My mother-in-law's family spent some time in Egypt- and one of the things they carried back with them is their love for koshari- a popular Egyptian comfort meal. My husband grew up having it and when we got married, he convinced me to try it. I was hooked. The only problem was that it takes a bunch of steps and time that I don't always have.

Since we got the instant pot, however, I've been able to make this for my husband much more frequently. Using the IP lets me combine a couple of the steps and also lets me do things concurrently so that I'm not spending hours in the kitchen. The result is this amazing meal that is warm, spicy with hints of tang and a perfect thing to feed the whole family on a cold winter night.

Instant Pot Koshari: Egyptian Comfort Food

What is Koshari?

So by now, you must be wondering, what exactly is koshari? One of our Egyptian friends describes it perfectly- it is carbs, wrapped in carbs and topped with carbs. I kid- but only slightly. Basically, koshari is a dish with rice, lentils, and pasta (generally elbow macaroni) which is topped with this amazing tomato sauce that's deliciously tangy and some fried onions (we skip those). We generally serve ours with a side of shish tawook- an herb grilled chicken breast- and a tomato, cucumber and feta salad with a lemon/EVOO dressing.

Instant Pot Koshari: Egyptian Comfort Food

A Caveat

Before I begin, I'm going to put this disclaimer right here. I am NOT Egyptian. This recipe is a hybrid of my mother-in-law's recipe and one that was given to me by an Egyptian friend. I have no idea if this tastes authentic or if I make it in an authentic way. BUT- I do know that this is a family favorite, both my kids and husband love it and you know what they say: happy husband = happy life! Here's the recipe behind one of the reasons for that happy life. I hope you enjoy it and if you love it, leave me a comment and let me know 🙂

Also, if you like this recipe, you'll love my Mediterranean Style Chicken and Rice. Check it out right here.

hafsa signature

Instant Pot Koshari: Egyptian Comfort Food

Instant Pot Koshari- Egyptian Comfort Food

Koshari is a popular Egyptian street food, that is made with rice, lentils, elbow macaroni and topped with a tangy tomato sauce and some fried onions. It is absolutely delicious and a wonderful meal for cold winter nights. We tend to serve our koshari with some Shish Tawook and a tomato, cucumber and feta salad with a lemon/EVOO dressing to balance out the carbs.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine African
Servings 6 people


For the Sauce

  • 3 whole Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 whole Green Thai finger chilli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 cup White vinegar

For the Pasta

  • 1 . box Elbow macaroni- cooked al dente, drained and tossed with evoo

For the Lentils & Rice

  • 1 cup Green lentils soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 cup White Basmati Rice, rinsed thoroughly but not soaked
  • 1 small Onion, fried until golden brown
  • 1 tbsp Chopped garlic and ginger or 1 heaping tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 3 cups Water/broth (I use half and half)


The Sauce

  • Chop the 3 Roma tomatoes into large chunks and add them to your handy Nutribullet with the green chilies and give it a buzz until the tomatoes have liquified. Using a sieve, strain the tomatoes into a clean bowl. Make sure none of the skin etc makes its way into the bowl. You want your sauce to be silky smooth.
  • Heat a small saucepan on Medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic to it. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all the spices. Make sure to salt it well to really bring out the flavor.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the white vinegar and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until it's ready to be served. The sauce should taste deliciously tangy with a hint of spice.
  • Tip: The sauce tastes better as it ages so if you can, make it earlier in the day or even the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight and then bring to a boil prior to serving.

The Paste

  • Boil the package of elbow macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Once cooked, drain and toss with olive oil and set aside.
  • Tip: I do this step and the next one concurrently to save time and make sure everything is ready at the same time.

The Rice & Lentils

  • Turn on the Instant Pot and set it to Saute until the display reads HOT. Add some oil and fry the onions until golden brown.
  • Once the onions have browned, add the ginger and garlic paste and let saute for a few minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water/broth to create a paste at the bottom, then add the salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Drain the lentils and the rice and add them to the pot. Mix well.
  • Add the 3 cups water/broth and close the lid. Set the pot to cook for 8 minutes on high pressure, on the manual setting.
  • Let NPR for 5 minutes and then quick release. Fluff up the rice and the lentils and let sit in the pot with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
  • To serve, add the lentils and rice base to a bowl with the elbow macaroni on top. Pour a generous amount of tomato sauce over it and top with crispy fried onions. I like to add a tiny bit of Frank's Red hot sauce to my bowl but my husband hates it. Eat like you haven't eaten in a month and go back for seconds.