This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Vegetable Pulao Instant Pot is prepared with basmati rice and aromatic Indian spices. This dish is flavorful, simple, and delicious. Unlike other examples of this recipe, mine requires minimal chopping which lowers prep time!

Pot of rice with chickpeas and vegetables with pickles and yogurt in the background.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

★★★★★
“This was a super quick and delicious recipe. Something I was able to make for my family on a weeknight without too much prep. As suggested, some Raita and pickle were a perfect match with this pulav.”
– Priya


Pulao was always a staple in our home. On nights my mom didn’t feel like cooking – which may have been more often than not lol – she made pulao in the pressure cooker.

Nowadays, we have the convenience of the Instant Pot. There’s no waiting around for the whistle to go off and keeping track of how many whistles went by. Sigh! I could never keep up.

More Instant Pot Recipes

My Instant Pot Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice) goes with everything and is super easy to make. Looking for some Indian comfort food, make this Green Moong Dal Khichdi or Plain Khichdi Recipe. Love lentils? Try this Instant Pot Toor Dal or Andhra Style Tomato Pappu (Dal).



What is Vegetable Pulao?

Vegetable Pulao or Vegetable Pulav is a popular Indian dish made with fragrant basmati rice and flavored with whole spices along with various mixed vegetables such as carrots, green peas, corn, and green beans.  In the Western world, pulao would be referred to as Vegetable Rice Pilaf.

There are many variations of veg pulao. Pulao can be flavored with ginger, garlic, green chilies, and tomatoes, however for my version I’ve used none of these ingredients saving you a lot of time.

Note: There are no ginger, garlic, or tomatoes in this Instant Pot Pulao recipe so it’s minimal chopping making it an easy weeknight meal.

Today I’m sharing my mom’s Punjabi-style easy vegetable pulao recipe. This veg pulao recipe consists of onions, veggies, chickpeas, and simple whole spices. 

A spoon holding a small serving of vegetable rice.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick & Easy
  • Weeknight Meal
  • An Instant Pot Recipe
  • Simple Comfort Food
  • Aromatic & Delicious
  • Vegan & Gluten-free

Ingredients

  • Basmati Rice – Make sure to use white basmati rice.
  • Onions – You’ll need 1 large onion. Red or white onions work, just make sure they’re sliced, but not too thinly.
  • Canned Chickpeas – I always stick with organic canned chickpeas, rinsed & drained. Feel free to use dry chickpeas, but make sure to soak them before using.
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables – For this combo, I used carrots and peas, but feel free to use green beans, corn, edamame, or whatever combo of frozen mixed vegetables.
  • Whole Spices – Cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, black cardamom (moti elachi), green cardamom (elachi), cumin seeds, and peppercorns.
  • Powdered Spices – Coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt.
  • Water – The rice-to-water ratio after soaking is 1 1/2 cups of rice to 1 3/4 cups of water.

*See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.*


Substitutions

  • Chickpeas – Replace with cauliflower a potatoes, or soy nuggets (nutrela). It’s important to use the same quantity of the ingredients you’re replacing to avoid inconsistent measurements.
  • Masala Pulao – Instead of all the powdered spices used, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of pav bhaji masala. This tastes AMAZING! Feel free to use chicken biryani or vegetable biryani masala too.
  • Veggies – Frozen vegetables work well in this recipe – corn, beans, carrots, and green peas. You may also add veggies such as baby corn and edamame. Furthermore, you can add fresh veggies such as green bell peppers.
  • Oil – Instead of oil you can use ghee. Note: This recipe is no longer vegan if you use ghee.

How to make Vegetable Pulao Instant Pot recipe?

1. Wash rice until the water runs clear. Then soak rice in water for 15 minutes. (Image 1)

2. Rinse and drain rice. Set aside. (Image 2)

a two-photo collage showing steps 1 and 2 to drain rice.

3. Heat up an Instant Pot in SAUTE mode. Once hot, add avocado oil or any flavorless oil. Add all the whole spices. Saute for about 45 seconds. (Image 3)

4. Add sliced onions and season with salt. (Image 4)

5. Saute for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden. (Image 5)

6. This is what you should have. (Image 6)

Saute whole spices and sliced onions - steps 3-6.

7. Add the washed & drained rice. (Image 7)

8. Saute the rice for 2 minutes and click CANCEL on the Instant Pot. (Image 8)

9. Add the canned chickpeas and frozen mixed vegetables. Make sure you wash and rinse the frozen mixed vegetables under warm water and drain. Also, make sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas. (Image 9)

10. Add water and all the powdered spices – salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala. (Image 10)

Add rice and frozen vegetables - steps 7-10.

11. Mix well and scrape the bottom well to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. (Image 11)

12. Cover the Instant Pot and set the Vent Valve to Seal. Click HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. Once 5 minutes is up, let the Instant Pot pressure release on its own for 10 minutes and then manually release. You’ll have the best results using this method. (Image 12)

13. This is what you should have. Fluff the rice with a fork and you’ll have fluffy rice. To avoid mushy rice, do NOT mix the rice. (Image 13)

14. Serve perfectly cooked Vegetable Pualo with achaar and raita (or plain yogurt). (Image 14)
Optional: Garnish with coriander leaves or mint leaves.

