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How do you fix wet rice in an Instant Pot?

The Problem of Wet Rice

Cooking rice can be tricky, especially in an Instant Pot. One of the most common problems is ending up with mushy, wet rice. This can happen for a few different reasons:

  • Not enough water – Without sufficient water, the rice will not cook properly and can end up half-cooked and too al dente.
  • Too much water – It’s easy to accidentally add too much water to the pot. Excess water will prevent the rice from absorbing properly, resulting in soggy rice.
  • Improper release – If you don’t allow the Instant Pot to natural release for 10-15 minutes after cooking, the rice can overcook and turn to mush.
  • Incorrect ratios – Using the wrong proportions of rice to water can lead to wet, sticky rice.

No one wants a pot of disappointing, mushy rice. Thankfully, it is possible to fix wet rice in an Instant Pot with a few simple tricks.

Drain Excess Water

The first step when you end up with overly wet rice is to drain off any excess water. Be careful when doing this, as the pot will still be hot.

Once the lid is removed, immediately drain the rice into a colander or sieve. Allow it to drain thoroughly, stirring it around a bit if needed. Get rid of as much excess moisture as possible.

Dumping out excess water is an easy way to help remove some of the moisture from the rice right off the bat. Just be sure not to dump out ALL the water – some will need to remain in order for the next steps to work.

Spread Out on a Baking Sheet

After draining excess water, spread the rice out in an even layer on a baking sheet. You’ll want to use a rimmed baking sheet so that you don’t end up with rice all over your oven.

Spread the rice out so that it is not clumped together. This will allow air to better circulate around each grain for more even drying.

Place the baking sheet with the rice into an oven preheated to the lowest possible temperature. For most ovens, this will be around 170°F.

How Long to Bake Wet Rice

The amount of time needed to bake the rice depends on exactly how wet it is to start. Here are some general guidelines:

Wetness Level Bake Time
Slightly wet 15-20 minutes
Moderately wet 20-30 minutes
Very wet 30-45 minutes

Check the rice every 5-10 minutes as it bakes. Stir it around with a fork to break up any clumps and turn the grains.

The rice is ready when the surface of each grain feels dry. Be careful not to over bake the rice or it can become dried out.

Tips for Baking Wet Rice

– Use a low oven temperature between 170°-200°F. Higher heat will cause the outside of the rice to dry out before the inside.

– Stir and turn the rice frequently while baking. This helps the moisture disperse evenly.

– Watch closely near the end of baking time. Rice can go from wet to dried out quickly.

– Use tongs or a fork to check rice. Do not remove the baking sheet from the oven unnecessarily.

– For very wet rice, cover with a clean towel or cheesecloth while baking. This traps in some moisture.

Baking provides gentle, ambient heat that will draw moisture out of the rice gradually. Be patient and let the rice bake until just dry to the touch.

Cook on the Stovetop

Another way to salvage a too-wet rice dish is to cook it a bit longer right on the stovetop. Here are steps for drying out wet rice on the stove:

1. Drain excess water from the rice. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.

2. Stir the rice frequently, breaking up any clumps. This helps release excess moisture.

3. Let any remaining water in the pot cook off, continuing to stir often. This may take 10-15 minutes.

4. Once the water has boiled off, add a splash of oil and stir to evenly coat grains. This adds back a touch of moisture to the surface of the rice.

5. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and let steam for 5 minutes.

6. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork. The rice should now be perfectly dry!

Stirring over heat allows moisture inside each grain to gradually evaporate. Just be careful not to crank up the heat too high. You want the rice to dry slowly all the way through, not just the outside. Keep at medium heat and stir constantly.

Tips for Stovetop Method

– Use medium or medium-low heat only. High heat risks burning the rice.

– Stir and toss the rice in the pot frequently to expose all sides.

– Watch closely to prevent over-drying. Rice can go from wet to burnt quickly!

– Add just a small amount of oil – 1-2 tsp for 3-4 cups of rice.

