Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
How many Mexican theme dinners in a row can you host before your friends start to wonder if you know how to cook anything else? I am hoping A LOT, because now that I’ve discovered Instant Pot Mexican Casserole, it’s all Mexican-plus-margs from here until someone schedules an intervention. True to its “casserole” name, this recipe yields a generous portion, so it can feed a crowd. It also reheats well, meaning that if you make this Instant Pot Mexican Casserole for a smaller group or even just yourself, you’ll have tasty leftovers to enjoy all week. New to the Instant Pot? This recipe is easy, so it’s perfect for learning your way around the electric pressure cooker.
I’ve been cooking with my Instant Pot for over a year now (this is the model I have), and while I originally embraced it a little reluctantly (really, another gadget?), now I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.
I love the hands-free aspect of the Instant Pot (close the lid, walk away, then come back and the meal is cooked) and the fact that I can sauté directly in it instead of in a separate skillet, and it does an especially knockout job of cooking certain ingredients, particularly rice-based dishes like this Instant Pot Mexican Casserole.
You can find a wide range of healthy Instant Pot Recipes on my site, and if you haven’t made this one yet, please do give it a try. It’s family friendly, easy to adapt to different diets, and has the ever-loved Mexican flavor profile that never seems to grow old or lose its appeal. No matter how many different cuisines and cooking styles I try, Mexican food hits the spot every single time.
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole—An Easy, Healthy Dinner for Tonight
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole is not new territory, nor are Instant Pot casseroles in general. This Crock Pot Mexican Casserole is one of the single most popular recipes on my site, with these Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos and this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice close seconds.
Mexican casseroles are, however, delicious territory, so we’re going back again.
After all, “No, I do not want an easy, flavorful, filling, all-in-one-meal that I can smother in avocado and cheese” was said by….
WAIT. No one has ever said that before.
And if they have, they haven’t tried an Instant Pot Mexican recipe yet!
This pressure cooker Mexican casserole is the complete dinner package.
It hits every food group. Veggies (colorful bell peppers, sweet corn, and fire-roasted tomatoes), whole grains (hello, brown rice), protein (beans + ground chicken or turkey; you can also make this Instant Pot Mexican Casserole with ground beef if you prefer—I recommend a lean 90%), and dairy (gooey cheese + a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt) all make an appearance.
It cooks in a single pot. Thank you Instant Pot for reducing the number of dishes I will wash in my lifetime.
It combines fresh ingredients with convenient pantry staples.
It is YUMMY. The textures and flavors of this Instant Pot Mexican Casserole are reminiscent of a giant Chipotle burrito bowl, without the pesky extra charge for guac.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
- If you want to max out your Instant Pot, don’t miss these Instant Pot Refried Beans and these Instant Pot Black Beans.
- For double the appliance domination: Make these Crock Pot Pinto Beans, then do the Mexican chicken casserole in the Instant Pot.
More Mexican Chicken Recipes
- If you are looking for a slow cooker version of this recipe, I’d suggest the Crock Pot Mexican Casserole I mentioned above, this Taco Casserole, or these Crock Pot Healthy Nachos.
- For the stovetop, check out my Mexican Chicken and Rice or Fiesta Chicken.
- Seeking more Instant Pot Mexican recipes? This Instant Pot Chicken Mole is a fast favorite.
- Still hungry? I have this entire collection of healthy Mexican recipes.
Recommended Tools to Make Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
- Instant Pot (other electric pressure cooker brands with similar cooking functions should work too)
- Two-sided measuring spoons (I love that they stay organized in your drawer too)
- Non-slip cutting board
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound 93% lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large red bell pepper - cut into wide strips (about 3/4 inch), halved if long
- 1 large green bell pepper - cut into wide strips (about 3/4 inch), halved if long
- 1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels - fresh, frozen and thawed, or drained from a can
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup water - plus additional if you have a newer Instant Pot (see recipe notes below)
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 2 cups of your favorite salsa - 1 (16-ounce) jar; I used a chunky medium salsa
- 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice*
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese - divided
- For serving: chopped fresh cilantro - diced avocado, chopped green onion, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken, onion, and salt. Cook and stir, breaking up the chicken as you go, until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper and black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
- Splash in the water and scrape up all of the stuck on bits of food. Make sure to get every bit off so that you avoid a burn warning. Pour in the diced tomatoes in their juices and salsa. Do not stir. Rinse the brown rice and drain (this will help prevent a "burn" warning). Add the brown rice and once again do not stir (again, we are trying to avoid the burn warning here). With the back of a spoon or a spatula, gently push the rice down and spread it evenly so that it is submerged in liquid.
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure (manual) for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes, and then vent to release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and stir. At this point, the rice may still have a bit of liquid at the bottom, but it will continue to absorb as the casserole sits. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Set the lid back on the Instant Pot (no need to seal; just make sure it is resting on top). Let rest 10 additional minutes to allow the cheese to melt and more of the liquid to absorb. Serve hot with any desired toppings.
- 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.
- *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 methods yet; this is my best guess, but it may not be accurate.** In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high. Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add an additional 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Once hot and shimmering, add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the cheese (do not add the chicken). Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and let cook until the rice is done, about 40-50 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken and 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and any other desired toppings over the top.
- I cannot recommend a slow cooker version, as I haven't tested one with these liquid ratios. I'd recommend my Crock Pot Mexican Casserole instead (link in the blog post above).
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