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. pressurecookrecipes.com

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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4.88 from 8 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

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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.
4.88 from 8 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 -4
Calories: 341
Author: Amy + Jacky

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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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Video

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.

Nutrition:

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

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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
Food Lovers in our 30s who worked directly with Instant Pot CEO, Manufacturers, and 35+ Restaurants. Culinary Families & Food Magazine Publishers.
  1. 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?

    1. Hi Brigitte,

      thank you for your kind words and question 🙂

      Yes, just keep the same time when doubling ingredients for this recipe.

      Please take care & have a wonderful Christmas holiday!
      Jacky

  2. 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!

    1. Hi Maria,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Jasmine rice will work fine. The cooking time will be the same for this recipe.

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend
      Jacky

  3. What a wonderful recipe, thank you so much! I have a huge kabocha pumpkin from the farmers market and used some for the recipe and froze the rest in 2 cup sized plastic freezer bags for the next time we need fast, easy, healthy comfort food! We added toasted sesame seeds and Bragg’s seaweed flakes on top.

  4. I’m anxious to try this recipe, but even after reading your tips I feel quite challenged with cubing my kabocha. Your best way to peel and cubing a squash?

  5. I can’t seem to find Kabocha squash locally this year. Could I use cubed Butternut Squash instead? Would I need to adjust the recipe?

  6. Cooked this exactly as described. We love the texture and taste! After cooking we also added sauteed Italian sausage and onions. Delish! Love how your recipes are set up: recipe, step-by-step, video, additional info!
    New fan over here! ? Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you!!

  7. I did this recipe today and it was delicious. Thank you!

    I used Kagayaki brown rice and increased the pressure cooking time to 11 min. It worked well.

    I love your site. Keep up the good work.

    Matthew

  8. Can I substitute American pumpkin for the Kabocha Squash? I buy and prep the pumpkin at Halloween for pumpkin recipes all year long. 🙂

    1. Hi David,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      In theory, it should work, but we haven’t tried it so I can’t promise.

      Take care & have a wonderful weekend
      Jacky

  9. Ney-Ho-Ma Amy & Jacky.

    I used this recipe for our dinner tonight.
    It came out perfectly !
    But.. I have one question:
    Step 5 Turn off and wait for 10 minutes, then quick release.
    After 7 minutes.. Instant Pot went into the “L” cycle; counting the minutes after the cooking (7-minutes) finishes. When it read “L0010” I did a “quick release”.
    My question: Was I supposed to “Turn Off” the Instant-Pot ?

    .

    1. Ney-Ho-Ma Doug!

      thank you for your kind words and question 🙂

      Sorry for the delay in response as your comment was marked by the robot as spam somehow.

      Both method will work the same as the keep warm function will not kick in well after the IP has natural released.

      We usually leave it on to keep track of the release time.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  10. Can’t wait to try this! Given it is not squash season, can I use Trader Joe’s peeled/cut frozen Kabocha in the recipe?

    Thanks!

    Cary

    1. Hi Cary,

      Thank you for your question 🙂

      Sorry for the late reply as we are still in the middle of moving.

      Frozen kabocha will work just fine in this recipe.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  11. Any suggestions how to adjust the recipe if I am going to cook kabocha squash in the instant pot only? i.e. no rice. Thank you

    1. Hi Karen,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      We haven’t tried cooking a whole Kabocha pumpkin in the IP, but you can try 1 cup of cold water + 12 minutes QR.
      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  12. Hi, awesome recipe! If I just wanted to cook a Kabocha pumpkin whole in the instant pot, what time and how much water would I need? Thanks!

    1. Hi Emma,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      We haven’t tried cooking a whole Kabocha pumpkin in the IP, but you can try 1 cup of cold water + 12 minutes QR.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Ayashi,

      thank you for your question.

      You can use normal rice cooker for this recipe. Just cook rice as normal, mix in 1 tablespoon cooking sake (Japanese rice wine), 1 teaspoon sea salt, 4 – 5 drops sesame oil and layer the kabocha squash on top.

      It will take roughly 45 minutes.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Arielle,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      They will have to be cooked separately or the kabocha will be overcooked.

      Perhaps you can try using the pot in pot method with a thick pyrex bowl for the kabocha to see if they can be cooked at the same time. Just mix them together after cooking 🙂

      Happy New Year & Have Fun Cooking!
      Jacky

  13. Love all your recipes!!! Thank you very much for sharing. 🙂 Any suggestions on how to cut the squash more easily? Thanks.

    1. Hi Karen,

      thank you for your kind words and question.

      I would suggest the tip of a very sharp chef knife.
      or Use a cleaver if you have one 🙂

      Happy New Year & Have Fun Cooking!
      Jacky

  14. I’m anxious to make this rice, however, I’m confused about the water amt.
    When you say to use exactly 1 1/2 cups of water, are you using the rice cup also to measure that or a standard 8oz measuring cup? Also, are the Kabocha pumpkins found in most Asian grocery stores, and are they a seasonal item? Thank you, I’m really enjoying all your posts and videos!

    1. Hi Tamara,
      Thank you for your question 🙂 and thank you so much for the encouraging words!!
      We used a standard 8oz measuring cup for the 1 1/2 cup of water (375ml)
      Just make sure to keep the water to rice ratio close to a 1:1 ratio 🙂

      Kabocha pumpkins can be found in most Asian grocery stores. We recently found them appearing in major supermarkets too! They are called Japanese pumpkin. They used to be a seasonal item (winter), but I saw them yesterday in a few supermarkets 🙂

      Have fun cooking!
      Jacky

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