Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Rice

instant pot chicken pesto rice

A super simple, easy, one pot meal! This Instant Pot chicken pesto rice is flavor-packed with chunks of tender chicken, green beans, garlic and basil pesto. Perfect for busy weeknights.

 

instant pot chicken pesto rice

What I really love about this Instant Pot chicken pesto rice recipe is that it comes together in one single pot.

Yay to less cleanup.

Which is what I’m looking forward on a busy weeknight.  

You see the green theme here? Basil pesto, scallions, green beans <— totally your go-to-spring meal.

The best part of using a pesto is that you are actually using about 5 ingredients. Time saver! 

Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice <— a hugely popular Instant Pot recipe

 

 

Why are you gonna love this Instant pot chicken pesto rice?

  • One pot meal <– easiest clean up
  • Protein, veggies and carbs packed into one meal
  • Flavorful
  • Easy
  • Great for meal prep
  • Weekday dinner

My kids love all forms of chicken and rice recipes. I love them because it is one pot meals <— my favorites.

Like this Instant Pot Shrimp Fried Rice

How to make chicken pesto rice in instant pot?

Step-1: Set instant pot to hot. Saute green beans in some olive oil. Transfer (You could add green beans one of two ways : If you like crunchy, semi-cooked green beans, then proceed with this step-1. If you like well cooked green beans, then you add them along with the stock and pesto and let them cook along with rice)

Step-2: Sear chicken pieces in more olive oil for about couple of minutes. Stir in chopped garlic, scallion and red pepper flakes.

Step-3: Stir in rinsed and well drained rice, saute for a minute. This step toasts the rice, adding a touch of flavor and helps in not overcooking.

Step-4: Stir in chicken stock, basil pesto, salt, pepper and green beans (if you wanna well cooked). Cook as per instructions.

Done and DONE

You will also love this Instant Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Soup 

How to make non-mushy Instant pot chicken pesto rice? 

It totally depends on your rice, yes! Many, many readers have had huge success with this recipe and there are a few who have had mushy rice. Reason? it depends on the basmati rice you are using. Not all brands, packages of rice are the same though they all say basmati rice in the package —> Some need more water and some less. Some need more cooking time and some less. 

How do we solve this? I came up with two different cooking methods for you (you are welcome!). So, which method is right for you? 

Cooking method-1 

  • If you have tried this recipe already and you have had great success. Just stick to this. 
  • If you cook different rice recipes in your Instant pot and use the rice setting and love the way the rice gets cooked , then this is right for you. 

Cooking method-2

  • If you have tried this recipe before and had a mushy outcome, then go for this. 
  • If you are not sure about your rice or cooking method. 

Another important note for cooking rice in instant pot —–> It depends on the size of your Instant pot. 

I tried making this recipe in a 3-quart Instant pot and a 8-quart Instant Pot. Result? Fried rice in 8-quart was much more firmer that the 3-quart. So, if you a own a larger Instant Pot, then use that for firmer rice. 

Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta <—-another delicious Instant Pot pasta recipe

instant pot chicken pesto rice

Tips and tricks on making this instant pot chicken pesto rice recipe:

  • Rinse rice in a strainer and let it hang out for couple of minutes to drain as much water as possible. This step is important to not only wash the rice, as well as remove excess starch <— less mushier rice
  • Do not double the recipe. It’s just too much to work with and makes the rice overcooked in the process. 
  • I used 1 cup of 33% less sodium chicken stock and the salt was perfect. But, if you have regular sodium chicken stock, then I’d suggest using 3/4 cup stock + 1/4 cup water. 

Boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts?

Both works!

My preference is always chicken thighs since they cook more moister and contributes more fat into the rice <— more flavor

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Cauliflower and Carrot <—- Tasty, easy and great served in endless possibilities

instant pot chicken pesto rice

 

 

More Instant pot weeknight meal favorites:

Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta – All the flavors of classic chicken parmesan made into a one pot, comforting meal. 

