This Instant Pot Rice Pilaf is a quick and easy recipe brimming with flavor—and it’s ready in just 20 minutes!

Serving bowl full of rice pilaf with a wooden spoon and blue and white striped hand towel underneath.

Side, Main, or Potluck Dish. This Recipe Covers It All!

I used to spend way too much time mulling over what to make as a starchy side. For a long time, I completely forfeited and just served extra roasted broccoli. But now, this rice pilaf is my go-to! I’m making it once a week and nobody’s tired of it. (Yet.) The best part if that it’s an Instant Pot rice recipe, which in my mind translates to the best, tastiest, quickest, fluffiest rice you can make at home. You can keep it vegetarian or throw in some protein and make it a meal! I like to buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocer, chop it up, and toss it in. Probably one of the easiest complete rice dinners you can whip up in 20 minutes. 

What Is Rice Pilaf?

In short, rice pilaf is rice that’s been lightly toasted in a pan along with sautéed vegetables and aromatics—like onion, garlic, herbs, etc.—then cooked in broth. Regular rice? Boiled in water. (Yum.) Lightly toasting the rice before cooking it in liquid infuses it with a nutty flavor and results in a firmer texture where the grains stand individually, rather than being all stuck together. It just makes for a way better dish.

Red bell pepper and mushrooms on a plate surrounded by pinch bowls with spices, and a bowl of rice.

Here’s the List of Ingredients.

I favor Basmati rice when cooking this rice pilaf because the grains stay separate, and they keep their lightness and fluffiness. But any long-grain rice will do if need be. The point of a pilaf is infusing the rice with flavor and aromatics which is why we cook it in stock along with fragrant ingredients. Onions and garlic are common, but I like to add bell pepper and mushrooms for a little something extra. I also add soy sauce to bring a punch of umami. Here’s what you’ll want to put on your grocery list:

  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Basmati or long grain white rice
  • Garlic
  • Cremini mushrooms
  • Scallions
  • Bell pepper
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt

How to Cook Rice Pilaf in an Instant Pot.

Making rice pilaf in the Instant Pot just seems like a no-brainer because you’re supposed to cook everything together anyway. So, why not make it quicker? Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Start by activating the Sauté function (low or medium) on the Instant Pot. Drizzle in the oil and let it heat up.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped scallions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. Let the vegetables simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the rice into the Instant Pot, stir, and let the rice toast for about a minute or two.
  4. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, and a smidgen of salt, then add the broth and soy sauce to the pot, give everything a quick stir, and secure the lid on the Instant Pot.
  5. Set the valve to Sealing and cook the rice on high pressure for 4 minutes.
  6. When done, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes.
  7. Unlock the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Left: Instant Pot with vegetables in it; Right: Instant Pot with vegetables and rice added.

Serving bowl full of rice pilaf with a wooden spoon and blue and white striped hand towel underneath.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. You can easily turn this dish into a meal by adding a protein. I like to get a quick and convenient ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery story, chop it up, and toss it into the rice at the end.
  2. Other vegetables that go well in this recipe are broccoli, corn, peas, yellow onion, zucchini, etc. You can get creative!
  3. Beef broth or seafood stock could be used instead of chicken or vegetable broth.
  4. Leftovers are delicious! Store the rice in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
  5. You can freeze this recipe if you need to. Place the rice into freezer bags and spread it out so it lays in a flat layer. Push any extra air out and seal the bag. The rice will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

What to Serve This Rice Pilaf With:

Have You Made This Recipe?

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Serving bowl full of rice pilaf with a wooden spoon and blue and white striped hand towel underneath.

Get the Recipe:

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf

This Instant Pot Rice Pilaf is a quick and easy recipe brimming with flavor—and it's ready in just 20 minutes!
5 from 7 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP olive or avocado oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice or long grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms , Baby bella mushrooms are also great.
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced, Sweet bell peppers are best (red, yellow, orange), but green are fine, too.
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Instructions 

  • Start up the sauté function on the Instant Pot (keep it to low or medium since hot tends to get too hot). Heat the oil in the pot.
  • When the oil is hot, add the chopped scallions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. Let everything simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally,
  • Add the rice into the Instant Pot and let the rice toast for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Finally, pour the broth and soy sauce into the pot.
  • Give everything one last quick stir, and secure the lid on the Instant Pot. Set the valve to the Sealing position and cook the rice on high pressure for 4 minutes. When ready, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, if needed, do a quick release. Unlock the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Calories: 264kcal