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Instant Pot rice

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


Jeera Basmati Rice/ Cumin Basmati Rice in Instant Pot

Jeera rice , basmati rice flavored with fried cumin seedsJeera Rice or Cumin Rice, is a popular Indian side dish where rice is cooked with aromatic cumin seeds. It is traditionally cooked with Basmati Rice, which is a long grained rice known for it’s sweet aroma and a slight nutty flavor. It is the perfect accompaniment to all lentils and curries. This simple yet versatile rice dish is the base of many great dishes like Jeera Pulao (Cumin Pilaf with sautéed onions) and Vegetable Pulao (Rice Pilaf with chopped vegetables).

Basmati Rice comes in many varieties. I like using Tilda Basmati Rice, or, Kohinoor Basmati Rice XL. Both have extra long rice kernals, which I love! Cooking times of Basmati rice and water-to-rice ratio can differ depending on:

  1. It’s age
  2. How long the grain is
  3. How you like your rice- el dente (like in Biryani), or soft & fluffy
  4. Lastly, how well you drained it after rinsing it (yup- that’s a factor too).

In a simple stove-top version of this recipe, rice is typically rinsed 2-3 times and then soaked for 15 – 30 minutes before cooking, that creates a soft and fluffy texture, while each grain of rice stays separate. Then, you heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat, add Ghee or butter to it, add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle. Now add the strained rice and sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt, water and let is come to a boil. Then, turn the heat to medium and set a timer for 7-8 minutes. Turn off the flame and let the rice rest for 5-10 minutes. Open the lid and gently fluff with a fork. Done!

It took me a few tries in the Instant Pot to get it ‘just right’ for my family. 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 found that adding 2 tablespoons extra water plus 1 teaspoon butter/ghee or oil made them more fluffy, which was perfect for us. If you like your Basmati rice a little el dente, stick to 1:1 ratio. If you like them more soft, add 1 1/4 cup water for 1 cup rice. But the time remains the same 6 minutes, NPR for 10 minutes.

Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it version: For plain Basmati Rice, skip the cumin and just add all remaining ingredients in the Instant Pot. Press Manual (high), 6 minutes, NPR 10 minutes.

For cooking times and recipe for Brown Rice, click here.

Jeera Rice/ Cumin Rice in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 Cooking Time: 6 minutes Manual


  • 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Ghee/butter/oil
  • 1 cup+ 2 tablespoons water



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 IP on Sauté. Wait 30 seconds and add ghee/butter/oil 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'. Press Manual (high) for 6 minutes, NPR for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could just dump everything in and turn ON the Instant Pot on the same setting. It will have a milder cumin flavor, but will still be present.


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.