Instant Pot Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin) Rice

Perfect Kabocha squash pressure cooker rice in less than 30 minutes. This frugal Japanese pumpkin rice is so easy to make. Simple, delicious and healthy.

5 mins prep to make this perfect bowl of Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice. This frugal Pressure Cooker Japanese pumpkin rice is soooo easy to make. Eat it as is or as a side dish. Simple, delicious and healthy.

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4.91 from 11 votes

We miss our trip to Japan. The endless delicious food, fascinating culture, and their pursuit of simplicity and perfection just put us in awe.

This memorable trip inspired us to create this deliciously simple Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice!

I absolutely adore this dish! This one time Jacky & I both ate like 4 bowls each and were too full to eat anything else. hehe~

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice Recipe: make simple, frugal pressure cooker Japanese pumpkin rice #instantpot #pressurecooker #rice #recipes #japanese #healthy

Though this Kabocha Squash Rice is simple, it took us many trial and errors with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker to get the perfect consistency.

Perfectly cooked Japanese rice should be sticky, not too firm, nor mushy or wet.

It’s especially tricky when squash is added to the mix. Plus, if the Kabocha is not perfectly cooked, it’ll either end up being too mushy or hard.

But YES!! We found the perfect ratio. The rice is fragrant & slightly sticky. The Kabocha squash came out fluffy smooth with texture. The whole dish was fragrant, light, and slightly sweet. Oh, so filling & comforting! 🙂

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin) Rice

Perfect Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice in less than 30 minutes. This frugal Japanese pumpkin rice is so easy to make. Simple, delicious and healthy.
4.91 from 11 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 -4
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Amy + Jacky



  • Add Ingredients to Instant Pot: Add rice, water, cooking sake, sea salt, and sesame oil in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Mix ingredients a few times with a wooden spoon. Add cubed Kabocha squash quickly into the pot.
  • Pressure Cook Kabocha Squash Rice: Close the lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 7 minutes, then 10 minutes Natural Release.
  • Mix & Serve: Remove the lid. Mix the Kabocha squash well with the rice and serve!
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Recipe Notes:

Amount of Water: Ensure to use exactly 1 ½ cup of water as this is just enough to get the pressure cooker up to pressure. This will prevent the pressure cooker rice from absorbing too much water and turns out to be too mushy and wet.
Rinsing Rice: If you rinse the rice before cooking, be sure to drain well and ensure the water-to-rice ratio is accurate. (Reduce roughly 3 tablespoons from the 1 cup of water)
Freezing Kabocha: Kabocha freezes really well in the freezer for 6 - 8 months. You can pop them into the pressure cooker straight from the freezer for your next meal.


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 6g | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 795IU | Vitamin C: 7.1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 4.1mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Rice, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: instant pot, instant pot japanese, instant pot recipes, instant pot rice, instant pot squash, kabocha squash, pressure cooker rice
Tried this recipe?Mention @pressurecookrecipes or tag #AmyJacky!

What is Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin)?

If you’ve never tried Kabocha squash, you’re missing out!!

What is Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin) #squash #vegan #vegetarian #paleo #healthy #recipes

It’s a delicious crossover between pumpkin and sweet potato in terms of texture and flavor. Naturally very sweet, even sweeter than butternut squash.

Not only is it packed with nutrients, but also low calories and low-carb.

Yep. The skin is totally edible too!

kabocha squash japanese pumpkin pressure cooker rice ingredients

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice Recipe Tips

1. Choosing Kabocha Squash

Choose Kabocha squash that is firm, deep-colored, heavy with no soft spots.

2. Freezing Kabocha Squash

You can freeze Kabocha squash for 6 to 8 months. Some even say up to 1 year!

They’ve never managed to stay in our freezer for this long, so I can’t confirm this. hehe~ If you have, tell us how does it taste.

You can just throw frozen Kabocha squash straight into the pressure cooker, it’ll just take longer to build pressure.

