Instant Pot Cumin Rice | Jeera Rice

September 21, 2017 (Updated: September 9, 2019) By Aneesha |

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Jeera Rice or Cumin Rice, is a popular Indian side dish in which nutty basmati rice is cooked with aromatic and earthy cumin seeds. This simple and delicious side is the perfect accompaniment to most Indian curries and lentils.

Fluffy and nutty Indian Cumin rice

Cumin rice is traditionally cooked with Indian Basmati Rice, which is a long grained rice known for its sweet aroma and a mild nutty flavor. Cooking it with cumin seeds enhances that taste by adding an earthy flavor to the rice.

This simple yet versatile rice dish is the base of many great dishes like Jeera Pulao (cumin pilaf with sautéed onions and peas) and Vegetable Pulao (rice pilaf with assorted chopped vegetables).

Fluffy basmati rice with cumin seeds served in a white bowl

Difference in Cook time and Texture of Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice comes in many varieties. I like using Tilda Basmati Rice, or, Kohinoor Basmati Rice XL. Both have extra long rice kernels, which I love!

Basmati rice is know for its iconic long and separated kernels of rice that stay fluffy after cooking. Two key factors determine the end texture of rice – Cooking time and Water-to-Rice ratio. Apart from these two, there are a few other variables that play a part in the final texture of your basmati rice.

  • Age: The cook time varies depending on how long the rice as been aged. Most Indian basmati rice brands are aged for about two years.
  • Grain Length: Shorter grain rice cooks faster than long grain rice. I cook the extra-long rice a minuter longer than regular basmati rice.
  • Personal Preference: How you like your rice, for example, el dente, like in Biryani, or soft, which goes well with lentils.
  • Soaked or not: Most basmati rice brands recommend to soak the rice for 20-30 minutes for best results. Whenever I have time, I prefer to soak the rice. It adds to the fluffy texture of the rice. But, when I can’t, I rinse the rice well till the water runs clear and add a little extra water for cooking.
Jeera Rice/Cumin Rice, is a popular Indian side dish where delicious and aromatic basmati rice is cooked with the nutty and earthy cumin seeds. It is one of the most popular accompaniment with Indian curries. Quick and easy recipe by Spice Cravings. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #basmati #rice

Stove-Top Recipe for Cumin Rice

When I make Cumin rice on the stove-top, I follow these simple steps.

  • Prep: I start by rinsing the rice 2-3 times till the water runs clear. Then, soak it for 15-20 minutes before cooking. Soaking the rice causes the rice kernels to become soft and fluffy. When I don’t have time to soak, I add an extra 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cook: Heat a heavy bottom saucepan on medium-high heat, add Ghee or butter, add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle (about 30-40 seconds). Now strain the rice using a fine mesh strainer, add it to the pot, and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add salt, water and let is come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff: When the timer is done, turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes. After that, open the lid and gently fluff rice with a fork.

Instant Pot Recipe for Cumin Rice

It took me a few tries in the Instant Pot pressure cooker to get it ‘just right’ for my family (see my instant pot FAQ to learn more).   The magic number for me is 6 minutes for Basmati Rice. I cooked a few batches with a 1:1 ratio of rice to water, but the rice had a bit of a bite to it. 

I found that adding an extra two tablespoons of water, made them more soft and fluffy, which was perfect for us. Here is how I cook cumin rice in the Instant Pot, this recipe will work with any electric pressure cooker:

Heat Ghee or oil on Saute mode

Heating ghee in Instant Pot on saute mode

Now add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle

Adding cumin seeds to the melted ghee

Rinse and strain rice and add, saute for 1-2 mins


Add salt

Adding salt to the rice

Add water and stir

Adding water to the pot

Close lid and pressure cook for 6 mins

Closing the pressure cook

Wait 10 mins, then release pressure

Opening the Instant Pot after releasing pressure

Gently fluff cumin rice using a fork

Fluffing basmati rice using a fork

Enjoy with your favorite curry

Customize Your Instant Pot Rice to Taste

If you like your Basmati rice with a little bite, follow the 1:1 ratio, which means, for every cup of rice, you add a cup of water. If you like them softer, add 1 1/4 cup water for 1 cup of rice. In most customizations, the time remains the same as 6 minutes at high pressure.

Using the RICE Setting for Cumin Rice

You can follow this recipe and cook it using the Rice setting too. Add all ingredients to the pot, close the lid, set the vent to sealing position and hit the ‘Rice’ button. That defaults to 12 minutes at low pressure.

I have cooked it both ways and have found the result to be the same. So, I love using the ‘Manual/Pressure Cook’ option, since that takes less time.

Cumin flavored basmati rice in the Instant Pot
Fluffy Cumin Rice

NPR vs. QR for Rice

I get asked this question a lot- do you NPR or QR for rice? As a general rule of thumb, I let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, after which I manually release the remaining pressure (NPR 10). When I cook long grain rice like Basmati or Jasmine, I find, that resting the rice for 10 minutes makes it fluffier and rice kernels maintain their shape.

That being said, there are times, when dinner gets ready in the nick of time, and there is no time to wait for NPR. In which case, I release the pressure manually (QR), and gently fluff the rice with a fork. The texture is a bit more moist than usual, but it still tastes great.

How to Cook Plain Basmati Rice in Instant Pot

For plain Basmati Rice, you can follow this recipe and skip the cumin and the saute process. Get the detailed recipe here.

What to Serve with Cumin Rice

The following curries pair well with cumin rice:

More Instant Pot Rice Recipes From My Kitchen

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Fluffy and nutty Indian Cumin rice

Instant Pot Cumin Rice | Jeera Rice

Jeera rice or Cumin rice is a popular Indian side in which nutty basmati rice is cooked with aromatic earthy cumin seeds. It goes great with most Indian curries and lentils.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Soaking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 240kcal


  • 1 cup Basmati rice : rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Ghee or butter or oil
  • 1 cup water + 2 tablespoons extra


  • Rinse the basmati rice 2-3 times and soak for 20 minutes. Strain the soaked basmati rice in a sieve to get all the water out. 
  • Turn on instant pot on Sauté mode. When the display reads ‘hot’ add ghee and cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add rice and sauté another 30 seconds. 
  • Add salt and water and stir. Close the lid. Set the valve to ‘sealing’ position. Press Manual (high) for 6 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 10 mins, then manually release the pressure.  You can do that bu turning the knob to ‘venting’ position in DUO models, or push down the pressure valve in ULTRA models. 
  • Open the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Cumin rice is best served warm with lentils soups, curries or any grilled entrée.

Alternative: Skipping the Saute process

  • Alternatively, you could make this a dump and start recipe.  Simply add everything in the Instant Pot, close the lid and follow the same cook time. It will have a milder cumin flavor.


Notes & Recipe Tips

  • If you have the time, I recommend soaking the rice for 15 mins.  It makes them more fluffy.
  • Variation: Add assorted frozen vegetables to this recipe and make a Vegetable Pilaf.
  • Estimated Time includes pressure build-up time.  Cook time = Time to set for pressure cooking.
  • This recipe has been tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot. If making this in an 8Qt size, adjust the quantity to meet the minimum liquid requirement. 
  • For a smaller portion, I recommend pot-in-pot cooking. Get the recipe here.
  • If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 70mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: basmati rice, cumin rice, jeera rice
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!


Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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