Simplify your weeknight dinner routine with this easy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice! Creamy brown rice cooked with juicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and warm, golden spices, this healthy one-pan meal is one you’ll turn to again and again.
This healthy pressure cooker chicken and rice recipe is everything we need in a healthy weeknight meal (along with Chicken and Rice Casserole).
- It reheats like a champ—making it perfect for lunches all week long.
- The warm spices give the rice a captivating and comforting aroma and taste (like my favorite Instant Pot Butter Chicken).
- AND the pressure cooker leaves you with just one pot to clean in the end for an easy chicken dinner.
With its healthy servings of lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains, this recipe is an overachiever in the best possible way.
5 Star Review
“I will for sure be trying this recipe again, as I can tell it’s a good one packed with nutrition and flavor.”— Jenna —
How to Make 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 one-pot meal magic that occurs when fresh ingredients meet everyday kitchen staples, which for me include dry whole grains like brown rice and a well-stocked spice cabinet.
Tips to Avoid the Burn Warning
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 use the following tips to ensure you make the BEST Instant Pot chicken and rice (and any Instant Pot recipe) every time:
- Add Liquid. While you don’t have to add water to the Instant Pot specifically, 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. Avoid dairy milk, which can burn.
- 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 sautéing. 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.
If you’d like more tips on cooking chicken in the Instant Pot, check out my complete guide to Instant Pot Chicken.
- 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.
- 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. (For more tips, check out this Instant Pot Brown Rice recipe.)
- Carrots + Bell Peppers. Colorful and healthy additions that also add delicious flavor.
Cut your veggies into the large, chunky size suggested in the recipe for the best results. If you cut the vegetables too small, they will become mushy under the intensity of pressure cooking.
- Ginger + Garlic. Flavor boosters for this 5-star Instant Pot chicken recipe.
- Spices. Cumin, turmeric, and coriander are the stars of this dish and help give it a deep, rich, and memorable flavor (like this Turmeric Rice).
- Frozen Peas. For an easy extra dose of veggies, I tossed in a bag of frozen peas (like in this Instant Pot Beef Stew). They’re tasty and packed with protein and fiber.
- Almond Milk. My secret to making this recipe taste richer and more satisfying.
- Sauté the onion in the Instant Pot.
- Add the rice, vegetables, garlic, and spices. Splash in some of the almond milk.
Don’t Forget! After adding some almond milk, scrap the bottom well to remove any stuck-on food before sealing the Instant Pot.
- Add the remaining liquid and lay the chicken on top.
- Cook Instant Pot chicken and rice 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. Give everything a stir, top with cilantro, and serve. ENJOY!
- 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. You can add the spices suggested in this recipe to the slow cooker version if you like.
- Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice. Try this equally simple and delicious Instant Pot Mexican Casserole.
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers 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.
Meal Prep Tip
Prepare the recipe as directed, then store in individually portioned airtight containers. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for the perfect grab-and-go lunch option.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- 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.
So simple yet so satisfying, this pressure cooker chicken with rice is sure to become an “instant” family favorite.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The trick to cooking rice and meat at the same time in Instant Pot comes down to size, variety, and timing. First, you want to select a type of rice with a cook time about the same as chicken. In my experience, the best variety is long-grain brown rice. Second, choose medium-size chicken breast. Small chicken breasts run a higher risk of overcooking, and jumbo chicken breasts may not cook completely.
Not this time. Since you cook the rice and meat in the Instant Pot simultaneously, the chicken needs to be thawed first, so the cook time is the same. While you can put frozen chicken in the Instant Pot, I don’t recommend it for this recipe.
Yes, it is possible. However, how long you cook chicken breast in the Instant Pot will differ slightly based on the recipe and model of your Instant Pot. 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.
I have not made this Instant Pot chicken and rice with boneless chicken thighs (or bone-in) before, so I cannot, unfortunately, provide specific guidance on this swap. I do think you could use boneless, skinless thighs with success and without any changes to the recipe. I do not recommend bone-in, since the cook time is longer.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain brown rice RINSED* (see note)
- 3 large carrots peeled and cut into diagonal slices (about 3/4-inch-thick)
- 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. Then, 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 the remaining pressure.
- Uncover and remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Dice or shred with two forks and return to the pot.
- Stir in the peas, then taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot, topped with cilantro.
- IMPORTANT: I have made this recipe successfully dozens of times and have never seen 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, rinse your rice before adding it to the Instant Pot. Also, ensure that no food is stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot before 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. Though as far as liquid options, I think it is the riskiest; I have not tested the recipe with full-fat coconut milk.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: 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!).
- STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: **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 of 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, then serve with cilantro and toasted coconut.
- TO STORE: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- TO REHEAT: Warm gently in the microwave, covered loosely, until heated through.
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