Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is the perfect one-pot dinner recipe. A delicious comfort food to enjoy all year round! Make either chicken breast and white rice or chicken thighs and brown rice.
Save on time and dishes with this quick and easy recipe made entirely in the electric pressure cooker. Two of my most popular Instant Pot recipes are Instant Pot Rice and Instant Pot Chicken. So I decided to combine the two and make a one-pot meal out of both.
The advantage of a pressure cooker is that water doesn’t evaporate. Grains like rice and chicken can be cooked together perfectly because you use less water for the rice while the chicken sits on top and gets cooked with just the steam. The result is a super-duper tender and juicy chicken and fluffy rice.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot though, you can still enjoy this delicious recipe by making regular 1-Pot Chicken and Rice on the stove.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast and White Rice
The original recipe initially was for chicken breasts and white rice cooked together in the Instant Pot. After extensive testing, I found the right amount of cooking time to achieve fluffy rice and juicy chicken. After 5 minutes high-pressure and 10 minutes natural pressure release, the chicken is JUST cooked. It won’t be dry but it shouldn’t be pink at all, just white.
It’s important to note that if your pin drops before the 10 minutes, the pot most likely didn’t get to high pressure and the chicken might be undercooked. Double-check before you start that the sealing knob is in the sealing position, and no air or steam comes out of the knob.
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Rice
Some people asked me for versions of the original recipe but using either brown rice instead of white, or chicken thighs instead of breasts. After what feels like a million test trials, I finally got the formula. Yay!
Brown rice takes triple the time to cook than white rice and would dry out the chicken breasts in the process. The secret is to use bone-in chicken thighs with brown rice. The result was absolutely amazing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken – use chicken breasts or chicken thighs. I recommend using chicken breasts no bigger than 6.5oz (180g). If too big, cut them into 1” cubes to ensure they cook through. If using chicken thighs, go for bone-in skinless thighs.
- Cilantro – you’ll need 1 whole bunch of fresh cilantro to make the flavorful cilantro water for the rice. I suggest you don’t replace it, but if needed, you could use parsley. Just keep in mind that it has a slightly stronger flavor.
- Avocado oil – I recommend using a high-smoke point fat, such as avocado oil, ghee or bacon fat. This is important so the fat doesn’t burn at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Onion – use one small white or yellow onion.
- Garlic – you will need two cloves.
- Rice – use white basmati or brown basmati rice depending on what piece of chicken you’ll be cooking. I don’t recommend using any other type of rice because they need different cooking times on the Instant Pot.
- Carrots – a staple in many rice recipes. 1.5 or 2 medium carrots should yield a cup when chopped. You can also use baby carrots.
- Celery – when cooked, celery adds great flavor. For this chicken and rice recipe, you will need 2-3 celery stalks.
- Red bell pepper – the more veggies the better. I love red bell pepper for its color and texture. Orange or yellow bell pepper work great too.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Season Chicken – add sea salt and pepper generously to both sides of chicken breast or chicken thighs. Set aside.
- Prep Veggies – peel and dice the carrots. Deseed and dice the red bell pepper, and dice the celery. Also, finely chop a medium onion and two cloves of garlic.
- Prep Cilantro Water – add a bunch of cilantro and 1 cup of room-temperature water into a blender. Blend until completely smooth and no bits of cilantro are left.
- Preheat Instant Pot – press the “Sauté” button on the panel to preheat the pot.
- Sauté Onion and Garlic – once the Instant Pot display says “hot”, add a drizzle of oil or fat and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
- Add Remaining Ingredients – this is a very important step and you need to work fast! Once the onion and garlic are ready, add the rice, season with salt and pepper, then add the cilantro water. Give a quick stir, then add the diced vegetables on top of the rice (make sure not to mix them in). Then, place the chicken on top of the veggies and close the lid immediately. The reason for this is to avoid too much water from evaporating so you don’t get the nasty “burn warning” on your Instant Pot. (See my tips to avoid the burn warning below).
