This Chicken and Rice Recipe is a family favorite! Juicy chicken thighs are paired with a flavorful vegetable rice to make a healthy, hearty dinner under 300 calories per serving!
Chicken and Rice in Instant Pot
We LOVE a one pot meal that comes out right every time–And this Chicken and Rice recipe is it! This is a healthy meal you can feel good about whipping up on a weeknight, and it won’t leave you with a ton of dishes to cleanup later. This naturally gluten-free dinner is full of flavor and perfect for picky eaters, too!
Ingredients for Chicken and Rice
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. For exact measurements, keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card near the bottom of the page.
- Chicken Thighs – Bone-in, skin-on. This chicken cut stays the juiciest while still cooking relatively quickly. Using boneless or skinless thighs will likely lead to them being overcooked. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer, but they dry out much easier than thighs do.
- Fine sea salt, Black pepper, Cumin, Paprika – This blend is sprinkled on the thighs and provides a great well-rounded flavor.
- Olive oil, Diced onion, Chopped carrots, Minced garlic – To eliminate prep work, use bags of chopped vegetables from the freezer section and jarred pre-minced garlic. You could replace the olive oil with avocado oil if you prefer.
- Oregano, Tomato paste – This creates a delicious sauce for the rice to soak up during cooking!
- Jasmine rice – Rinsed. It’s important to rinse the rice until the water runs clear to reduce the amount of starch. The more starch, the stickier the rice will be (which can lead to clumps and uneven cooking).
- Broth – I used chicken broth, but vegetable broth will work, too. Using a Homemade Chicken Stock instead lowers the cost and adds a ton of flavor.
- Peas – Frozen. You can use drained canned peas if that’s more convenient, but it’s easier for them to overcook from the residual heat in the pot. You may want to wait a few extra minutes before adding those to avoid this issue.
- Lemon juice, Fresh parsley – These are stirred in to brighten and intensify the flavor! The citrusy burst really sets it over the edge.
How to make this Chicken and Rice Recipe
This recipe isn’t difficult, but it’s important to pay attention to the details. The Instant Pot can often get finnicky with rice recipes, so I’ve included tips in this step-by-step guide.
Instant Pot tip: Prepare Ahead!
Make sure your ingredients are prepped before you start cooking to ensure the process goes smoothly! If you take too long looking for and measuring out ingredients during the cooking process, you may burn off too much liquid before the pressure cooking cycle.
If this happens, you may get the burn warning. Avoid this by having all ingredients measured and ready at the beginning.
Dry & season chicken
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and trim off any excess bits of skin. In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp paprika. Sprinkle this mixture of the chicken to coat.
Sear chicken on High
Allow the Instant Pot to heat up to “hot,” then add olive oil. Place the chicken thighs skin-side down and cook for 5 minutes. Once the skin is lightly golden and crisp, flip the chicken thighs with tongs. Cook for 2 minutes on the other side, then transfer to a plate. Set the chicken aside, but leave any remaining oil in the Instant Pot.
Sauté vegetables on Medium
Lower the sauté heat to medium and add in the onion and carrot. Cook until the onion is translucent and softened (about 5-7 minutes). Mix in the garlic, oregano, tomato paste, and the remainder of the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Allow this to cook about 2 minutes, stirring often.
Add broth & deglaze
Pour the chicken broth into the Instant Pot, pausing after about a cup to scrape all the bits and pieces off the bottom of the pot. This step is super important for 2 reasons: The Instant Pot can detect these stuck-on pieces and can trigger a burn warning, and those charred and caramelized bits are full of flavor! Give the entire mixture a good swirl so that everything is well distributed.
Place the seared chicken back into the pot, this time with the skin side facing upwards. Press them down so that they are submerged in the liquid.
Pour the rice in, sprinkling all over to spread it out. Press it into the liquid with a spoon and give it a stir to make sure things are decently even. Rice and chicken should be fully covered by the liquid.
Place the lid onto the Instant Pot and set it to “Pressure Cook” on “High” heat for 10 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pressure to NATURALLY RELEASE for 5 minutes. Then, press the “Quick Release” button to release the remaining pressure. When the float valve is fully down, carefully open the lid.
Remove chicken & finish rice
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add the peas, lemon, and fresh parsley to the rice. Fluff carefully with a fork to separate rice and stir in the new ingredients. Transfer to a serving plate with the chicken and enjoy immediately.
