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Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric

Congee is my new favorite breakfast food. This thick porridge, also called jook, is a classic Chinese comfort food. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast bowl customized with an assortment of delicious and savory toppings. And it’s super easy to make in the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker.

Also called jook, congee is rice porridge, a classic Chinese comfort food. It is also popular in Vietnam (called chao), Japan (okayu), Korea (juk), Thailand (jok), and other Asian countries.

The traditional way to make congee is simply to simmer rice in a large amount of liquid for a long time. This causes the rice to break down into a thick porridge. It’s a common breakfast or a curative for someone who’s under the weather, but it also makes a great lunch, dinner, or late-night snack.

Your Congee, Your Way

Congee is one of those dishes that is infinitely variable, so you can make it to your own liking. Some people like it super thick, while others prefer a more soupy adaptation. 

Some like it vegetarian, while others use chicken broth for the cooking liquid. And you can use any type of rice you like or have on hand—basmati, jasmine, long-grain, short-grain, white, or brown.

instant pot congee in bowl with spoon overhead shot

Normally a dish that takes nearly 2 hours to cook, with an Instant Pot, you can be eating in 45 minutes.

Put your rice, liquid, and seasonings like salt and turmeric into the pot, set it, and forget it. (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, make this in a regular stockpot on the stovetop. You’ll just need to simmer it for 90 minutes or so.)

Healthy Comfort Food? Bring It!

I think of congee as not just comfort food, but healthy comfort food. It’s the kind of thing I crave when it is cold or rainy out, when I feel like I’m coming down with something, or when I have a full-blown cold.

And I’m not saying I have personal experience with this, but I’m pretty sure it is also a slam-dunk hangover cure.

instant pot congee in a bowl with a spoon

Congee is delicious, filling, and, depending on what you put in it, can pack a whole lot of nutrition. I make my congee with brown rice instead of white, which gives it more fiber and minerals, and a slightly nutty flavor that I love.

I add anti-inflammatory turmeric because it is a nutritional powerhouse. And I like to use homemade chicken broth for the liquid. All of that goes right into the Instant Pot to cook.

Topping your congee is where you can get really creative. I’ve offered a list of topping ideas, but the possibilities are quite literally endless. My favorite congee toppers are poached eggs, chile paste, soy sauce, slivered fresh ginger, and fried shallots.

Congee is also a great way to use up last night’s leftovers. Toppings can include anything from bits of cooked meat or fish to raw, sautéed, steamed, or pickled vegetables.

Yield: Serves 8

Brown Rice Instant Pot Congee

Crispy fried shallots on congee

Made with hearty brown rice and healing turmeric, this satisfying rice porridge is full of flavor and nutrition. By using the Instant Pot, this normally long-cooking dish can be on the table in well under an hour. It's also a great make-ahead dish that can be kept in the fridge and reheated on demand in the microwave.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice (see note*)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional, see note**)
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth (see note***)

Instructions

  1. In the Instant Pot, combine the rice, salt, and tumeric, if using. Add the broth.
  2. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  3. When the cooking time is up, quick release the pressure and serve hot with desired toppings.

Notes

*Congee is usually made with a delicate white rice like basmati or jasmine, but I really like the flavor of brown rice. You can substitute white rice for all or some of the brown rice. If you use all white rice, you can reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes.

**I have tried this with both ground turmeric and minced fresh turmeric and I was surprised to discover that I like the powdered version better. It delivers a lot more flavor.

***Feel free to substitute chicken broth if you don't want to make it vegetarian, or use water if you don't have vegetable broth.

****You can make a big batch of congee and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. It’s great to have on hand to heat up for quick meals. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid, so you’ll want to add more before heating. I usually add about ¼ cup of water to a bowl of cold congee and then pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 85Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 19mgSodium 3465mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 7g

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7 thoughts on “Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric”

  1. This is the first and only of maybe twenty instant pot congee recipes I have read that says to use quick release. All the rest claim that is very dangerous with something that uses so much liquid. This is safe to quick release? Just wanted to check.

    Reply
    • I have not had a problem using quick release with this dish or others like it. Of course, you can always use a natural release if you are worried about it, but in my experience it is fine.

      Reply
  2. Thanks for the recipe. After following the instructions using brown rice, this came out very watery and grains hadn’t fully broken down to make a porridge consistency – is it meant to be soupy?

    Reply
    • It should break down to a porridge consistency. Maybe you need to cook it a bit longer? The cooking times for rice can vary quite a bit depending on how fresh the rice is. If the rice is a bit older, it can be drier and require longer cooking time.

      Reply
  3. I really like how this dish can be a blank canvas for all kinds of healthy and ethnic variations. For instance, I like to use lentils with the rice and then maybe go towards an Indian variation. I’ve also done cajun, and mexican flavor variations. I pretty much always have some on hand.

    Reply

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