- Set the Instant Pot – Seal the pot lid and turn the pressure valve to the “sealing” position. then press the “Cancel” button. Now press the “Manual” button and select 6 minutes high pressure if you’re cooking chicken breast with white rice. Or select 22 minutes high pressure if you’re cooking chicken thighs with brown rice instead.
- Release Pressure – once the Instant Pot beeps, wait for full natural pressure release. This can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes until the safety pin drops on its own.
- Shred Chicken and Serve – when the Instant Pot chicken and rice is finished cooking, open the lid and shred the chicken using two forks. Then mix everything together and serve immediately. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top and dive in!
Tips To Avoid The Burn Warning
Sometimes Instant Pots can be finicky and give you the Burn Warning even when you think you made everything right. After some trial and error, I found some tips that will help you avoid the burn warning:
- Don’t skimp on the fat for sautéing the onion and garlic. Be generous.
- After sautéing the onion and garlic, make sure there are no burnt bits and pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. If necessary add a splash of water and deglaze the bottom with a wooden spoon to scrape everything off.
- Have ingredients already measured out and ready to go so no time is wasted. This is especially important for the diced vegetables. Have them chopped and all in one bowl ready to add.
- Once you add the rice, add the cilantro water immediately and stir. Do not let the dry rice sit on the hot bottom of the pot without liquid for more than 5 seconds.
- Do not mix the vegetables and chicken in the cilantro water. Let them sit on top of the rice.
- Put the lid on quickly. The longer it takes to close the pot, the more liquid evaporates. This increases the chance to get the burn warning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! As long as you choose the right cooking time to ensure either are well cooked through it is perfectly safe to cook both at the same time.
Yes! As long as you make sure chicken reaches 165F internal temperature it is 100% safe to add to the Instant Pot.
If you add dry or rinsed rice to an already preheated or hot Instant Pot and don’t add liquid to it at the same time or very quickly after your rice will immediately stick to the bottom and start burning.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- instant pot
- 2 5oz / 10 oz chicken breasts / bone-in skinless chicken thighs - (Either 2 five-ounce chicken breasts if you are making the recipe with white rice. OR. 2 ten-ounce bone-in chicken thighs if you are making the recipe with brown rice.)
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 cup water - (at room temperature, not cold!)
- 1/2 Tbsp ghee or bacon fat or avocado oil
- 1 small diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup white basmati rice or brown basmati rice - (choose white or brown depending on the type of chicken you are using)
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- cilantro for garnishing
- Generously season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
- Peel and dice carrot, dice celery, deseed and dice bell pepper.
- Add cilantro and room-temperature water into a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Peel and chop onion and garlic.
- Preheat Instant Pot by pressing the “sauté” button.
- Once the Instant Pot's display says "hot": add fat or oil, chopped onion, and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Stir often. Make sure no burnt bits of onion or garlic are stuck to the bottom of the pot. If for some reason there are, deglaze by adding a tablespoon or two of water and scrape with a wooden to remove all bits from the bottom.
- Now work fast: add rice, salt and pepper to Instant Pot and then pour in cilantro water and give it a quick stir. Add diced vegetables on top in one layer (do not mix in!) and then top with seasoned chicken breasts. Then IMMEDIATELY close lid to avoid water from evaporating (<-important!)
- Turn venting knob to "sealing", hit "cancel" and then "manual" and adjust to 6 minutes high pressure for chicken breast / white rice version OR 22 minutes for chicken thigh / brown rice version.
- Wait for full natural pressure release. This means once the pot beeps don't do anything. Don't touch the valve and instead just wait for the safety pin to drop on its own. This can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes.
- Open the pot and enjoy the smell! Then use two forks to shred the chicken. Mix it all and serve immediately with some fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.
- *Please read the blog post section where I go into detail about what to pay attention to in order to succeed to avoid any error messages from the pot.
- nutritional info is for white rice and chicken breast.