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Herbed Lemon Brown Rice in the Instant Pot

from 12 reader reviews

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This Instant Pot brown rice recipe is super flavorful with the addition of seasonings and herbs. You’ll love the light lemony tang combined with the salty capers and herbal sweet flavors of the tarragon and thyme.

bowl of lemon herbed brown rice

I was first introduced to lemon-thyme rice at a birthday party the other week. The hostess made sure I had plenty of plant-based options – which I deeply appreciated! She had made the lemon-thyme rice just for me with some lovely lemon-thyme she grew in her garden.

Oh if we could all have such a garden! I did the next best thing and called my (chef) sister and together we brainstormed to develop this recipe with basic thyme you can get at the grocery store, lemon…and a few other things. The result was this highly flavorful, lightly lemony, herbaceous, delicious rice dish!

For some other great plant-based dishes made in the Instant Pot, try my:

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Bowl of lemon herbed brown rice with pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed to make this flavorful Instant Pot brown rice

  • dried brown rice – I used long-grain
  • vegetable broth
  • shallot (or other onion)
  • garlic
  • 2 lemons – one for juicing and zesting, and the other for slicing
  • olive oil
  • capers
  • dried thyme an tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh sprigs of thyme
  • you will also need a pressure cooker – this recipe was developed in a 6 qt Instant Pot
ingredients needed for lemon herbed brown rice including brown rice, vegetable broth, olive oil, tarragon, thyme, black pepper, salt, capers, diced shallots and garlic, with sprigs of fresh thyme and sliced lemons in foreground along with lemon juice and a lemon grater

How to make lemon herbed brown rice

The printable recipe card with full ingredients and directions can be found below. (Look for the bright red recipe card with photo.)

Step 1: prepare – slice, mince, and rinse

Rinse the rice well and set it aside. This is a step a lot of people tend to skip. Rinsing the rice washes away some of the starchiness and prevents the rice from sticking. It also rinses away any nasties that might be on the dried rice. I’ve had some pretty dirty-looking rinse water…

Mince the shallot (or other onion) and garlic. Set aside.

(A note about the shallot – I really do prefer the flavor of shallots. I have made this recipe with red onion and it was fine too…but I still vote for using a shallot!)

Zest and squeeze the juice from one of the lemons. My lemon zester makes this really easy! Slice the other lemon into thin slices. Set aside. You can mix the lemon juice and zest but keep them separate from the lemon slices.

Make sure to take the seeds out of the juice and out of the lemon slices. Chomping down on an unexpected lemon seed will ruin this lovely dish!

STEP 2: Saute the shallots and garlic

Pour the olive oil into the inner liner of the Instant Pot and set on saute. Add in the shallots and garlic. The very moment it starts to sizzle set a timer for three minutes. That’s all the time you will need to just soften the onion and garlic.

Stir the bottom of the pot for the whole three minutes to prevent any sticking or browning. If there is any sticking or browning, your recipe might not come to pressure.

Deglazing the pan

If this happens then simply pour in some of the broth and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan till the brown parts come off. Then proceed with the recipe.

Step 3: cooking the lemon herbed brown rice

Add in all of the ingredients except for the sprigs of fresh thyme and lemon slices. Give it a good stir.

Top with the fresh lemon slices and tuck a few sprigs of thyme around.

lemon herbed brown rice in the instant pot waiting to be cooked with sprigs of fresh thyme and sliced lemons on top

Close the lid and vent according to the manufacturer’s directions. Manually set the timer for 20 minutes at high pressure. It will take about ten minutes to come to pressure.

Step 4: Finish the dish

When the timer has counted down the full 22 minutes then allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes.

With a long-handled spoon or some such, carefully turn the vent to release pressure. It will take about one minute for the pressure pin to drop.

Once the pressure pin drops and the pressure is fully released, open the lid. Remove the lemon slices and thyme sprigs. Nobody wants woody stems in their rice! Fluff with a fork and serve. This will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

Health it up!

If you want to make this recipe oil-free you can. I really like the flavor and texture of this rice recipe better when I use oil – but I do understand that many of my readers prefer to cook without it. Saute the shallot and garlic in about 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Again, it’s very important to make sure the pan does not burn. Then take off about 1/4 from the 2 cups of broth used in the recipe. So you will be using a total of 2 1/4 cups of broth. One-half to saute and 1 3/4 to cook the rice.

Serving suggestions

Serve as a side dish or for plant-based people, we are very happy with something like this as the main course!

I made a healthy Buddha bowl with my Cuban Black Beans, some chopped veggies, and this flavorful rice. It was so good!

Buddha bowl with lemon herbed brown rice, cuban black beans, and a veggie mix

Adding more lemon flavor

This dish is flavored just right for my family. It is lightly lemony – but not overwhelmingly so. If you like the taste of lemon then you might want to squeeze a little on top or sprinkle with some extra zest!

The printable recipe card for Herbed Lemon Brown Rice

Did you love this recipe?

Want to share the love? It would be great if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help Google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

bowl of lemon herbed brown rice

Herbed Lemon Brown Rice in the Instant Pot

This brown rice in the Instant Pot recipe is super flavorful with the addition of seasonings and herbs. You'll love the lemony tang combined with the salty capers and herbal sweet flavors of the tarragon and thyme.
from 12 reader reviews
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot brown rice, lemon rice
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
natural release: 10 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 223kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey


  • Instant Pot or other pressure cooker


  • 2 cups dried brown rice rinsed
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • ½ cup shallot minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 lemon, sliced set aside to put on top of the rice mixture
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tablespoons capers rinse
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoons dried tarragon or 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • several fresh thyme sprigs


  • Rinse the rice and set it aside.
  • Mince the garlic and shallot and set aside.
  • Zest one lemon and then juice it. Set aside. You will need one teaspoon of zest and two tablespoons of juice. Thinly slice another lemon and set aside.
  • Add the olive oil to the inner pot. Press saute to heat up for a couple of minutes. Then add in the minced shallot and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to soften. You aren't cooking the shallot and garlic to completion – only getting them started.
  • If the pot has any brown spots from the saute process then deglaze with a little bit of the broth, stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon with pressure until the brown spots are gone. Brown spots might cause the Instant Pot to not come to pressure.
  • Add in the rinsed and drained rice, vegetable broth, capers, lemon juice and zest, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Top with the sliced lemons and fresh thyme sprigs.
  • Close the lid and vent. Manually set the timer for 22 minutes at high pressure. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
  • After the timer has counted down to zero, do a 5-minute natural release. Then carefully do a quick release. When the pressure has been fully released and the pin is down, carefully open the lid.
  • Remove the lemon slices and sprigs of fresh thyme. Fluff with a fork and serve.


This recipe was developed using a 6 quart Instant Pot. If you have used other sizes or brands, I’d love to hear about your success!
Time coming to pressure is approximate and added to the prep time.
The serving size is 1/2 cup each – which is not much for the main course but perfect for a side or as an element of a Buddha bowl. Keep in mind the amount you use and adjust the calories accordingly. 
The dried to fresh herb ratio is 1:3. So if you are using fresh rather than dry, you will use 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme and 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon.
If you want to cook this dish without oil then saute the onion and garlic in 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Then reduce the amount used in the recipe from 2 cups to 1 3/4. So you will be using 2 1/4 cups of broth altogether. One half to saute with and one and three quarters to cook the rice in the Instant Pot.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 468mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 151IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

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By on July 9th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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2 thoughts on “Herbed Lemon Brown Rice in the Instant Pot”

  1. 5 stars
    I love making rice in the Instant Pot and this recipe tasted awesome. The whole family loved it. Thanks for sharing.


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