What to serve with Chicken and Rice
Start with a Simple Arugula Salad and a Sugar Free Lemonade! This is a one pot meal you can enjoy on its own, but there are many sides you could add to stretch the meal further. Serve some Jalapeno Cornbread or Keto Garlic Bread Chaffles on the side. Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Air Fryer Green Beans would be delicious as well!
STORAGE & REHEATING
- FRIDGE – These leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Allow to completely cool and keep in an airtight container.
- FREEZER – Once the dish is completely cool, transfer to a freezer bag and enjoy within 2-3 months for the best texture. For easier thawing later, freeze the chicken thighs in one bag and the rice in another. Thaw overnight in the fridge or for a couple hours in cold water before reheating.
- REHEATING – This dish is best reheated in the oven (350 degrees F in a covered dish + 1-2 tablespoons of water, 10-15 minutes) or in the microwave (50% power, 1 minute increments).
If you love this recipe, you’ll love these Instant Pot Ideas:
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms – This recipe uses long-grain rice instead of jasmine rice, and there’s a healthy dose of mushrooms for more nutrients!
- Keto White Chicken Chili – In this low-carb version, rice is swapped out for cauliflower rice! It’s a great way to sneak in more servings of vegetables.
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Soup – If you’re trying to hide more vegetables, try this one! With ranch, buffalo sauce, and lots of cheese, you won’t even mind the added veggies.
- Easy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes – The absolute BEST side dish for all your chicken dinners! This recipe doesn’t require draining or heavy lifting, either.
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken – This is perfect for a nice Sunday dinner, and it makes meal prepping a few chickens for the week super quick!
Chicken and Rice FAQs
Chicken and rice is decently healthy! It’s a great source of protein and carbs, so it’s very filling. The added vegetables and a high-quality broth add vitamins and minerals. It’s considered “clean eating” and is inexpensive to make.
No, brown rice requires a different amount of liquid and cooking time, so I would not recommend using it in this recipe.
Each grain of rice is has excess starch on its surface. When cooked, this starch is what makes rice feel sticky. For this recipe, we don’t want the rice to be overly sticky, and we want to make sure it doesn’t all cook together in a clump, so we need to limit the amount of starch that makes it into the pot. To do this, place your rice in a mesh strainer and rinse it under running water until it comes clear. Allow excess water to drip away before pouring the rice into the Instant Pot.
Chicken and Rice Recipe
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs about 2 lb
- 1 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion medium dice (1 cup chopped)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped into 1⁄4” semi circles (1 1⁄4 cup chopped)
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice rinsed
- 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Prepare all the ingredients in advance to ensure that the cooking process goes smoothly and to prevent burning or too much liquid evaporating in the Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl mix together: 1 tsp salt, 1⁄4 tsp pepper, 1⁄4 tsp cumin and 1⁄2 tsp paprika.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle chicken thighs all over with the spice mixture.
- Click the “Saute” setting on your Instant Pot and allow it to heat up until it reads “Hot”.
- Add the olive oil to the instant pot and place the chicken thighs skin side down, allowing them to cook on “High” for about 5 minutes until the skin is lightly golden and crisp. Flip the chicken thighs with tongs and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Leave any remaining oil in the Instant Pot.
- To the Instant Pot (still on the sautee setting), add the onion and carrot. Sautee on “Medium” heat for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is translucent and somewhat softened. Mix in the garlic, dried oregano, 1⁄2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 3⁄4 tsp salt, 1⁄4 tsp pepper, and tomato paste. Saute on “Medium” for 2 minutes, mixing often.
- Pour the broth into the pot and use your spoon to scrape down any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Place the seared chicken into the pot (skin side facing upwards) and press down so they’re submerged in liquid at the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle over the rice and press it into the liquid with your mixing spoon, and give it a bit of a mix. The liquid should fully cover the rice.
- Cover the Instant Pot and set the Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” on “High Heat” for 10 minutes.
- Once the time is up, all the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes. Then, press the Quick Release button, to finish releasing the pressure. Do NOT open the pressure cooker lid if the float valve is up; it MUST be fully down to ensure safety.
- Once it is safe to remove the lid, uncover and remove the chicken pieces onto a plate.
- Add the peas, lemon and chopped parsley to the rice and fluff with a fork.
- Transfer the rice to a serving plate with the chicken. Enjoy!