This Instant Pot Rice Pilaf is the best 30 minute savory rice, topped with toasted slivered almonds and fresh parsley. Serve it with Jerusalem salad and Greek Chicken Meatballs for the perfect Mediterranean meal.
📋 About the Recipe
- Easy and flavorful. If you love my Instant Pot Dirty Rice, Coconut Lime Rice, Instant Pot Spanish Rice or Instant Pot Yellow Rice, you will love this rice pilaf! It's equally as flavorful and a great way to dress up a simple main dish.
- Pairs well with many proteins. Try rice pilaf with Mediterranean dishes like my Greek Chicken Meatballs and Chicken Kofta Kebabs or simple proteins like Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breasts, Air Fryer Lamb Chops, Slow Roasted Pistachio Crusted Salmon, or Cajun Steak Bites.
- Great for meal prep. This rice will last for 4 days in the refrigerator. Make it on a Sunday or Monday night and enjoy it for an easy side dish all week long.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Rice - White basmati rice is a long grain rice that is quick cooking and naturally soft and buttery. It's a great thing to keep in the pantry as it is budget friendly, has a long shelf life, and pairs with many types of cuisine.
- Vermicelli pasta - Vermicelli pasta is a long pasta, similar to spaghetti. You may also come across vermicelli rice noodles - either one is okay. In this recipe it is broken into ½ to 1 inch sized pieces and toasted in oil and butter.
- Broth - I typically use low-sodium chicken broth, but if you are making the Instant Pot rice pilaf vegetarian, use low-sodium vegetable broth.
- Cinnamon - Cinnamon is optional, but it adds the perfect warmth to rice pilaf. Don't be afraid to try it!
- Parsley - Parsley is used for garnish and is optional to finish the dish with, so if you don't have any on hand, don't worry.
- Heat the butter and olive oil. Using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot or a similar pressure cooker, heat the butter and olive oil together until warm.
- Toast the vermicelli. Once the butter has melted, add the broken vermicelli pasta noodles and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir frequently to prevent the vermicelli from sticking and/or burning.
- Add the basmati rice. Stir to coat the rice evenly in the oil. Season with onion powder, salt, and cinnamon, if using.
- Add the broth and cook! Add chicken or vegetable broth, then screw on the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook on manual high pressure for 4 minutes. Check to make sure that the valve is in the "sealing" position.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Once the pressure cooker has finished pressure cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
- Fluff and serve. Fluff the Instant Pot rice pilaf with a fork, then scoop into a serving bowl. Top with toasted slivered almonds and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with Greek Chicken Meatballs and Jerusalem Salad.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Vermicelli substitutions: You can use another thin, long pasta or rice noodles.
- Using brown rice is not recommended. It would require a different broth ratio as well as a much longer cook time. White rice is the best rice for rice pilaf.
- Vegetarian option: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Store any leftover rice pilaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can rice pilaf be frozen? Rice pilaf can be frozen. To freeze, allow the rice to cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag. Seal tightly, and remove any air if possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Can rice pilaf be reheated? Reheat leftover rice pilaf in the microwave with a splash of chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and a small pat of unsalted butter to help it retain its moisture.
Yes! If you are serving rice pilaf for a dinner party or making it for meal prep, it can be made ahead of time. Keep the toasted slivered almonds separate and add along with fresh parsley right before serving.
A pilaf is different from a regular rice dish because when making pilaf, the rice is toasted before cooking and cooked in broth and spices as opposed to water. These two differences make pilaf a much more flavorful version of rice.
You may have used too much chicken stock or overcooked it. It is important to release the remaining pressure after the Instant Pot has naturally depressurized as well as remove the lid to stop the rice from cooking. If the rice pilaf is left in the Instant Pot with the lid on, it will overcook and it will become mushy.
💭 One More Tip
Give the rice pilaf a good stir before pressure cooking! This will help prevent the vermicelli and rice from sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot and causing the "burn" warning.
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Instant Pot Rice Pilaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup vermicelli pasta noodles, broken into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces (or other thin, long pasta)
- 1 ½ cups white basmati rice
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of ground cinnamon optional
- 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Turn instant pot to the sauté setting. Add butter and olive oil to heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add vermicelli to the pot and toast until it turns golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stirring frequently so it does not burn.
- Add the rice to the instant pot. Stir to coat in oil. Season with onion powder, salt, and cinnamon, if using.
- Add broth to the instant pot. Cover, place valve in the “sealing” position, and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before switching the valve to “venting” and manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Fluff with a fork. Scoop into a serving bowl and garnish with toasted slivered almonds and fresh parsley.
- Ground cinnamon gives this rice a subtle, warm flavor. I highly recommend trying it!
- To cook this rice on the stovetop instead, simply follow the same steps, but cook the rice and toasted pasta in a pot, covered on the stovetop, for 15 to 20 minutes (instead of pressure cooking). You will also need to increase the amount of broth to 4 cups, instead of 2 cups.
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