How To Make Creamy, Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

published Jan 27, 2023
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How To Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

This family-friendly dinner promises juicy pieces of chicken, fluffy rice, perfectly tender veggies, and a level of creaminess that just can't be beat.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook27 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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chicken and rice served in a bowl with a metal spoon
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

At my house, creamy chicken and rice is a guaranteed dinner win. I’ve made the comforting classic on the stovetop, in the oven, and in the slow cooker, but my absolute favorite version is made in the Instant Pot. This method gives you juicy pieces of chicken, fluffy rice, perfectly tender veggies, and a superior level of creaminess. Plus, it comes together with pantry staples, takes just a few minutes to prep, cooks in a single pot, and is on the table in under 30 minutes. Here’s how to make the best creamy, cheesy chicken and rice in the Instant Pot.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

A Classic Casserole from the Instant Pot

This comforting casserole is a combination of creamy rice, bite-sized pieces of chicken, vegetables (usually, broccoli, peas, and/or carrots), and melted cheese. Many versions start with canned soup, but this recipe uses a combination of chicken broth and cream cheese instead — the latter of which you’ll stir in at the end of cooking. As for the vegetables, a bag of frozen peas and carrots go into this version, but any kind of frozen vegetables are fair game.

Start with White Rice and Boneless Chicken Thighs

When cooking chicken and rice in the Instant Pot, Iong-grain white rice and boneless chicken thighs will give you the best results. Long-grain white rice cooks up tender and fluffy in the same amount of time it takes the chicken to cook through. Opting for chicken thighs rather than lean breasts ensures that the meat will be juicy and extra flavorful.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

The Secret to the Best Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Layering the ingredients is the key to making the very best creamy chicken and rice in the Instant Pot. That’s right: Instead of stirring the chicken and rice together before cooking, you’ll sprinkle the dry rice over the chicken and then seal the lid. Why? When dry rice rests against the bottom of the pot, it can brown too quickly or scorch, which can prompt the dreaded BURN error. But when you layer the rice on top, you’ll end up with tender, fluffy grains every time.

More Ways to Make This Family Favorite

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell
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Here's how to make the best Instant Pot chicken and rice.

How To Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

This family-friendly dinner promises juicy pieces of chicken, fluffy rice, perfectly tender veggies, and a level of creaminess that just can't be beat.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 27 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 1

    medium onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pound

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pieces)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups

    long-grain white rice

  • 3 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 4 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag

    frozen peas and carrots

Equipment

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Measuring spoons & cups

  • 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker

  • Wooden spoon

  • Whisk

  • Box grater

Instructions

  1. Soften the cream cheese. Cut 2 ounces cream cheese into 4 pieces. Let sit at room temperature to soften while you cook the chicken and rice.

  2. Prep the aromatics and chicken. Dice 1 medium yellow onion and mince 2 garlic cloves. Cut 1 pound boneless chicken thighs chicken into 1-inch pieces. Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

  3. Soften the onion and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker on the highest Sauté setting until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker.

  4. Add the chicken and rice. Add the chicken and stir into the onions. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups white rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt over the chicken. Whisk 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard together until combined. Pour over the rice but do not stir.

  5. Cook under HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. Lock the lid on and make sure the valve is set to seal. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. It will take about 12 minutes to come up to pressure. Meanwhile, grate the cheese.

  6. Grate the cheese. Grate 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of the box grater (about 1 cup).

  7. Quick release the pressure. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure.

  8. Add the cheeses and frozen vegetables. Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen vegetables and gently stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir once more until the cream cheese is completely combined before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: How To Make Creamy, Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice