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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)
- 4 large chicken breasts
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 cups white rice
- 3 carrots (grated)
- 3 stalks celery (grated)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil leaf (dried)
- 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.
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!
Discussion (27 Comments)
This is delicious!–and so easy! My daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome and is VERY sensitive to texture and taste. She absolutely loved this dish.
Tried the chicken and rice. I read 8 minutes on manuel. That is not NEAR enough time. What did I I do wrong?
I had the same issue. I am an instant pot novice, so I’m wondering what I did wrong.
My boyfriend and I made this the other night, and it was great! It was our first recipe in the Instant Pot, and we are so thrilled with how it came out. Next time, we would add more liquid and more salt and pepper, though. The rice was cooked fine, but we would have liked more moisture in the dish overall. Thanks!
I’m also wondering about the amount of liquid. I just tried this recipe, and the rice absorbed all of the liquid before the chicken cooked through.
How much rice? I don’t see it in the ingredient list…
Looks great! Quick questions: the recipe says the celery should be grated but the instructions say to dice. Does it matter? Also, you mentioned blending the parsley and broth. Can I just chop and mix into broth or do I have to blend it in a food processor/blender first? Thanks!
You can do either 🙂 and you can just chop the parsley if you prefer
Thanks for the great recipe. We occasionally eat white rice too in my family, but very rarely. I am curious to know what the claim ” children need more carbs, including starch compared to adults”, is based on, and why carbs from broccoli and cauliflower would not be as good as rice?
We eat a diet quite low in carbs, but loads of non starchy veggies. No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or any other starchy vegetables. They are now extremely healthy and clever teenagers in every way. I believe that it is down to a very good diet. Insulin resistance is quite common in teenagers these days as well, mostly due to the overconsumption of carbs, sugar mostly of course, but still, I was curious to know as to why they would need any more carbs than I do.? I believed fat and protein are important when growing, not carbs from food.
If theyre active they can have more carbs, quality carbs. Maybe not grains but potato, cassava, soaked beans, yogurt/kefir, beets, carrots, winter squashes, plantain, lots of onions (i love a pile of fried onions), fruit, etc.
Is there a way to make this meal without an instant pot? Could it be made in a crock pot?
Yes. I would just cook the rice in a separate pot on the stove.
Thanks for sharing all you’re great ideas. I just want to confirm that the proportions of fluid to rice are correct. I usually cook rice with a 1:2 ratio, rice to fluid. Here’s its 1:1. Does the pressure cooker make a difference in water absorption ?
Yes, I’d also like to know the answer to this before I make it! Looks yummy!
I think the difference here is that you also have veggies and chicken that will release juices into the rice as well. And because there’s other stuff in there, the rice won’t “fluff” and expand the same way so you reduce the liquid so it doesn’t get soggy. I’ve made it and it’s delicious!
This looks delish but I’m curious why you use white rice instead of brown? Will the recipe work with brown basmati rice?
Thanks so much!
Katie - Wellness Mama
Because of this: https://wellnessmama.com/2123/white-rice-healthy/
Im using 1 1/2c brown rice and adding a bag of frzn brocc, thawed. Also cooking 14min.
I’ll hopefully remember to post if it came out!
Cooked perfectly, very moist, could have used 1 2/3c brown rice. We like it moist though. I added another teaspn salt for a total of 2t salt. Still needs more flavor. Next time Im adding pickled jalapeño slices. I also used 1/2t sage as it IS chicken casserole. I will use 1t next time. And add a bay leaf and parsley.
The frzn broccoli was almost gone, very few pieces present, it had dissolved into the dish after 14 min. Next time, raw broccoli florettes!