconds. Add chopped onions and cashews and saute for 30 seconds. If you're adding curry leaves and green chilies, you can add them with the onions. Add crushed or grated, ginger & garlic, and saute another 30 seconds.


Add chopped spinach and cilantro and saute for about a minute, till the spinach wilts. See video for clarity. Add rinsed and drained rice and saute another minute. Add spices and water, stir well. Close lid. Cancel SAUTE. Set pressure valve to 'Sealing' position. Cook on Manual or Pressure Cook for 6 minutes.


Wait 5 minutes before manually releasing the pressure, by turning the valve to venting position (NPR 5). Open the lid after the pin drops. Fluff rice with a fork. Let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and mix it gently.

Spinach rice, palak pulao, instant pot spinach pilaf


SPICE CRAVINGS Store • Instant Pot Accessories • FAQs

Check out recommended kitchen gadgets & recipe ingredients at the SPICE CRAVINGS STORE


Spice Cravings is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Never miss a recipe

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I made the Greek flavored version yesterday for my friends and I! It was DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for sharing this. One question: can I use brown rice for this? What changes would I need to make? Thank you again!

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hi JT, I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for sharing your experience! You can make this recipe with Brown rice, but I would add the spinach towards the end after cooking the brown rice, else it’ll get overcooked and mushy. So, I would proceed with the recipe, minus the spinach, and cook the brown rice for 22 mins. QR, open lid and with a fork, stir in the chopped spinach. The heat from the cooked rice will wilt the spinach. Adjust for seasoning if you have to. Let the pot rest, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, that will help dry out the liquid from the spinach. Let me know how this version goes. Here’s a link to brown rice if you need one:

  • Reply
    radhika neel
    May 4, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    could I use frozen spinach for this recipe. I’d do how would I modify the recipe ?

    • Reply
      May 5, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Hi Radhika,

      I’ve never used frozen spinach in this recipe, but I am sure you can. I would thaw out the spinach and using a couple of kitchen towels, tightly squeeze out the water from the spinach. You may have to saute the spinach for a few minutes longer to dry it out well. After that just follow the recipe and it should work. Would love to hear how it goes!

    Leave a Reply