Skip to Content

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Rice

Instant pot chicken thighs and rice is one of those quick and easy weeknight dinners that you can make on repeat. Boneless chicken thighs are seasoned with a dry spice rub, crisped in a pan, and pressure-cooked with white rice along with butter, onions, garlic, herbs, and lemon slices.

The result? A fantastic, flavorful meal of juicy browned chicken and fluffy rice that the whole family will adore!

You might like these instant pot chicken drumsticks with gravy and these pan-fried jerk chicken quesadillas too if you are into easy chicken dinners.

Chicken thighs and rice in a bowl with a fork.

Who doesn’t love chicken and rice dinners that come together quickly? My boys will devour a platter faster than you can say ‘chicken and rice’! This recipe is one of the most asked for in my home, and I find myself making it ever so often. It might just become a favorite in your home too!

If you like the tender meat from boneless chicken thighs, try this pineapple chicken adobo. It’s a flavor explosion in a pan!

Why this chicken and rice dinner works

  • Made with simple pantry ingredients – I can bet you will find most of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry already. Saves a trip to the supermarket on busy days.
  • Healthy and filling – that’s what we are all looking for, aren’t we? If you are anything like me, you want to feed your family wholesome homemade meals most days, amiright?
  • Bright bold flavors… but not too rich or spicy – satisfies the more adventurous palette but mild enough for picky eaters. In short, it is a hit with both adults and kids.
  • Comes together easily – A quick sear in the pan or skillet followed by hands-off pressure cooking is all it takes to put this meal together. Easy-peasy!

Ingredients

Note: Exact amount are mentioned in the recipe card further down.

Instant pot chicken thighs and rice labelled ingredients.

Seasoning for chicken

  • Baking powder – helps in better browning.
  • Smoked paprika – regular paprika will also do if you don’t have smoked.
  • Cumin, ground – adds a warm and earthy flavor with a touch of citrus. Although not strictly necessary, you can prepare freshly ground cumin by roasting the seeds in a medium-hot frypan until fragrant and grinding them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. This trick intensifies the flavor of cumin.
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Sea salt

Other ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Butter
  • Cooking oil (divided) – light olive oil is a good option, but you can use any other cooking oil of your choice
  • Yellow onions, chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Chicken stock cubes
  • Water – plain tap water
  • Lemon – cut into slices or wedges
  • Dried herbs – a mix of parsley and thyme or any other herbs you like.
  • White basmati rice – Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. No need to soak it.

Instructions

Make the seasoning

  • Put the ingredients in a bottle and shake until well-mixed.

Pan fry the chicken

  • Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs and rub the seasoning all over the meat.
  • Heat the butter and half the cooking oil in a frypan and fry the chicken until browned on one side. Flip and repeat, two minutes per side approximately. Don’t worry about cooking it through as we will be pressure cooking the fried chicken later.
Seasoned and fried chicken thighs in a plate.

Pressure cook the chicken and rice

  • Switch on your instant pot to sauté (normal) and add the remaining cooking oil to the steel insert.
  • Tip in the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Crumble the stock cubes and add to the pot. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the water, lemon wedges and dried herbs.
  • Finally, add the rice and chicken (with the drippings from the frying pan), stir everything, and cancel sauté.
  • Secure the lid and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. After the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes, then release the pressure by moving the steam release handle to venting.
  • Open the pot and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.
Onions and garlic in oil being sauteed in instant pot.
More ingredients added to the instant pot - stock cubes, water, lemon wedges, and dried herbs.
Last step before pressure cooking - add the chicken and rice to the instant pot.

Substitutions

  • Instead of plain water, you can also use chicken stock. If using chicken stock, leave out the stock cubes.
  • Chicken thighs have the most tender and juicy meat, but chicken legs can be substituted with thighs in a pinch.
  • I used a mix of dried parsley and thyme, but if you don’t have these herbs, go with the herbs you have. Dried oregano, rosemary, cilantro all work well and add a distinct flavor of their own to the rice.

Top Tips

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Rinse it just before adding it to the chicken so that it doesn’t absorb too much water and becomes soft. Rinsing the rice will rid it of the excess starch, but soaking may result in over-done rice.
  • Don’t discard the drippings from the frying pan after frying the chicken. They add a lot of flavor and taste to the rice.
  • If using thighs, opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The cooking time will change if you have bone-in thighs. Add an extra 2 minutes pressure cooking for the latter, and do a quick release as soon as the timer beeps or the rice will be over-cooked.
Cooked chicken thighs and rice in instant pot.
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Rice

Serving suggestions

  • Yogurt whisked with grated cucumbers or onions and a dash of salt and pepper tastes great.
  • A salad with freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, and red onions is a good accompaniment. Adds a lovely crunch with every forkful.
  • A side of baked potatoes also works well with chicken and rice.
  • Finally, how about roasted vegetables? I like putting a mix of carrots, potatoes, and green beans on a sheet pan with my favorite seasonings plus olive oil and roasting it in the oven until cooked and slightly charred along the edges.
Chicken thighs and rice  on a plate with a fork.

Looking for more easy dinner recipes with chicken? Check out our easy chicken dinners category. It has recipes like lemon chicken tray bake, chicken stroganoff and parmesan crusted chicken among others so you’ll never be out of ideas!

chicken and rice in a plate with a fork

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Rice

Saima Zaidi
Instant pot chicken thighs and rice is one of those quick and easy weeknight dinners that you can make on repeat. Boneless chicken thighs are seasoned with a dry spice rub, crisped in a pan, and pressure-cooked with white rice along with butter, onions, garlic, herbs, and lemon slices.
4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 539 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 frypan non-stick or ceramic
  • 1 Instant Pot 6 quart duo

Ingredients
 
 

Seasoning/Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika regular paprika will also work
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tsp sea salt adjust according to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup yellow onions diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ lemon cut into slices or wedges
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs parsley and thyme
  • 2 cups white Basmati rice rinsed

Instructions
 

  • Put the ingredients under seasoning in a bottle and shake until well-mixed.
  • Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs and rub the seasoning all over the meat.
  • Heat the butter and 1 tbsp cooking oil in a frypan and fry the chicken until browned on one side. Flip and repeat, two minutes per side approximately.
  • Switch on your instant pot to sauté (normal) and add the remaining 1 tbsp cooking oil to the steel insert.
  • Tip in the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Crumble the stock cubes and add to the pot. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the water, lemon wedges and dried herbs.
  • Finally, add the rice and chicken (with the drippings from the frying pan), stir everything, and cancel sauté.
  • Secure the lid and make sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing'. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer for 6 minutes. After the timer beeps, wait 5 minutes, then release the pressure by moving the steam release handle to 'venting'.
  • Open the pot and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Rinse it just before adding it to the chicken so that it doesn’t absorb too much water and becomes soft. Rinsing will rid the rice of the excess starch, but soaking may result in over-done rice.
  • Don’t discard the drippings from the frying pan after frying the chicken. They add a lot of flavor and taste to the rice.
  • If using thighs, opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The cooking time will change if you have bone-in thighs. Add an extra 2 minutes pressure cooking for the latter, and do a quick release as soon as the timer beeps or the rice will be over-cooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 539kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 24gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 877mgPotassium: 390mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 290IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chicken and rice dinner, instant pot chicken and rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Jim

Friday 8th of December 2023

Love it!