Instant Pot Shrimp Fried Rice – Chinese take-out right in your Instant pot. Packed with chunks of succulent tender shrimp, scrambled eggs, carrots and peas, this Instant pot shrimp fried rice is easier and healthier.

Instant Pot No-Cream Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce – So creamy, so rich, so amazing yet so much healthier Instant pot no-cream pasta with tomato cream sauce. You will never miss the cream!

Instant Pot Thai Curry Soup with Shrimp and Sweet Potato – It is the perfect cozy, comforting soup anytime!!! Loaded with shrimp, spinach and sweet potato, this Instant pot Thai curry soup is quick and easy.

 

 

instant pot chicken pesto rice
Print Recipe
4.29 from 7 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Rice

A super simple, easy, one pot meal! This Instant Pot chicken pesto rice is packed with flavor with bites of chicken, green beans, garlic and basil pesto. Perfect for busy weeknights. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time23 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Maria Doss

Ingredients

  • 10-15 green beans, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 2, cut into bite size pieces (or breast)

Ingredients-1

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ingredients-2

Instructions

  • Set Instant Pot to saute mode. When hot, add olive oil and then chopped green beans. Saute for about 2-3 minutes, until they look blistered. Transfer to a plate (This will contribute firmer, crunchy green beans. But, if you want soft cooked green beans then add skip this step and add in step-3)
  • Now, (add a touch more oil if needed) add chicken pieces in a single layer (you might have to snuggle it in depending on the size of your Instant pot). Cook for about 2 minutes, stir in garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add all Ingredients-2 and green beans (if you like softer beans), stir very well to mix all ingredients thoroughly. 
    Scrape sides, close Instant pot, lock lid, set valve to sealing, press cancel. (Refer notes below to see which method is right for you).
  • Cooking Method-1 : Select rice mode. (This is an automatic setting and mine took 12 minutes). When cook time is done, let the Instant pot be in warm mode for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is done, turn valve to vent and let pressure release.Press cancel and open lid. 
  • Cooking Method-2 : Cook for 3 minutes on manual mode. When cook time is done, let it be in warm mode for 10 minutes (for al dente rice) and 15 minutes (for more softer rice) When cooking time is done, turn valve to vent and let pressure release.Press cancel and open lid. 
  • Uncover, stir in green beans and serve instant pot chicken pesto rice hot. Great even at room temperature. 
    Meal prep into lunch boxes

Notes

Chicken - I love boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, since it adds additional flavor to the rice and ends up so moist and tender. But, you could totally use one or two chicken breasts, if thats what you have on hand. 
Salt - depends on the type of chicken stock that you are using and your taste preference. I used 33% less sodium chicken stock and used 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt. You might have to increase salt if using regular sodium chicken stock.
Pesto - I used Kirkland basil pesto from Costco.  
Which cooking method is right for you? 
Cooking method-1 
  • If you have tried this recipe already and you have had great success. Just stick to this. 
  • If you cook different rice recipes in your Instant pot and use the rice setting and love the way the rice gets cooked , then this is right for you. 
Cooking method-2
  • If you have tried this recipe before and had a mushy outcome, then go for this. 
  • If you are not sure about your rice or cooking method. 
Rice - any long grain white basmati rice can be used. Rinse rice in a colander until water runs clear. Let it hang out in the strainer at least for 5 minutes, to drain almost all the water. 
 

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8 Comments

  1. Ok i have questions!!
    Rice mode— so mine defaults to low pressure. Is that what you’re cooking yours on?
    Second question: you say if you use regular chicken broth with more sodium that I might need more salt. Wait what? Did I read that incorrectly?
    Thank you! Looking forward to trying this tonight!

    1. First question – Yes, mine defaults to low pressure as well.
      Second question – If you use normal broth, then you will have to reduce the salt (I used 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt for 33% less sodium broth. So, if you are using regular sodium, then I would probably go with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Since, it is always possible to sprinkle additional salt than making it too salty.
      Hope it helps:)

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