This Instant Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice is a flavorful, easy meal full of great nutrition. Make it early in the day for an instant meal at night.
Clients often ask me about the Instant Pot - Is it worth it? How does it work? What can it do?
Initially, I had the exact same questions. I bought my Instant Pot on Prime Day 2017 without knowing how I was going to use it. It's an intimidating machine, at first, but over the past couple of years I have grown to love this counter top wonder for all it can do.
Truly, I think the secret to fixing what I call "The Dinnertime Dilemma" is found within this stainless steel electronic pressure cooker. Why? Because it cooks food in a fraction of the time, automatically releases pressure, and keeps your food warm until you are ready to eat. I've literally cooked our dinner at 11 am in the morning and it sat all ready and warm till 6pm when we ate it. That's dinnertime magic my friends.
Initially I decided my first year of ownership of the Instant Pot would be dedicated to just getting my feet wet and figuring it all out. Chicken and rice seemed like an approachable, and truly helpful, recipe to begin with. I found this recipe and tried it as-is. It was a hit with my family and helped me feel a little more confident.
Ever since I have been making changes to crank up the flavor and the vegetable content so it truly was an all in one meal. I'm really happy with how this Instant Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice turned out and I hope it helps you feel confident using your Instant Pot.
Here's a video on how to make it and the recipe:
Instant Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice
- 1 cup-ish fresh cilantro a big, fist-full, plus a couple of tablespoons chopped for garnish
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 bell peppers any color, diced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 large chicken breasts or 3 small
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 cups carrots shredded or matchstick
- 1 lime juiced
- In a blender, place cilantro and chicken stock. Blend until combined into a green liquid, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat Instant Pot to saute mode. When hot, add oil then onion and peppers. Stir to saute, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off (hit Cancel).
- In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin and salt. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with this mixture. Save any leftover seasoning not used on chicken. Set both aside.
- Pour the cilantro stock into the Instant Pot. Add rice, canned tomatoes, and remaining seasoning; stir to combine all.
- Layer seasoned chicken on top of the rice mixture. Do not submerge.
- Layer shredded carrots on top of chicken. Do not mix in.
- Lock the lid of the Instant Pot in place and make sure the release knob is not open. Press "Manual" on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 22 minutes.
- When Instant Pot is done cooking (it will beep), manually release the pressure by moving the pressure release knob to "Release".
- Once pressure is released, open the top of the Instant Pot carefully. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Then add the lime juice and mix all contents together.
- Dish out portion and garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro and more lime if desired.
Buy the Right Brown Rice
You guys, I know that brown rice doesn't taste as good as white rice. It is what it is. So if you just gotta have white rice, go for it. You may need to reduce the cooking time a little because it cooks faster. I haven't tested that so it's a bit of guess.
There is a however, a hierarchy of brown rice that needs to be talked about. Short Grain Brown Rice is far superior in taste and texture to long grain brown rice.
It's softer and tastier. Trust me! You can usually find at least one type of short grain brown rice at grocery stores or you can buy it on Amazon, which I do.
What Size and kind of Instant Should you Buy?
There are two main sizes of Instant Pot: 6 quart and 8 quart. A 6 quart will get most jobs done for a family of 4. If you have more than 4 people in your family, I recommend the 6 quart, which is what I have. I found the extra room nice for making things like ribs or a whole chicken.
You can also get very fancy IP's and basic IP's. If you are totally new to the Instant Pot, I don't think you need a super fancy machine. All of the IP's have the same, basic cooking functions so buying a more expensive one won't eliminate a cooking setting. The more expensive versions have more tech options like WiFi connection, are programmable, have corresponding apps and/or are made of fancier materials.
There are a few other brand options beside "Instant Pot" and are usually labeled as a "Multi Cooker". At this point, I would go for the brand Instant Pot as it's widely trusted.
I really hope this helps you get dinner on the table under the most dire of circumstances.