Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Recipe

Why emphasize the perfectness of this recipe?  Because pressure cooking these two ingredients together and getting them both right is impossible!

Pressure cooking rice is an exacting task – too much liquid or time and the grains burst at the seams or turn into an unappetizing runny, starchy, gummy, gluey slosh. Too little liquid and the rice carbonizes and bonds to the base of the pressure cooker to be chiseled off. Rice needs just 3 minutes at high pressure (with natural release).

Instead, pressure cooking chicken is more of a gamble – there are great variations in the liquid that is released during cooking based on the meat’s age and preservation.  Most American supermarket chickens, for example, are already brined in (and sometimes injected with)  salt water to make them last longer and weigh more.  The liquid released between a supermarket chicken and a free-range, locally-raised freshly butchered one can vary by a cup of liquid or more. Yes, I measured it so you don’t have to.

If trying to wing it with liquid ratios doesn’t result in gummy rice, bone-in chicken’s 10 minute pressure cooking time will!  This seven-minute difference is almost an additional half hour of conventional cooking time.

This method guarantees PERFECT results regardless of your meat’s origins and processing.

The solution to getting both of these ingredients perfectly cooked is to cook them sequentially, one after the other, and not together.  This method guarantees PERFECT results regardless of your meat’s origins and processing. First the chicken is boiled, then the cooking liquid is measured to the rice’s exacting needs and cooked in the chicken’s tasty broth.  Don’t worry – the chicken won’t get cold.  It’s wrapped-up tight and then beautifully caramelized under the broiler (or on the grill) while the rice is cooking.

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Perfected

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 12 & 3 min. High(2) Normal & Natural

4.9 from 30 reviews
Pressure Cooked Chicken and Rice
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1 piece of chicken 1 cup of rice with toppings
  • Calories: 244.3
  • TOTAL Fat: 10.2
  • TOTAL Carbs: 28.6
  • Sugar Carbs: 6.8
  • Sodium: 1375
  • Fiber Carbs: 3.3
  • Protein: 11.4
  • Cholesterol: 31.3
Recipe type: Pressure Cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Leave the chicken skin on for more flavor and crunch.
For the Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250ml) water (or your pressure cooker's minimum required liquid amount)
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (4 drumsticks & 4 thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons salt (decrease if using salt-brined chicken)
For the rice:
  • about 1 cup water (see instructions)
  • 2 cups (500ml) Basmati rice, rinsed
For the garnish:
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 wedge white onion, thinly sliced
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker add oil and onion, saute until soft. Add the garlic and spices, and swoosh everything around for about 30 seconds. Then, add the water tomato paste and salt. Finally, add chicken pieces and coat in cooking liquid.
  2. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 14 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 12 minutes pressure cooking time.
  3. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  4. Strain out chicken pieces and place in heat-proof serving platter, and cover with foil.
  5. Pour the cooking liquids from the pressure cooker into a heat-proof 4-cup measuring cup ( 1L measuring pitcher) to reach 3½ cups (875ml) . If the cooking liquid does not reach 3½ cup mark add water. If you have more cooking liquid than 3½ cups reserve it for another use.
  6. Pour the measured liquid back into the pressure cooker and add the rice. Mix.
  7. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 3 minutes pressure cooking time.
  8. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, when cooking time is up count 10 minutes of natural open time. Then, release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
  9. While the rice is cooking, slide the un-covered serving platter with chicken pieces skin-side up under broiler until the skin is brown and bubbly.
  10. Temporarily transfer chicken and cooking liquid, if any, into the foil that was used to cover it and tumble the freshly pressure cooked rice onto the platter. Now add the chicken pieces on top and sprinkle with pine nuts, raisins, fresh tomato, and onion before serving. Pour any remaining cooking liquid on top.
    NOTE: When you pour out the meat cooking liquid in the measuring cup, you can optionally de-fat the liquid at this point. If you do, add only enough cooking liquid and water to reach 3 cups (not 3½ as directed).
This recipe provides 45% of the recommended daily values of Manganase, 28% of Vitamin A, 24% of Vitamin C and 13% of Vitamin C and 20% of Niacine per serving - based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Buh-bye RAW chicken and GUMMY rice - this pressure cooker chicken and rice recipe gets them both right!
pressure cooker chicken and rice



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  1. How much longer would frozen chicken thighs need to be cooked during the initial stage?

