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!
The 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.
I 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!
- New to the Instant Pot? Check out our post How To Use an Instant Pot: A First-Timer’s Guide.
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.
Any 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.
Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls
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.
- 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
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.
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.
Add the steam rack:
Nestle a raised steam rack in with the chicken. Make sure all of its legs are touching the bottom of the pot.
Rinse the rice:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Shred the chicken:
Working in the pot, shred the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces with two forks.
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.