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instant pot chicken pesto rice
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4.59 from 12 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


  • 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)




  • 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


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.