    1. Cook frozen meat about 25-50% longer – make sure it’s covered with the cooking liquid. The cooker will take longer to reach pressure (because it’s full of frozen vs. refrigerated meat) and that is OK. This advice does not apply to braising or steaming frozen meats – which I do not recommend since one cannot ensure the meat being fully cooked to the bone unless the meat is actually boiling.



      1. Laura, I’m confused. I read all 122 responses. I love the idea of using frozen meat. But in this response you say cook 20-25% longer, while in all other similar responses you say there is no change (other than that it will take longer to reach pressure). Also, in every answer you say “make sure the meat is covered with the cooking liquid”, but I’m afraid 1 cup water would not cover all those chicken pieces. Even the picture (of the raw meat in the pot) doesn’t show the meat covered. Please explain.

        1. April, since my first comment on frozen chicken on this recipe in 2013 I’ve had more experience pressure cooking frozen meat personally. I had so many comments about using frozen meat (I always defrost usually) that I thought it was time to tackle and test this topic – as you’ve probably already seen I wrote an article about pressure cooking frozen meat as a result. I also added a column that notes how much additional time to add frozen meat in the cooking time chart. Since I can’t go back and change every instance of when I changed my mind online, if there is any confusion, follow my most recent advice (I learn new things, too).

          Don’t worry, there is enough liquid in this recipe to fully cover and cook frozen chicken pieces!



  2. This is the first time I have tried your recipe, but WOW! This came out soooo very good!!!! I put 3 TBS tomato paste instead of 3 tsp by mistake and I had to omit cardamom (didn’t have it) but it still turned out so very good. It’s like eating Byriani at an Indian restaurant. Thank you! Thank you very much for posting this recipe. I am looking forward to trying more.

    1. I just realized I did the same thing! 3T of tomato sauce and no cardamom. Still very good :) Next time I’ll be more careful with the measurements, though, so my kids are happier with the color of the rice.

  3. Ok, just got an Instant Pot for Christmas and used your rice recommendations to make delicious brown basmati rice the other night. Now I’m all set to make this chicken and rice recipe. However, the cooking liquid ratio (even without fat) is very different for this recipe than it is in your helpful chart for all kinds of rice. If I used 1 3/4 c of brown rice as suggested, then I would expect to multiply the 1 1/4 cups of water normally used for brown rice by 1.75. This could only take me to just under 2 1/4 cups of water, much less than even the defatted 3 cups in the recipe. I am sure it will taste delicious regardless, but I don’t want to end up with soupy rice. Can you explain why the ratio is so different from the steamed rice post
    Thank you. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    1. Laurel, you should use the liquid ratio recommended for your rice type as given in the steamed rice post or pressure cooking time chart (easier to find in a pinch since it’s linked at the top of every page). The ratio should be measured with the defatted liquid, or the liquid that settles under the fat in the measuring cup.



  4. Hi Laura, I was wondering if I could cut back on the amount of salt?

    1. Absolutely, the salt is according to taste. Remember that the it is for BOTH the chicken and the rice. That works out to about 1 1/2 teaspoons for each dish.



  5. Hi Laura, I borrowed my daughters instant pot and I’m trying it out to make sure I like it before I buy one myself. This was my second recipe
    And it was delicious! But there was just too much rice. If I cut the juice to 1 3/4 cups & the rice to 1 cup. Will that work? Or what is your recommended ratio on juice to rice. My first try was back ribs in Coca-Cola. They were amazing!!! Thai you for your recipe and your help.

    1. Hi Linda, welcome! Yes, if you halve the rice you can halve the cooking liquid. Instant Pot’s minimum liquid requirement is 1 1/2 cups so this will work.



    2. Linda, you can certainly reduce the rice as Laura notes, but why not make all that is called for. Use any left over as a side for another dinner another day.

  6. Just tried this recipe last night — the BEST chicken so far from my Instant Pot. Easy to do and so good. A couple suggestions:

    – I removed the skin for the chicken to reduce the fat

    – After sauteing the onions and garlic, I removed them then lightly browned the chicken. I then deglazed the pot with some white wine, cooked off the alcohol then continued as directed above by adding all spices and ingredients to pressure cook the chicken,

    Thank you very much for this excellent recipe!

