Instant Pot Black Rice (Forbidden rice)

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Learn how to make perfectly cooked black rice (Forbidden rice) in the Instant Pot. It is much quicker than making it over the stovetop and the best part is no soaking needed!

Rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants, this nutty whole grain rice makes the perfect side dish.

A plate with black rice, lemon wedges, and salmon.
Instant Pot Black Rice

I’ve been making many different styles of rice in my Instant Pot since the day I unpacked it. I can honestly say it’s become such a staple for cooking rice in my kitchen.

So when I first tried black rice (also known as forbidden rice) in a restaurant, I knew I had to find a way to make it in my Instant Pot.

Well, it was an absolute success!

Chewy, nutty, and slightly earthy, Instant Pot forbidden rice has become a fast favorite for meal planning.

Black rice goes perfectly with salmon, fish, chicken, and many other dishes. It’s a healthy alternative to classic white rice, and it cooks to perfection thanks to the magic of the Instant Pot. Best of all? It shakes up the boring routine of the same old side dishes night after night AND tastes delicious.

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What is forbidden rice?

Forbidden rice is a common name for Chinese black rice. It is a dark-colored rice, often appearing purple in color after cooking. The dark hue indicates it is high in antioxidants and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia.

Forbidden rice set in a measuring cup
Forbidden rice

Why is it called forbidden rice?

Forbidden rice (also known as black rice) earned its name from Ancient China. During that time, the only people who could afford to eat black rice were either royalty or very wealthy. This dark-colored rice was also treasured in traditional Chinese medicine.

Because of the use of black rice in traditional Chinese medicine, at one point, it was strictly reserved for the emperor alone. This was to ensure his health and well-being while being forbidden to all others. For this reason, it is also known as “Emperor’s Rice.”

Taste and texture

Black rice is nutty and chewy in texture, not unlike common wild rice varieties and hearty brown rice. This Chinese whole grain rice is earthy, full-flavored, and perfect for pairing with simple foods like salmon, fish, and chicken. It’s a delicious ancient grain for serving with your favorite dishes.


Chinese forbidden rice (black rice) is rich in fiber and protein and loaded with antioxidants thanks to its deep, dark, almost-blue color. Several studies also show that it may help with heart health and have anti-cancer properties.

Read more: Surprising Benefits and Uses of Black Rice – Healthline.

What is black rice good for

Black rice has the highest protein content of any of the most popular rice varieties. This makes it an excellent choice for a healthy side dish. It is also rich in iron and antioxidants, making it perfect for those who need an extra boost of nutrition in their daily diets.

Black rice has a deep purple color, which easily imparts onto other foods it is cooked with. It is traditionally used alongside white rice in Korean cooking to make a Korean purple rice dish.

Buying and storing

Black rice can be found at large supermarkets, but you have a better chance of finding it if you purchase online, through a health food store, OR an Asian market.

Store your black rice in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Reasons to love this recipe

  • No soaking needed – While some traditional recipes for Forbidden Rice require soaking, this Instant Pot version doesn’t require it.
  • An easy, hands-off recipe – Just set the Instant Pot, and come back after the cooking time is through.
  • Fail-proof results every time – thanks to Instant Pot!
  • An easy and healthy swap for white rice.

Here’s what you need to make the recipe

Ingredient notes/swaps

  • Forbidden rice is also known as black rice or emperor’s rice. You can buy them online, in health food stores, or in Asian markets.
  • Ghee or olive oil – Adds flavor and helps the texture, but you can leave it out if you prefer.
  • Salt – You just need a tiny bit of salt to bring out the flavor.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below.

An overhead shot of a plate with rice, salad, salmon and lemon wedges.


Here’s what you need to make this recipe 


  • Rinse the rice to remove extra starch.
  • If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.
  • Sauteeing the rice along with oil or ghee helps build flavor.
  • Fluff the rice once it is cooked to prevent it from sticking to each other.

Variations to try

  • Using stock and butter – To add richness and flavor to your rice, you can try using stock in place of the water and unsalted butter in place of the ghee or olive oil.
  • Purple Korean rice – Add 1 cup of short grain rice to the Instant pot and 1 1/2 teaspoons of glutinous black rice. Increase the water by 1 1/2 teaspoons for a total of 1 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons. The black rice will color the white short grain rice, giving it a purplish hue.
  • Vegan – use olive oil instead of ghee.
  • Black rice pilaf – Use black rice instead of white to make a pilaf or pulao.

How to prep ahead

If you would like to prepare your forbidden rice ahead of time for meal prep, OR just to have it on hand for a later meal, you can do that very easily.

Cook your black rice as instructed, and completely cool. Transfer the rice to an airtight container with a lid and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Storage tips

Refrigerator: Your leftover black rice will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Reheating leftover rice – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.

