Rice with Green Pigeon Peas – Instant Pot

(Arroz con Gandules - Olla de Presión)


Rice with Green Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules) is served during the Christmas Holidays, which last for 45 days, in Puerto Rico.  However, we tend to serve this dish throughout the year in the United States.  I decided to prepare this dish, using the Instant Pot pressure cooker.  Most importantly, it was such a success that my husband, Henry, now wants this dish  prepared with the pressure cooker.

This delicious rice with green pigeon peas only takes 8 minutes to sauté the vegetables and 4 minutes to cook the rice under pressure.   Furthermore, the tropical aroma of this rice dish permeates into the air when the vegetables are sautéing.  This is definitely, of course, due to all the Caribbean herbs, vegetables and spices added to this dish.

Note:  Read your  “User Manual” in its entirety before operating your pressure cooker.

A Little Bit of History!

The Pigeon Peas were brought to the Island from West Africa.   Every summer I have a garden and grow both Caribbean and American produce.  This summer, for the very first time, I will be planting green pigeon peas (gandules).  Hopefully, I will be able to harvest the pigeon peas within a few months.

Let’s Rinse the Rice!

This is the long grain white rice.  It has a firm and dry texture and separates when cooked, creating a light and fluffy rice.

Rinse and drain 2 cups of long-grain white rice with cold water, using a fine-mesh strainer.  The water will be cloudy at first because you are basically removing the surface starch.  When the water runs clear, the rice is rinsed.  

Normally, rinsing the rice is an individual preference.  However, when using the Instant Pot pressure cooker, I recommend to always rinse the rice.

Program the Settings for Sautéing!

Press the Cancel Button to turn on the power.  Select the Sauté program and then press the Sauté button twice to change the temperature to “Less.”  The Less Mode is for simmering your ingredients.

We want to sauté the ingredients for 8 minutes so press the “Minus” button until the 8 minutes is selected.

When the word “HOT” is displayed on the LCD Screen, the sauté temperature has been reached.  We can now add the sautéing ingredients to the inner pot.

Sautéing the Ingredients!

Add 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon Lite salt (or to taste).

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Let’s now add 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, 3 sprigs chopped cilantro, 2 minced garlic cloves, 10 pimiento-stuffed green olives, cut in halves and 1 tablespoon capers.

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Omit the ham if you are a vegan or vegetarian.  Otherwise, add ½ cup of lean ham along with our two special ingredients:  1 tablespoon of sofrito made with culantro and 1 seasoning envelope with coriander and annatto.

Click on the link to learn how to make a large batch of Sofrito or click on the link on How to Make Sofrito for a Single Meal.   If you are unable to purchase the seasoning envelopes, click on the link to prepare your own Special Blend of Seasonings.

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Stir all the ingredients until well blended and sauté for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 8 minutes of sautéing, the Instant Pot will beep several times.  Press the Cancel Button to stop the sautéing process.

Add the Remaining Ingredients to the Inner Pot!

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Pour 1½ cups water to the inner pot. 

If you decide to drain the liquid from the can of pigeon peas, then pour 2 cups of water.

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Add 1 can (15 ounces) green pigeon peas with liquid to inner pot. 

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

We are now ready to add 2 cups long-grain white rice.  

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Make sure to stir rice well into liquid.  

Cooking the Rice under Pressure!

Close the lid into lock position.

Turn the Steam Release Handle to Sealing position.

Turn power on by pressing the Cancel button and then select the Pressure Cook button to manually program your settings.  We want to cook the rice on High Pressure, which is automatically selected.

The next step is to press the “Minus” button to decrease the cooking time to 4 minutes.   The pressure cooker will start building pressure as it is heating.  When the unit is completely pressurized, the cooking cycle will start counting down based on the time setting we selected.  

The pressure cooker will automatically switch to the “Keep Warm” function after cooking the rice for 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, it will start counting up.   Most importantly, we need to count up for 10 minutes to obtain the 10-minute natural release process.  When the unit has naturally released the pressure for 10 minutes, then press the cancel button to turn off the unit.  Subsequently, we are ready to release the remaining pressure.