– Let the rice steam off heat for 5 minutes covered to finish cooking.

With a little stirring on the stovetop, you can evaporate away that unwanted moisture from your rice. Just be vigilant and don’t walk away!

Add Uncooked Rice

If only a small portion of your rice is too wet, you can mix in some uncooked dry rice to absorb the excess moisture. Here is how:

1. Drain any excess water from the cooked rice.

2. Measure out 1/4 to 1/3 cup of uncooked rice per cup of wet cooked rice.

3. Add the dry rice to the cooked wet rice and mix well.

4. Put mixture into rice cooker or back into Instant Pot. Add a splash of water if rice cooker.

5. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, either in Instant Pot or rice cooker.

6. Allow to steam for 10-15 minutes after cooking.

7. Fluff with a fork. The rice should now be perfectly cooked with no excess moisture.

The dry rice will absorb moisture from the wet rice as it cooks together. Be careful not to overdo it on the uncooked rice or you may end up with dry rice again. Start with 1/4 cup dry per cup wet.

Tips for Uncooked Rice Method

– Use long grain white rice varieties like jasmine or basmati. Shorter grains won’t absorb as well.

– Rinse uncooked rice well before using to remove excess starch.

– Only use dry uncooked rice. Do not use leftover cooked rice.

– Add water to rice cooker as normal. No extra water needed in Instant Pot.

– Adjust ratio up or down based on how wet rice is. More dry rice may be needed for very wet rice.

Mixing in some dry rice while re-cooking is an easy way to rescue a small portion of overly moist rice.

Make Fried Rice

When all else fails, you can disguise your mushy rice by turning it into fried rice! The high heat will help evaporate moisture, while other add-ins will mask the texture.

Dump your excessively wet rice into a hot oiled pan or wok. Break up any clumps and allow it to cook without stirring initially. This will help dry out the surface.

Next, stir in some diced veggies like carrots, peas, and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce or oyster sauce, then scramble in a couple eggs.

Continue stir-frying everything together for another 3-5 minutes until heated through. Top with scallions and sesame seeds if desired.

The eggs and sauce will coat each grain and make it nearly impossible to detect your rice mishap! Just avoid excess stirring initially to allow the surface moisture to cook away.

Tips for Fried Rice

– Use very hot oil and non-stick pan so rice doesn’t stick.

– Don’t stir initially to help evaporate surface moisture – let it brown slightly.

– Add sauce near end to prevent rice from becoming mushy again.

– Scramble eggs with rice to disguise texture.

– Add crunchy veggies like snap peas, baby corn, water chestnuts.

While not an ideal fix, fried rice can successfully disguise a moisture misstep! With the right technique, no one will be the wiser.

Prevent Wet Rice Next Time

To avoid having to bail out wet rice again, follow these simple tips:

– Rinse rice well before cooking until water runs clear.

– Use the proper rice to water ratio. Generally 1 cup uncooked rice : 1 1⁄4 cup water.

– Don’t peek! Resist lifting the lid during cooking.

– Let pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes.

– For basmati and jasmine rice, try pot-in-pot method.

– Measure rice and water carefully using cup measurements, not “min” fill lines.

Taking a bit of care when preparing the rice will prevent those dreaded mushy results. Monitor water carefully, keep the lid on, and allow plenty of steam release time.


Wet, sticky rice can be pretty disappointing but it doesn’t have to mean disaster. Whether you bake it dry, cook off extra moisture on the stovetop, mix in uncooked rice, or disguise it as fried rice, you can still rescue the side dish.

Pay close attention to getting the rice-to-water ratio right when first cooking rice in your Instant Pot. And be sure to allow the pot to depressurize naturally for 10-15 minutes before opening the lid.

Follow these tips and your rice should turn out perfectly cooked every time with no excess moisture. But even if you do end up with a too moist pot of rice, these tricks will restore it to fluffy, dry perfection again. No more mushy rice woes!