Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken and Brown Rice is healthy comfort food and an easy, flavorful dinner that my whole family loves. It's gently seasoned with a flavorful blend of turmeric and warm spices.
My Instant Pot and I haven't settled into a regular routine yet. For the past year I've used it in fits and starts, trying to figure out how I can Instant-Pot my way to a less hectic life. In an ideal world, I'd use my Instant Pot a few times a week to get dinner on the table quickly and meal prep ingredients like beans, grains and vegetables.
But you all know how it goes. In the short term, it's hard to find the time and headspace that's needed to start something new. Even if you know it will probably make your life easier in the long term.
Lately, though, I've turned a corner. I've committed to using my Instant Pot on a regular basis to figure out how this thing is going make my life and your life easier.
Let's start with this recipe for Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice.
The gods were shining down on my kitchen table when I served this for dinner because both my kids ate it up. My youngest mostly avoided the chicken and just ate the rice, but still, that counts as a successful dinner. The flavors in this dish are mild and comforting but there is real flavor to keep adults satisfied too. It's kind of like sophisticated Rice-A- Roni.
I've kept the recipe as simple as possible because simple is the whole point of using an Instant Pot, right? Making this turmeric chicken and rice takes just a few easy steps:
- Chop onion, garlic and carrot in the food processor
- Saute vegetables briefly
- Add chicken thighs and spices
- Pour chicken broth and brown rice on top
- Cook 22 minutes on high pressure
The spices added are turmeric, coriander, cumin and a pinch of cinnamon. Warm and aromatic, with all that good healthy stuff that turmeric has to offer. If you can find fresh turmeric root, then use that too - grated over the finished dish as a healthy garnish.
I love meals like this that are kid-friendly and then jazzed up with garnishes for adults. Sometimes my kids dabble in the garnishes, trying new flavors and foods, sometimes they don't. This time, the crispy chickpeas were a hit.
My bowl of turmeric chicken and rice is always topped with crispy spiced chickpeas (recipe below), slivered almonds, cilantro and hot sauce. I love sauteed greens, like kale, on the side, too.
I hope your family likes this recipe as much as mine does. Let me know!
If you like this recipe, then you'll love Oven-Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas with Turmeric and Coconut Milk.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Looking for an Instant Pot recipe for white rice and chicken? Try my Simple Instant Pot Chicken and White Rice.
- Do you prefer chicken breast? Try my Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Carrots
- Do you like chickpeas? Try my Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup with Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas
Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice
Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice is healthy comfort food and an easy, flavorful dinner that my whole family loves. My kids like the turmeric chicken and rice plain and I like to add garnishes like crispy spiced chickpeas, slivered almonds and fresh cilantro.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes (plus time for Instant Pot to come to pressure)
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 medium carrots
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice (brown jasmine or brown basmati)
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- Optional garnishes: Crispy spiced chickpeas (see recipe below), toasted slivered almonds, fresh cilantro, parsley or dill, hot sauce, fresh, grated turmeric root
- For this recipe, the onion, garlic and carrots need to be finely chopped. You can do this by hand, or use a food processor and the task is easier and faster. Here’s the easiest way to do it: Peel the onion and cut into 4 pieces, peel the carrots and cut into thirds and peel the garlic cloves. Put the onion, garlic and carrots in the food processor and blend until finely chopped.
- Select the saute setting on the Instant Pot and add the oil. Add the mixture of onion, garlic and carrot. Saute for just a few minutes, until the onion begins to soften.
- Press the cancel button to turn off the saute function. Pour in just a little bit of the chicken stock to loosen any browned bits of vegetable that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the pot.
- Spread the onion, carrot and garlic out in an even layer. Add the chicken thighs in an even layer. Sprinkle the turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper evenly over the chicken.
- Sprinkle the rice on top of the chicken in an even layer then gently pour the chicken broth into the pot.
- Gently pat down the rice so that it’s mostly submerged in the broth.
- After adding the broth, Do not stir - the rice should stay on top of the chicken as much as possible. (The chicken acts as a barrier between the bottom of the pot and the rice. If too much rice is on the bottom of the pot, it might burn and stick)
- Secure the lid and turn the pressure valve to sealing. Select the Manual setting and program the Instant Pot to cook for 22 minutes on high pressure.
- For brown rice, I usually let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes after the cooking time is done. When the pressure has released, remove the lid and stir the rice and chicken. If there is still liquid in the pot, let the rice sit for about ten minutes with the lid loosely on, stirring occasionally so the rice absorbs any remaining liquid.
Crispy Spiced Chickpeas
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Drain a can of chickpeas and put the drained chickpeas on a baking sheet. Generously coat the chickpeas with olive oil, spices and salt. For this recipe, I use the same spices I put in the chicken and rice (turmeric, cumin, coriander) but you can use any spice or spice mixture that you like.
- Roast for about 25 minutes, until crispy.
White rice cannot be substituted for brown rice in this recipe. The ingredient amounts and cooking time would have to be changed. If you’d like an Instant Pot white rice and chicken recipe, try this one.
Short grain brown rice doesn't work well with this recipe either. I recommend using long-grain brown rice.
I made this recipe with brown basmati rice and 22 minutes was the perfect cooking time. The cooking time for brown rice in an Instant Pot ranges from 20 to 25 minutes. Depending on the variety and brand of brown rice used, you might have to adjust the time for this recipe, either a few minutes more or less, for your tastes.
I usually serve sauteed kale or spinach on the side of this dish, and I often also serve green beans or frozen peas for the kids.
Keywords: Instant Pot, Instant Pot Chicken, Turmeric Rice