  7. This was a good dish that I will make again. I didn’t have tomato paste nor did I have cardomom but still was very tasty.

    The chicken was ok- stewed but moist and very tender. Broiling helps the look.

    The star was the rice which was delicious. I need to get a defatting device if I pressure cook more.

    Good stuff.

  8. I just made this tonight and it was wonderful! The couple changes I made were: arborio rice and following directions for cooking from this site (7 minutes) and used 1 1/2 cups of the rice so we would have leftovers; This rice made it extra creamy. I also used 2 leeks in place of the onion. I didnt see the ginger in the recipe until later so didnt use that. I dont think it needed it, as it was just perfect. So quick and tasty.

    1. What a great idea to switch the rice to Risotto. Be sure to come back to leave a rating for this recipe, when you next visit and thanks for sharing what you did with us!



  9. Oh yummy! Made this as directed except for using 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp nutmeg for the 1 tsp cardamom. Both my teenagers enjoyed this which is saying a lot! I almost omitted the garnish, but it was a perfect balance to the smokiness of the rice. Looking forward to many more delicious recipes-thanks for sharing this one!

  10. This was, quite simply, DIVINE!

    It was so full of deliciousness and flavour. My children both loved it and didn’t even attempt to douse it in BBQ sauce which is a MASSIVE accomplishment from this recipe.

    I added extra liquid to reach my pressure cooker’s minimum requirements and ended up with the exact right amount of liquid for the rice. Gosh that felt good. Using all that delicious stock and juices to cook through the rice. Nothing was wasted at all!!

    This will be a once a fortnight meal for us from now on. Simply perfect. Thanks so much.

  11. I’m confused about the cooking time and the quantity of liquid for the rice… it looks like the ratio is 1:1.5 (2 cups of rice to 3 cups of defatted liquid), which is more than shown on the chart on this website (1:1.25 for rinsed basmati). The cooking time is longer as well (3 minutes in the recipe compared to 1 minute on the chart). Is this because the cooking liquid doesn’t “behave” the same way as water in terms of how it cooks and is absorbed in the rice? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisa, the timing chart reflects what is going to work in most situations for most people. In this recipe, in particular, you’re starting out with very hot “chicken stock” with a little bit of fat. The timing and ratio difference reflect this. If in doubt, read all of the comments and reviews of the recipe. As a policy we publish all comments – positive and negative – so if something went wrong we can learn from it and either give guidance or improve the recipe.



  12. Could this recipe be doubled for a larger crowd or that would that be too much in the pressure cooker?

    1. Yes, the major issue is the rice. If your pressure cooker is at least 6 liters you can safely double this recipe.



  13. Thanks! I would assume the cooking time would need to be increased to account for more chicken. Any suggestions for how long to cook the chicken?

    1. No, Tracy. The cooking time is not increased when you double the ingredients. Here’s why_



      1. Does the cooking liquid need to be increased for more chicken and if so by how much, say double the chicken?

        1. Hi Liz, keep the cooking liquid the same – do not increase it as you increase the recipe.



  14. Hi! I want to try to make this tonight. My husband wants enough sauce to sop up with bread, I want the rice. How much extra water, paste, etc should I use if I want to slightly increase the tomato/meat broth for a more saucy chicken while still having some left over for rice?

  15. I followed the directions exactly, but my chicken thighs were not cooked all the way through. Next time I will add a minute or two to the chicken cooking.

    It was delicious – using the chicken liquid for the rice really elevates it.

  16. Turned out really well.

    1. Aditya, it looks great! Thanks so much for sharking the photo with us!!



  17. This was the best thing I have ever made in my instant pot!!! I never leave reviews except in awesome circumstances, like this delicious meal. I sautéed some chard from my garden with garlic onions sesame oil and rice vinegar. Yum and thank you endlessly!!!

    1. Thanks for the review Carly, so glad to read it was a hit – love the side dish idea, too!



  18. Wow! I had been eyeing this recipe for a couple of weeks. I must say it is amazing. I forgot to add bay leaves and it still came out perfect. My eight year old son had two pieces of Chicken and a large helping of Rice. He was very impressed and rarely eats that much. I cannot wait to try this again. I was curious about possibly using Chicken Stock instead of water to further push this over the top. Or over kill?

