Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with boneless chicken breast or thighs and brown rice cooked in one pot of electric pressure cooker.
Delicious one pot family meal for busy weeknights! If you are trying to eat healthy using an Instant Pot, this is a fantastic recipe to make! Also, check out more of our healthy Instant Pot one pot meals we make over and over again.
Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice
OMG this ah-mazing Instant Pot chicken and rice is in our regular dinner rotation. And everyone who tried it has requested the recipe. Even non-brown rice eaters like my new neighbours – we ate it on the beach in September.
With boneless chicken breast/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 this Instant Pot chicken and rice is my version of it. The only difference is – everything cooks in one pot, Instant Pot.
Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 30 healthy Instant Pot recipes.
What Are the Ingredients?
My Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe is simple.
- Boneless chicken breasts, thighs or cut up whole chicken
- Brown rice
- Onion, garlic and carrots
- Spices: cumin, dried thyme and oregano, salt and pepper.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.
- On Instant Pot, press Sauté and let appliance preheat a few minutes until display says Hot.
- Add olive oil, onion, garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Press Cancel and add thyme, oregano, cumin and cook another 30 seconds.
- Add remaining ingredients in the following order: chicken, carrot, rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Do not stir to prevent Burn.
- Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and Press Manual or Pressure Cook on High for 22 minutes.
- When display says OFF, release pressure using Quick Release method.
- Stir gently discarding the 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 flavor 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.:)
Can I Use White Rice?
Unfortunately the answer is “No”. White rice requires different cooking time and different amount of liquid than brown rice.
Can I Use Instant Rice?
No. Instant rice I assume is pre-cooked white rice. First of all, this recipe has not been tested with white rice. Secondly, 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 Kinds of Brown Rice Are Good for This Recipe?
Any brown rice. Like my Instant Pot brown rice experiment shows, all brown rice cooks similarly in the Instant Pot. You can use long grain, short grain, basmati, jasmine brown rice and even brown and wild rice medley mix.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken?
The answer is “Yes”. However, there are a few notes to take.
- Frozen cubed chicken – Pieces have to be separated otherwise “the blob” of frozen chunks of meat will not cook inside. I would say this scenario is good when your chicken is half frozen and you are able to cut it into pieces (I even use kitchen scissors to save on washing the board).
- Frozen chicken thighs or breasts – If using whole 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.
Tip: Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes longer to come to pressure with frozen chicken.
Can I Use Broth Instead of Water?
Yes, you can.
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 as you can see in the video. Until I learnt it is better to layer ingredients in Instant Pot.
Can I Make It In a Slow Cooker?
No. My experience shows that rice cooked in a slow cooker becomes a complete mush. Plus this recipe has been developed for Instant Pot which requires different amount of liquid.
What If Rice Came Out Mushy or Crunchy?
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.
- Also rice could be old.
- I always use long grain brown rice and buy one brand. Last time my husband bought different brand and it needed maybe 1 more minute cooking.
- Once you find “your rice” you will know how long it cooks and you can add extra minutes.
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.
Can I Freeze 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.
More Chicken and Rice Recipes
- Healthy chicken and rice casserole – Betty Crocker’s classic got a makeover.
- Instant Pot fried rice – everything cooks in one pot, even the eggs.
- Healthy chicken wild rice soup – creamy classic without the cream.
Other Instant Pot One Pot Recipes
Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.
Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.
Instant Pot Chicken and 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. One pot dinner for busy weeknights.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 26 minutes
- Total Time: 36 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)
- Cuisine: Ukrainian American
- 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*
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*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.
Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.