I think we can all agree that when it comes to putting dinner on the table, as if by magic, the electric pressure cooker is the ultimate savior.
Do you remember when you got yours? Mine was a Christmas gift many, many years ago, before the Instant Pot craze took over. It was when the machine was first starting to get some hype and I was thrilled to get my hands on one.
Since then I have gone through several models, testing them thoroughly, until I found the one that I love to use the most. Electric pressure cookers offer so much more than the standard old-fashioned stovetop models, and I can’t believe I ever lived without one.
I mean, when you have one machine that can pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, sear meat, and saute vegetables… well, it’s hard not to be in awe of it. Talk about taking the work out of cooking when you are just too dang tired to do so!
I saw a quote the other day about how the worst part about being an adult is making dinner for yourself every night. It’s so real, isn’t it? Cooking dinner every single night can be a daunting prospect, because you can’t just repeat the same meal every time.
Chicken and rice has quickly become a favorite in our household. It’s a recipe that I can hand off to my husband when I am too tired to cook, and he doesn’t feel lost in the kitchen while he makes it.
With the vegetables mixed in with the grains, you don’t even need to make something to go along with it if you don’t want to. Bellies will be full and happy once it’s all gobbled up.
Here’s everything that’s to come in this helpful how-to:
What You’ll Learn
Top Tips for Making This Dish
Chicken and rice was a family staple in our house growing up, but it was usually reserved for weekend dinners. This was when rice was cooked on the stove, and it took forever – remember those days?
Instead of dedicating so much time to the dish, you can get the same delicious results in less time and with much less work by using your electric pressure cooker. No longer a meal that needs to be reserved for weekends, now you can add it to your weeknight menu rotation without the fuss!
Here are my top tips for making this dish the best it can be, using this simple method:
- Take the extra couple of minutes and rinse the grains well before cooking. This helps to ensure that you have fluffy grains.
- When you add the liquid to the pot, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits that are stuck on the bottom. If you leave them there, it’s likely that the machine will give you a burn warning during pressure cooking.
- You can use whatever vegetables you like. I love to use onion and bell pepper, but you can also use carrots and celery, or some other combination of flavorful veggies.
Let’s go over a few common questions, and then we’ll dig into the easy instructions!
Can I Use Brown Rice?
The brown variety usually requires more time to cook, so I usually recommend using a long grain white variety to make this meal.
If you want to use brown for this recipe instead, be sure to add 1/4 cup of extra broth, and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. This will allow the grain to cook through completely.
Is It Okay to Use Frozen Chicken?
This is something I would not recommend for this recipe. It’s hard to get the cooking time down without cooking the rice too long as a result. Fully thaw your thighs before cooking.
Are Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs Alright?
Using boneless, skinless poultry thighs is recommended. They take less time in the pressure cooker to cook through.
Without the skin and bone, they are healthier and smaller. As a result, they cook in just the right amount of time and the grains comes out perfectly as it cooks with the poultry.
Skip this method if you want to use bone-in skin-on poultry.
Can I Use Chicken Breasts?
You can definitely use the breasts for this recipe. Simply cut the boneless, skinless breasts in half so the cook time remains the same as it would be for boneless, skinless thighs.
How to Cook Chicken and Rice in an Electric Pressure Cooker
Learn just how simple and straightforward this one-pot meal can be. After completing only a handful of steps, you’ll have a complete meal on the table, and only one dish to clean.
Step 1 – Measure Out Ingredients
First, gather and measure all of your ingredients:
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 medium white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (optional, about 2/3 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- Freshly chopped parsley
Chop the onion and the pepper into equally sized pieces, so they will cook at the same rate. The bell pepper is optional, but I love the flavor and pop of color that it adds.
The key is to have everything ready to go before you’re ready to cook. The Saute function on your electric pressure cooker heats up fast and cooks things quickly, so you want to have everything prepped before you plug it in and turn it on.
Step 2 – Rinse Rice
To ensure that you get a nice and fluffy result, you need to rinse the grains first.
For the best results, start by filling a large bowl with cold water, and add the long grain white rice. Swirl the rice until the water becomes cloudy.
Discard the water and repeat this rinsing process two to three more times, until the water runs clear. Drain it well.
Step 3 – Brown the Thighs
Set your Instant Pot to the Saute setting and add the oil.
Once it’s hot, add the thighs and brown them for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Once browned, transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.
Step 4 – Saute Vegetables and Toast Rice
Add the onions and red bell pepper, if using. Cook until they have softened a bit, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, rinsed grains, and seasonings. Cook for about 1 minute to gently toast the grains, stirring frequently.
Turn the Instant Pot off.
Step 5 – Add Remaining Ingredients
Stir in the broth or water and the tomato paste, scraping up any cooked-on bits that have stuck to the bottom of the insert before adding the meat.
Place the thighs on top of the rice mixture.
Step 6 – Pressure Cook
Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to the “sealing” position.
Set to Manual and cook on High for 8 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release before removing the lid.
Step 7 – Serve
Transfer the meat to a serving platter. Gently fluff the rice with a fork, then serve with the meat. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
Can I Change Up the Seasoning?
If you want to customize this recipe further, the easiest way to do so is by changing up the seasonings that you use.
Instead of bay leaves, basil, paprika, and cumin, consider using your favorite spice or herb mixture, such as a Cajun seasoning mix or herbes de Provence.
Simply use two teaspoons of the seasoning mix of your choice in lieu of the spices listed in the ingredients list. This is an easy way to use the same recipe time after time, with new and exciting results.
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What kind of vegetables do you like to add to this iconic dish? Tell us in the comments below. Be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you try it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.