Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is delicious one pot meal with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, white rice or brown rice and vegetables. It is ideal for busy nights!
Table of contents
Why You Will Love This Simple Recipe
- Rice comes out fluffy and each grain separate: Combined with tender chicken pieces and fragrant spices, this Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe is the ultimate comfort food.
- Easy one pot meal: Paired with boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, all ingredients cook in one pot without hovering over them on the stove.
- A version of Eastern European pilaf: If you are like me and are originally from former USSR, you know how time consuming “plov” is. So this pressure cooker chicken and rice is my version of it. The only difference is that everything cooks in one pot, Instant Pot.
- Simple fridge and pantry staples: We love the simplicity of the ingredients and yet how flavorful, comforting and healthy this easy chicken and rice recipe turns out!
Ingredients You Will Need
This easy Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe uses only a handful of simple ingredients you more likely have in your house right now.
- Chicken: Boneless chicken breasts, boneless chicken thighs or cut up whole chicken will work in this easy recipe! Just add a bit different amount of water or chicken broth. Please see recipe notes.
- Rice: You can use white rice or brown rice, just cook times will be different. The best brown rice to use is long grain or basmati. Short grain will result in more mushy but still tasty dish. As for white rice, best rice to use is jasmine rice but long grain white rice or basmati rice will be great too. In a pinch, you can use even sushi rice but dish will come out more mushy.
- Vegetables: Onion, garlic and carrots.
- Broth or water: Low sodium chicken stock from a carton, bouillon cube diluted in water or homemade chicken broth in Instant Pot will work. Or just use cold water but this hearty meal will be less flavorful.
- Spices: Ground cumin, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt and pepper. You can also add any of your favorite spices like garlic powder, onion powder or Italian seasoning to taste.
- Fresh herbs: While an optional ingredient, fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro or green onion always add lovely flavor at the end.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Here is quick overview how to make chicken and rice in Instant Pot step-by-step. There is detailed recipe card below.
- Saute onion and garlic with spices: To the bottom of the pot, add oil and onion, then saute just until fragrant. I like to do so under a hood fan with a stove off, of course. Press Cancel and add dried thyme, dried oregano and ground cumin, and cook another 30 seconds. This step will make spices and dried herbs fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients in the following order: Add the chicken, carrots, rice, water, salt, pepper and bay leaves. It is best to add ingredients in this order and not to stir the rice mixture afterwards in order to prevent Burn notice.
- Cook on high pressure: Turn valve to Sealing position and pressure cook for 10 minutes if using white rice, and for 22 minutes if using brown rice.
- Release pressure: Then release pressure right away by turning pressure release valve to Venting. It is called Quick Release. I do not recommend to do Natural Pressure Release because rice will over cook. Then stir gently with a wooden spoon and discard bay leaves.
If using chicken thighs, add a bit less water, 3 2/3 cups total. That’s because thighs are fattier and naturally release more liquid during cooking. You can also use cut up whole chicken with this amount of water.
How Long to Cook Chicken and Rice in Instant Pot?
How long to cook Instant Pot chicken rice will mostly depend on the type of rice you use. It does not matter if you use chicken breasts or chicken thighs, pressure cooking time will remain the same.
Here is a timetable for your quick reference and perfect results every time:
- With white rice: Pressure cook for 10 minutes with Quick Release.
- With brown rice: Pressure cook for 22 minutes with Quick Release.
- With red rice, yellow rice, purple rice: Pressure cook for 22 minutes with Quick Release.
Tips for Best Results
- If your rice comes out undercooked: Stir, close the lid and let it sit for 20 more minutes. It will get there. Also try to add a few more minutes to cook time next time. Unfortunately, you can’t re-close the lid, cook for extra 2 minutes and say that’s your new cooking time. When it comes to rice cooked in an Instant Pot, it can be a little bit of a trial and error. Sometimes different varieties of rice cook differently or it 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 time.
- If your rice comes out mushy: Cook Instant Pot chicken and rice a few minutes less next time. Easy-peasy.
- If you stirred by accident, let it be: More likely it will not cause Burn warning.
- Using 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 or broth to 2 1/2 cups, and salt to 1 teaspoon.
- Add frozen vegetables: I know some people like peas and corn in chicken and rice. Add them unthawed and stir gently one more time. Sometimes I like to add broccoli, reminds me chicken and rice casserole.
We serve Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe as is as it is a complete meal with juicy chicken and fluffy rice.
Some readers said they prefer more flavor and have added chopped fresh cilantro and green onion. I guess it all comes down to individual taste buds and what you have on hand.
Also fresh parsley or fresh dill would go so well with it! Add a squirt of fresh lemon juice or a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Delicious!
How to Store and Freeze Leftovers
Storing in the fridge: Leftover chicken and rice Instant Pot recipe can be refrigerated right in the inner pot with silicone or glass lid for up to 5 days. Or transfer cooked and cooled food to an airtight container.
To reheat: You will notice Instant Pot rice and chicken will thicken in the fridge into a block. That’s because there is fat,especially if you use chicken thighs. Reheat in a medium pot with a splash of water or chicken broth while breaking gently into pieces and stirring, on low heat for 10 minutes or so. Use a 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.
No. Instant rice is pre-cooked white rice. Electric 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.
Unfortunately you can’t. Cauliflower rice is a vegetable that will be ready in 30 seconds and chicken will not.
You can make Instant Pot chicken and rice with frozen chicken breasts or thighs, just a few things to keep in mind. Make sure chicken pieces are separated. And use it only with brown rice because cook time is 22 minutes. If you use white rice, 10 minutes will not be enough to cook the meat. Also Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes longer to come to pressure.
No. I tried to use double amount of ingredients for this Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe even in my 8 quart Instant Pot and it didn’t go well. It is already quite large amount of ingredients in the recipe as is.
Yes. In fact, I tried to sear chicken thighs and used browned chicken breasts, and did not see a major improvement in taste. You can also cook whole chicken pieces, then shred it with 2 forks and add shredded chicken back to the pot.
In my experience, it comes down to the quality and brand of chicken you buy. Sometimes, it is a hit and miss even with same brand and even organic chicken, depending on supply. Try different brand next time.
Yes. Rinsing rice before cooking results in more fluffy rice.
Other Chicken and Rice Recipes
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot chicken and rice soup
- Instant Pot brown rice
- Instant Pot jambalaya
- Instant Pot chicken breast
- Instant Pot fried rice
- Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup
Browse all healthy Instant Pot recipes.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts* cut into 1” pieces
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 3 large carrots shredded
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons thyme dried
- 2 teaspoons oregano dried
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups white rice or brown rice** rinsed & drained
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons 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, 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. Then open the lid.
- Add dill or parsley, gently stir and serve hot.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat with a splash of water or broth breaking into pieces and stirring in a pot. Use lid to steam it through.
- Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- *If using chicken thighs or cut up chicken pieces, add a bit less water ( 3 2/3 cups total) because thighs are fattier and add to the liquid content during cooking.
- **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. If you prefer less rice, reduce rice to 2 cups, water to 2 1/2 cups and salt to 1 teaspoon.
- Frozen chicken: Use only with brown rice because of longer cook time. Make sure pieces are separated. Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes longer to come to pressure with 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.
- If your rice comes out mushy: Cook a few minutes less next time.