Quick Release Function!

Turn the Steam Release Handle to Venting Position for a Quick Release. 

When the pressure is completely released from the unit, the float valve drops down.  At this point, we can also remove the lid from the pressure cooker.

Ready to Stir and Serve the Rice!

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

Remove the lid from the pressure cooker. 

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas  

Insert a spoon to stir the rice and to check for doneness.

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

The rice is tender, moist and fluffy!  Serve the rice in a large bowl.

Rice with Green Pigeon Peas

This rice is so delicious, bursting in tropical flavors.  We normally serve this rice dish with roasted pork shoulder and pasteles! 

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube Video on How to Prepare Rice with Green Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules), using a Pressure Cooker!

Nutritional Facts and Recipe!

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


Rice with Green Pigeon Peas – Instant Pot

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 12 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x


A moist, tender and fluffy tropical rice with green pigeon peas prepared in 4 minutes, using the Instant Pot pressure cooker.



  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3 sprigs chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 pimiento-stuffed green olive, cut in halves
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ cup lean ham (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sofrito
  • 1 seasoning envelope with coriander and annatto
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) green pigeon peas with liquid
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice


  1. Read the entire User’s Manual before operating your Instant Pot.
  2. Rinse the rice.
  3. Select the Sauté button.  Change the temperature to “Less.”
  4. Press the “Minus” button to change the sautéing time to 8 minutes.
  5. Add all the ingredients except for water, pigeon peas and rice.  Stir until well blended and sauté for 8 minutes.
  6. When the sautéing process is complete, then press the “Cancel” button.
  7. Place the remaining ingredients in inner pot:  water, pigeon peas and rice.  Stir rice well into liquid.
  8. Cover pressure cooker with lid in lock position.  Turn Steam Release Handle to the Sealing position.
  9. Select Pressure Cook button.  Cook at High Pressure and then press the “Minus” button to decrease the time for 4 minutes.
  10. After 4 minutes of pressure cooking (unit will automatically switch to the Keep Warm Function), naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes.
  11. Release the remaining pressure by turning the Steam Release Handle to Venting position for a Quick Release.
  12. Remove lid when the pressure is completely released and the float valve drops down.
  13. Stir rice before serving.


If you omit the liquid from the can of pigeon peas, then add 2 cups of water.

Visit my Website (aidaskitchenboricua.com) for the ingredients on how to create your own special blend of seasoning and how to prepare sofrito for a single meal.   You will find the same information on Page 14 and Page 19 of my cookbook – Aida’s Kitchen a lo Boricua.

  • Category: Rice and Grains
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Pressure Cooking, Rice and Beans

26 Comments. Leave new

  • Nikole Aponte
    July 15, 2021 5:00 pm

    I received more compliments on this rice than any of my rice in the past, from some of my toughest Puerto Rican family member critics!!! It’s delicious!!

    • Hi Nikole, I am so happy that your family members really enjoyed your rice. This dish is so easy to prepare and it only takes 4 minutes to cook under pressure. The best part is that it is so delicious! Thank you for trying this recipe and that it was a success!

  • Omg! So easy, quick and delicious!!! I stumbled on your recipe and im so glad i did!!! I followed your recipe to a T and it came out better than when I stove cook rice. Im still shocked!!! I want to try all your recipes!!! Muchas gracias!!!!

    • Hi Heather, My girlfriend told me the same thing that it was better than preparing this dish on the stove range. I am in the process of redoing many of my YouTube videos before I concentrate on creating many recipes using the Instant Pot. Therefore, check my website within a few months for more Instant Pot recipes. Glad my recipe was a wonderful experience for you. Please share with your friends and family.

  • Can we say ….. Bravo!!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I have made this 3 times for get togethers and everyone wants seconds.
    So thank you in helping us get comfortable cooking in instant pot our Puerto Rican dishes.
    Easy -Peasy.
    In addition, love the personal stories you share and historical tid bits on food.
    Will be sharing this link.

