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Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Lamb, Figs & Almonds

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Ground Lamb & Figs

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Persian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Persian-style Instant Pot rice pilaf is made with ground lamb, dried figs, almonds and a beautiful blend of warm spices. It’s gluten-free and family-friendly dish.

See Notes on the updates to the recipe we’ve made based on some BURN error feedback!


  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • About 1 lb or 400-450 g of ground lamb (lamb mince)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional but adds a lovely yellow hue to the rice)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1 medium to large carrot, diced
  • 5 dried figs, diced
  • 2 tablespoons almond flakes (can be omitted for a nut-free version)
  • 1.5  cups rice (well rinsed, see notes above)
  • 1+ 2/3 cups vegetable stock (we used vegetable stock cube dissolved in water)
  • 1/2 cup tinned chopped tomatoes

To finish

  • Zest of the remaining 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon almond flakes
  • 78 mint leaves, finely sliced
  • Greek yoghurt or sour cream, to serve


  1. Soak the rice in a bowl or pot with cold water for 5-10 minutes, then rinse 4-5 times.
  2. Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté function key. It should initially say 30 minutes on the display screen, you don’t need to do anything to the timer. Let the pot heat up while you dice up the onion.
  3. Add onion, olive oil, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  4. Add the ground lamb and stir through, breaking the meat apart with a spatula. Cook the lamb with onions for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. At first, the lamb meat will release a lot of juices but as you keep stirring and cooking it, the liquid will evaporate and the meat will star to brown. Once that happens, that’s when we add other ingredients.
  5. Once the lamb has browned off slightly, add another half a teaspoon of salt, spices, garlic and lemon zest and stir for 10-15 seconds, allowing the aromas to be released over the heat. Press Keep Warm/Cancel to stop the Sauté process. Please note, there was a timing typo in this part of the recipe before which caused some people to experience a Burn notice, and it has since been fixed so should work fine.
  6. Add the celery, carrots, figs, almonds and rice and mix through. Add the 1 + 2/3 cups of stock and stir really well to make sure all ingredients are well combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is stuck. Also, scrape down any rice kernels or vegetables stuck to the sides of the pot. Finally, add the tinned tomatoes on top and spread over, do not mix. This will help to prevent the Burn notice as well.
  7. Place and lock the lid, making sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual, High pressure and set to 4 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going. It will take a few minutes for the pressure to build up and then the actual cooking will begin. Once the timer goes off, allow 2 minutes for the pressure to release naturally and then use the quick release method to let off the steam. Open the lid when it is safe to do so.
  8. Finish the pilaf with extra lemon zest, almond flakes and mint sprinkled over the top. Serve with lemon wedges.


Update to the recipe: We increased the vegetable stock amount based on the feedback that some people were getting a BURN error. This really depends on the Model you have as some of them are much more sensitive than others. A little more liquid might help, and make sure to really stir it through the mix and scrape off any stuck of pre-sauteed food from the bottom of the pot. We’ve also changed the instruction for adding tinned tomatoes. Spread them on top of the rice and don’t mix through, this might help to prevent the burn notice.


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 720
  • Sugar: 18.2 g
  • Sodium: 1220.2 mg
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 86.6 g
  • Fiber: 6.3 g
  • Protein: 24.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 73 mg

Keywords: Middle Eastern, Rice, Ground Lamb