Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is absolutely scrumptious one pot meal with chicken breasts or thighs, white or brown rice and veggies. It is ideal for busy weeknights!
Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice
OMG this ah-mazing Instant Pot chicken and rice is in one of our regular Instant Pot recipes we make over and over again for dinner. And everyone who tried it has requested the recipe – which is perfect because I also recommend it to anyone beginning their Instant Pot cooking journey.
Brown rice in Instant Pot is pure fluffy and hands-off magic! Combined with boneless chicken breasts or thighs, all ingredients cook in one pot without hovering over them on the stove (I also included white rice option in the recipe card). And if you add broth, it becomes Instant Pot chicken and rice soup.
If you are like me and are originally from former USSR, you know how time consuming “plov” is. So this Instant Pot chicken and rice is my version of it. The only difference is – everything cooks in one pot – Instant Pot.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Fresh or frozen chicken: Boneless chicken breasts, thighs or cut up whole chicken. If using frozen chicken breasts or thighs, make sure they are separated. After Instant Pot chicken and rice is cooked, shred chicken right in the pot or remove and cube on a cutting board.
- Rice: You can use white rice and cook for 10 minutes or brown rice and cook time is 22 minutes.
- Veggies: Onion, garlic and carrots.
- Broth or water: Low sodium chicken broth/stock from a carton, bouillon cube diluted in water or homemade chicken broth in Instant Pot.
- Spices: Cumin, dried thyme and oregano, salt and pepper.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
There is detailed recipe card below.
- Saute onion and garlic first, just until fragrant. I like to do so under a hood fan with a stove off, of course. 🙂
- Press Cancel and add dried herbs: Thyme, oregano, cumin and cook another 30 seconds. This step will make them fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients in the following order (!): Chicken, carrot, rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Do not stir to prevent Burn.
- Cook on high pressure: 10 minutes with white rice, for 22 minutes with brown rice.
- Release pressure using Quick Release, so pretty much right away.
- Stir gently and discard bay leaves.
- Can I use instant rice? No. Instant rice I assume is pre-cooked white rice. Pressure cooker defeats the purpose of instant rice. Despite the similarity in names, instant rice will cook much faster than chicken resulting in mushy rice. Save instant rice for the stove or just switch to much healthier brown rice.:)
- Can I use cauliflower rice? Unfortunately you can’t. Cauliflower rice is a veggie that will be ready in 30 secs and chicken won’t.
- What variety of rice is good for this recipe? You can use long grain, short grain, basmati, jasmine etc. rice. Even sushi rice but dish will come out more mushy.
- Can I use red, yellow, black or wild rice? If cooking instructions on a package of your rice say to cook for longer than 30 minutes, then you can use it in this recipe following “brown rice” cook time. I have tried wild rice blend from Costco in this recipe and Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup recipe with great results.
- Can I double the recipe? No. I tried that and it didn’t go well. It is already quite large amount of ingredients.
- What if I stirred by accident? If you stirred by accident, let it be. More likely it will not cause Burn. I used to stir.
- Why is my rice undercooked? When it comes to rice cooked in a pressure cooker, it can be a little bit of a trial and error. Sometimes different varieties of brown rice cook differently or rice could be old. I always use same brand long grain brown rice. One time my husband bought different brand and it needed maybe 1 extra minute. Once you find “your rice” you will know how long it cooks and you can add extra minutes.
More Tips and Variations
- Add frozen vegetables: I know some like peas and corn in chicken and rice. Add them frozen and stir gently one more time. Sometimes I like to add broccoli, reminds me chicken and rice casserole.
- Frozen meat: Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes longer to come to pressure with frozen chicken. Same cook time though.
- Less rice: I use 3 cups of rice per 2 lbs of chicken for a few reasons, to stretch the meal and to eat less meat. A few readers commented they would prefer less rice – no problem. Reduce rice to 2 cups, water to 2 1/2 cups and salt to 1 tsp.
