The flavors in this unique Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe were inspired by the Caribbean. When we were developing this dish, we wanted to create something easy to make that saved well and had a set of flavors so exciting and delicious that any leftovers would get snapped up.
Instant pots are perfect for these types of weekday dishes. They’re easy enough for novice cooks to navigate, and using pressure helps to speed up the cooking process and infuse dishes with tons of flavor. If you don’t have one yet, read our guide to buying an Instant Pot.
In this piece
Why Make Chicken and Rice in a Pressure Cooker
Almost anywhere you go in the world, there’s a local chicken and rice dish. In Singapore it’s the beloved Hainanese Chicken, down south it might be a spicy chicken jambalaya, in India you can have some chicken tikka masala and throughout Latin America it’s arroz con pollo.
The thing that connects them is their roots as an inexpensive dish that can feed lots of people and be adapted with whatever is on hand. This dish comes from the same tradition with most of the ingredients being staples that can be kept in the pantry. It’s also easy to scale up or down depending on the number of people that need to be fed.
The advantage of using a pressure cooker to make chicken and rice dishes is how it cuts down on the time it takes to extract the flavor from the chicken while keeping it tender. Using a pressure cooker is also an easy way to consistently get rice to turn out light and fluffy.
It helps that you can cook meat and rice at the same time in an Instant Pot. The trick is to know when to add each of them and how long to cook them. The pressure and heat come together to take care of any bacteria.
A Few Tips for Making Rice in an Instant Pot
What we love about using an Instant Pot to make rice is how simple it is to get light, fluffy rice infused with flavor.
A few tips we developed while figuring out this recipe along with our Instant Pot Mexican and Ginger White Rice recipes are:
- Sauteeing aromatics, such as onion, garlic, ginger, etc, before adding the liquid and rice infuses the rice with flavor.
- Using too much liquid or not letting the rice rest long enough during pressure release will cause it to turn out soupy.
- You can generally substitute one white rice for another, such as Jasmine, or Basmati but need to add a small amount of cooking time and liquid if you’re substituting brown rice for white rice.
- Substituting instant rice for regular rice or leaving the rice in the pressure cooker for too long will cause the rice to start to disintegrate and turn out sticky.
- Adding a little butter and seasoning to the rice as it’s being fluffed before serving is a great way to take it to another level.
To reheat this or similar rice dishes on the stove, use a small pot and a few tablespoons of water over low heat, stirring occasionally until everything has warmed through.
How to Give Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Flavors that Pop
The bold, bright flavors in this dish were inspired by the Caribbean, where chicken and rice is a beloved staple. We’ve always admired the depth of flavor and heat that comes from a good jerk seasoning.
We use a combination of jerk seasoning, ground allspice, and fresh thyme to set this recipe apart. The allspice adds a different dimension that fills the kitchen with wonderful aromatics as soon as you open the Instant Pot.
If this chicken and rice recipe had a secret ingredient it would be the allspice.
A common ingredient in savory dishes in the islands, allspice is primarily used as a baking spice in the States these days. In savory dishes, allspice has the ability to add an earthy, almost exotic layer to a dish’s flavor profile. It also helps balance the heat from the jerk seasoning.
We also add diced poblano and red peppers to add some color and crunch to the dish.
This recipe will work with a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot and can be used in other pressure cookers, although cooking times may need to be adjusted. It is designed to have a moderate amount of heat; if you prefer less heat, reduce the jerk seasoning by a ½ tsp. If you want steam to come out of your ears up the jerk by a teaspoon.
Serving the chicken and rice with a creamy cool yogurt sauce adds another layer to the dish. Using greek yogurt as the base, along with cilantro and lemon juice, creates a thick, creamy sauce with bright flavors that compliment the seasoning and texture of the main dish.
We recommend serving the sauce on the side so people can add as much or as little as they want. Most of the time, when we’re serving this dish, we serve it by itself with some good crusty bread on the side.
- 1 1/2 lb chicken thighs, boneless skinless
- 1-1/2 cups white rice, Jasmine or Basmati
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced (½ small onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 14 oz can black beans, drained
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-1/4 tsp jerk seasoning
- ½ tsp allspice, ground
- 1/2 tsp thyme, fresh (1 tsp if using dried)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Creamy Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp hot sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Combine the jerk seasoning, allspice, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Cut the chicken up into large bite-sized pieces.
- Saute the diced onion, poblano, and garlic in a little oil in the Instant Pot.
- Add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the chicken and spice mixture to the pot. Stir everything before cooking the chicken for 8 minutes on the meat setting.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the yogurt sauce by combining the Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, jerk seasoning, and salt.
- Release the pressure and add the rice, beans, and red pepper and cook everything for another 12 minutes on the rice setting. Use a natural release for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve with yogurt sauce.
- An option is to garnish with cilantro.
Leave a Reply