by Olena

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

by Olena

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe

OMG this ah-mazing Instant Pot chicken and rice is in our regular dinner rotation and everyone who tried it from me, asked for the recipe. Even non-brown rice eaters like my new neighbours – we ate it on the beach in September! With boneless chicken breast or thighs and rice all ingredients cook in one pot without hovering over them on the stove. If you are from former USSR you know how time consuming “plov” is.

So, my version of my childhood rice pilaf turned out perfect and not mushy at all. Don’t you even think about cutting down the recipe.

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What Does This Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Taste Like?

1. A version of Uzbekistan traditional dish

Pilaf or “plov” is a national dish in a republic of former USSR, Uzbekistan. Because Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia etc. were part of USSR as well, each country has its own variation of chicken and rice. I don’t claim it to be original but it’s a delicious variation.

2. Simple spices

Spices usually used in chicken and rice are:

  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Dried thyme and oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Uzbeks add native to their land spice. But Ukrainians and Russians keep it simple.

3. Not a version of chicken and rice casserole

This recipe is not a healthy version of chicken and rice casserole that Betty Crocker invented with a can of mushroom soup. This is a simple dish of meat and rice with complex flavours.

Slavic countries are known for their outstanding plov (pilaf) dish and this is how we made ours in Ukraine. Only we had to hover over it on a stove for more than an hour. When it comes to chicken and rice in Instant Pot – everything cooks in one pot!

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

What Are Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Ingredients?

My pressure cooker chicken and rice recipe is simple.

  • Boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Brown rice
  • Onion, garlic and carrots
  • Spices: cumin, dried thyme and oregano, salt and pepper.

FAQs About Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Can I Use White Rice?

Unfortunately the answer is “No” because it has different cooking time and requires different amount of liquid than brown rice. I completely understand many folks prefer white rice to brown rice, and I’m probably the first recipe offender – I always try to use what I have on hand. But please follow this recipe for best results and use brown rice.

Maybe I can convince you why you should try this chicken and rice with brown rice.

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

Brown Rice Vs. White Rice

1. A whole grain

Unlike white rice, brown rice contains the bran, germ and endosperm which all offer nutrition. White rice is completely stripped off of these nutrients.

2. Nutritious food

Relatively low in calories for a carb (216 calories per cup), high in fiber and gluten free, brown rice is at the top of complex carbohydrates list. High in B vitamin, folic acid, iron and minerals.

3. What about arsenic?

Yes, it is true that rice is high in arsenic, especially brown rice because it absorbs large amount of water while growing. However, FDA analyzed over 1,000 samples and indicated its levels are too low to cause any immediate or adverse health effects.

4. What Kinds of Rice Are Good for This Recipe?

  1. Long grain brown rice
  2. Basmati brown rice
  3. Jasmine brown rice

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

Why Rinse the Rice?

I rinse rice for 2 reasons.

  1. To remove extra starch so each grain comes out more separate rather than mushy. Almost perfectly cooked rice.
  2. And to clean. That rice has been processed by who know who and in bags for who knows how long.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

The answer is “Yes”. However, there are a few notes to take.

1. Frozen cubed chicken

Pieces have to be separated otherwise “the blob” of frozen chunks of meat will not cook through inside. I would say this scenario is good for when your meat is half thawed (you forgot to take it out well in advance) and you are able to cut it (I even use kitchen scissors to save on washing the board).

2. Whole frozen chicken breasts or thighs

Pressure cooker chicken breast comes out perfectly juicy! Instant Pot chicken thighs being the next best thing. If using whole breasts or thighs, make sure they are separated. After dish is cooked, carefully remove whole pieces of meat, shred or cube on a cutting board and return shredded chicken back to the pot for gentle stirring. You don’t want to make chicken and rice more mushy.

3. Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure

If using frozen meat, pressure cooker will take longer to come to pressure because the appliance has to heat up all ingredients inside to a certain temperature to build up the pressure.Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

Why Cook in Instant Pot?

If you ever cooked pilaf or “plov” or chicken and rice on the stove, you know how time consuming is the process – you have to bring to a boil, stir, cover, wait etc. With pressure cooker, it’s truly hands off method and I swear chicken and rice comes out just as good!

Can I Make It in a Slow Cooker?

No. In my experience any rice in cooked in a slow cooker becomes a complete mush.

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

1. Sauté vegetables and spices

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.

Tip: Cooking dried herbs helps them release their maximum flavour unlike if you add them straight to the pot.

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

2. Add Chicken and Rice

Add ingredients in exact order

It is important to add remaining ingredients in the following order: chicken, carrots, rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Because with hot plate heating up at the bottom of the pot, certain ingredients tend to burn. With Instant Pot, rule of thumb is meat at the bottom, then other solid ingredients and cups of water (broth), and anything tomato on top, if using of course.

