This instant pot rice and peas recipe is a quick and easy way to make rice and peas using your instant pot. It took 15 minutes to make this dish including prep time. Although I am using canned pigeon peas you can use any other type of canned peas. This recipe is versatile and you can expand to include any combination of peas and beans for a quick vegan side dish. If you don’t have an instant pot, why not get one today by clicking here? If you have an instant pot but have never used it, try this simple recipe and start using your instant pot today! Great tasting food doesn’t have to take hours to cook. You can have quick, delicious and nutritious dishes in minutes with your instant pot.
Making Rice and Peas in your Instant Pot
The ingredients in this instant pot rice and peas dish are very simple and so are the steps. The first step to intensifying the flavor of the rice is to caramelized some brown sugar in oil. Similar to when making burnt sugar but I didn’t let it get to that dark color, that is typical with burnt sugar. As soon as it caramelized I added my green onions, chopped garlic and a Scott bonnet pepper, you can use any other kind of chili pepper that you have available or simply leave it out.
A Jamaican Tradition
A few years ago my Jamaican friend Chris asked me to make him a pot of rice and gungo peas for Christmas. I had no idea that rice and gungo (pigeon) peas was a traditional Jamaican Christmas side dish. During this time I was busy prepping for our Christmas dinner and decided to quickly whip up the rice and peas in my Instant Pot. Making the Instant Pot rice and peas was such a time saver that I continued to make all of my rice and peas dishes in my instant pot. Click here for my Instant Pot Cook-up rice recipe and video.
I also added a few pimento or all spice berries. This is not a common ingredient in Guyanese cooking, but to borrow a delicious tip from my Jamaican friends, add some pimento berries to your rice dishes for a really rice spiced flavor.
Canned v. Frozen v. Powdered coconut milk
I live in Denver, Colorado and while fresh coconuts are available at the local supermarkets they are often not good or creamy enough for good coconut milk. Long gone are the days when I could just go into the back yard and look around for fallen dried coconuts to husk, grate and make fresh coconut milk. However, my favorite alternative to grating it fresh, is buying frozen grated coconut, blending it and making the coconut milk. When that option is not available my next choice is using diluted canned coconut milk. And finally as a last resort I like to keep some packets of coconut milk powder in my pantry.
Coconut milk powder is a good coconut milk option. The instructions on the back of the packet are a bit off and always make my dishes too fatty, so I started to just use half of the packet to make 3 to 4 cups of coconut milk and that consistently produces great results. For this instant pot rice and peas recipe I used coconut milk powder to make my coconut milk.
Stove top Vegetarian Three Bean Cook-up Rice (a.k.a Rice and Peas)
For a stove top version of a simple rice and peas dish, try this recipe.
Fluffing your Instant Pot Rice and Peas:
Immediately after your Instant Pot finishes pressure cooking and you’ve released the steam, fluff your rice with a fork. Mix the rice and peas together to help distribute any peas that may have settled on the top during cooking, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before garnishing and serving.
It is important to fluff your rice and to let it rest before serving for a truly fluffy rice and peas. The picture above shows what the rice looks like just after cooking. The picture below shows what the rice looks like after fluffing, resting and garnishing. Looks like two completely different dishes. Fluff your rice and then let it rest before serving. It will be so worth it!
The Instant Pot Rice and Peas Recipe
- 5 heads of green onions / scallions thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- I can of pigeon peas (gungo peas)
- 2 cups of Jasmine rice (washed)
- 3 cups of coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4-5 whole all spice berries (pimento berries)
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper or other chili pepper for flavor
- Turn on the sauté function on your instant pot and wait until it is hot (it will beep when it is hot)
- Add oil to the instant pot, then when the oil is hot (this should take about a minute) add the the brown sugar and let it caramelize until it becomes melted but still light brown in color
- Add the garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and the green onions (reserving about 2 tablespoons of the green stems for garnishing at the end)
- Sauté for a minute or 2 until the garlic and green onions get a little soft then add the canned peas
- Mix together well then add washed Jasmine rice, followed by the salt, pimento berries and coconut milk
- Stir together, then seal the instant pot and set it to high pressure for 10 minutes
- To set the instant pot to high pressure, you must first hit cancel to take it out of the sauté mode. In older models you then hit manual, adjust to the desired time and it's ready to pressure cook. In newer models select pressure cook, adjust to high pressure and adjust the time
- Alternatively you can also just select the rice option on the Instant Pot
- When the instant pot cooking cycle completes, release the pressure by venting the instant pot (see instructions in the instant pot manual for quick release venting)
- Fluff the rice and peas with a fork and mix together to distribute any peas and seasoning that may have settled on top of the rice during cooking
- Let the rice rest for 5 minutes then garnish with the remaining green onions
- Serve warm
This Instant Pot Rice and Peas side dish pairs really well with Beef Curry or Chicken Stew. If you try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment and rate the recipe below. Also please check out my other Instant Pot recipes here for quick and easy, no hassle weeknight meals. And as always follow me on instagram so you can see what I’ve been up to.