    • Hi Adelaida, I am so happy that you like my personal stories, food history and the Instant Pot recipe! I will be preparing many other recipes, using the Instant Pot in the future. I am also currently redoing many of the videos, and I will be posting the new pasteles version in 2 days. The food blogging for pasteles will also change soon. Thank you for sharing my link.

  • Can I make this with medium grain rice? If so Any changes in cooking? Also I have canned goya gandules secos. Can I use them instead?

    • Hi Jessica, Yes, you can use medium grain rice for this dish. However, medium grain rice is moist and soft (compared to the long-grain white rice) so it has a tendency to stick when cooked, which is why it is normally used for desserts. I understand that in our culture we use the medium grain rice. Since I always used the long grain rice (unless I am making a rice dessert), I never attempted to cook with short or medium grain rice, using the instant pot. I looked at the internet and many individuals have different measurements for the rice and water. I would recommend to experiment with a ratio of 1 cup of water to 1 cup of rice and from there change the quantity, depending on the outcome. If the rice is too moist, then decrease the amount of water, etc. If the Goya beans are not cooked (dry beans), they first need to be cooked separately before incorporating into a recipe. If the beans are already cooked, then you can definitely add them to this recipe.

  • Niambi Casimere
    November 25, 2021 8:41 am

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving today of course and I wanted to make more than just the two cups of rice can I do like 6 cups of rice with the same time or do I have to increase the time?

    • Hi Niambi, I am unable to answer your question because every Instant Pot model is different. Please read your user manual for operating your Instant Pot for starchy foods. Rice, pasta and beans are certain food items that expands while cooking. Your user manual should indicate the maximum amount that the inner pot (pressure cooker) are required for STARCHY FOODS. Be very careful when cooking starchy foods under pressure.

  • Hi!!! Followed the 1x recipe to the T and it came out great! Question, if I double the recipe do I have to increase cooking time?

    • Hi Gabe, Make sure your instant pot can hold 4 cups of rice. The inner pot should have a line where you cannot exceed when cooking starchy food items like beans, rice and pasta. My instant pot can only hold 3 cups of rice; therefore, I am unable to answer your question. I would recommend to go online and search for your answer based on your Instant Pot model.

  • For those who get the burn notice. You need to replace your gaskets for the Instant Pot.

    • Hi Adam, Thank you for your information. I would also recommend that you should look up in your user’s manual (or online) for the explanation for any error messages indicated on your pressure cooker.

  • Very easy to follow recipe, and simply delicious! Thank you!

  • Hilda M. Rodríguez Mercado
    October 15, 2022 8:27 pm

    Hola Aida! cómo haces los tiempos en una olla de presión manual? es igual 4 minutos en high, bajo a low y luego esperar diez para soltar el aire? Ojalá me puedas comentar. Saludos, Hilda.

  • Amazing outcome, delicious and fuffy. Thank you Aida.

  • I put another cup of water in and am waiting for it to go again. I followed the recipe to a T and it was super crunchy after the 10 min before I released the pressure. Anything I might have done wrong? This is my first meal in my Instant Pot.

    • Hi Liza, First, if you added another cup of water (3 cups in total) and the rice is still crunchy, then I believe the equipment itself is defective. With 3 cups of water, which is more than the recommended amount, the rice should have been super moist. The internal temperature might not be functioning correctly. I make this rice many times as well as others, and the rice comes out perfectly all the time. The total liquid should measure 2 cups – water plus liquid from can of pigeon peas. If you don’t use liquid from can of pigeon peas, then add 2 cups of water. Please read the entire operating manual to make sure the instructions are similar to the instructions stated on this recipe.

  • Awesome recipe,…

  • I’m nervous about only cooking it for 4 minutes. All the other Instant Pot arroz con gandules recipes I’ve seen say 12 minutes on the rice setting

    • Hola Sandy, The rice is cooked at HIGH PRESSURE for 4 minutes when using the manual settings. The manual or pressure cook program gives you the option of selecting the High or Normal cooking pressure. However, if you use the rice settings, the rice program only has the Normal or Low option to select. Therefore, if you select the rice program, you will need more time to cook the rice. You have two methods of cooking the rice: Faster with High Pressure or Slower with Normal to Low settings.


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