It’s time to put that Rice button on your Instant Pot to good use! And while the Instant Pot will do a great job of quickly cooking rice for you, that’s not the only grain it can handle. We’ll teach you how to cook rice, quinoa, oats, and so many other whole grains right in your pressure cooker.

By Andrea Beck
Updated November 20, 2020
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A scoop of hot cooked rice or quinoa is a great addition to your grain bowl or curry chicken dinner. But it can be time-consuming to cook an entire batch of those hearty grains on a weeknight. That’s where your pressure cooker comes in. With these instructions, you can cook just about any whole grain much faster than boiling or slow cooking (quinoa pressure-cooks in just 1 minute!). Thanks to your Instant Pot or multicooker, cooking rice and whole grains has never been faster (or easier).

Get Our Pressure Cooker Breakfast Quinoa Recipe

How to Cook Rice and Whole Grains in a Pressure Cooker

The instructions for each grain listed below start with 1 cup of the uncooked grain. Use the directions as a guideline for steaming grains in your pressure cooker ($100, Target), but keep in mind that the timings can vary depending on the model you’re using. Be sure to rinse all grains in a fine-mesh sieve ($10, Bed Bath & Beyond) before cooking them with the exception of regular rolled oats. For both electric and stove top pressure cookers, coat your cooker with nonstick cooking spray before adding the rice or grains and the water. For both models, quick-release the pressure once the cooking time is up for all rice and grains except spelt (release naturally with spelt).

  • Barley (medium pearl): Use 2½ cups water for each cup of uncooked barley. Pressure-cook 20 minutes and drain the barley once it’s finished cooking. This will yield about 3 cups cooked barley.
  • Brown Rice (long grain): Use 1 cup water for each cup of uncooked brown rice. Pressure-cook the rice 20 minutes; this method should yield about 3 cups cooked rice.
  • Buckwheat Groats: Use 2 cups water for 1 cup uncooked buckwheat groats. Pressure-cook 6 minutes. You’ll end up with about 2¼ cups cooked groats.
  • Farro: Use 3 cups water for 1 cup uncooked farro. Pressure-cook 15 minutes and drain the farro after cooking. This will yield about 2¾ cups cooked farro.
  • Freekeh: Use 1⅔ cups water for 1 cup uncooked freekeh. Pressure-cook 10 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. Drain freekeh after cooking. This will yield about 3 cups cooked freekeh.
  • Millet: Use 1¾ cups water for 1 cup uncooked millet. Pressure-cook 10 minutes; you’ll end up with about 2½ cups cooked millet.
  • Oats (regular rolled): Remember: Don’t rinse regular rolled oats before pressure cooking them. Use 2 cups water per cup of uncooked oats and pressure-cook 2 minutes. You’ll end up with about 1⅔ cups cooked oats.
  • Oats (steel-cut): Use 3 cups water 1 one cup uncooked steel-cut oats. Pressure-cook 7 minutes—this will yield about 3½ cups cooked oats.
  • Quinoa: This is the impressive one! Use 1¼ cups water for each cup of uncooked quinoa. Then pressure-cook for 1 minute. You’ll end up with about 2 cups cooked quinoa.
  • Rye Berries: Use 2 cups water per cup of uncooked rye berries. Pressure-cook 20 minutes then drain rye berries after cooking. This will yield about 2 cups cooked rye berries.
  • Spelt Berries: Use 1½ cups water for 1 cup uncooked spelt berries. Pressure-cook 30 minutes then let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes (don’t quick-release the pressure). Rinse the spelt once it’s finished cooking. This will yield about 2¾ cups cooked spelt berries.
  • Wheat Berries: Use 3 cups water for each cup of uncooked wheat berries. Pressure-cook 25 minutes, then rinse the wheat berries once they’re finished cooking. This yields about 2¼ cups cooked wheat berries.
  • White Rice (long grain, basmati, jasmine, and medium grain): Use 1½ cups water for each cup of uncooked rice. Pressure-cook 5 minutes; you’ll end up with about 2 cups cooked rice.
  • Wild Rice: Use 2 cups water for each cup of uncooked wild rice. Pressure-cook 20 minutes and be sure to drain the rice after it’s finished cooking. You’ll end up with about 2½ cups cooked rice.

While a lot of these grains are great for serving as a side dish or for bulking up salads, you can also add them to your breakfast!  Try cooking multiple grains at once in a multigrain cereal or even turn quinoa into a breakfast grain. Or, if you like meal planning, cook up a few big batches of rice or grains to use throughout the whole week.

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