Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is a delicious Spanish rice recipe made with bone in chicken thighs, rice, and spices, all cooked together for a complete meal! It’s my new favorite instant pot dinner recipe!

It’s a beautiful thing when you find the perfect instant pot recipe that also makes an all-in-one dinner.  This recipe ranks right up there with my old favorites, Instant Pot Chicken Taco Bowls and Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta.

Spanish rice and chicken (arroz con pollo) with peas and red bell peppers on a white plate with a fork.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

I am REALLY excited to share this instant pot chicken thighs recipe with you. It’s truly a keeper; the kind of instant pot recipe that you are going to want to save forever.

Technically I should call this dish Arroz con pollo, which is Spanish for “chicken and rice” because we’re making a Spanish flavored rice, that pressure cooks with chicken thighs in the instant pot at the same time. This not only saves you time and energy, but cooking the ingredients together in the pot allows the flavors to blend, resulting in a flavorful and delicious instant pot recipe.

Below I have answered all of your instant pot questions including how to substitute chicken breasts and brown rice as well as alternative methods for making this instant pot chicken thighs recipe.

Can I make this in a 3 quart and/or 8 quart model instant pot?

Yes! Just use the minimum fill requirements for the liquid.

Can I use frozen chicken?

Yes. Check out my tutorial for Instant Pot frozen chicken thighs. You wont brown the chicken at the beginning and the skin will not get crispy, so you can remove the skin after cooking, or brown the skin in a hot skillet after cooking. Or see my tutorial for Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts.

Can I substitute brown rice?

Yes. To substitute brown rice in this recipe, add ¼ cup extra chicken broth and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes, with a 10 minute natural pressure release. I suggest using chicken thighs when cooking with brown rice, as chicken breasts are more likely to overcook and be dry when cooking for so long.

Can I make this Chicken and Rice on the stovetop?

Yes! Follow the same directions, using a large skillet, over medium heat, instead. When everything is assembled, cover the skillet with a lid and transfer to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.

Can I make this Chicken and Rice in the Slow Cooker?

I haven’t tested this recipe in the slow cooker, but yes, I think it could work. I recommend browning the chicken thighs and sautéing the veggies and spices before adding to the slow cooker, then adding your rice and chicken. This will take 3-4 hours on high or 4-6 on low for white rice and 5-6 on high or 6-8 on low for brown.

Close up photo of cooked chicken thighs on top of Spanish rice in an instant pot.

Ingredients in Instant Pot Chicken and Rice:

  • Chicken thighs: I highly recommend chicken thighs, over chicken breasts, because I think they cook much better in the instant pot and are more tender and flavorful. If you want to substitute chicken breasts, cook on high pressure for 8 minutes with a 5 minute natural release.
  • Rice: I use regular long-grain white rice. (If you want to use brown rice, see my cooking note above). Be sure to rinse the rice before adding it to the instant pot to remove the starch, and help keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • White wine: I’ve used white wine in this recipe to deglaze the pan and add great flavor to the dish. The alcohol gets cooked out. If you don’t want to use wine, just leave this step out and deglaze the pan when you add the chicken broth.
  • Diced Veggies
  • Spices
  • Chicken broth
Four overhead process photos of an instant pot with browned chicken thighs, spices, veggies rice and chicken broth added to the pot to make instant pot chicken and rice.

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice:

  1. Sauté.  Add oil to your instant pot and sauté the chicken thighs for a few minutes on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Add white wine to the pot to deglaze the pan, and cook for about 1 minute until most of the wine has evaporated. Add rice, chicken broth, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Place chicken thighs on top of the rice mixture and turn your instant pot off.

3. Cook. Set the Instant Pot to cook on manual, high pressure, for 15 minutes. When the timer beeps allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before removing the lid.

4. Add Peas. Remove the instant pot lid and pour the frozen peas on top of the mixture. Return lid and allow to rest for a few minutes.

5. Serve. Remove the chicken to a plate. Gently fluff rice with a fork, and serve garnished with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Arroz con pollo in an instant pot.

I doubt you’ll have leftovers of this tasty dinner, but if you do, store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.

My family loves this meal served with warm cooked tortilla on the side, and I always add a drizzle of hot sauce over my rice. Yum!