  19. Laura,
    I made it tonight and it was fabulous! Not just the taste, but the dish came out do pretty. Thank you for the recipe! My husband thought that the meat was undercooked next to the bones (he always thinks so, I think is was just fine), so next time I will make it with boneless chicken. A few days ago I asked you about cooking from frozen. This time I planned ahead and bought fresh chicken, but the info will be great another time, when I won’t have time to ask!

    1. April, it looks great, thanks for sharing the photo! The chicken won’t suffer too much if you make it go a few extra minutes to make your husband happy. Chicken breasts won’t make the rice as flavorful as full-on chicken legs.



  20. I’m trying to use up my freezer pantry, but was having trouble finding an appealing recipe for a package of 6 frozen drumsticks that needed using up.

    After a long search through my pressure cooker cookbook collection and online, only two recipes appealed to me for tonight’s supper – and they were both yours – Chicken Cacciatore from frozen chicken (plublished on website) and this Chicken and Rice in One Pot recipe from your website. I had time to defrost the chicken so this recipe won out, but I’ll be sure to try the cacciatore recipe soon, too (there’s more frozen chicken to use up).

    This recipe really is a winner – both my husband and teenage son started into it without even giving me a chance to take a nice photo first. My husband commented twice on how good it was.

    I cooked the recipe in my Instant Pot 6 qt Smart. My only recipe adjustments were to use just drumsticks, because that’s what I had, and 3 cups of really rich, gelatinous homemade chicken stock instead of plain water. I had all the spices and even had raisins I had just dried from fresh grapes this past weekend.

  21. i want to make this for dinner tonight. Are the spices you use fresh or dried and ground?

    1. The fact that they are measured in teaspoons tells me they are dried and ground.
      If, for example, fresh ginger was used it would be given as “An inch piece, peeled and grated”

      Personally I always use whole spices and grind them immediately before use.
      Except Tumeric. That’s too hard to get here.
      But I think you would get a delicious meal either way.

    2. I can confirm that they are all powders – I have updated the recipe to reflect this. Apologies for the confusion!



  22. My second meal with my new Instant Pot and it turned out fab! Very easy for a novice like me and really tasty. I had some chicken bone broth in the fridge so used that instead of water.

  23. Followed this exactly, except omitted the raisins and pine nuts. Delicious! Very flavorful and tasted authentic (I’m Indian).

  24. This was the first recipe I ever made with my new Instant Pot that I got for Christmas, and I have to say it was a great choice. Delicious! My husband was thrilled, and my mother in law, who gave me the recipe, said mine turned out better than when she makes it!

    I made a few tweaks: I pre-seasoned and browned the chicken in the pot first, and then sauteed the aromatics in the fond. The recipe didn’t say whether to use ground or fresh ginger so I used fresh, which I prefer. I doubled the turmeric because I love turmeric and it’s so good for you. I used veggie broth instead of water, and cut the salt down to 1 Tsp. Lastly, no one likes raisins in our house so I use coarsely chopped dried cherries… delicious!

    Definitely a keeper and I will share this recipe with friends.

  25. Do you think I could sub an equal amount of garam masala spice blend? I don’t have all the spices required on hand but I do have some gifted garam masala (never used it before)!

    1. Yes garam masala should be a suitable substitute. But if it is at all old, it may have lost its savour.
      Always try to use it fresh.
      Also garam masala roughly translates as “spice blend” there are lots of different ones.
      Here are two:

      Delhi style
      30ml Coriander
      40ml cumin
      20ml green cardamom
      1 cinnamon stick
      12ml cloves
      All whole spices then toasted and ground

      Punjabi style
      50ml Cumin seed
      60ml coriander seed
      50ml Ajowan seed (don’t know what this is)
      30ml green cardamom
      25ml black peppercorns
      25ml 1 cinnamon stick
      1 bay leaf
      All whole spices toasted and ground
      15ml ground nutmeg (that’s around 2 whole nutmegs)
      2ml ground ginger.
      Mixed with above.

      Both recipes make up a pantry supply from which you then take what you need.
      They are both from “Cooking with Kurma”. a great vegetarian cookbook. Probably out of print now. My copy is dated 1998.

      I have tried neither. I tend to use Indian made commercial preparations for this. Just as I tend to use Ras el Hanout instead of individual spices for Moroccan dishes.

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