Instant Pot Paella with Chicken and Sausage

DinnerInstant PotChicken

No need for a paella pan for this one-pot meal! The pressure cooker makes paella quick and easy. This rice dish is studded with tender chicken and slices of spicy sausage for lots of flavor.

Photography Credit: Coco Morante

 I love using my Instant Pot pressure cooker to make an easy, weeknight version of paella. It cooks up quickly and evenly, and there’s no need to tend to a pot or pan on the stove.

The method is very simple—you sauté the vegetables with chicken and sausage, add the rice and liquid, and then cook everything under pressure for just ten minutes. That’s it!

Ways to Adapt This Paella

Paella is such an adaptable dish, especially in the Instant Pot.

  • If you prefer white meat chicken, dice up some tenders in place of the chicken thighs.
  • If you can’t find classic Spanish chorizo, use andouille or another spicy, cooked sausage. Or use a mild sausage!
  • As for the spices, saffron is traditional for authentic paella—it adds a yellow hue and distinctive floral flavor. But it’s expensive and can be hard to find; skip it or use a pinch of turmeric instead.
  • If you don’t have smoked paprika, regular sweet paprika will work just fine.

Pressure Cooker Paella

The Crunchy “Socarrat”

After cooking, you may see a crust of dark caramelization and crunchy rice at the bottom of the pan — this is ok! This is called “socarrat” and is traditional for paella. Just mix it in and enjoy.

Time Saving Tip for the Instant Pot!

Here’s a time-saving pressure cooker trick that I use in this recipe: Heat up the chicken broth ahead of time, and thaw the peas in the broth. You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave, whichever you prefer.

Hot ingredients take less time to come up to pressure so you shave a good 5 to 10 minutes off the total cooking time doing this, and dinner gets on the table sooner!

From the editors of Simply Recipes

Storing the Leftovers

Leftovers from this paella will keep for up to 5 days and reheat well in the microwave. If the paella seems dry when you're reheating, stir in a few tablespoons of water.

More Instant Pot Recipes with Rice

Updated May 26, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the recipe.

Instant Pot Paella with Chicken and Sausage Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If using a stovetop pressure cooker, cooking time is the same.

Short-grain rice is traditional for paella, however it's fine to substitute long-grain white rice or quick-cooking brown rice for this recipe. Cooking times are the same.

Note from the editor: Our original version of this recipe called for one ripe diced tomato or one whole canned tomato (crushed), which adds a more authentic flavor to the paella. However, we received comments that this caused the paella to occasionally burn on the bottom. We've removed the tomatoes from the recipe to ensure a more consistently successful dish, but if you'd like to experiment with tomatoes on your own, add the tomato after cooking the garlic and cook until most of the liquid has evaporate before adding the onions. Thanks!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Big pinch of saffron threads (roughly equal to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound (3 to 4) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 ounces (about 2 links) chorizo or other spicy sausage, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (325 grams) short or medium grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Special equipment:

  • 6-quart Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker

Method

1 Heat the saffron with the chicken broth and defrost the peas: In a small saucepan, heat the broth to a simmer, then and add the peas and saffron. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm and give the saffron a chance to infuse the broth while you get everything else ready.

(You can also heat the broth in a microwave safe bowl or liquid measuring cup for about three minutes. Add the peas and saffron after microwaving and cover to keep warm until needed.)

Steep the saffron with the peas in the chicken broth for making instant pot paella

2 Cook the vegetables, chicken, and sausage in the pressure cooker: Select the “Sauté” setting on your electric pressure cooker and add the oil and garlic. Sauté until little bubbles of oil form around the garlic and it becomes aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the onion and bell pepper. Sauté until they have softened a little bit, 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the paprika and salt, and sauté for one more minute.

Add the chicken and sausage and stir to combine. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until the chicken has turned opaque. It's ok if the chicken is still a little pink in the middle.

Cook the vegetables and stir in the chicken and sausage for the instant pot paella

3 Scrape the bottom of the pan: Add a splash of the hot broth to the pan and use it to scrape up any browned bits that have developed on the bottom of the pan. These browned bits add a lot of flavor to the dish, so don't skip this step. (This also helps prevent the dish from burning on the bottom during cooking!)

4 Add the remaining ingredients and the broth: Stir in the rice, then pour in the rest of the hot broth with the peas and saffron. Push down any grains of rice from the sides of the pot, making sure that everything is submerged in the cooking liquid.

Pour the chicken broth, saffron, and peas over the other ingredients for making instant pot paellaStir all the ingredients for instant pot paella together before pressure cooking.

5 Pressure cook the paella: Secure the lid on the pressure cooker, and make sure the pressure regulator is in its “Sealing” position. Cancel the “Sauté” cooking program, then select the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” program and set the cooking time to 5 minutes at high pressure.

The pot will take 5 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure, and then the cooking program will begin counting down.

Pressure cooker paella ready to cook

6 Release the pressure: When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure by moving the pressure regulator to its “Venting” position.

release the steam from the instant pot Cooked paella in the instant pot

7 Serve: When the pressure has fully released, open the pot. Scoop onto plates, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve it piping hot. Leftovers will keep for about a week.

You may get a crust of dark caramelization and crunchy rice at the bottom of the pan -- this is ok! This is called "socarrat" and is traditional for paella. Just mix it in and enjoy!

pressure cooker paella in the instant pot with two plates of paella alongsid

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and The Ultimate 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

84 Comments / Reviews

No ImageInstant Pot Paella with Chicken and Sausage

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sandra

    So, I tried this recipe with everything except the chorizo sausage. I used mild italian sausage instead and it was a HUGE hit! Everything about this recipe was perfect. It was easy and quick – I can’t wait to make it again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Felishia

    First off, I did not do the first step. I omitted the saffron as well. But! Everything else that is involved with this recipe I did do and it turned out delicious! Very similar to a gumbo but I think I prefer this over gumbo. Such a quick and delicious meal. Would love to see more instant pot recipes if all sorts.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. LP

    I kept getting the “Burn” alert on my Instant Pot. Sure enough, the rice was burning at the bottom of the pot so we tried to mix things around so the rice wouldn’t be stuck at the bottom, but it was almost impossible. We added more liquid to see if that would work, but nope. So we ended up transferring everything over to a regular paella pan and cooking it that way. Turned out pretty mushy though b/c of the additional liquid… :\

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Suzy B

    yummy. Delicious. Pretty straightforward

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Tyler

    This recipe is one of our favourites, but this and the last time my instant pot won’t pressurize?! Can’t figure out why, plenty of liquid, seal is in place.. anybody have a similar issue?

    Show Replies (1)
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A serving of instant pot paella on a plateInstant Pot Paella with Chicken and Sausage