This flavorful and hearty spinach rice, palak pulao or pilaf is made by cooking aromatic basmati rice with buttery soft spinach in ghee in an Instant Pot. by Spice Cravings. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf | Palak Rice | Spanakorizo

Aromatic basmati rice cooked with buttery soft spinach in homemade ghee, that's what makes this Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf so flavorful and hearty!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Mediterranean
Keyword Gluten-Free, Greek
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 163 kcal
Author Spice Cravings


  • 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 ginger and garlic, crushed or grated (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
  • 6 oz baby spinach (1 bag) 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
  • 1/2 lime juiced : about 1 teaspoon. Add 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
  • 6 oz 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
  • 1 small lemon juiced : about 2 teaspoons, to be added after cooking


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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Stove-top Recipe

  1. 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, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.

  2. Open lid, gently fluff rice with a fork, add lime juice and mix. Let it sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving. As a result of this resting period, any excess moisture evaporates, therefore, resulting in soft and fluffy rice.

Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf | Palak Rice | Spanakorizo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 163 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 320mg 13%
Potassium 248mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 53.8%
Vitamin C 12.2%
Calcium 4.4%
Iron 8.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.