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Recipe

Spanish rice and chicken (arroz con pollo) served on a white plate with a fork.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Extra wait time 15 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 bone-in chicken thighs, with skin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 bell pepper , chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste*
  • 1/2 cup white wine , optional*
  • 2 cups long grain white rice , rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • cilantro or parsley , for garnish

Instructions
 

  • *UPDATE 5/17/2020: I removed this recipe after many comments of readers struggling with the burn notice–then received a ton of backlash because so many of you love this recipe and– it works perfectly for me as well) so I am reposting it. Before cooking, PLEASE CONSULT your instant pot manual for the proper rice to liquid cooking ratio for your instant pot. I use a 1:1 ratio, but some require a 1:2 ratio, so you may want to add an additional cup of broth.       
  •  *Prepare all of your ingredients and have them ready. This will help prevent too much liquid from evaporating during sautéing and help you avoid a burn notice.
  • Turn Instant pot on sauté setting. Add oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. 
  • Add chicken to the hot pot and cook for a few minutes on both sides, until the skin on the chicken thighs is golden brown and crispy. Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the pot. Stir well and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove everything to a plate.
  • Add white wine to the pot to deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute until most of the wine has evaporated. Turn the pot OFF!        
  • Add chicken broth and bay leaf to the pot and stir. Add the veggie/spice mixture and stir to combine. Pour rice over everything and place chicken thighs on top, skin side up.
  • Secure instant pot lid, with valve turned to the sealed position. Cook on manual, high pressure, for 15 minutes. When the timer beeps allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before removing the lid.
  • Remove the instant pot lid and pour the frozen peas on top of the mixture. Return lid and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  •  Remove the chicken to a plate. Gently fluff rice with a fork.
  • Garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Notes

Chicken thighs: If using boneless, skinless thighs, cook time is 8 minutes on high pressure. Directions for frozen chicken or chicken breasts are above in the post.
Tomato Paste: you can substitute 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
Wine: I use Chardonnay. Any dry white wine would work. The alcohol gets cooked out. If you don’t want to use wine, just leave this step out and deglaze the pan when you add the chicken broth.
You will find many answers to FAQ about the Instant pot, above in the post!

Nutrition

Calories: 705kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 28gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 385mgPotassium: 636mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1305IUVitamin C: 45.5mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 2.9mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious one-pot meal! I added 1/2 cup more stock to make it “a la chorrera” style (didn’t have beer on hand). I will use this recipe from now on. Thanks! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

  2. I’ve had sooo many issues making rice in the instant pot. I consulted the internet and the suggestion I saw was to turn off the “Keep Warm” option. I have only tried it once, but I was successful in not burning my rice. Because of that, I am willing to try this recipe again 🙂

  3. This was fabulous! Chicken tender and very flavorful. Rice and veggie combo was excellent. This will be a regularly repeated recipe at our house! I added a few chopped sundried tomatoes to add more tomato flavor since I didnt have tomato paste. Worked out perfectly!

  4. I got the burn notice twice even after adding extra broth but I think the mistake was measuring the rice dry as there was way too much. You do say rinsed in the ingredients list, but maybe the rice should be soaked, then measured before using. Also the comment about not stirring might be a good idea. Thanks for the recipe, I will try again.

  5. 5 stars
    I got the formula down for bone-in chicken with brown rice – 11 minutes on high pressure with a six minute natural release. Perfection!

  6. You have accounted beautifully for most variations but I have another I need guidance on—chicken breasts (skin on, bone in) and brown rice. The time needs to be lengthened for brown rice but shortened for breasts vs thighs. 10 minutes with 5 natural release?

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks Stacy! I hadn’t seen your response when I posted my most recent. I did 10/5 but found the rice didn’t fully cook so I fired the IP back up for one more minute with a quick release at the end.

        This recipe is fantastic. So satisfying and much to my delight, my two-year old gobbled it up. There’s nothing not to love about it if someone likes nourishing and flavorful food.

        Note: I was trying to use up an oversupply of bell peppers so I put three in-red, orange, and yellow- to great end (no green because I think green bells have a unique taste I’m not always fond of).

        I think if someone finds this bland, they either need to use a bit more salt and pepper in the beginning on the chicken (not throughout, which I usually find excessive) or try using a packet of Sazón Goya in place of the salt.

        1. Thanks for responding and letting us know what worked for you and BRAVO for throwing in the extra veggies you had!! Thrilled that you loved it so much.

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