Freeze cubed uncooked Kabocha Squash Japanese Pumpkin in ziploc freezer bag

3. Measure Amount of Water

If you want perfectly cooked rice, watch the amount of water you use. Don’t wing it. If you have too much water, it’ll end up mushy; if you have too little water, it’ll end up dry and hard, or even burnt.

4. Use Sesame Oil

Kabocha is naturally very sweet. The few drops of sesame oil will take this dish to the next level. Try it 😉

It’s now your turn to take out your Pressure Cooker and cook Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice! Enjoy~ 🙂

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice Recipe: make simple, frugal pressure cooker Japanese pumpkin rice #instantpot #pressurecooker #rice #recipes #japanese #healthy

Other Instant Pot Rice Recipes

Instant Pot Calrose Rice

Perfect Instant Pot Calrose Rice Recipe (Pressure Cooker Medium Grain Calrose Rice): Super easy to make Asian-approved Calrose rice in less than 30 mins!

Instant Pot Wild Rice

Nutritious Instant Pot Wild Rice Recipe (Pressure Cooker Wild Rice): learn how to make wild rice in half the cooking time. Perfectly tender wild rice with a chew, packed with nutty flavors, and sweet aroma. High Protein, high dietary fiber, low fat. #instantpot #instapot #pressurecooker #instantpotrecipes #powerpressurecooker #rice #vegan #glutenfree #paleo #recipes

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice Recipe: make simple, frugal pressure cooker Japanese pumpkin rice #instantpot #pressurecooker #rice #recipes #japanese #healthy
Instant Pot Kabocha Squash Rice Recipe: make simple, frugal pressure cooker Japanese pumpkin rice #instantpot #pressurecooker #rice #recipes #japanese #healthy

Leave a Reply

newest oldest most helpful
Jodie Tanino

I live in the Caribbean So I used West Indian pumpkin. I had a can of coconut milk opened so did use it mixed with the water. Used Mirin because I didn’t have Saki. And a few drops of red boat fish sauce with sesame oil because I like that added umami. Delicious and easy! If I have time might add some toasted coconut and scallions for color. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Jesse Dresbach

I LOVE this recipe! Thank you so much for it. I had never used Kabocha before and now I’m in love with it. Would the water and rice ratio be the same if I subbed out for brown rice?5 stars

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot LUX 60

Probably a stupid question, but why couldn’t I cook rice and squash separately and then stir them together with the rest of the ingredients? I just cook for one person, myself, and typically use 2 oz of rice for a meal. I don’t think I could put enough water in the IP for it to work and not get rice soup.

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Leslyn Nakamura Entriken

We don’t have a pressure cooker or Instapot. Can we make this in a rice cooker?

Pressure Cooker
Other Pressure Cooker, Please specify in comment.

If I wanted to make 3 cups of rice would I need to add 3 cups of water as well? I just don’t want to rice to be mushy or wet.

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60

Is there anyway to add chicken or some protein to it and make it a one pot meal? I might try to combine these two recipes

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60

I decreased the water by 3T (per the instruction, b/c I rinsed the rice) and it stopped b/c it burned. So I added ~1/4 C water (without stirring) and re-started it with 5 min instead of 7 and it stopped again b/c it burned again. So I opened it up and stirred it and the bottom was crispy but not black. It looked done so I ate it! Tastes perfect to me! 🙂
And the last instant pot recipe I tried happened to be from Amy + Jacky as well. Super yummy potato salad!
-Carolyn5 stars


Turned out super good. My wife says she could eat it every day!


I’ve made the recipe several times and LOVE it. I add a raw egg to it straight out of the cooker and it ends up with a custard-like texture… Perfection! I wanted to make it for a group of people. Can this doubled? I haven’t tried doubling an IP recipe before. Do you just double ingredients and keep the cook time the same?5 stars


I currently do not have any short grain rice. I have regular long grain rice and jasmine rice at home. Do you think I would have success using one of those rices instead? I am craving this dish – my grandma used to make something very similar when I was a little girl. But I really want to avoid a trip to the market in this rainy weather! Thank you!

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