- If your rice comes out crunchy: Stir, close the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. It will get there. Also try to add a few more minutes to cooking time next time. Unfortunately, you can’t re-close the lid, cook for extra 2 minutes and say that’ your new cooking time. You have to try recipe from scratch again to find your rice cooking time.
- If your rice comes out mushy: Cook a few minutes less next time. Easy-peasy.
- More help: If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide or which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.
How to Serve, Store and Reheat
Serving: We serve as is. Some readers said they prefer more flavor and have added chopped cilantro and green onion. I guess it all comes down to individual taste buds.
Storing in the fridge: Leftover chicken and rice can be refrigerated right in inner pot with silicone or glass lid for up to 5 days. Or in airtight container.
To reheat: You will notice chicken and rice will thicken in the fridge into a block. That’s because – fat. Reheat with a splash of water or broth breaking into pieces and stirring in a pot. Use lid to steam it through. Always reheat only desired amount to keep leftovers fresh.
Freezing: I understand some of you do not feed a small army like me. Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then follow reheating instructions above.
Other Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot jambalaya
- Instant Pot fried rice
- Instant Pot lasagna
- Browse all healthy Instant Pot recipes.
If you are trying to eat healthy using an Instant Pot, this is a fantastic recipe to make! 🙂
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 2 lbs chicken boneless & skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into 1” pieces
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 3 large carrots shredded
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp thyme dried
- 2 tsp oregano dried
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups white or brown rice* rinsed & drained
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 3 tbsp fresh dill or parsley finely chopped (optional)
- On Instant Pot, press Sauté and let appliance preheat a few minutes until display says Hot.
- Add olive oil, onion and garlic; sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Press Cancel and add thyme, oregano and cumin; cook another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add remaining ingredients in the following order: chicken, carrots, brown rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Do not stir.
- Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual: white rice - 10 minutes, brown rice - 22 minutes.
- Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 15-20 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a valve, then float valve will rise and countdown will begin.
- When display says OFF, release the pressure using Quick Release method by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 2-3 minutes. I recommend doing so outside to avoid smell and mess in the house. Then open the lid.
- Add dill or parsley and stir. If you like corn and peas with your chicken and rice add frozen now and stir again. Serve hot!
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: You will notice chicken and rice will thicken in the fridge into a block. That's because - fat. Reheat with a splash of water or broth breaking into pieces and stirring in a pot. Use lid to steam it through. Always reheat only desired amount to keep leftovers fresh.
- *Less rice: I use 3 cups of rice per 2 lbs of chicken for a few reasons, to stretch the meal and to eat less meat. A few readers commented they would prefer less rice - no problem. Reduce rice to 2 cups, water to 2 1/2 cups and salt to 1 tsp.
- Can I use red, yellow, black or wild rice? If cooking instructions on a package of your rice say to cook for longer than 30 minutes, then you can use it in this recipe following "brown rice" cook time. I have tried wild rice blend from Costco in this recipe and Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup recipe with great results.
- If using chicken thighs, add a bit less water ( 3 2/3 cups total) because thighs are fattier and add to the liquid content during cooking. You can also use cut up whole chicken with this amount of water.
- Using broth instead of water: I know some prefer and are used to cooking with broth. Replace water with low sodium chicken broth. If it's regular broth, cut back salt to 1/2 tsp and adjust to taste after.
- Add frozen vegetables: I know some like peas and corn in chicken and rice. Add them frozen and stir gently one more time.
- Frozen meat: Make sure pieces are separated. Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes longer to come to pressure with frozen chicken but keep same cook time.
- If your rice comes out crunchy: Stir, close the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. It will get there. Also try to add a few more minutes to cooking time next time. Unfortunately, you can't re-close the lid, cook for extra 2 minutes and say that' your new cooking time. You have to try recipe from scratch again to find your rice cooking time.
- If your rice comes out mushy: Cook a few minutes less next time. Easy-peasy.
- 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut ingredients in half but keep same cook time.
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