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Instant Pot Spinach Rice (Palak Pulao)

Instant Pot Spinach Rice (Palak Pulao)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Super easy to make and bursting with flavor and color, this Instant Pot spinach rice will become your new favorite side dish. Serve with a stew, curry or a side of vegetables. This palak pulao dish is infused with Indian spices, aromatics and has added nutrients from spinach. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly.



1.5 cup uncooked Basmati rice (rinsed well)

2 cups packed with baby spinach leaves (or another type of spinach)

1.5 cups water

1/2 medium onion, finely diced

1.5 tablespoons / 25 g butter or ghee (2 tablespoons olive oil for a vegan version)

2 garlic cloves, grated or diced

1 teaspoon grated ginger 

1 small mild green chili such as jalapeno (can be omitted or halved)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

2 cardamom pods (optional)

0.51 cube of vegetable stock (optional)

To finish: 1 tablespoon lemon juice 


  • Rinse the rice in cold water 4-5 times and strain through a sieve. Set aside.
  • Add spinach and water to a blender (do it in batches if needed) and process until just pureed. It doesn’t have to be super smooth. Set aside.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Saute function key. Add the butter, onions, garlic, ginger and chili and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened. Add the spices and vegetable stock cube (crumbled, if using) and stir through. Press Cancel to stop the Saute process. If any of the garlic or ginger gets stuck during sauteing, make sure to scrape it off the bottom. You can add a tiny splash of water to let it soften. This will prevent any burning during pressure cooking.

How to make Indian Spinach Rice In Instant Pot Part 1

  • Add the rice and pureed spinach liquid and stir through. Pop the lid on top and lock, making sure the top valve is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual/Pressure Cook, HIGH pressure and adjust the timer to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to build up the pressure and then the timer will begin. Once the timer goes off, allow 3-4 minutes for natural pressure release and then point the top valve to Venting to perform quick release to let off the steam.
  • Open the lid and drizzle a little lemon juice into the rice. You can also add a little more ghee or butter if you want a richer flavour. Stir through and serve.

How to cook spinach rice with Instant Pot


If you can’t find garam masala, turmeric or cardamom, you can replace them with mild curry powder.

If using frozen spinach, 2/3-1 cup of defrosted spinach should be enough.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 214
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 12.5 mg
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 9 mg

Keywords: Indian, Vegetarian

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