Cook rice in Instant Pot, then fluff with a fork - steps 11-14.

Expert Tips

Onions – Slice the onions, but not too thin.

Wash Rice – Wash the rice well until the water runs clear. Then soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain.

Water – Add the exact amount of water mentioned for this recipe – 1 3/4 cups of water.

✓ For the BEST Results – Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes and then do a quick pressure release


Serving Suggestions

→ Serve Veg Pulao with a side or raita. My personal favorite is raita with onions and tomatoes flavored with chat masala, roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, and salt.

→ Sides of your favorite achaar and papad are wonderful too.


Recipe FAQs

Can I use Brown Rice instead of White Rice?

As much as I love cooking with brown rice instead of white rice, I need to work on the consistency of this pulao with brown rice. Once it’s been tested, I will share my version of brown rice vegetable pulao.

Can I add nuts to this recipe?

Sure. Simply heat ghee and saute cashew nuts. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the nuts to the rice.

What rice is best for pulao?

I recommend long-grained fragrant basmati rice that is aged. I love Tilda Basmati Rice which you can easily find at your local Indian grocery store or Amazon.

What’s the difference between biryani and pulao?

There are quite a few differences between biryani and pulao. Biryani uses a dum-style cooking method whereas pulao is a one-pot dish. Biryani uses more complex spices, on the other hand, pulao uses more simple basic spices. takes a lot longer to cook and it’s also much more flavorful than pulao. Additionally, biryani is layered rice between vegetables or meat, whereas pulao is all cooked in one pot where the flavors are distributed equally.

Personally, I love making biryani for special occasions and pulao is perfect for everyday cooking.

Close-up shot of Vegetable Pulao with peas and chickpeas in a large serving bowl.

More Rice Recipes



5 from 8 votes

Vegetable Pulao Instant Pot

By: Nisha
Vegetable Pulao Instant Pot is prepared with basmati rice and aromatic Indian spices. This dish is flavorful, simple, and delicious.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

for the Whole Spices

for the Rice & Veggies

  • 1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 15 ounce can organic chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups organic frozen mixed vegetables, carrots, peas, corn, and green beans; rinse under warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked, washed & rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 3/4 water
Save this recipe!
Get this recipe sent to your inbox! Plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

  • Wash rice until the water runs clear. Then soak rice in water for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse and drain rice. Set aside.
  • Heat up an Instant Pot in SAUTE mode. Once hot, add avocado oil or any flavorless oil. Add all the whole spices. Saute for about 45 seconds.
  • Add sliced onions and season with salt.
  • Saute for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.
  • This is what you should have.
  • Add the washed & drained rice.
  • Saute the rice for 2 minutes and click CANCEL on the Instant Pot.
  • Add the canned chickpeas and frozen mixed vegetables. Make sure you wash and rinse the frozen mixed vegetables under warm water and drain. Also, make sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  • Add water and all the powdered spices – salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala.
  • Mix well and scrape the bottom well to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
  • Cover the Instant Pot and set the Vent Valve to Seal. Click HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. Once 5 minutes is up, let the Instant Pot pressure release on its own for 10 minutes and then manually release. You'll have the best results using this method.
  • This is what you should have. Fluff the rice with a fork and you'll have fluffy rice. To avoid mushy rice, do NOT mix the rice.
  • Serve perfectly cooked Vegetable Pualo with achaar and raita (or plain yogurt). Optional: Garnish with coriander leaves or mint leaves.

Notes

This recipe was first published on October 5, 2022, and has been updated since.
  • Slice the onions, but not too thin.
  • Wash the rice well until the water runs clear. Then soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain.
  • Add the exact amount of water mentioned for this recipe – 1 3/4 cups of water.
  • For the BEST Results – Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes and then do a quick pressure release

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 977mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3788IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Sides
Cuisine: Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!


Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


Subscribe to get my latest recipes!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

You May Also Like

5 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Nisha! Thank you for the recipe. I tried the same day your shared on insta story. I didn’t had chcikepeas though so I added soaked Chana dal. Rice came out so good and can’t believe how quick it was. Thanks for great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This was a super quick and delicious recipe. Something I was able to make for my family on a week night without too much prep. As suggested, some Raita and pickle were a perfect match with this pulav.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this chickpea pulao recipe for my toddler..its was hit she liked it,i liked it! Recipe is really simple yet delicious! You dont have to do ton of preprations for it,this is the best part! Thankyou nisha for great recipe..thankx to aunty ji too! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This is a must try recipe.. Had two cans of veggies stored during pandemic and finally used them to try this recipe!!! Followed everything to the tea and the Pulao came out so wonderful. Another fab recipe from Nisha!!!