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+ servings
3 bowls of paal payasam

Paal Payasam/Kheer in Instant Pot

Paal Payasam is an Indian rice pudding or kheer recipe that can easily be made in the Instant Pot. Serve this easy yet delicious milk pudding on any festive day!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 157.99kcal




  • Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Add ghee to the pot and fry mixed chopped nuts like cashews, almonds, and pistachios along with raisins for a minute.
  • You can also roughly chop them and add. I use a nut chopper for that and it is very useful.
  • Add raw rice to the pot and saute it for another 30-40 seconds. I keep it whole but if you want you can coarsely grind it if you so wish.
  • Then add sugar to the pot.
  • Followed by milk and creamer. Bring it to a boil. then hit the cancel button.
  • Close the Instant Pot with the lid. Position the valve in the seal position. Select Porridge mode and cook it for 20 minutes.
  • When the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Then open the lid.
  • Mash the rice a bit to make the kheer more creamy.
  • Top it with saffron, and cardamom powder. Mix it all together and cook it for a minute in saute mode again. If it is too thick, add little milk and mix it all together.
  • Paal Payasam can be served warm or chilled. Garnish it with chopped nuts, saffron, or even edible flowers before serving. 


To make it in the Instant Pot, there is no need to soak the rice prior. But if making it on the stovetop, then soak it for 20-30 minutes, pat dry and then saute in ghee.
Roasting rice in ghee gives it a nice toasty aroma. Do not skip that step. You can also add sugar along with saffron and cardamom instead of adding it before.
Do not add too much rice else it will become a thick rice pudding. Adjust the sugar quantity to your liking. Ghee can be substituted with any cooking oil or butter.
Add half a cup of water while pressure cooking. This will prevent the milk from burning at the bottom of the pot.
Milk can curdle if the Instant pot and the sealing ring are not clean before starting to cook. I keep two separate sealing rings - one for savory and one for dessert recipes.
Always release the pressure naturally. If you do a quick release, milk will splatter all over.
When you open the lid after the kheer is cooked, check the consistency. If it is too thick, add little milk or creamer, mix it all together and cook in saute mode for a minute.
If the payasam is on the watery side, you can add 2-3 tbsp butter or ghee and bring it to a boil by turning on the saute mode.
The final consistency of this Indian rice pudding should be thick and creamy yet of drinking consistency.
To make it nut-free, just skip adding all the nuts. Raisins can also be skipped if you don't want to add them. In fact, the traditional recipe is naturally nut-free.
To make it in the stovetop
Wash and soak the rice for 20-30 minutes. In a heavy-bottomed pan saute the rice in ghee along with the nuts. Add milk and creamer and cook till the rice turns soft.
Keep the flame on medium and keep stirring the pot to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
Add cardamom powder, saffron, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. The milk will thicken and reduce in half eventually.
In a separate pan, fry the mixed nuts along with raisins in ghee and pour it over the payasam. It's ready to be served.
Want to give this kheer or payasam recipe an upgrade? Add little rose essence and rose syrup towards the end of the recipe. It will give the payasam a nice pink hue and a rose flavor.
Want to add condensed milk
If you like the flavor of condensed milk or milkmaid, and want to add it to the kheer, here's what you can do:
In the Instant Pot method, skip adding the creamer and sugar. Follow the other steps of the recipe. When you open the Instant pot, add the condensed milk along with saffron and cardamom.
For the stovetop method, once the milk boils, reduce the heat and add the condensed milk. The quantity depends on the sweetness you want. If adding condensed milk, skip the sugar and creamer.
A lighter version
If you want to keep a check on the calories, use 2% milk instead of whole milk. Add more milk instead of creamer. Use brown rice and jaggery. Reduce or skip adding nuts.
This kheer/payasam recipe will not be as rich and creamy but you will still get your kheer-fix!
Substitutes for rice
Substitute rice with sabudana or sago pearls, quinoa, vermicelli, lentils, coconut, or even brown rice. Some even add grated veggies like beetroot and carrot.
Adjust the cooking time according to the ingredient you are using.
How to make it vegan
I have made the vegan version of payasam/rice kheer and shared the recipe in my cookbook called The Essential Vegan Indian Cookbook.
You can substitute whole milk with any non-dairy milk and use a vegan creamer or condensed milk. Substitute regular ghee with vegan ghee in this kheer/payasam recipe.
How to store it
Storing this Indian rice pudding is very easy. It stays well in the fridge for 5-6 days. Store it in an airtight container. It also freezes well.
Thaw it overnight in the fridge and then rest it on the countertop for some time until the payasam regains its normal consistency. You can reheat the kheer if needed.


Calories: 157.99kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.13g | Protein: 2.37g | Fat: 5.73g | Saturated Fat: 2.92g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.48g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9g | Cholesterol: 12.56mg | Sodium: 21.61mg | Potassium: 92.05mg | Fiber: 0.29g | Sugar: 15.75g | Vitamin A: 81.98IU | Vitamin C: 0.07mg | Calcium: 59.79mg | Iron: 0.2mg