Hot soup has been nursing people young and old through the common cold for generations and across nations. Though this is an entirely unscientific insight, more often than not, the responsibility for sick-day-soup lands in the hands of the mamas and grandmamas of the house. I became keenly aware of this fact last month as I lay in bed with a virus, too sick to cook the bowl I craved. With the rest of the family either out of town or otherwise occupied, I managed to navigate Postmates to have a tub of hot soup delivered to my door.

It was good, but lacked the love and kindness you find in a homemade bowl.

As soon as I got better. I made the soup I had hungered for when I was sick: brothy, with rice and vegetables, lightly seasoned, and accented generously with fresh lemon juice. I’ve made it several times since, once using homemade turkey broth, another time with leftover chicken added at the end, and finally, a vegetarian version done in the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot soup is the one I’m sharing here, though it can certainly be executed in a similar fashion on the stove (cooking time will be longer and it will likely require additional broth). It’s a very comforting bowl, whether you are healthy as an ox or laid up with the common cold.

Instant Pot Rice and Vegetable Soup

If you’re on the hunt for more soup-for-the-soul inspiration, you might like this Chicken Tortilla one or this Instant Pot Italian White Bean Soup.

Instant Pot Lemony Rice and Vegetable Soup

Make this soup how you like, either vegetarian or not. Embellish it with a hit of protein by adding a cup of either cooked chick peas or cooked shredded chicken when you add the spinach. 

Course Dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
IP heating and natural release 25 minutes
Servings 4 to 6 servings (8 cups)
Calories 254 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 large bulb fennel, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon butter (use olive oil or coconut oil for a vegan version)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute. Add the olive oil and when it's warm, add the onion. Saute until tender, but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. 

  2. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, fennel, cumin, rice, and broth. Stir and set the lid on the IP with the vent closed. Set to high pressure for 14 minutes. 

  3. After 14 minutes, allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Carefully open the vent to release the remaining pressure and remove the lid. Add the spinach, butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt  (if your broth is NOT low sodium, you may want to scale back the salt).  Stir well, taste, and add more lemon and salt if needed. 

  4. Serve hot. 

    Note: The rice in any leftover soup will continue to  absorb the broth. Feel free to add more broth (or even a little water) as needed, adjusting the lemon and salt as needed.