Instant Pot Congee

updated Jul 12, 2023
Instant Pot Congee Recipe

The Instant Pot makes delicious congee with minimal effort. Enjoy it plain, or load it up with mix-ins and garnishes for more of a one-pot meal.

Serves6

Makesabout 9 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook50 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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instant pot congee in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Whenever I’m looking for an easy meal that will satisfy my entire family, I turn to congee (or jook, as my Cantonese family calls it). The savory rice porridge — which likely originated in China over a millennia ago — is the ultimate comfort food, soothingly creamy and nourishing. There are ways to cook congee, but for me I just combine rice, water or stock, and some aromatics in the Instant Pot, and press the “porridge” button.

Congee is also infinitely adaptable, limited only by your imagination and the contents of your pantry. There’s no wrong time or way to enjoy it: Eat congee for breakfast or dinner, or anytime in between. Cook the rice in water for a pure, blank-canvas dish; use stock for a more flavorful base. Enjoy congee plain, or load it up with mix-ins and garnishes for a one-pot meal.   

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How To Make Instant Pot Congee

Traditionally, making congee involves simmering rice with lots of water or stock on the stove over low heat. As the rice grains release starches, the dish takes on its signature silky, velvety texture. While not difficult, the stovetop method does require some babysitting to make sure the rice doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot, and can take a couple of hours to cook. So when I’m running short on time and/or hands, I rely on the Instant Pot to help me make delicious congee with minimal effort.

Making Instant Pot congee couldn’t be simpler: Combine rice, your liquid of choice, and some flavoring agents (ginger, garlic, scallions, etc.) in the pot. Close the pot and seal the vent, then press “Manual” and set for 20 minutes on High pressure (or hit the “porridge” button if you have it). Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. Stir in some protein or veggies, if you wish; and season to taste. My version here includes corn and shredded chicken, but I’ve included plenty more ideas in the Recipe Notes.

Ladle into bowls, let everyone garnish as they please, and that’s it! A healthy, delicious, one-pot meal that takes less than five minutes of actual hands-on time. 

Instant Pot Congee Recipe

The Instant Pot makes delicious congee with minimal effort. Enjoy it plain, or load it up with mix-ins and garnishes for more of a one-pot meal.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Makes about 9 cups

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    jasmine rice

  • 1

    (2-inch) piece fresh ginger

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 2 (32-ounce) cartons

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (8 cups)

  • 1 (8 to 12-ounce) can

    corn kernels (optional)

  • 12 ounces

    cooked chicken (2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded)

  • Salt

  • Ground white pepper

  • Garnish options: chopped roasted peanuts, julienned fresh ginger, thinly sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, fried shallots, century egg, chili oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup jasmine rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse briefly with cold water, then place the rice in a 6-quart or larger electric pressure cooker.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the pressure cooker as it is completed (if you want to make it easier to remove after cooking, wrap the ginger, garlic, and scallion whites in cheesecloth first): Thinly slice 1 (2-inch) piece ginger (no need to peel, about 1/3 cup). Light smash 4 peeled garlic cloves. Trim 2 medium scallions and cut off the white parts. Coarsely chop the white parts and place in the pressure cooker; thinly slice the green parts and reserve for garnish.

  3. Add 2 cartons low-sodium broth and 1 (8 to 12-ounce) can corn kernels (no need to drain) to the pressure cooker. Lock the lid and ensure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing.” Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. It will take 18 to 20 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure.

  4. When the cook time is up, let the pressure release naturally, 30 to 40 minutes. (If you’re in a rush, you can quick-release the pressure after 20 minutes; but drape a towel over the lid and use caution as the congee may sputter a bit through the valve.) Meanwhile, shred 12 ounces cooked chicken (2 to 2 1/2 cups). Prepare any desired garnishes.

  5. Remove and discard any visible ginger slices, garlic, and scallion pieces (some may have melded into the congee). If you’d like a thicker congee, simmer on the Sauté function, stirring often, until desired consistency. If you’d like thinner congee, stir in more water or broth.

  6. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and let each person garnish their congee as desired.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions:
Protein: Substitute your choice of protein, raw or cooked, for the cooked chicken. If using raw protein (such as ground pork or beef, chicken, shrimp, or fish), slice thinly if needed and season with salt before adding. Stir in immediately once the pressure has released. The heat from the congee should cook the protein quickly. If using larger pieces of protein, hit “Sauté” and bring the congee back to a boil, stirring often, until the protein is fully cooked.

Vegetables: Substitute your choice of vegetables for the corn. Firm, uncooked vegetables (such as carrots or sliced shiitake mushrooms) can be added before the cooking process. Tender vegetables (such as spinach or shredded lettuce) can be stirred in after the pressure has released.

Vegetarian / vegan congee: To make vegetarian/vegan congee, use vegetable stock or water for the cooking liquid. Replace the shredded chicken with a block of firm tofu, sliced. A handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, and/or dried scallops can all add rich umami flavor to congee. Soak these ingredients in hot water for about an hour, then slice or coarsely chop. Add to the Instant Pot with the rice before cooking.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover congee in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Congee will thicken as it sits; add a bit more water or stock when reheating to restore to original consistency.