Flavorful, tangy, and crunchy Lemon Rice from South India, made as a one-pot dish in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Aromatic Basmati Rice flavored with lemon juice, mustard seeds, and ginger and topped with roasted peanuts. It takes less than 30 minutes to make this delicious Instant Pot Lemon Rice.

Instant Pot Lemon Rice
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These citrus-flavored rice are like a bowl of sunshine right in your kitchen. You will always find Lemon Rice at any South Indian restaurant. With just a few ingredients, this rice is packed with flavor. It is great to pack for lunch with a side of veggies.

I had enjoyed Lemon Rice many times at my South Indian friend’s place and in restaurants. When I saw that my daughter really enjoyed them, I had to make them myself. She is so picky and I am always looking for a more options for her lunch box.

Try them out, you will definitely enjoy Lemon Rice with yogurt/raita along with some pickle. Lemon Rice can also be served as a side along with some protein such as grilled chicken or fish or veggies. If you are bored of plain rice or quinoa, try this lemon rice with your favorite curry.

Lemon Rice is a popular greek dish as well, however it is flavored differently than this South Indian Lemon Rice. That is typically flavored with lemon and topped with parsley. The Mexican variation is to make Cilantro Lime Rice. Isn’t it interesting to find similarities in many world cuisines?

Watch How to Make Instant Pot Lemon Rice

Easy Recipe to make Lemon Rice in the Pressure Cooker

Firstly I always start with gathering the ingredients. If you have done any South Indian cooking, you will most likely have all the ingredients at home.

Instant Pot Lemon Rice Ingredients

We will start with the tempering. Heat ghee (or oil for vegan) in the instant pot, then add the lentils (chana & urad dal). These lentils are commonly used for tempering in many South Indian dishes. We add them first, as they take longer to cook. Then, we will add the other tempering ingredients – mustard seeds, dry red chili, ginger, and curry leaves.

Saute them for about 30 seconds, then add the rice, water and lemon juice. That is all for the active preparation of this Lemon Rice.

Pressure cook for 4 minutes, followed by a 10-minute pressure release. Add roasted peanuts once you open the pot. Fluff the rice with a fork. We love the perfectly cooked and fluffy grains of rice.

Instant Pot Lemon Rice in the pot

If you don’t have roasted peanuts, then you can roast them in the instant pot before starting the recipe. Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee and add roast the peanuts in it. Take them out and continue with the recipe below. You can also add roasted cashews if you like.

Instant Pot Lemon Rice

Check out these other rice recipes made in the Instant Pot

Want to find other easy Instant Pot Recipes? Here are 29 Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes for you to try!

4.87 from 36 votes

Lemon Rice Recipe – Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Flavorful, tangy and crunchy Instant Pot Lemon Rice from South India, made as a one-pot dish in Instant Pot. Aromatic Basmati Rice flavored with lemon juice, mustard seeds, ginger and topped with roasted peanuts. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6



  • Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add chana dal and urad dal. Sauté them for about a minute until they are slightly browned. 
  • Add mustard seeds, dry red chili, curry leaves, asafoetida and ginger. Stir and saute for 30 seconds while the mustard seeds splutter. 
  • Add turmeric powder and salt. Stir well. 
  • Add rice and water. Stir in the lemon juice. Press Cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Start the instant pot in Manual or Pressure Cook for 4 minutes at high pressure. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then quick release the pressure manually. 
  • Add roasted peanuts. Gently fluff the rice with a fork while mixing the peanuts in the rice.  
  • Lemon Rice is ready to be enjoyed! 



Roasted Peanuts: If you don’t have roasted peanuts, then you can roast them in the instant pot before starting the recipe. Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee and add roast the peanuts in it. Take them out and continue with the recipe below. You can also add roasted cashews if you like.
Lime: You can use lime or lemons to make this dish. Lime’s are usually a bit more tart than lemons, so adjust the quantity if juice to your taste. 
Rice: You can use other varieties of white rice in this recipe. However do adjust the water quantity and cooking time accordingly. eg, for sona masoori rice use 1:2 rice to water ratio, and the same cooking time. 
Created: This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Programmable Pressure Cooker.


Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 423mgPotassium: 188mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 48mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1.3mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Yummy! Followed the recipe exactly. I found the seasoning good, it’s easier to add salt or lemon juice to taste at the end than to take it away 😊

  2. Great recipe! Love the vibrant color and flavor. Could fresh or frozen vegetables be added? If yes, at which step do you recommend adding? Thank you!

    1. Hi Soniya – Sure, you can add fresh or frozen veggies to this recipe. I would suggest to add in step 3 just before adding turmeric and salt. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hi Wendy – This method takes lesser time overall, so I like to use this. But really, either way works. You can use the Rice mode if you prefer that.

  3. Pretty good but needs more flavor. Needed to add more lemon for sure. And cut down turmeric. It was too much. I also soaked the rice and pressure cooked for 6 min.

  4. Tried it for dinner this evening and I love this fresh taste. Reminds me to my travels to India. Tank you for this tasty recipe

    1. Hi Julia – I have not used whole urad dal in this recipe as it might not cook well in the suggested time. That said, this recipe will work without urad dal too. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Nice flavors! I followed the recipe to the letter, and the result was definitely on the al dente end of the rice spectrum. Not a criticism of the recipe, since rice texture preferences are personal and regional, but an FYI in case other readers also prefer the grains a little more soft than chewy. Next time I make lemon rice I think I’ll try soaking the rice first for half an hour, or alternatively upping the liquid just a tad and cooking another minute or two. The taste and the appearance of the rice is really nice!