by Olena

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice (Video)

by Olena

4.7 from 23 reviews

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

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 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. 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!

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.

Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 30 healthy Instant Pot recipes.

What Does This It Taste Like?

1. A simple 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. Fresh main ingredients are key

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.

Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice served on a plate

What Are the 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 Brown Rice

If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. It explains what happens, why and how to avoid failures. 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.

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.

rinsed brown rice in the collander

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

organic jasmine brown rice in a bag

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 thighs or breasts

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.Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice served on a plate with a spoon

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.

sauteed onions and herbs inside pressure cooker

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.

sauteed onion, spices, carrots, bay leaves, brown rice, chicken and water inside Instant Pot

3. Cook Chicken and Brown 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.

Instant Pot is heating up chicken and rice ingredients

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.

cooked chicken and rice in Instant Pot

What If Rice Came Out Mushy or Crunchy?

When it comes to rice cooked in a pressure cooker, it’s a little bit of trial and error method for everyone. 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.

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 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.:)

stirred with a spoon cooked chicken and rice inside the pressure cooker

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 One Pot Recipes

Watch Olena Cook Chicken and Rice

And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

Print

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

4.7 from 23 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: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • 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
Scale

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, brown 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.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

67 comments on “Instant Pot Chicken and Rice (Video)

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  1. This is the first time I have ever tried to do rice in my pot and it turned out wonderful! I think reading all the Q & A’s helped the most as I was never sure what type of rice to use and was always worried about the burn issue. Rice was perfect, chicken perfect. I thought I had all the spices when I started but was out of bay leaves and thyme. I subbed some poultry seasoning which I shouldn’t have! But over all it was a success. I will do it again!

  2. This is a great weeknight meal. I love how simple it is and if I end up with picky eaters for kids it will be a great way to get them to eat their carrots. 😃

    1. Yay! So true about carrots. I have a child that eats anything but cooked carrots and he doesn’t notice them in this Instant pot chicken and rice. Glad everyone enjoyed!

  3. Perfect recipe, delicious, easy and a little life changing! I was dumping salsa (jar, not even homemade) into my IP with chicken and brown rice. NO MORE! Olena, this recipe is my new go-to chicken and brown rice. You’re right, it’s delicious as it is. Thanks and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  4. This came out delicious! It is also the first Instant Pot meal with rice that didn’t register “Burn”! My only comment is about 7 minute prep time. That seems awfully optimistic, unless you used a food processor. However, still very pleased with the dinner and look forward to exploring more of your recipes. Thanks!

    1. OK, agree. Changed prep time to 10.:) Is that enough? You know I cut chicken with scissors right in its tray, ha! No 2nd cutting board to wash. So happy to hear this was such a success!:) Please let me know what else you try. Love hearing from you, guys!

  5. Thanks for this reliably delicious and satisfying recipe. It’s officially “on rotation” every few weeks in my household. I use whole chicken breasts and rather than cube in advance, I shred them with two forks after the dish is cooked. Also I add frozen peas and corn, and stir in after the dish is cooked per the instructions. For us, the quantity means we have easy leftovers for another meal (or two) later. Yay!

    1. Yay! I love leftovers too. means there is lunch otherwise there is never enough food to feed my 3 men. You can also cube chicken breasts with kitchen scissors to save a board from washing (I hate doing it). So happy my pressure cooker chicken and rice took a spot in your dinner rotation.:) Honoured!

  6. I saw in previous comments that you were using the 8qt Instant Pot. Would this same recipe fit in the 3qt? Wanna give the recipe a go, but want to make sure I’ll have enough room.

  7. We loved this recipe. Easy and delicious. Next time I may buy shredded carrots just to make it even easier.

  8. Great tasting and easy weeknight dinner. THANK YOU! Also I loved your comment to the guy who wanted to taste the pepper on the raw chicken, you’re my kind of lady.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

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