Freezer: Store it for a month in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.

Forbidden rice in a white bowl
Instant Pot Black Forbidden Rice

Serve it with

You can serve this easy Instant Pot black rice as a side instead of white, brown, or Basmati rice. Here are a few of my favorite options:

  • Tandoori salmon – Spicy and tangy bite-size pieces of the salmon are grilled to perfection to make this delicious dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make.
  • Grilled honey garlic salmon – This 15-minute grilled honey garlic salmon is perfect for days when you crave a fancy meal but don’t want to pay for it or spend hours making it.
  • Instant Pot steamed broccoli – This fresh and tender broccoli makes for a quick weeknight side dish that your whole family will enjoy!
  • Air fryer roasted asparagus – Perfectly crisp, garlic parmesan air fryer asparagus roasts in under 20 minutes for a healthy side even your pickiest eater will enjoy.
Pink circle with light bulb

Frequently asked questions

Does forbidden rice need to be soaked?

While some recipes for forbidden rice require soaking, it is not required. A simple rinsing is plenty to help prep your black rice for cooking, and you should get a great result with no soaking needed.

Is forbidden rice healthier than brown rice?

Both brown rice and forbidden rice (black rice) contain the bran, making them high in fiber and minimally processed. Forbidden rice is higher in fiber, though, and it has the most protein of many of the most popular rice varieties. Forbidden rice may be the healthier option to increase fiber and protein in your diet.

Why is forbidden black rice prohibited? 

Forbidden rice is no longer prohibited, but it gets its name from ancient China when only aristocrats could afford and consume black rice. This made it unavailable to common people, so it was considered forbidden.

What is the ratio of water for black rice?

When you are cooking black rice in the Instant Pot, the ratio is the same as most other rice varieties, which is 1:1. When you cook black rice on the stovetop, the ratio is 2:1, and for a rice cooker, the ratio is 1 3/4 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.

Do I need oil or ghee to make this recipe?

You can skip the oil or ghee – it is included only for the flavor and is not required.

Will black rice stain?

Black rice can stain any surface that it comes into contact with. Therefore, it’s important to use stainless steel cookware and utensils when cooking black rice. Also, wipe up any messes or spills as soon as they happen.

Scooping black rice from Instant Pot into a bowl
Instant Pot Black Rice

Other rice recipes to try

  • Instant Pot brown rice – Say goodbye to gummy, crunchy, and tasteless brown rice. Master the process of making brown rice in the Instant Pot and get perfect results every time!
  • Instant Pot basmati rice – You’ll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker.
  • Instant Pot Palak Rice –  This filling and flavorful Spinach Rice is packed with warm spices and fresh vegetables for a gluten-free dish everyone will enjoy!
  • Aromatic jeera (cumin) rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling.

Instant Pot Forbidden Rice Recipe

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A plate with black rice, lemon wedges, and salmon.
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Instant Pot Black Rice (Forbidden Rice)

You'll love making black rice (forbidden rice) in the Instant Pot. This nutrient-rich whole grain dish comes out perfect every time – no soaking required.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Pressure Building Time + Resting time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup forbidden rice
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water


  • Rinse the forbidden rice using a strainer till the water runs clear.
  • Select the Saute program in the Instant Pot and set it to Normal.
  • Add one tablespoon of ghee in the inner steel pot.
  • Drain the rice and add it to the inner pot.
  • Saute the rice for about 30 seconds. Press cancel.
  • Add water along with salt to the inner pot. Mix well.
  • Close the lid and set the steam valve to sealing.
  • Pressure cook for 18 minutes under high pressure.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 10 minutes before moving the valve to 'venting' to release pressure.
  • Open the lid and let the steam escape. Wait for a minute or two and then fluff the rice gently with a fork and it is ready to serve.


  • This recipe was tested in an Instant Pot Duo – 6 quart. To make this in an 8-quart Instant Pot, make at least 2 cups of forbidden rice since 8-quart needs at least 2 cups of water to come to pressure.
  • I have used a standard measuring cup for the recipe and not the rice cup that came with Instant Pot.
  • If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.
  • Reheating leftover rice – Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of leftover rice. Mix well and pressure cook for zero minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, move the valve to ‘venting’ to release pressure immediately.
  1. Use olive oil instead of ghee to make it vegan.
Read the post…For helpful information on ingredient swaps, storage tips, meal prep ideas, and variations!

Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 297mgPotassium: 103mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.4gCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Diet: Vegetarian
Course: Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Keywords: easy, Failproof, No soak, perfect
Cuisine: Indian
Did you enjoy this recipe or have a question?Please leave a comment below. Don’t forget to rate!

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