Instant Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice! Throw everything in the instant pot and walk away. You’ll have a delicious, satisfying, healthy dinner 30 minutes later!

You really just throw everything in the instant pot and let it cook. It makes for a satisfying, healthy and budget-friendly meal with no clean-up.

overhead shot of chicken and rice in white bowls with cilantro and cheese

Have you jumped on the Instant Pot train yet? I caved and bought one on cyber Monday when they were a smoking deal last November.

I know a lot of people who also bought an instant pot 2 weeks ago on Amazon Prime Day. Why is it so hard to pass up deals on Amazon?

All I know is I’m glad I made the leap and bought one. I use my instant pot all the time to make my favorite sprouted brown rice as well as quinoa to go with all kinds of dinners.

It also works great for any recipes where you’d usually use the slow-cooker.

close up shot of chicken and rice in white bowl topped with tortilla chips and cheese


How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

This Slow-Cooker Moroccan Apricot Chicken turns out great in the instant pot!

You can use the saute function to brown everything and then select the slow-cooker function or cook it all in 30 minutes on high pressure. I love the versatility!

This Instant Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice is my very favorite instant pot recipe to-date! When I showed my husband how easy it was to make his mind was blown.

chicken and rice in white bowl topped with tortilla chips and cheese

Instant Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice

I love making this with the sprouted brown rice I mentioned earlier. I also like eating this with tortilla chips, hot sauce and sharp cheddar.

The leftovers from this meal are delicious and highly coveted at my house.

You can also freeze any leftovers (see instructions in the recipe) for easy meals/lunches later.

If there is one recipe to convince you to buy an instant pot it should be this one. I’m planning on sharing more of my instant pot favorites regularly! For another favorite chicken recipe try this chicken fajita marinade!


Can I use frozen chicken?

Yes frozen chicken will work great! Just be sure it does not exceed 1lb of frozen chicken. If you’re using 2 chicken breasts be sure they are frozen separate and not in one big clump. I find this works best with one large frozen chicken breast instead of 2.

Can I use white rice?

This recipe was designed for brown rice. It will burn if you use white rice and keep the cook time/liquid the same. The longer cook time is to insure the brown rice gets fully cooked. This is my favorite brown rice on Amazon!

Help! It burned on the bottom.

There can be a number of reasons for things burning in the instant pot. If you’ve used brown rice and not too much frozen chicken (white rice and too much frozen chicken can cause this to burn) if is probably because your instant pot didn’t seal correctly. Make sure the inner ring is clean and the valve is set “sealing”.

image for pinterest - close up shot of chicken and rice in white bowl with tortilla chips


chicken and rice in white bowl with fork topped with cheese
4.87 from 80 votes

Instant Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Instant Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice! Throw everything in the instant pot and walk away. You'll have a delicious, satisfying, healthy dinner 30 minutes later! 


  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice I like using this Sprouted Brown Rice best
  • 3/4 cup salsa any kind you like
  • 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chicken breasts about 1 pound
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • chips hot sauce and more cheese for serving


  • Place the brown rice, salsa, kidney beans, corn and chicken stock in the instant pot. Stir to combine.
  • Nestle the chicken breasts (leave them whole so they won't get dry during cooking) down in the rice/liquid mixture. Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt partly over the chicken and partly over the liquid/rice mixture. Spread out the spices and mix some in with the liquid with spoon. (This doesn't have to be precise. Just get some in with the rice and some on the chicken.)
  • Secure the lid and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 24 minutes (select Manual and then dial up or down to get to the correctly number of minutes; the IP will start on it’s own).
  • Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release the rest of the pressure. Remove the chicken breasts and shred into bite-sized pieces. Fluff the rice with a fork and mix in the chicken and shredded cheese.
  • Serve topped with cheese, hot sauce and chips for dipping. Enjoy!


MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Omit the cheese.
To Freeze: I like to freeze this in individual-sized portions to defrost in the microwave for quick lunches/meals. Just let everything fully cool before packaging it for freezing. Defrost on the microwaves defrost setting for 3-4 minutes, then microwave on the regular setting for 2-3 minutes more as needed.
I've tried this recipe with long grain brown rice and it works great, but I really love/prefer using my favorite Sprouted Brown Rice in this recipe. (Not sponsored, I just love this rice!) The leftovers from this are delicious the next day. I love eating this with tortilla chips. You can easily omit the cheese to make this dairy-free if needed.
WITH FROZEN CHICKEN: This works great with frozen chicken. Just keep the cook time the same. The long cook time is to ensure the rice cooks through so frozen or fresh chicken will work. It may take a few extra minutes for the pressure to come up, but the recipe will turn out great.


Calories: 362.39kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.74g | Protein: 25.84g | Fat: 4.43g | Saturated Fat: 0.96g | Cholesterol: 50.01mg | Sodium: 786mg | Potassium: 792.86mg | Fiber: 6.46g | Sugar: 3.58g | Vitamin A: 277.43IU | Vitamin C: 3.08mg | Calcium: 51.55mg | Iron: 2.48mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this the other night and it was so delicious! I’ve been super intimidated by my instant pot but the recipe was so straightforward that I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did! We had great leftovers for days and now I’m no longer intimated by my instant pot! Thanks!

  2. 4 stars
    I made this tonight and (with a few tweaks to the seasonings) it was very good. I did, however, question the cook time. 24 minutes seemed way excessive; I set the IP to 10 minutes plus 10 minutes NPR and it was perfectly cooked, even though I used a turkey breast that was mostly frozen when it went into the pot. I think this will also make a wonderful vegetarian entree.

  3. 5 stars
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  4. 5 stars
    I just made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit! I had 1.6lbs of chicken thighs instead of 1lb of breasts. I added 5 extra minutes for the weight difference and everything was great. Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Made great Southwestern Beans and Rice with your recipe as my starting point. I didn’t have any chicken and made a few changes (very few). Used 1 cup of rice instead of 1.5, no corn, chicken or cheese. Your spices and timing were perfect.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I didnt read the comments til AFTER I’d nearly finished cooking it, AND I used white (basmati) rice. I did not get a burn message, though there was some definitely stuck to the bottom it wasnt burnt. I added a tiny bit of round steak that needed to be used up, otherwise followed the recipe exactly.
    So, it cooked a bit longer than necessary for white rice which made it kind of sticky, but otherwise it was still quite delicious. I’ll likely make it again with a few minor tweaks and a little more seasoning. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    This is my first recipe cooking with my instant pot. I was going to use white rice since that’s the only kind I had but after reading the comments, I decided to just buy brown rice and follow the recipe exactly. The food came out delicious and maybe I will try doubling the recipe next time. I added chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, lime, and cilantro on top. Can’t wait to make this dish again.

  8. 5 stars
    I’m trying this tonight for the first time, but I didn’t have kidney beans, so I substituted cannellini beans instead. Unfortunately that wasn’t a great choice. It still tastes very good, but the beans pretty much turned to mush. I’ll be making this again very soon, and using the right beans next time.

  9. 5 stars
    Very easy to make and very delicious! This one packs up nice for work the next day (or week) and is an all-around winner.

  10. I love this recipe. I make it exactly as written except I use whatever beans I have on hand, kidney, Black, tri bean mix and if I am using white rice I cut the cooking time at high pressure to 22 minutes. It’s quick, easy and a family favorite. Can’t beat it on a busy night because you’re almost certain to have the ingredients on hand.

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