Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Let’s add a bright burst of sunshine to our lives with golden Instant Pot Chicken and Rice! Creamy brown rice cooked with juicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and warm, golden spices, this is a healthy one-pan meal that is sure to be awarded the highest levels of praise in your household.
The ingredients in this chicken and rice are simple. The prep is shockingly easy. And the result? Rich, complex flavors that have Ben and myself squabbling over the leftovers!
This chicken and rice is one of the recipes I cook most. It reheats like a champ, the warm spices give the rice a captivating and comforting aroma and taste, and the pressure cooker leaves me with just one pot to clean in the end.
With its healthy servings of lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains, this recipe is also one I feel excellent adding to my diet anytime I’m craving it (which is often).
I suspect you will too.
What Makes This Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Special?
What sets this chicken and rice apart from similar recipes you may have tried is its special blend of spices.
Often called “golden” spices, the blend of cumin, turmeric, and coriander, along with fresh ginger, in this recipe is a popular combination found in cuisines around the world.
These spices are known for their healing properties. They also taste phenomenal together.
- Rather than a “hot” spicy, what you’ll taste here are spices that are aromatic, deep, nourishing, and slightly earthy.
- They are considered by many to offer anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties (especially turmeric).
- These spices are also lookers! They give the rice a unique and beautiful sunny yellow color.
Sunshine, an immunity boost, AND an easy, all-in-one recipe that’s so tasty, you’ll be fighting your family for the leftovers (if there are any). SOLD!
How to Cook Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
This Instant Pot chicken and rice is wonderful, vibrant, filling, and incredibly good for you all at the same time.
It’s a case study for the weeknight meal magic that occurs when fresh ingredients—garlic, ginger, and whatever veggies are lurking in your drawer—meet kitchen staples, which for me include dry whole grains like brown rice and a well-stocked spice cabinet.
Having spices on hand makes almost any recipe attainable! They are a worthy investment.
- Chicken. In addition to being high in protein and low in calories, boneless, skinless chicken breasts also take on all the wonderful flavors in this recipe and become perfectly tender.
- Brown Rice. I made this an Instant Pot chicken and brown rice recipe for the added nutrition boost. Brown rice has more fiber than white rice, so it helps make it more filling.
- Carrots + Bell Peppers. Colorful and healthy additions that also add delicious flavor.
- Frozen Peas. For an easy extra dose of veggies, I tossed in a bag of frozen peas. They’re tasty and packed with protein and fiber.
- Ginger + Garlic. Flavor boosters for our chicken and rice dish.
- Spices. As mentioned above, cumin, turmeric, and coriander are the stars of this dish and help give it deep, rich, and memorable flavor.
- Almond Milk. My secret to making this recipe taste richer and more satisfying. If you prefer not to use almond milk, I suggest using unsalted chicken broth, which is still flavorful. I do not recommend regular dairy milk, as it may curdle. Blends of coconut milk and almond milk that are sold in the refrigerated section will work fine (I’ve made the recipe this way many times), as will cashew milk.
- Sauté the onion with the oil in the Instant Pot.
- Add the rice, vegetables, garlic, ginger, and spices. Stir until the spices are incorporated. Splash in some of the almond milk, and remove any food stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the remaining liquid and lay the chicken on top.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Let naturally release for 15 minutes, then vent any remaining pressure.
- Dice or shred the chicken, then return to the pot with the peas. Top with cilantro, and DIG IN!
Tips for the Best Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Whether you’re an Instant Pot pro or novice, these tips will ensure you make the best Instant Pot chicken and rice (and any other Instant Pot recipe) every single time.
- Cut Vegetables Larger Than You Think. The Instant Pot has a way of obliterating fresh vegetables. To combat this, leave your vegetables in fairly large pieces so that they don’t overcook as easily. The vegetables will still be pretty soft, but they shouldn’t completely turn. to mush.
- Don’t Use Frozen Chicken Unless The Recipe Says It’s OK. While you can put frozen chicken in the Instant Pot, I don’t recommend it for this recipe. Since you cook the rice and meat in the Instant Pot at the same time, it’s important for the chicken to be thawed first so the cook time is the same.
