25+ Best Rice Side Dish Recipes

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Check out this round-up of 25+ best rice side dish recipes you can pair with curries or meat such as chicken, pork, etc.

A collage of 7 images with a caption 25+ Quick and Easy Rice Side Dishes
Quick and Easy Rice Side Dishes

I love how rice is such a versatile ingredient.

You can have rice for breakfast (ganji or congee), main course( Biryanis, khichdi, and pulaos /pilafs), desserts (rice kheer), and of course as a side dish accompanied with curries or along with protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, etc.

What most people love about a rice dish is that it is super easy to make and comes together rather quickly when you use a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot.

My favorite part about rice is that it soaks in all the added flavorings, such as chicken or vegetable broth, herbs, and ghee, and ends up being a delightful dish that can be served as an accompaniment or on its own.

What also makes rice popular as a side dish is the fact that it is easily available in any grocery store, is budget-friendly, and keeps you satiated for a long time.

Before you jump to the recipes, check out the quick tips to make rice that comes out perfect every time. If you like to meal prep, you’ll also learn how to make it ahead of time and store it properly.

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Frequently asked questions

Can rice be considered a side dish? What to serve rice with?

Of course, rice is such a versatile ingredient that it pairs really well with any curries, dals, roasted vegetables, and proteins such as chicken, fish, tofu, pork, etc. You can lightly season the rice as well to amp up the flavor.

What kind of rice is most often used as a side dish?

Though long-grained rice such as Basmati rice is popularly served as a side dish, you can also use seasoned black rice, wild rice, brown rice, etc.

How to spice up rice as a side dish?

There are so many ways to flavor a simple rice dish – cook it with broth, season it with salt and spices, and serve it with freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, cilantro, mint, etc.

Tips to make rice

TIPS

Here are a few helpful tips for making rice in the Instant Pot.

Cooking time does not depend on the amount of rice cooked: You can easily scale the recipe without changing the cooking time.

The cooking times between various brands will vary. You may have to tweak the cooking times depending on the brand to get the right texture you want.

Wash / Soak the rice – Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and excess starch (which makes it easier to digest). If time permits, soak the rice.  Soaking elongates the grains and makes them less brittle.

Let the rice rest  – Once cooked, let the rice rest  –  this allows the steam to redistribute, and all the layers of the rice are evenly cooked. That is why it is important to wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure. 

Avoid a clumpy mess – If not serving immediately, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to prevent the rice from drying out and sticking to the bottom.

Flavor it up – There are easy ways to add flavor to the rice. Here are a few examples – Saute it in olive oil before cooking, cook it in vegetable or chicken broth, and add fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, etc. Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice are great flavor enhancers as well.

How to prep ahead

Rice is best when eaten fresh, but you can prepare them in advance if you like to meal prep. Just follow the cooking instructions for the recipe, let the rice cool down completely, and then transfer the cooked rice to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Reheat according to the instructions below.

Storage tips

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. You can also microwave rice until it is heated through.

Refrigerator: Up to 3 days in an air-tight container.

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


About the recipes

This collection starts off with some basic rice recipes that are perfect as side dishes for everyday meals and also lists out some delicious one-pot recipes (seasoned rice pilaf or pulao) that make complete meals on their own.

Check out this round-up of 20+ best rice side dish recipes you can pair with curries or meat such as chicken, pork, etc.

Basic rice side dishes

Do you want some easy rice recipes to complete your meal? This next set of recipes is perfect for you – from plain white rice to wild rice and everything in between, you’ll have a lot of options to pick choose from for an easy weeknight dinner.

Basmati rice

I have used rice cookers in the past and have made rice over the stovetop, too, but making Basmati rice in the Instant Pot is my absolute favorite method – it takes less time than rice cookers and is hands-free, unlike making it on the stovetop.

You'll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker. Get the recipe below and learn how to make the perfect Basmati rice. 

Brown Basmati Rice

When you consume rice daily, it is best to eat a type with a good nutrition profile.

That’s why Brown Basmati rice is a great choice.

Not only is brown Basmati rice good for you, but it also has a wonderful flavor. It has a nutty aroma and fluffy texture and is super easy to make using Instant Pot! This magical device prepares meals in less than half the time of traditional stovetop or rice cooker methods.

Check out the recipe below!

This easy recipe for Instant Pot Brown Basmati rice yields perfectly cooked, soft rice every time!

Instant Pot Sona masoori rice

In India, making Basmati rice is often reserved for special occasions. Depending on the region, the choice of everyday rice may differ. At home, we ate a lot of sona masoori rice.

This type of rice is medium-grain (sometimes referred to as short-grain) rice which is widely used and very popular in South Indian cuisine. Most famously, it is an integral ingredient used during the Pongal festival (check out this Instant Pot ven pongal recipe).

It goes really well with curries and dals or to make fragrant coconut rice.

