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instant pot tomato rice indian recipe

Instant pot tomato rice recipe, How to make instant pot tomato rice/tomato rice pilaf South Indian style recipe

This instant pot tomato rice recipe without onions makes a delicious, quick South Indian style tomato rice pilaf/pulao made using instant pot which is perfect for an easy delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword instant pot tomato rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
pressure build up & release time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 252kcal


Whole spices

  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise

For garnishing (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves chopped


  • Wash and chop the tomatoes in small pieces, keep the chopped tomatoes aside.
  • Wash the rice very well and keep this aside separately from the tomatoes.
  • Add the oil to the inner pot of instant pot, press the saute function, set it low and add the oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the whole spices - cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise and lightly fry for about 1 minute.
  • Once the spices are lightly fried, add the ginger garlic paste and green chilies, stir well and fry for about a minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes also to the pot and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. (Once the tomatoes are sauteed, in case the pot gets very hot and things start sticking, you can always press the 'keep warm' button which will immediately cancels the saute function so you do not have to worry)
  • Add the rice also to the pot, stir well using a good spatula and saute for another 1 minute (if needed you may add a little more oil or butter or ghee).
  • Add enough salt and also all the remaining spices to the pot - turmeric powder, red chili powder and cumin seeds powder, stir well and saute for about a minute (you may also add a little coriander powder and garam masala powder if you wish to have more masala flavor for the rice, but this is not necessary).
  • Add the water, stir everything well and press the 'keep warm/cancel' button.
  • Close the instant pot with lid in sealing position, press the manual button and cook in high pressure for 5 minutes of time.
  • Once the cooking is done for five minutes (which probably will start after a few minutes of time as the instant pot needs to build up enough pressure and so you have to wait until its ready), the instant pot will beep and you can press the 'keep warm' button. Wait for another few minutes until the pressure is naturally released or you may do a careful manual release after an NPR (natural pressure release) of about 15 minutes.
  • Once the pressure is all released, you can carefully open the lid by turning the lid to venting position.
  • Stir the prepared rice using a good quality spatula and top with cilantro leaves if you wish. Serve the delicious tomato rice with any curry, side dishes, fresh yogurt or raitha as you like.


If you are not serving the rice right away, make sure to stir the rice using a good quality spatula in between while the rice is still warm (for a few times in few minutes time interval), so as to keep the rice fluffy and avoid it getting sticky over time.
If you wish, you can also add some chopped cilantro leaves to the pot while you add the rice, which will make it even more flavorful.
As I made this tomato rice quickly, I didn't add any onions. If you wish, you may also chop an onion finely and saute it in the instant pot (after you fry the whole spices) using the saute option until the onions are lightly browned and then follow the remaining instructions as mentioned in the recipe.


Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.8mg