Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is a one-and-done dream dinner. Chock full of flavors you’ll love like Italian seasonings, garlic, and paprika and finished with a squeeze of lemon, this dish is perfect for those long winter nights.
For more Instant Pot recipes, try some of my reader favorites, like: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Parmesan Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms, or my Instant Pot Baked Potatoes.
I cannot believe the holidays are over. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me, for my little family, and for mine and the hub’s extended families. We went on a few fun trips, shuttled between houses, exchanged gifts, and made millions of amazing memories I will cherish forever.
Even though we had to put Christmas away for another year, I still feel like I’m constantly in the gift-giving business because I love to feed people. Cooking and baking for others (and especially you all!) are two ways in which I feel like I can spread a little love and cheer and good wishes year-round.
So, I know that for us, when the cold sets in and the nights are longer and we’re kind of all stuck inside a lot, feeling hum-drum, nothing warms us up more and puts a smile on our faces than a nice, warm, hardy (and quick!) meal. Chicken and rice are a magic combination that I love to reinvent time and time again. And these short days call for quick meals, which is why the combination of chicken, rice, and Instant Pot truly checks all the boxes for me when I think of how to check all the boxes for the day.
WHAT DOES AN INSTANT POT DO?
So if I had to guess I would say some of you got an Instant Pot for the holidays as a gift and, while excited (I mean, who wouldn’t be?!) you might not know what it actually does exactly. I’ve had extensive experience with my old friend the Instant Pot so let me tell you in layman’s terms what it does and how it can help you.
An Instant Pot is basically a newfangled pressure cooker. If you got one of the fancier versions, you’ll see it has a variety of buttons. Some Instant Pots can do multiple jobs: They can act as a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a steamer, a sauteer, a rice cooker, and more (some even have a yogurt-making function!).
So it’s like your one-and-done appliance. Now, I’m not saying you should get rid of your other appliances (I love my slow cooker, after all). But, should you feel overrun by kitchen do dads and need to make some space, you can certainly get by with a lot on this one.
My best recommendation for using an Instant Pot is to read the directions that came with it first, as makes and models vary widely. Then, make your favorite pressure cooker chicken recipe following the directions.
Also, be very, very sure to let the pressure release as instructed to avoid scalding yourself. It may seem scary at first, but so long as you follow the directions you should be fine.
IS IT SAFE TO COOK FROZEN CHICKEN IN AN INSTANT POT?
One of the (many) good things about making this healthy chicken and rice dish is that you can start with frozen chicken. I know I’m not the only one that forgets to let the chicken thaw in time for dinner.
Because frozen chicken can be cooked safely in an Instant Pot, it’s not a big deal to put it in with the rest of your ingredients and set the cooker. Putting frozen chicken in a slow cooker can be dangerous (i.e. food poisoning) because it will sit at an incorrect temperature for far too long.
If you are using frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then you will need to add some time to the cooking process, depending on how big the breasts are. For small chicken breasts, you’ll need to cook for about 11-12 minutes. For larger ones, you’ll increase the time to about 15 minutes.
You won’t be able to brown the frozen chicken breasts as instructed in step 1, but that’s okay. Your lemon chicken and rice dish will still be delicious, you’ll just miss out on some crispy brown chicken outsides.
HOW DO YOU COOK BROWN RICE IN AN INSTANT POT?
In this recipe, I tend to use white rice. It cooks faster and is generally well-loved by everyone in my family. However, if you’d prefer to use brown rice, you can do that too. Brown rice takes longer to cook, however, so there will be just a tiny bit more effort to cook brown rice in an Instant Pot.
You’ll need to add an additional cup of broth to the recipe for starters. Then, when the chicken is done cooking (and the pressure is released as instructed), you’ll want to take the chicken out and cook the brown rice for 3 minutes longer. To keep the chicken warm, simply put it on a plate and tent it with aluminum foil.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast and Rice
- 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian blend seasoning or Herbs de Provence seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
for the rice
- 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed see note
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian blend seasoning or Herbs de Provence seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- juice of 1 lemon
- Set Instant Pot to SAUTE and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Stir together dried herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, then season all over with salt and pepper to taste, and finish with the seasoning blend. Add chicken to pot, brown for 1-2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate.
- Add butter to the pot. Once melted, stir in garlic. Stir in rice along with dried herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in broth.
- Set steam rack in the pot with the handles up. Place chicken on the rack. Cover and set to PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL for 5 minutes. Cook, then do a natural release for 5 minutes, remove lid. Transfer chicken to a plate. (see note)
- Fluff rice with a fork. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over chicken and rice, and serve.