Chicken and rice casserole is as American as hot dogs and burgers. We all grew up eating it but know better now! While a hearty piping-hot casserole may be delicious comfort food (or not, depending on your mother’s recipe), they are notorious for being high-calorie and made with condensed soup from a can.
This healthier version of chicken and rice keeps all of the classic flavors while leaving out the soupy processed ingredients. It’s also a snap to make thanks to the use of an Instant Pot, my favorite kitchen tool these days.
Here’s how to make the best homemade chicken and rice you’ve ever had, with the least amount of time and effort!
Chicken and Rice in the Instant Pot
Pressure cooking is actually a healthy way to cook and the Instant Pot makes it safer and easier than the pressure cookers of past generations. My Instant Pot has a wide variety of settings for meats, soups, veggies, and even desserts. You can even make yogurt in an Instant Pot! There’s no guesswork, just push the button labeled for what you’re making and it does its thing.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, here’s my review of the different models out there as well as some favorite starter recipes.
But Wait… Grains?
It’s true… I’m not a fan of a diet full of grains as they will never be as nutritious as a diet full of veggies. I also avoided all grains for a long time and even wrote a grain-free cookbook while healing my gut due to my autoimmune condition. Still, as the research evolves I’m convinced variety and paying attention to how your body feels on certain foods is more important than strict food rules. Kids also need more carbohydrates than adults do, so I keep white rice, sweet potatoes, and other starchy veggies in our meal rotation so everything stays balanced.
If you are avoiding grains (or don’t have an Instant Pot), here is a grain-free and oven-baked Chicken and Broccoli Casserole with broccoli and cauliflower in place of rice.
Quick and Healthy Casseroles
Looking for more one-pan thirty-minute meals for a family? Here are some classics, reinvented to use only real-food ingredients:
- Cheesy Tuna Casserole Recipe (Kid Friendly & Gluten Free)
- Easy Breezy (and Cheesy) Breakfast Casserole Recipe
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Moussaka Casserole
Chicken and Rice Recipe (Instant Pot)
Yield 6 servings
Make this classic comfort food in a fraction of the time using a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. Chicken and rice is a great fast weeknight meal and this one won't disappoint.
- Turn Instant Pot on "Saute."
- Peel onion and rough chop. Add to IP with olive oil and saute. While cooking...
- Grate the carrot and dice the celery and add to IP.
- Add rice, salt, pepper, garlic and basil and continue to saute.
- Blend parsley with bone broth and pour into IP.
- Add chicken and turn off saute function.
- Close the lid and turn the lid to sealing. Turn on manual for 8 minutes.
- When time is up, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and release the pressure manually.
- Shred the chicken and serve immediately.
Adjust spices to mix things up. Make a Spanish version with saffron, Mexican with cumin, or Indian with turmeric and curry powder. Delish!
Serving Size 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Cholesterol 83 mg
Sodium 280 mg
Total Carbohydrates 52.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 33.5 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
How do you make chicken and rice? Any favorite family-pleasing meals to share? I’d love to hear what you’re putting on the table tonight!