Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
How many “Mexican” theme dinners in a row can you throw before your friends start to wonder if you know how to make anything else? I am hoping A LOT, because now that I’ve discovered Instant Pot Mexican Casserole, it’s all Mexican and margs from here until someone schedules an intervention.
It’s not that I lack inspiration in the kitchen or don’t enjoy other global cuisines. Mexican food just meets so many needs in so many situations.
Beginning of the week and you are craving something healthy that you can eat leftover for lunches and dinners in the coming days? Mexican.
End of the week and the greatest-sounding thing in life is an easy but ultra tasty meal and a cold beverage to match? Mexican again.
Cooking for a crowd and seeking a recipe that’s easy to adapt to different diets and guaranteed to please? I think you know where this is going.
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole- Welcome to the Go-To Menu
Today’s Instant Pot Mexican Casserole is the latest entry on my ever growing “What should I make for dinner?/I know, Mexican!” recipe list.
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole is not new territory—this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole is one of the single most popular recipes on my site, with these Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos a close second—but it is 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), lean protein (beans + ground chicken or turkey), 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. (More winning one-pot recipes right this way: 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!)
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.
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 stove top, check out my Mexican Chicken and Rice or Fiesta Chicken.
Seeking more Instant Pot Mexican recipes? This Instant Pot Chicken Mole is a new favorite.
Still hungry? I have this entire collection of healthy Mexican recipes.
Whichever recipe you choose, just make sure to wash it down with a Skinny Margarita.
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)
- Nonslip 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 cup uncooked long grain brown rice*
- 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 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 cup corn kernels — fresh, frozen and thawed, or drained from a can
- 2 cups of your favorite salsa — 1, 16-ounce jar; I used a chunky medium salsa
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 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 brown rice, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, black beans, diced tomatoes in their juices, corn, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
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).
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 6), about 1 1/2 cups without extra toppings) — Calories: 437, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Carbohydrates: 47g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 27g
Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!
This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.