This foolproof recipe for Instant Pot sona masoori rice is fluffy and perfectly cooked in under 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice tastes great not only with Thai curries but with Indian curries too. It is just as aromatic and fluffy as Basmati rice but plumper, moist, and slightly sticky.

Makes for a great substitute for sona masoori rice or Basmati rice.

This Instant Pot Jasmine rice comes together in under 30 minutes for a hands-free, perfectly fluffy side dish you can serve with your favorite lentils, dals, and curries.

Brown rice

Cooking brown rice can be tricky. You can easily end up with rice that is crunchy, chewy, and bland, like cardboard. But with the right recipe and Instant Pot by your side, you could avoid all that and make perfectly cooked brown rice at home – in 4 easy steps and with a touch of a button (or two). 

Get the recipe below.

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!

Kerala matta rice

Kerala matta rice (or red rice) packs higher nutritional value than its processed white rice rivals. This fiber-rich rice will keep you satiated for a long time and makes a great side to Mangalorean curries.

Nutritious and filling, this Instant Pot Kerala matta rice recipe, made with three ingredients, cooks up in a fraction of the time it traditionally takes to make red matta rice.

Instant Pot Black Rice (Forbidden rice)

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 is needed!

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

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.

Instant Pot wild rice

Bored of plain white rice? Try a different type of rice – wild rice! It is not only aromatic but nutritious as well!

In fact, wild rice is actually healthier than both white and brown rice. It is filled with protein and has high-dietary fiber as well. It is also gluten-free, making it a perfect choice for your gluten-free diet.

It is quick & easy to cook nutritious wild rice in the Instant pot. They have a sweet aroma with a nutty flavor and a chewy texture.

Instant Pot Calrose rice

Calrose Rice originated in California. The name “rose” indicates medium grain shape, and “cal” indicates California origin. Calrose rice, once cooked, is soft and sticky. It goes well with soups, salads, or sushi as they absorb the flavors well.

Learn how to cook perfect Calrose rice in the Instant Pot every time you make with this tried & tested recipe.

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Instant Pot Sushi Rice

Making perfect sushi rice can be tricky, but Instant Pot makes it easy. Just follow the fail-proof recipe below and get perfect results every time!

This easy Instant Pot recipe makes fluffy, sticky, and fragrant sushi rice in under 30 minutes. It's perfect to use as a base for homemade sushi rolls, poke bowls, and many more delicious dishes!

Flavored rice recipes

Now that the simple and basic recipes are covered let’s move on to the next category of rice dishes – the flavored ones. Lemon/lime juice, turmeric, cilantro, or ghee is added to rice to enhance its flavor, fragrance, and color.

Here are a few recipes that taste great with chicken, paneer, tofu, fish/seafood, or any other protein.

Yellow turmeric rice

Homemade Indian Yellow Turmeric Rice has never been easier than this 20-minute Instant pot recipe. Made with anti-inflammatory turmeric, this fragrant rice recipe makes the perfect side to curries, seafood, chicken, and more!

This yellow turmeric rice recipe comes together in just 20 minutes with the Instant Pot for a vibrant side dish that pairs with curries, seafood, chicken, and more!

Cilantro lime rice

Delicious and filling, this Instant Pot Chipotle cilantro lime rice instantly elevates anything you serve with it. This easy copycat recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes, thanks to the Instant Pot.

This copycat Chipotle cilantro lime rice is ready in Instant Pot in under 20 minutes and pairs well with any Mexican and Asian dish.

Jeera rice

After a long day at work, our hungry stomach often demands a satisfying meal that doesn’t take hours to make. That’s when a good recipe for jeera rice will come in handy. Pair it with dal and a side dish to make an elegant yet effortless dinner.

Jeera rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling. Learn how to make this flavorful rice in ten minutes or less.

Ghee rice

While this lightly spiced-up rice side dish is typically made for special occasions (entertaining, weddings, etc.), it is easy enough to make every night of the week. This simple ghee rice recipe pairs really well with kormas, dals, and curries.

This restaurant-style, easy ghee recipe is a keeper! Learn how to dish up this aromatic south Indian dish in under 30 minutes using an Instant Pot or over the stovetop.

South Indian lemon rice

I love how versatile Lemon rice is – you can serve it by itself or pair it with a bowl of yogurt and lemon pickle on the side. Lemon rice also goes really well as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken (though it is not typically served that way in India).

Got leftover rice? Turn it into Lemon rice – a popular and flavorful South Indian dish that you can make in less than 15 minutes. It also makes for an easy lunch box option that you can either put together the night before or in the morning without any fuss.

Curd rice (thayir sadam)

The mixture of cooked rice and curd, commonly known as dahi bhaat is a dish that is savored across India, but it is in the South that it has come on its own with a tempering that adds a delicate and refreshing flavor to the otherwise bland tasting mixture.

This is a wonderful comfort food served with a side of picklepodi, or papad in the South.

