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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.
Season chicken thighs with smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
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.
Instant Pot Arroz Con Pollo
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: main, chicken,
- Method: instant pot
- Cuisine: Spanish
Instant Pot Arroz con Pollo – made in a fraction of the time! This Spanish version is infused with saffron and smoked paprika and full of amazing flavor! See notes for stovetop version. Please read recipe notes about the “Burn Error” before starting. Updated recipe 3/11/20
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs (whole, boneless, skinless)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4– 1/2 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)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika if you like.
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 –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!
- 1/4 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).
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 382
- Sugar: 5.1 g
- Sodium: 1095 mg
- Fat: 10.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 44.3 g
- Fiber: 3.5 g
- Protein: 28 g
- Cholesterol: 106.5 mg
Keywords: Arroz Con Pollo, Instant pot Arroz con Pollo, Arroz con pollo instant pot, how to make arroz con pollo in an instant pot, spanish arroz con pollo, arroz con pollo saffron,
My husband accidentally grounded our saffron ( he was helping me with a biryani recipe) and i did not want to waste it and want to do this recipe. How much ground saffron do you think is equivalent to how much you used . Thank you ( made your ribolita soup, feel better soup and pasta fagioli and they were awesome !)
Hi Theresa, I would try 1/4 teaspoon?
Used bone in thighs, removed all skin, and trimmed fat, recipe worked great, was thinking it would maybe be a lot of seasoning, but it needs it. pressure cooker time of 10 minutes and wait 10 just fine. I let thighs whole to serve.
Great to hear Frances!
This was delicious. Used short-grain Chinese rice, one packet Sazon seasoning instead of the saffron. It came out perfect.
Great to hear Lori!
Could I double the recipe?
I hesitate. Have you made it before? It can be a little challenging- it works great for some people, but for others, it is tricky depending on rice used. I would suggest trying before you double, just in case?
I was actually really disappointed by this recipe.
I thought that there would be too much liquid, so I increased the amount of rice and decreased the liquid but the rice was still mushy and very wet. The chicken was also overcooked (I normally do 6oz frozen chicken breasts for 10 minutes, so I would think smaller, fresh thighs should take less time) and a bit dry.
On the bright side, I didn’t get a burn notice.
Sadly, this is not one that will be going in our meal rotation. (Sorry!)
Sorry about that Beth. What type of rice did you use?
This is extraordinary, the flavors mingle together so well!
Great to hear Rick!
Very tasty and fairly easy. I thought (correctly) that this recipe uses too much liquid, so reduced it to 1C broth plus all the rest. There was still liquid in the IP – next time will eliminate the wine. IMO the IP doesn’t saute well, so I did all the veg on the stovetop. Didn’t saute the chicken, was still super soft and moist. This is definitely going into the rotation. Thank you!
thanks for the feedback Edith!
Delicious and easy. I would dial back the salt by 1/2 t during the spice dump at step 6. Fantastic though, and easy to pull together on a weeknight.
Made this last night and like a few other comments, had a lot more liquid when I opened the lid. I did use Calrose rice so the liquid amount matches with the rice instructions. It did thicken up a bit after adding the peas and letting it sit a bit uncovered after too. More like a heavy stew. Still delicious though! I only used 1/2 tsp cumin since my husband isn’t a huge fan. Everything else I left as is! Thank you!
my husband and I love this recipe. The flavors are complex and so yummy! i have even left the rice out (trying to drop carbs), and it still wonderful-it’s just more of a ‘soup’. I have even served the ‘no rice’ version over cauliflower rice and it is still delish. It makes a lot so there is plenty to freeze too.
I often drizzle some slightly watered down sour cream on top with some fresh cilantro. Everyone who i have served it too, loves this!
Sound perfect Debi- and happy you both like it!
Can we use a can of beer in substitution for some of the wine or water? I’ve seen it made this way before and tasted delicious!
I’m Cuban and we always add beer! Comes out very tasty!
Another delicious recipe. I failed to add the white wine but it was still PERFECT in taste. Thank you a great recipe.
Thanks Cora, glad it worked for you!
I’m confused. The recipe says I can use regular rice then in the notes it says thinker long grain rice doesn’t work well. Isn’t long grain white rice regular rice? If not, what is regular rice? Thanks
Hi Jerry- best to use short-grain white rice or medium-grain white rice. Long-grain rice like Basmati or Jasmine will not work well here.
I made this recipe exactly as written with short grain rice but on the stove top. I cooked it for the full 35 minutes as recommended and it was watery and my chicken wasn’t cooked all the way. I did brown the chicken ahead of time.
Sounds like it needed a little more time- did you end up cooking it a bit longer? I will note the recipe. 🙂