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

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?

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 for this Lemon Rice.

Pressure cook for 4 minutes, followed by a 10 minutes 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!

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4.89 from 34 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! 


YouTube video


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. Thank you for this recipe!! I’m eating it as I type this comment. I followed the recipe exactly and it is simply delicious. I see lots of yellow lemon rice in my future. Up next your chana dal.

  2. This looks wonderful and I would love to make it with brown basmati rice. I will adjust the cooking time accordingly, but was wondering if you had tried it yourself with brown basmati and what adjustments, if any, you might have made. Thanks!

    1. Hi Maureen – I have not tried with brown basmati rice, however I think it would work well. No changes except the cooking time and rice to water ratio are needed.

  3. The chickpeas are not soaked beforehand? I’m surprised they would cook in only 4 minutes.

    1. Hi Barbara – I am using split chickpeas in this recipe and we are adding them in lemon rice for tempering. They will add a little crush to the finished rice. I agree that the lighter white whole chickpeas will take much longer, about 30 minutes to cook under pressure. Hope you enjoy the lemon rice.

  4. I love your recipe so much, that I included it in a FBC roundup post that goes live on March 1! The theme is vegetarian recipes using March produce. Your recipes & site are awesome!

    1. Hey Katie – Thank you so much for including my recipe in the roundup. You have a wonderful blog too, I just followed you on Facebook!

  5. Hi.. looks lovely . But i am always a little scared of adding lemon and then boiling. Wont it make the rice bitter ? I usually tend to add the juice after things cool down a little.. but if this works i really want to do it your way.

    1. Hey Jane – I do get this question a lot. We did not find the rice to be sour even if I added the lemon juice before cooking. However please feel free to switch and add it at the end if you prefer. Hope you enjoy the lemon rice!

      1. Sorry to hear. Please do try with adding lemon after cooking the rice. Thank you for
        Sharing back your experience!

  6. Hi ?? I have a doubt while using IP . Once I set manual pressure time ., it shows ON after a few seconds . So after (say 4 min ) of ON MODE , it shows 04:00 on display and takes quite a long time to descend 03:59,03:58 and so on .. so should I press CANCEL in this case and leave it in seal mode for pressure to come down naturally?? Am I doing any mistake here . Please correct me

    1. Hey Harini – Once you set the time for pressure cooking, the instant pot displays “ON”. It will show ON until it builds the pressure. Then once the pressure is build, the pressure pin goes up and the countdown starts for the time you set. Then after the cooking is done, there is a beep, then it goes in Keep warm mode displayed as L0:00. This will start counting up to show you the time it has been on keep warm mode. Depending on the recipe, you might want to do a quick release (turn the pressure valve to venting right after beep), 10 minute NPR (turn the pressure valve to venting 10 mins after beep) and NPR (let the pressure release naturally). Hope that helps!

      Also check out this page for instant pot terminology which you might find helpful – https://pipingpotcurry.com/instant-pot-terminology/

  7. Hi Meeta loved your new videos.
    Had a Question.Which editing software do you use to edit videos?
    thanks in advance

  8. Hi Meeta, lovely flavor and so satisfying ! Only thing is, I always feel I need more water than your recipe specifies. I used 2 2/3 cups water as opposed to 2 1/4 and I felt l could have used even more. Probably depends on the brand of rice. I use Royal Basmati. Wonder if anyone else has experienced the same.

    Thanks for your lovely recipes ! Keep them coming ! 🙂

    1. Hey Chhavi – Thank you for sharing your feedback. It is good to know the adjustments you had to make. Next time I will test with additional water for rice to compare the results. Thanks for the motivation & review 🙂