- Add Liquid of Some Kind. You do not need to add water to the Instant Pot when cooking chicken BUT you do need to add some type of liquid to avoid the dreaded “BURN” warning. For this recipe, I used almond milk. Low sodium chicken broth is another good option.
- Scrape Before Sealing. Before you seal your Instant Pot, make sure you scrape the bottom to remove any pieces of stuck-on food leftover after sauteing. These pieces of food can trigger a “BURN” warning during cooking.
- Rinse the Rice. Make sure you rinse your rice before starting the recipe to remove excess starch and keep it from becoming sticky (and again, to avoid the “BURN”). Do NOT use instant rice for this recipe, as it will turn to mush.
- Don’t Overcook the Chicken. How long you cook chicken breast in the Instant Pot will differ slightly based on the recipe, but it’s very important that you don’t overcook it. Overcooked chicken breast can become tough and dry. I found 20 minutes on HIGH pressure to be the perfect amount of time for the chicken breast to cook through and the rice to become tender.
If you’d like more tips on cooking chicken in the Instant Pot, check out my complete guide to Instant Pot Chicken.
- To Make on the Stovetop. See directions in the recipe notes below (I have not tested this method, but I am sharing my best guess).
- To Make in the Slow Cooker. Check out this top-rated Crock Pot Chicken and Rice recipe.
- Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice. Try this equally simple and delicious Instant Pot Mexican Casserole.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Storage Tips
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Place chicken and rice in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Salad. Pair this dish with a fresh salad like Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons.
- Vegetables. Despite the numerous veggies in this dish, a side of Roasted Frozen Broccoli would always be delicious if you are looking to sneak in some extra green.
- Soup. Try an Instant Pot chicken and rice soup combo for an extra cozy meal! This light Roasted Carrot Soup would be tasty as a side or served before the main course.
Other Flavorful Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Mole
Recommended Tools to Make Instant Pot Golden Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot. In addition to this recipe, you can use it to make these 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to make sure your chicken is cooked through.
- Measuring Spoons. Perfect for measuring the spices in this recipe.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain brown rice - RINSED*
- 3 large carrots - peeled and cut into diagonal, 3/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 large red bell peppers - cut into wide strips (about 3/4 inch), halved if long
- 3 cloves garlic - minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger - or substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk - or unsalted chicken broth
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup frozen peas - thawed
- Chopped fresh cilantro - for serving
- Set a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot to SAUTE mode. Add the coconut oil. Once hot and shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add the rinsed brown rice, carrot, red pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, salt, turmeric, and coriander. Stir to coat the rice in the oil and spices and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in a splash of the almond milk. Scrape a spoon along the bottom to make sure there are no stuck-on bits of food. Stir in the remaining almond milk. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer on top.
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure (manual) for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, and then vent to release remaining pressure.
- Uncover and remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Dice or shred with two forks and return to the pot. Add the peas and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot, topped with cilantro.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: I have made this recipe successfully dozens of times and have yet to ever see the Instant Pot issue a burn warning while cooking it. MANY (the vast majority) of readers have found the same success. A few readers, however, have reported receiving a burn error. To avoid this, be sure to rinse your rice before adding it to the Instant Pot. Also, ensure that no food is stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot prior to sealing the lid and starting the cook time. Liquid also matters. Some readers have reported using full fat coconut milk in this recipe with delicious success and no burn warning, though as far as liquid options, I think it is the most risky; I personally have not tested the recipe with full fat coconut milk.
- *Do not use instant rice, as it will not hold up in the pressure cooker. I also cannot recommend white, basmati, or any other type of rice or quinoa, as I have not tested the recipe this way. Cooking times and liquid ratios can vary between types of grains. For best results, long grain brown rice is the way to go (and it is delicious!).
- To Make on the Stovetop: **Please note that I have not tested this method yet; this is my best guess, but it may not be accurate.** In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium high. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and sauté until cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add an additional 2 teaspoons coconut oil to the pot. Once hot and shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Continue with step 2 as written, but do not add the chicken. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and let cook until the rice is done, about 40 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken and peas, and then serve with cilantro and toasted coconut.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently in the microwave.
I originally shared this post in 2018. In 2020, updated photos were added. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!
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