Do not stir

It is contrary to what you see me do in the video, I know. I became more experienced with Instant Pot and I found that it is not necessary to stir chicken and rice.

What if I stirred by accident?

It’s OK, just let it be. It will come out fine.

Can I Use Broth instead of Water?

You can but I do not see a need to spend extra money. Chicken cooked with water turns liquid into broth.

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

3. Cook Chicken and Rice in Instant Pot

Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 22 minutes. DO NOTHING after that! Instant Pot will do its job – display will say ON, appliance will take time to heat up, and then cook for 22 minutes.

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

4. Release Pressure With Quick Releasing

When display says OFF, release the pressure using Quick Release method by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 2-3 minutes.

Can I do Natural Release?

I found that with natural release rice comes out not as crunchy, each grain not as separate and a bit more mushy. Not by much, just a tad. We like it any way and I use both methods depending on how the day unfolds.

Why do you take your Instant Pot outside?

Exactly to release the pressure to avoid the house smell like chicken and rice for a day. And frankly, splatters from the release valve make a mess on the counter is and mess in the house. It’s my personal preference and you don’t have to.

5. Open the Lid

Once you open the lid, that’s what you should see – leveled chicken and rice where rice has absorbed all liquids and each grain is separate.

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

6. Serve

Stir gently

Stirring vigorously will make rice more mushy. As you stir, discard bay leaves.

Add frozen vegetables

I know some like peas and corn in chicken and rice. Add them frozen and stir gently one more time.

Add herbs

Some readers said they prefer more flavour and have added chopped cilantro and green onion. I guess it all comes down to individual taste buds. I tried and am not a huge fan of fresh sweet cilantro with coriander-ish taste in my mouth with each bite. Just not my thing.:)

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

Can I Freeze the Leftovers?

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. Or scoop out some of the rice and use in other dishes. Please do not change anything in recipe as Instant Pot ratios of water, rice and other ingredients have been calculated for optimal result.

More Chicken and Rice Recipes

Other Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

More One Pot Healthy Instant Pot Recipes

Print

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

4.6 from 16 reviews

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker. Comes out perfect every time!

  • Author: ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 26 minutes
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 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 long grain brown rice, rinsed & drained
  • 3 3/4 cups water*

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add remaining ingredients in the following order: chicken, carrots, rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Do not stir.
  3. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 on a stovetop covered on low.

Notes

*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.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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44 comments on “Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

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  1. Followed recipe and it cooked perfectly. Added a bunch of frozen peas at the end which was a great addition! My only minor issue is that the flavour was a bit lacking. It certainly wasn’t completely lacking in flavour but I had hoped for a bit more. I added a bit of hot sauce and it came to life.

  2. Easy to make, common ingredients found in the kitchen, great instructions, what’s not to love about this easy and hearty meal. Comments regarding what ingredients to add in sequence were helpful.

  3. Ooh, it’s overspiced, but my biggest issue is you tell people to add pepper to taste at the point where the raw chicken is in the mix. That means to taste, then add pepper to your liking till it tastes right. Figure out an amount of pepper and tell people to add that amount, absolutely not by taste while the chicken is raw. Salmonella is a very serious issue. Overall, the rice cooked well, but after trying a couple times, it is much better with only 1 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, 1 1/4 teaspoons of cumin and 1.5 teaspoons of thyme. Salt needs to be increased to 2 full teaspoons for balanced flavor. As for pepper, I think 1/2 teaspoon works well

    1. Yes, I’m a Ukrainian queen of salmonella and want everyone in North America to die from it…
      But seriously…I think it’s common sense not to taste raw chicken. If you cook, you know how much pepper you like. Please don’t be like that. You are getting a free recipe already that is good and are complaining about nothing. Enjoy and be happy!

  4. I would recommend two changes in this recipe. One, remove breast as an option for the chicken. Breast only require 10 minutes. I used them in this recipe, and they were overcooked, thus dry, I know thighs hold up much better in a crock pot, due to their fat content, then breast, so probably same issue here. Second, remove using brown basmati rice as an option. I tried it, just to see, and had to remove the chicken and cook the rice for an additional 23 minutes, as I usually cook brown basmati rice for 45 minutes.

    1. I will tell you why your recommendations wouldn’t work for this recipe. Great ideas but not for Instant Pot.
      This is pressure cooker that cooks food faster under pressure. Otherwise there is the stove. Brown rice in Instant Pot needs 20ish minutes. Otherwise it will burn. You can’t open, reclose and cook again with Instant Pot and add both times together and say it’s the cooking time. You would have to test recipe from scratch. And that’s what I do with all my recipes.
      Your specific rice could be an issue. Rice can be tricky – old or a just different rice. If it happens to you again, close the lid and let it sit for 15 minutes. It will get there.
      Also made it with chicken breasts over 20 times and no dry chicken. I think it’s a personal taste preference. Yes, thighs are juicier but there is no way you can compare these 2 completely different cuts even cooked on the stove.
      Instant Pot is a trial and error method figuring out what works personally for you. Good luck!

