Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo – made in a fraction of the time! An easy, one-pot, chicken, rice and vegetable dish infused with delicious Spanish flavors of saffron and smoked paprika, similar to Paella but without the seafood. Fast and easy! See recipe notes for the stove-top version! Updated Recipe 3/11/20
Drop by drop a river is made.~ Rumi
Here’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner that can be made in an Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. Arroz con Pollo which translates to “rice with chicken”, is a traditional dish in both Spain and Latin countries. This version is influenced by Spanish flavors with the use of saffron and smoked paprika, similar to paella but without the seafood.
The saffron gives it its beautiful golden hue, whereas in Latin countries, the use of annatto is more common.
You can also make this on the stovetop!
Saffron does vary in flavor. Some are quite mild, and others like this Rumi Brand are more intense. Notice how deeply red the color is. The flavor is twice as intense as most saffron I’ve tried, so you’ll need a little less than the recipe calls for.
The saffron really gives this recipe for Arroz con Pollo, it’s authentic Spanish flavor, so don’t skip it. Soak the threads in warm water, then add both the water and the threads to the dish.
Now, if you want these to have a little color, I suggest browning the tops for just a couple of minutes.
They taste totally fine without browning; they just won’t look like the photographs here.
Saute the onions and garlic, add the veggies, rinsed rice, stock, wine, and spices and nestle the chicken over top.
A note about rice. Different rice requires different amounts of water and cooking times. Be sure to check recipe notes to prevent the burn error.
Here I’ve just used plain old white rice. Not aborio, not calrose, not brown, not basmati. All of the others will work, but you will need to adjust water.
Pressure cook for 10 minutes, on high. Naturally release for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and olives. Squeeze with lime.
Here I’ve kept the Arroz con Pollo simple, but you could serve it with warm tortillas, queso fresco cheese ( or sour cream), avocado slices and a lime wedge.
Here you go, Arroz con Pollo, made in an Instant Pot! So quick and easy! See the recipe notes for the stovetop version!
Enjoy and let us know what you think.
- 1 ½ lbs chicken thighs (whole, boneless, skinless)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼– ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced or sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth (see notes, varies depening on rice you use)
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika if you like.
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ –1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted are nice) with the juices
- 1 cup white rice, rinsed (use medium-grain or short-grain white rice) or see notes for other varieties -IMPORTANT!
- ¼ cup sliced green olives
- 1– 2 cups peas (frozen are fine, or sub shelled edamame)
- a squeeze of fresh lime
- Optional Garnishes: lime wedges, warm tortillas, queso fresco cheese or sour cream, avocado, fresh Italian parsley.
- Please read instructions all the way through first, including the NOTES, taking note of the type of rice being used -and be precise with measuring!
- Season the whole chicken thighs, generously on all sides with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Set aside. You could brown the top side in oil if you like (so they end up like photos) or just plop them in raw (they will still taste really good, but look a bit paler – totally fine if in a hurry)!
- In a small bowl, pour 2 tablespoons warm water over the saffron threads, if using and let this steep. (If using Rumi Saffron, ¼ teaspoon is enough.)
- Heat oil in a 6 quart Instant Pot, using the “saute” function. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes, then add bell pepper and carrots and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the saffron and its water, the chicken broth and wine to the instant pot, bring to a simmer, then using a wood spoon or spatula, scrap up any browned bits – getting into all those corners (this is absolutely imperative to preventing the burn error!!!).
- Stir in the remaining spices and salt.
- Stir in the tomatoes and their juices.
- Rinse the rice (important) and sprinkle it evenly over top – do not stir!
- Place the seasoned chicken over top of the rice, nestling it in a bit.
- Pressure cook on High for 10 minutes.
- Naturally release, for 10 minutes.
- Break the chicken apart with two forks, and stir in the olives and peas, covering on warm for just a few minutes until peas heat through.
- Squeeze with lime and serve with the optional garnishes.
RICE: If using a different kind of rice, you will need to adjust broth amount. Read rice to liquid ratio on the package of your rice, (considering liquid from tomatoes) and add more or less broth accordingly. So if your rice requires 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice, you will need to add 2 cups broth (instead of the 1 1/2 cup in the recipe). Different kinds of rice also require different cooking times. For example, brown rice takes 15 mins of pressure cooking. Wild rice takes 25. If unsure how much liquid your type of rice needs, just google. Thinner, long-grain rice ( like Basmati) won’t work as well here and tends to get soggy or mushy.
I have not tried this with brown rice, but I am guessing the brown rice would need 1/4-1/2 cup more liquid and take 5 minutes longer to cook.
BURN ERRORS: I used a 6-quart instant pot, have tested this 4 times, with no burn errors using jasmine rice and white basmati rice. With that being said, a few of you are still getting burn errors- and I believe it is because you are using a different kind of rice, with not enough liquid. So just make sure to read your rice package. Please leave any notes in the comments below for suggested ratios and times- for others to reference. Thanks!!!
STOVE TOP VERSION: If making on the stovetop, follow the same directions, but brown the thighs first before nestling into the rice. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until rice is cooked through and all the liquid is absorbed. (30-45 minutes).
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