Kheer is a delightful and indulgent rice pudding that is rich and creamy, made with three main ingredients - rice, milk, and sugar. Rice pudding is enjoyed all over the world, and the Indian version is flavored with fragrant cardamom or saffron (or sometimes both), and topped with crunchy nuts like almonds and pistachios. It can be served either warm or cold, depending on your personal preference.
In North India, it is commonly called chawal ki kheer, while in South India, it is known as paal payasam. This indulgent dessert is an essential part of festive occasions and is made on special occasions. Kheer is also a perfect way to end your Indian meals.
Although making kheer on the stovetop is easy, it can be time-consuming, and it requires constant monitoring to avoid burning the milk. Fortunately, with an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, you can make this dish in just 20 minutes (with less than 5 minutes of hands-on time), and without the need for constant monitoring.
Keep reading for the list of ingredients, helpful tips, and answers to frequently asked questions to create a delicious and creamy Indian rice pudding using this straightforward rice kheer recipe that requires just a few basic ingredients.
Why you will love this easy Kheer recipe?
- Time-saving: With an Instant Pot, kheer can be ready in just 20 minutes (with less than 5 minutes of hands-on time), compared to the traditional stovetop method which can take up to an hour or more.
- Consistency: The Instant Pot ensures consistent and even cooking of the kheer, without the risk of burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Hands-Off Cooking: Once you've set the timer on, you don't have to worry about stirring or checking on the kheer constantly.
- Rich, creamy, and luscious: The finished product is indulgent and luxurious, thanks to its creamy texture and delicate flavors. Depending on your preference, Instant Pot kheer can be served either warm or chilled.
The word kheer comes from the Sanskrit word kshirika, which means made with milk. It has been mentioned in Ayurveda and is known to be a part of ancient Indian food. Its first mention was not as a rice pudding but actually made with jowar (sorghum) and milk. Millets were commonly used back in the early 14th century and this millet pudding was sweetened with fruits or jaggery.
Also called payasam, payesh, payas, or payasa, every state in India has its own version, and can also be made of vermicelli or millets. Payas is considered auspicious and is also associated with annaprasana (infant's weaning ritual). This sweet treat became widely popular once it was being served as prasada in temples. The white color (shwet) of this dish is associated with purity and is often a part of festivals and celebrations.
Rice: I use Basmati rice to make this dish. Any Indian variety of white rice works well. You can also make it using Jasmine rice.
Milk: Use whole milk or full-fat milk to get a creamy texture.
Sugar: I use raw sugar; however, regular sugar also can be used. You can also use another sweetener of your choice, like brown sugar or maple syrup.
Cardamom and saffron: They are used to add flavor. You can use either one of them or both.
Nuts and raisins: These are added as a garnish. They add a great texture to the rice pudding. Almonds, pistachio, cashew, golden raisins, etc. are commonly used.
Step 1: Put the Instant Pot in saute mode and add ½ cup of water to the inner pot. Heat it for 1-2 minutes. Once it is hot, add full fat milk, rice, and sugar.
Step 2: Mix well and close the lid, put the Instant Pot in the Porridge setting (high pressure), and let it cook for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Once the Instant Pot beeps, press cancel to off the porridge button and do a natural pressure release. Mix the kheer well. Add chopped nuts, raisins, ground cardamom, and saffron strands.
Read the tips section above to know how to make sure the milk does not burn.
- Rinse the rice under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in enough water to cover it for 30 minutes.
- Take milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Drain the water from the soaked rice and add it to the milk. Stir well and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice cook in the milk, stirring occasionally, until the rice is soft and the milk has thickened. This should take 45 minutes to one hour. Keep stirring and scraping the sides of the pan every few minutes so that the milk does not burn.
- Add the sugar to the pan and stir well. Let the kheer cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the kheer has thickened to your desired consistency.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the chopped nuts and cardamom powder. Mix well.
Make sure the lid and sealing ring of the Instant Pot is cleaned thoroughly. I set aside a spare sealing ring that I use to make sweets.
Rinse the rice well and soak it for 15 minutes.
The first step is to set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add ½ cup of water. Once the water is hot, add the milk and rice. This is a common trick used when boiling milk on a stovetop - add a small amount of water first and heat it so that the milk does not burn and stick to the bottom of the pot.
Select porridge mode on your Instant Pot for this Kheer recipe.
The amount of sugar I add gives me a mildly sweet kheer. You can increase the sugar to ¾ cup to make the kheer taste sweeter.
You can use any nuts as per your liking. You can also skip it to make nut-free kheer.
Making it thick or thin is a personal preference. However, the kheer thickens quickly when it is cooling down. I am using 5 cups of milk and this amount of milk I have used gives me a thick texture. You can add more milk to make it a thinner consistency. You can also adjust the consistency after cooking.
Do not do a quick release of pressure. Wait for the pressure to come down naturally.
You can add one tablespoon of condensed milk after cooking the rice to add more thickness to the kheer. You can also add a few drops of rose water to flavor the kheer.
You may also like these Indian desserts (Instant Pot recipes):
Check out my collection of dessert recipes here.
Kheer can be served either cold or hot. This is a personal preference. We prefer eating it chilled. Make ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Basmati rice is widely used in North India to make it. In Bengal, a special variety of rice called Govindobhog rice is used which is short-grain, sticky, and very aromatic. Any variety of Indian rice can be used to make this Indian-style rice pudding.
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for 2-3 days. Once stored, it tends to thicken. You can add some milk and thin it out before serving.
Yes, it can be frozen. Portion and store in a freezer-safe container. Freeze it for up to three months. Defrost the kheer by placing it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Do not defrost it at room temperature. Add some milk and mix it well before serving.
Traditionally, it is made with whole milk and is not vegan. Although I have not tried making it with dairy-free milk, coconut milk, and almond milk should work for this recipe.
When made in an Instant Pot, it is usually thick and creamy. Follow the proportions in this recipe to get thick and creamy kheer. Also, keep in mind that it thickens as it cools down.
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
Instant Pot Kheer
- ½ cup Basmati rice
- 5 cups whole milk
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon nuts (I used cashew nuts and almonds)
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- Wash the rice in water 2-3 times. Soak the washed rice for 10-15 minutes.
- Put the Instant Pot in saute mode and add ½ cup water.
- Once it is hot, add milk, rice, and sugar. Stir it well.
- Close the lid and put the Instant Pot in Porridge mode and let it cook for 20 minutes.
- Do a natural release of pressure.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix it well.
- Add chopped nuts, raisins, cardamom powder, and saffron. Mix well.
- Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Kayla DiMaggio says
This instant pot kheer is delicious! I had never tried it before but I love all the flavors!
Giangi Townsend says
Another wonderful recipe. I love any kind of rice pudding and love that you prepared it with the instapot. I have all the ingredients and cannot wait to make it. Love all the flavors
Yum! Sounds like a lovely, delicious dessert!
In Finland we have a very similar dish called riisipuuro, it's one of the foods I love the most about Finland. I will try this in an Instant Pot, it looks very delicious.
How wonderful - I love that this can be made in the Instant Pot!
I would love to try your version of rice pudding! Looks good,
Emily Flint says
Thanks for the step-by-step photos and the background of this dish! I love learning new things and trying new things.
Absolutely! No fuss, quick and easy...
Cindy Mom, the Lunch Lady says
I love rice pudding, but adding these warm Indian spices to it, must elevate it to an all new level!
This is great! I love how easy it is to make. Super quick!