Pressure Cooker Rice and Peas

Or Should It Be Rice and Legumes?

Peas and Rice Plate

Is it rice and peas or rice and beans? This is the conundrum with which I am faced. I used black beans for this dish since that is what I found at the store. Sometime in SoCal it can be difficult to find much besides black beans and pinto beans, depending on which store you go to. At this particular store, I could have bought kidney beans which work well for this recipe, but they only had cans that were about the size of the old oil drums which some people make smokers out of. Anyway back to the pea or bean debate. This dish is traditionally made with pigeon peas, which I suppose is where the name is derived from, even though the pigeon pea seems to be closer to a bean, much like the humble black eyed pea, which I would also consider a bean.

Rice and PeasKidney beans are often used for this as well, especially here in the states. But as I said, I used black beans. Canned black beans I might add. Partly so everything can cook at once and partly because my goal here was to make a super-quick side dish to accompany my Brown Stew Chicken recipe.

I am posting this during the week, in my usual non-recipe post because it is one of those that is just so dang simple that it barely qualifies as a recipe.

Beans and RiceJust take a can of beans (drained but liquid reserved), 2 cups of rice (I use Basmati. Different types of rice may require adjusting the liquid a bit.), 1 can of coconut milk and enough water to make 3 – 1/2 cups of liquid when combined with the bean liquid and the coconut milk.

Put this in your pressure cooker (I used the Instant Pot so I could just set it and let it go while I worked on my chicken in the stove top pressure cooker.) Add some Allspice, dried Thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Beans Rice Onions

Lock the top on the pressure cooker and set for 4 minutes at high pressure.

When the time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a quick release.

I like to let it sit for 2-3 minutes with the lid off in order to absorb a little more of the liquid.

Rice and Peas Finished

Makes a great side dish to any Caribbean meal!

Pressure Cooker Rice and Peas
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
A quick version of the Caribbean side dish. Goes great with any Caribbean entree.
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 can beans (I used black beans, you can also use red beans or kidney beans), drained and liquid reserved
  • Water as needed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (white part and a couple inches of the green part)
  1. Put reserved bean liquid and coconut milk in a large measuring cup
  2. Add enough water to make a total of 3-1/2 cups liquid
  3. Put rice, liquid and the rest of the ingredients in the pressure cooker pot
  4. Lock lid on pressure cooker and set to come to high pressure for 4 minutes
  5. When time is up, turn off cooker and let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  6. Remove cover
  7. I like to let it sit a couple minutes after the lid is removed to absorb a bit more liquid, but you can serve immediately if the texture is to your liking


10 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker Rice and Peas

  1. Michael,
    You wrote, “Sometime in SoCal it can be difficult to find much besides black beans and pinto beans, depending on which store you go to.” I wanted to make you and all your readers aware of a fantastic place to purchase dried beans. It’s Rancho Gordo in Napa CA. They have a small retail operation in Napa but sell mainly online I believe. There are also some retailers across the country (Whole Foods, e.g.) that also sell a small selection of the beans they have available via their website. Besides the varieties we all know, they sell bean varieties you’ve likely never even heard of – or at least I hadn’t. Beans from Rancho Gordo are absolutely the freshest beans I’ve ever found. You can buy cheaper beans, but I don’t think you’ll find better. Their website currently shows that there are 28 varieties available. One is certainly not limited to black, kidney and pinto beans. If you haven’t purchased beans from Rancho Gordo I encourage you to try some. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Thanks, Sigrid. I am familiar with Rancho Gordo but haven’t tried them yet. You are absolutely correct that there are many types of beans available if you look for them. In this particular case, I went to the store looking for canned beans for this recipe and was met with a very small selection. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was in Smart & Final, a warehouse-type store. In the future I do plan to try some of the Rancho Gordo beans. Now that it is finally showing the first signs of Autumn here, I just may have to order some. Thanks for the information!

  2. Hi! I just made this and I think the pressure cooker time might be wrong in the instructions. It says 4 mins on high… After I let mine naturally vent for 10 mins it was not done and very watery… So turned back on on my rice setting (defaults to 10 mins)… Hoping for the gold this time :)
    Let me know if 4 mins was what worked for you. I’m a newbie at this pressure cooker thing. Caribbean stewed chicken & your rice & peas are actually my first evers in my Instant Pot :)

    • Hi, yes, I always cook rice for 4 minutes with 10 minute natural release but I use the regular pressure cooker mode on high, not the rice setting. I don’t usually use any of the special settings because I like the recipe to be easily transferable to a stove top cooker as well. If you did use the regular mode, maybe it was the type of rice. I almost always use white basmati and always use 4 minutes even if I am just making the rice to go with something else. I hope this helps.

    • Hi! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer sooner. I usually don’t rinse rice unless it says to do so on the package, or if it is imported. Sometimes imported rice is coated with talc, which you should wash off. But domestic rice usually doesn’t have this. I prefer to not rinse.

  3. Are you using the Instant Pot or a regular stove top pressure cooker? Wondering of timing would be different with an IP.

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