This Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe is a perfect one-pot dish to have on a weeknight as it takes only 30 minutes. Made with chicken breast, spices, rice, and carrots, it has everything you will need to make a complete meal.
BEST INSTANT POT RECIPES eBook
Access ALL of my pressure cooker recipes in one convenient place
- - > Check it out HERE < - -
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
To start making this family friendly dish in your Instant Pot, you need to preheat your Instant Pot on the Saute mode. You should wait until it says HOT before beginning to cook or else you may not achieve a substantial cook on your onions or browning on your chicken.
Once the Instant Pot is hot, you can add the avocado or olive oil followed by the chopped onion. The onion only needs to cook for a minute until it is just starting to soften. Next, you add the chicken breasts sliced into cubes and cook until they are browned all over. At this point, you should press cancel before adding your spices. You don't want these to burn.
The seasonings include salt, paprika, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and coriander, which are similar to what I use in my Instant Pot beef plov recipe. This combination makes this chicken and rice dish so delicious. You can simply stir them into the chicken and onion mixture so that the residual heat from the pot can wake them up. Next, you add some water and stir up the browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot bowl. These bits will make the dish even tastier than it already is.
After this step, the matchstick carrots go on top followed by your choice of long-grain rice, salt and the head of garlic. Matchstick carrots are a little thicker than julienne cut. Cut this way the carrots will hold up better during pressure cooking than grated or shredded carrots. You may be able to find bags of matchsticks carrots in the produce section of your grocery store for an easy shortcut.
For the rice, use long-grain white rice varieties like basmati or jasmine. I always use jasmine, which takes a total cook time of 6 minutes under high pressure. The rice doesn't get stirred, it simply sits on top of the remaining ingredients.
This is to avoid the dreaded BURN notice that can happen when starchy ingredients touch the bottom of the cooker. While the white rice doesn't get mixed with the spices, it still gets very flavorful thanks to the entire head of garlic that imparts an amazing aroma during cooking.
Once the cooking time has elapsed, you can release the pressure manually. This means that you should move the valve from the sealing position to the venting position. Be careful at this point, though, as steam will spurt out of the Instant Pot and will be hot. You can do this part with oven gloves or a kitchen towel to be safe.
Finishing the Dish
The final steps of making this rice and chicken dish involve removing the garlic and fluffing up the rice with all of the other ingredients. Don't throw the garlic away, though. You can add some of the garlic to servings of this rice dish or save it for another use. It will even be excellent added to dressings, dips, or pasta.
Can I Substitute Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs for Chicken Breasts?
If you don't have boneless skinless chicken breasts on hand when you would like to make this dish, you absolutely could sub in boneless skinless thighs. Chicken thighs hold up extremely well to lengthy cooking times under high pressure and are full of flavour. Using thighs you can even try using brown rice for this recipe, which will take about 25 minutes to pressure cook.
What to Serve with this Chicken and Rice
A side salad or fermented vegetable is great to lighten up this hearty meal. Try a simple tomato onion salad or a green salad. Pickles or sauerkraut also pair perfectly well.
The Benefits of Using Fresh Spices
When you have a recipe as easy to make as this, it is crucial that all of your ingredients are at their best. That includes the spices you use to flavour your dish. Generally, both ground and whole spices should last for a good amount of time in your pantry.
In fact, ground spices should last between one and two years if they are stored properly. The correct storing conditions include keeping them in airtight containers in a dark environment. This is because both light and oxygen can cause the spices to deteriorate.
While spices won't necessarily become unsafe to use if kept longer than a couple of years, they may not impart as strong of a flavour into your dishes. To tell if they are a little past their prime, you should check to see if they are pale in colour, clumping, or less fragrant than usual. If either of these are the case, it is time to refresh your spices.
How to Reheat Leftover Chicken and Rice
This dish serves six people, which makes it excellent to feed a family. However, if you are serving only a couple of people or end up with leftovers, you can reheat it quite easily. To do so, using a heavy-bottomed skillet, such as cast iron, is a perfect choice. However, if you are in a hurry, the microwave will work fine.
In the case of reheating in a skillet, you can heat it over medium heat on the stove. Then, add the rice mixture and cook it, while stirring occasionally, until it is heated through. If you are lucky, you will even get some flavourful crispy bits by reheating the rice in this manner - these are my favorite!
Pressure Cooker I Use
Other Rice Dishes You'll Love:
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 1 tablespoon oil olive or avocado
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast cubed
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 cups water
- 2 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups long grain rice like Jasmine or Basmati
- 1 head of garlic halved
- Press the Sauté button on your pressure cooker. When the display shows HOT add the oil. Add the onion and saute for a minute. Then add the chicken cubes and stir, sautéing until no longer pink from the outside.
- Press Cancel to stop the Sauté mode. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the salt, paprika, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and coriander. Add the water and stir to loosen up any browned bits from the bottom.
- Add the matchstick carrots and spread out evenly. Then spread the rice over top (DON'T stir) and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of salt over the rice. Push the garlic head halves into the rice.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes (use your usual rice cooking time. For me that is 6 minutes for Jasmine rice). It takes about 10-12 minutes for the pressure to build up before the timer starts to count down. Quick release the pressure after cooking.
- Open the lid and remove the garlic (I like to add a few pieces of soft, sweet garlic to my serving later). Stir everything gently to combine the chicken, carrots, rice and seasoning.
Pin for later
The rice function on the Instant Pot cooks rice under controlled pressure and time, ensuring even cooking. Simply add rice, water, and desired seasonings, and let the Instant Pot handle the rest.
Rubbery chicken may result from overcooking. Ensure you follow recommended cooking times, use the appropriate setting, and consider factors like thickness and cut. Adjusting cooking times and using a quick-release method can help achieve tender chicken.
Yes, overcooking in the Instant Pot can result in dry or rubbery chicken. Follow suggested cooking times, consider the thickness of the meat, and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking without overdoing it.
To prevent rice sticking, ensure a proper water-to-rice ratio, stir well before cooking, and add a bit of oil. Avoid stirring after adding rice to prevent starch from settling at the bottom, which can trigger the burn notice.