  5. This recipe was excellent. I am not a cook, but I followed the recipe and produced a delicious meal. Very popular with family & friends too. I made it a second time and added some andouille sausage for a little more spice and that worked great too. Thanks, Olena! Please keep the Ukrainian recipes coming!

  6. Hello Olena, I followed the instructions exactly and the rice was still crunchy. I used the “Sunbrown” Calrose brown rice from Costco. It looks like a med-short grain. I rinsed it as per your instructions but I don’t think it needs to be. Anyways…I tried to salvage the recipe by trying to get the pot up to pressure again and setting it for 3 minutes but I got a burn message. I think maybe I should have let it natural release for 5 minutes and then quick release? I ended up closing the lid (in off mode) and let it sit for an hour or so which seemed to fix it. Maybe I should use brown jasmine rice next time? I found the taste to be good and my house smelled yummy. For more flavour, I would use chicken “Better Than Bouillon.” Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. I rinse rice for 2 reasons. To remove extra starch so each grain comes out more separate rather than mushy. And to clean. That rice has been processed by who know who and in bags for who knows how long.
      As for the crunchiness. I think it all comes down to the rice. Sometimes different brown rice cooks differently. I always use long grain brown rice and buy one brand. Last time my husband bought different one and it needed maybe 1 more minute cooking. If that happens, stir, close the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. It will get there. Once you find “your rice” you will know how long it cooks and you can add extra minutes.
      Yes, turning IP to cook a few mins longer won’t work because there is no liquid anymore and “burn” will come up. Hope this helps.:)

    2. I use the Costco rice as well. I know that it has taken longer to cook from previous experience before I got my new Instant Pot for Christmas.
      Make sure the Instant Pot temperature selector is set to More which is high (Less Normal More indicator), by pressing the Pressure Cook button twice as per instruction book to adjust temperature.
      After the heat cycle and then 22 minute cook time, I let it sit for another 12 to 15 minutes on Keep Warm (didn’t time it exactly) then I pressure released. It still had a little pressure. You could also just let it sit until it pressure released itself; don’t know how long that would take, but you could try it.
      The rice came out perfect!
      What a great recipe.

  7. My brown rice was undercooked. What do you think I can do next time. I had water left over so I restarted the instant pot for another 8 mins. Hope it works.

    1. You can flatten the rice to submerge more in liquid and add 3 minutes to cooking time. Why it happened idk. Sometimes it has to do with altitude. I made a stir fry in there for same 20 minutes recently and didn’t flatten. The middle kind of a bit of done sticking out was a bit crunchy. But it also could be the rice itself I think.

  8. Excellent dish. I’m not a fan of brown rice but am glad I tried this recipe. Will definitely be making again.

  9. Love this recipe! We have this at least once a week because our whole family loves – even my picky children! We love that it makes so much because…healthy leftovers save my life. So good! 🙂 yum

  10. Turned out delicious! I would suggest using less rice because with 3 cups of dry rice I ended up having enough rice for a crowd 🙃.

    I froze the left over rice to add to other meals.

    I’d suggest that 1 3/4 cups of rice would be absolutely ample.

    1. So glad you liked it! But did you see my crowd?;) Plus I personally think it’s cheaper to add more rice and makes us eat less animal products. That’s why I added 3 cups of rice. If you add less rice, you will have to add less water too – just remember when you do that.:)

  11. The rice and chicken both turned out PERFECTLY! I used short grain brown rice, chicken breast meat, and chopped (instead of shredded) carrots, and otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely. The end product was cooked well and would definitely be a crowd pleaser, but turned out a little too bland for my and my husband’s tastes. We added crumbled goat cheese, more thyme, and a homemade hot sauce to it after serving and that did the trick 🙂 Next time, I’ll try increasing the herbs and adding more spices, and perhaps add some Better than Bouillon. Overall, really versatile base recipe. Thanks so much!

  12. I made this tonight and it was so flavourful. Enjoyed by the whole family. Thank you and I look forward to trying more.

  13. This was SO easy! Love how much leftovers we had for lunches and a quick dinner later in the week. Love this healthy, complete meal for my family.

  14. This was scrumptious, our whole family loved it! We served it with roasted asparagus, and my husband said this needs to be a regular meal. Thanks so much Olena. 🙂

    1. Oh yay, Lauren! I know, this recipe I make for when I have friends over. Easy for tired me by Saturday and I know that the most picky kids will eat it. You are welcome!

  15. Thank you. This looks great. Would you adjust the cooking timing if you are using white rice, and if so, do you know how much?

    1. Babushka to babushka had a different version of plov but idea is the same. You try, adjust spices to taste if needed and go with what you like. Main idea is to have the right consistency. Let me know how you like it.:)