Cheesy Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice is a family dinner favorite that is chock-full of flavor! A tasty dish that is comforting and customizable with delicious toppings.
Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice
This recipe is one of the easiest and tastiest dinners you’ll make and there’s minimal cleanup because it all comes together in the instant pot! Spicy. Cheesy. Packed with Flavor. Adding yet another Instant pot winner to our huge collection of instant pot dinner recipes.
Using your Instapot is an easy way to make a casserole. Once you get the ingredients prepped, it’s mostly hands-off and cooks perfect every-time. It is comforting, family-friendly one pot meal and healthy.
If you are not new around here, then you might be familiar with my love affair with Mexican food. It is loaded with flavor, family friendly and can be made as spicy as you like!
Why This Recipe Is So Good
- Instant Pot - The advantage of a pressure cooker is that water doesn’t evaporate. Grains and meat can be cooked together perfectly, resulting in a super-duper tender and juicy meat and fluffy grains.
- Quick and Easy - This not only saves you time and energy, but cooking the ingredients together in pressure cooker allows the flavors to blend, cuts down the cooking time, one pot makes it easy clean up and a complete balanced easy dinner.
- Bursting with flavor- Made with our favorite homemade taco seasoning, aromatics, stock, cheese and then topped with all that your heart desires, this is absolutely packed with flavor. Cheesy, filling and satisfying!
What type of chicken to use?
We used boneless, skinless thighs for the juiciness, tenderness and the addional flavor it adds to the dish, but you can use any kind here - breast, thigh meat or tenders. We often what we have on hand.
What kind of cheese to use?
Mexican blend cheese which includes Montery jack, Cheddar, Asadero and Queso cheeses, melts into the rice, adding more deliciousness. If you don't have on hand, then equal parts of Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses work well.
Do you have to soak rice?
No! If you cooking in a stovetop then soaking it allows to absorb water, leading to a more even cooking. But, one of the main advantages of using the insta pot is that it cooks grains soft without having the need to soak.
Tips To Avoid The Burn Warning
Instant Pots can be finicky and give you the Burn Warning even when you think you made everything right. Here are few tips that will help you avoid the burn warning:
Adding recommended amount of oil and liquid and closing the pot quickly. the longer it takes time to close, the more liquid evaporates and increases the chance of getting the dreaded burn notice. Also, make sure that the valve is set to seal, which is another common mistake.
What size instant pot to use?
We have tried this recipe in a 3-quart and a 8-quart. The 8 quart size made a more perfectly cooked, al dente and slightly shorter coming to pressure time when compared to the 3 quart, which cooks more softer grains.
Though the actual cooking time is 12 minutes for rice setting, it takes about 8-12 additional minutes for the instant pot to come to pressure.
Then, there is the standing time or warm time. This recipe works best, if you release pressure after 5-8 minutes. So, the actual time will be upwards of 30 minutes, but remember this is hands free cooking.
PRO TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Rice - Rinse 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 mushy.
- Stock - I used 1 cup of 33% less sodium stock . If using regular sodium or salt free stock, then adjust salt accordingly.
- Salt - Salt depends on the type of stock and salsa used and of course your taste. Season accordingly.
- Love Spicy? Then add a chopped jalapeños along with the onion and garlic and use a spicy salsa.
- Brown rice is not recommended since it would take longer, which would overcook the meat.
- Adjust seasonings based on your preference.
Although this is incredible delicious on it's own, a few toppings elevates it to new heights. Any kind of tacos or burrito bowl toppings will be great here. Some of our suggestions:
- Avocado - Sliced or chopped ripe avocado or guacamole.
- Sauce - This creamy cilantro sauce will be amazing.
- Lettuce: Chopped romaine lettuce is an excellent option because it is crisp and has a mild flavor. However, you can use whatever type of lettuce you like.
- Black beans: Drained and rinsed black beans adda a great source of protein, fiber and heartiness to this dish.
- Red Onions: Red onions are a great way to add a bit of color and sweetness to this dish.
- Cilantro: It is the perfect garnish. It adds a bright, fresh flavor and ties everything together.
- Jalapenos - More heat ain't gonna hurt.
- Sour cream - Adds creaminess and cuts down the heat.
HOW TO MAKE?
This is a creamy, cheesy, satisfying and filling dinner! It’s perfect for busy nights when you need something to get one pot dinner on the table that's balanced yet with less effort and minimal clean up after.
- Saute - Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Saute onion and garlic in vegetable oil, followed by cut up chicken and taco seasoning. Cook for about 3 minutes to get a sear and the spices are toasted.
- Pressure cook - Stir in rinsed rice, corn, stock and salsa. Cook until done and release pressure after about 5 minutes.
- Cheesy topping - Open pot and stir in chopped cilantro, lime juice and cheeses. Close lid, give it couple of minutes to melt.
- Load up into a bowl - Add additional taco toppings that you'd like and enjoy!
HOW TO SERVE?
Since this dish contains grains, protein and veggies, it can be a meal on its own.
STORAGE & REHEATING TIPS
Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat leftovers in the microwave with additional cheese on top, until steaming hot .
If you are meal prepping, then omit the cheese in the recipe. Refrigerate or freeze in individual containers, stir in shredded cheese mixture before heating in the microwave.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Sure can! Make sure to choose the right cooking time to ensure that both are cooked perfectly. Otherwise, you might end up with mushy rice or overcooked meat.
Adding grains to an already hot pot and not adding liquid right away, might make the grains to stick and start burning.
You can put any type of raw meat and cook it. You will have to adjust the cooking time depending on the quanity.
Ansolutely! We have used the Mexican blend which consists of Monterey jack, Cheddar, Asadero and Queso cheeses. In case you don’t have this, then equal parts of Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses work well.
More Easy Instant Pot Rice to try:
Cheesy Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 to 5 chicken thighs boneless skinless ( 1 to 1 and ½ pounds), cut into bite size chunks
- 1 and ½ tablespoons chicken taco seasoning or your favorite
- 1 cup Basmati rice rinsed and drained well
- 1 cup corn frozen or fresh
- 1 cup chicken stock I used 33% reduced sodium
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup Mexican cheese plus more for topping
- TO SERVE
- Sliced jalapeños
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped avocado
- Sour cream
- Additional salsa
- A squeeze of lime
- Heat instant pot to saute. When hot, add vegetable oil followed by chopped onions and garlic. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add chicken and taco seasoning and give a good stir. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes (stirring occasionally).
- Press cancel and add all group-1 ingredients, stir well and close and lock lid (making sure that the valve is set to seal) and cook in rice setting (This is an automated setting and it takes 12 minutes for 1 cup of rice after it comes to pressure).
- When cooking time is done, let instant pot be in warm mode for 5 to 7 minutes and turn valve to vent to release pressure.
- Open lid, add chopped cilantro and lime juice and stir well. Then stir 1 cup of cheese.
- Finally sprinkle more cheese on top (as much or as little as you like), close lid (no need to lock), and let rest for couple of minutes for the cheese to melt.
- Spoon into serving bowls or plates, load up on your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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