Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls! Just like fast food take-out, but better. Use the pot-in-pot method to cook the chicken and rice together in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

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Photography Credit: Coco Morante

My husband is a big fan of chipotle – both the spicy, smoky peppers themselves and the restaurant chain. He declared this dish to be better than Chipotle’s fast-casual burrito bowls, so I’m calling it a win!

This is certainly more budget-friendly than ordering take-out for four people. It also cooks in about the same time that it would take us to drive over and pick up dinner!

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice BowlsThe chicken and rice both pack a spicy wallop with this recipe. Boneless chicken thighs are cooked in a homemade chipotle sauce (it’s a blender sauce that comes together in a flash), and the rice is tossed with diced jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and green onions just before serving.

You can definitely cut down on the spice if you’re not a chili head like me. Just use a heaping spoonful of smoked paprika in place of the chipotle peppers, and omit the jalapeno.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice BowlsI use the “pot-in-pot” method to make this recipe, and cook the rice and chicken together at the same time in my 6-quart Instant Pot. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually very easy!

You just combine the chicken and chipotle sauce in the bottom of the pot, nestle a raised metal steam rack over top, and then set a bowl of water and rice on the trivet. After cooking, fluff the rice and mix it up with its spicy add-ins.

For this pot-in-pot method, make sure to use a steam rack that’s about 3 inches high and a small (1 1/2-quart) stainless steel bowl for cooking the rice. It’s important that the bowl is raised over the chicken and that you are still able to lock the lid closed.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice BowlsAny long-grain white rice will work well for this recipe. I’ve also had success with quick-cooking brown rice (Trader Joe’s brand).

You can also cook the rice separately on the stovetop while the chicken is cooking in the pressure cooker, if you prefer. Without the rice, the pot takes about 10 minutes less to come up to pressure.

Serve the chicken over the rice, and top each bowl with sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, and a generous sprinkle of cotija or other mild cheese.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

This recipe is spicy! If you'd prefer less spice, replace the chipotle peppers with a heaping spoonful of smoked paprika and omit the jalapeno.

This recipe works best in a 6-quart pressure cooker. If you are using a larger pressure cooker, add a 1/2 cup of water or broth to the sauce mixture in the blender, or double the recipe to ensure there is enough liquid to get the pot up to pressure.

You can also use bone-in, skin-on chicken in this recipe (up to 3 1/2 pounds).

The chicken can also be used for things like tacos, burritos, quick chicken chili, or enchiladas.

Stovetop Instructions: Simmer the chicken thighs in the sauce in a covered soup pot or dutch oven for 30 minutes, until tender. Cook the rice in a separate pot.

Ingredients

For the chipotle chicken:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce (from a can)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the rice:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 medium green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To serve:

  • 2 ounces crumbled cotija cheese
  • 12 thin slices jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Special equipment:

Method

1 Make the sauce: In a blender, combine the garlic, onion, chipotle peppers, water, lime juice, honey, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend for about a minute, until it becomes a smooth sauce. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender halfway through blending.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

2 Mix the chicken with the sauce: Put the chicken thighs in the pot of a 6-quart or larger electric pressure cooker, then pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to evenly coat the chicken in the sauce.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

3 Nestle a raised steam rack in with the chicken. Make sure all of its legs are touching the bottom of the pot.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

4 Rinse the rice. Place the rice in a wire mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Let it drain for a minute or so, then combine the rice with a cup of water in a small (1 ½-quart) stainless steel mixing bowl.

Place the bowl of rice and water on top of the steam rack in the pot. The bowl should fit snugly inside the pot; make sure that you can still lock the lid of the pressure cooker closed.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

5 Cook the chicken and rice: Secure the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position.

If you are using an Instant Pot, select the “Poultry” or “Manual” program, then adjust the time to 15 minutes. If your pressure cooker does not have a “Poultry” program, set it manually to “High Pressure” for 15 minutes. For stovetop pressure cookers, cook for 12 minutes at high pressure.

It will take about 15 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the end of cooking is about 30 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

6 Release the pressure: When the cooking time ends, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then perform a quick pressure release by moving the pressure release knob from “Sealing” to “Venting.”

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

7 Fluff the rice: Wearing a pair of heat-proof mitts, remove the bowl of rice and the steam rack from the pot.

Fluff the rice with a fork and mix in the cilantro, green onions, jalapeño, lime juice, and salt.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice BowlsPressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

8 Working in the pot, shred the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces with two forks.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

9 Serve: Divide the rice between individual bowls and spoon the chicken on top, along with a some of its sauce. Top each bowl with the cotija cheese, sliced jalapeño, and a wedge of lime.

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

6 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Ahhh-maz-ing !!

  2. Beth Mann

    How long would you cook if you used breasts instead of thighs? Using the Insta Pot.

    • Coco Morante

      Hi Beth,

      If you’re planning to make this with the rice on top, it should cook for the same amount of time (15 minutes with a 10 minute pressure release). If you will just be cooking the chicken breasts in sauce, you can lower the cooking time to as little as 8 minutes and perform a quick pressure release. Enjoy!

  3. Hope

    Wondering if you can use a crock pot just for the chicken and then cook rice separately?

  4. Coco Morante

    Awesome, I hope you enjoy it, Paige!

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