The delicate and mild flavored curd rice (also known as thayir sadam or yogurt rice) is a befitting finale to a sumptuous spicy meal. Learn how to make this comfort food in under 30-minutes. 

Coconut rice

Coconut rice is a quick and easy 30-minute recipe for aromatic rice cooked with creamy coconut milk. With a naturally sweet aroma and flavor, it’s a simple way to elevate an everyday meal.

Easy 30-minute recipe for Instant Pot Coconut Rice that elevates a simple side dish to a creamy and rich delight. Stovetop recipe included.

Saffron rice

Looking for some variation in your regular rice? Try this fragrant Saffron Rice made in the Instant Pot.

Easy and aromatic Saffron Rice made in the Instant Pot! This amazing side dish pairs well with almosy everything. Vegan and gluten-free.

One-pot rice with veggies

The next set of rice dishes is loaded with veggies..all you need to do is add a side of protein and make it a complete meal.

Instant Pot Mexican rice

While there are many dump-and-go Instant Pot Spanish / Mexican rice recipes, this recipe asks you to do a tiny bit of extra work – browning the rice. Browning the rice adds so much more flavor. I’ve read that this is how it is made in most Mexican households. So if you have the time, go for it. If you don’t, that’s okay too.

This easy recipe is the ultimate side dish or a satisfying vegetarian main dish. Ready in 30 minutes with minimal hands-on time, it's sure to become a family favorite!

Instant Pot Spinach / Palak rice

Make a filling bowl of Palak Rice in just 20 minutes with your Instant Pot. This filling and flavorful spinach Rice is packed with warm spices and fresh vegetables for a gluten-free dish everyone will enjoy!

Learn how to make this flavorful spinach rice, packed with fresh vegetables and aromatic spices, in just 20 minutes with your Instant Pot.

Veg Tawa Pulao

In the simplest of terms, this Mumbai street-style tawa pulao recipe is like an Indian fried rice recipe. It’s vegetarian, super flavorful, and a great main course or side dish!

Mumbai's iconic street-style tawa pulao consists of of rice and vegetables sautéed together with pav bhaji masala, herbs, and spices.

Indian Fried Rice Recipe

Fried rice comes in many variations. The most popular, of course, is the Chinese fried rice, but then there is the Indo-Chinese version which was all the craze in India when I was growing up in the 90s.

The Indian fried rice uses a few more seasonings and sauces than the Chinese version and is spicier. It is often served without eggs to accommodate the dietary needs of vegetarians in India. This easy fried rice recipe is my take on both versions and gives you the option to make it with or without eggs.

Go get the soy sauce out of your pantry and try this recipe today!

This vegetable Indian fried rice is simple, flavorful, and a restaurant quality recipe. Made with leftover brown rice and tender vegetables, it's a healthy dish that can be served on the side or enjoyed as a satisfying main.

Instant Pot Cabbage Rice

This recipe uses long grain Basmati rice and is cooked mostly in the water released from the cabbage. The rice button, which is a 12-minute low-pressure setting, works perfectly for this recipe. And if there is some rice browned at the bottom, scrape it and enjoy it.

Simple to make the one-pot dish, this flavorful cabbage rice is packed with vitamins and has the perfect heat from fresh ginger and green chilies.

Capsicum / Bell pepper rice

To make this capsicum rice, all you need is some cooked rice, onion, tomato, and, of course, capsicum or bell peppers. This is an easy one-pot meal that is perfect for weekday dinners. You can use any long-grain rice for this recipe!

Capsicum Rice – One pot flavorful rice cooked with spices and lots of Capsicum/Bell Peppers.

Tomato rice

This spicy rice is particularly famous in South India, but of course, it’s cooked and relished everywhere.

There are two ways to make this rice – you can make it from scratch or use leftover rice. You’ll find instructions for making it both ways below.

Spicy South-Indian style Tomato Rice is one-pot meal made with tomatoes and spices! It’s best enjoyed with a side of yogurt and pickle! Vegan & Gluten-free!

Looking for some delicious biryani recipes?

There are literally dozens of different types of biryanis found across the Indian Subcontinent and also in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Each has its distinct qualities, taste, flavor, and ingredients. Here is a list of a few of my favorite ones!

A collage of biryani recipes and includes text which reads 13 biryani recipes - includes vegetarian, Vegan, Chicken, and Seafood variations
Biryani Recipes

THE VERY BEST BIRYANI RECIPES

13+ Easy Biryani Recipes

If you love biryani, then this collection of recipes is for you! Check out this interesting selection of delicious and easy chicken and shrimp, egg, and vegetarian & vegan biryani recipes – perfect for modern-day cooking.

Get dinner on the table faster!

Learn my meal planning + prepping secrets to make fresh Indian food without spending hours in the kitchen.

An overhead shot of Gujarathi kadhi along with rice, rotis and a side of lemon

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