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Instant Pot Kinnathappam- Steamed Rice Coconut Milk Cake- Easy South Indian Dessert

Kinnathappam or steamed rice coconut milk cake, an authentic South Indian dessert made in the Instant Pot…

This is a family favorite dessert and is made on special occasions in my mom’s family. The beauty about this dessert is it’s so simple & humble, made with easy ingredients yet tastes incredible. It’s soft & melts into the mouth. This is a Thiruvithamcode specialty dessert ( a town in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu)

Kinnam in Tamil means pan and appam means cake. This has to be steam-cooked in a round pan.

In the Instant Pot, has to be steam cooked for 30 minutes at high pressure. The batter consistency has to be perfect, the batter shouldn’t be too thick nor too thin. Follow the measurements & you’ll be able to make super soft kinnathappam.

Cooking Video

Instant Pot Kinnathappam- Steamed Rice Coconut Milk Cake- Easy South Indian Dessert
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
For Grinding rice
  • Basmati rice- 1 cup
  • Egg- 1
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Thin Coconut milk- 2½ cup
Other Ingredients
  • Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
  • Whole cardamom, crushed- 2
  • Salt- 2 pinches
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  1. Soak the basmati rice in water for 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, rinse the soaked rice taken in a strainer under running water.
  3. To a blender jar, add the soaked & rinsed rice, egg, sugar, water & coconut milk.
  4. Grind to a smooth fine batter.
  5. Line a strainer with a muslin or cheesecloth, keep the strainer on a large bowl.
  6. Pour the rice batter onto the cheesecloth and strain the batter.
  7. It is very important to strain the batter through a cheesecloth, this is to ensure there are no tiny rice particles in the batter. If there are rice particles in the batter the kinnathappam will turn hard.
  8. Discard the rice particles on the cheesecloth.
  9. Add the crushed whole cardamoms & salt, combine well.
  10. For 1 cup rice, total liquid should be 2½ cups, this will make the batter consistency thin.
  11. The batter consisteny should be perfect, not too thin nor thick consistency.
  12. I've used Instant Pot 6 quarts for steam cooking.
  13. Use a round pan that will fit into the 6 quarts Instant Pot.
  14. The dimension of the round pan I've used is 7.5 inches in diameter & 3 inches height.
  15. Grease the inside of the round pan with 1½ tbsp ghee.
  16. Pour the batter half way through onto the pan.
  17. Since the height of the pan I've used is 3 inches, I've poured the batter only half way through, this dessert should be of 1½ inches thickness.
  18. Poured the remaining batter onto another pan.
  19. Spread cumin seeds over the batter.
  20. Cover the pan with a paper towel and then tightly cover with aluminum foil.
  21. Add 1 cup water to the stainless steel pot.
  22. Place the trivet onto the water.
  23. Place the pan onto the trivet.
  24. Close with the lid.
  25. Select Steam setting, set the time to 30 minutes at high pressure.
  26. After 30 minutes of steam cooking. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, after that do a quick pressure release.
  27. Open the lid.
  28. It's very hot, wear a mitten and take the trivet with the pan out of the stainless steel pot.
  29. Gently uncover the paper towel & aluminum foil. There will be some water on the aluminum foil.
  30. Drizzl ½ tbsp ghee over the hot kinnathappam.
  31. Keep it covered for an hour. This will ensure kinnathappam sets well.
  32. After it has cooled down, cut into squares & serve on a plate.
  33. Enjoy this soft & melt into the mouth delicacy.
  34. Leftovers can be chilled in the refrigerator, tastes better the next day.




Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...