Southwestern Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa

A complete meal that’s made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes, healthy, and full of flavor — this Instant Pot chicken is a weeknight lifesaver!

A complete meal that's made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes, healthy, and full of flavor -- this Instant Pot chicken is a weeknight lifesaver! Get the pressure cooker recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Admittedly, this recipe isn’t the prettiest thing in the world. However, on my reader survey, it was pretty clear what most of you wanted. More healthy recipes! More 30 minute meals! More Instant Pot recipes. Boom — this one covers all three. You guys weren’t so much into special diet recipes and guess what? This definitely isn’t Whole30 compliant and it’s not dairy-free or vegan. It does happen to be gluten-free (which surprisingly most of you aren’t into at all), but it’s purely coincidence. How do they call it? Naturally gluten-free? That’s this recipe.

Also, I know you’re not all owners of an Instant Pot — it’s okay! There are plenty more non-Instant Pot recipes in the days to come.

A complete meal that's made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes, healthy, and full of flavor -- this Instant Pot chicken is a weeknight lifesaver!

If you’re looking to purchase an Instant Pot, this is the one I have. I use it 2-3 times a week, usually for food prep such as boiled eggs and shredded chicken breasts. I want to start expanding my repertoire of recipes to include more dinner recipes – you all know how much I love a dinner that’s made in one pot/pan/dish!

More about this Instant Pot Chicken:

This Instant Pot chicken recipe is basically magic. You put all the ingredients into the Instant Pot and seal it and about 30 minutes later, BOOM. DINNER IS SERVED. Chicken, quinoa, vegetables, everything you need. You all know how much I love toppings, and this recipe is perrrrrfect for toppings. Cilantro, green onions, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream, whatever your heart desires.

I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this one! Make sure to come back and rate the recipe after you make it. If you do make it, snap a photo and post it on Instagram – make sure to tag me and use the hashtag #RachelCooks — I LOVE seeing what you’re making in the kitchen!

A complete meal that's made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes, healthy, and full of flavor -- this Instant Pot chicken is a weeknight lifesaver!

Want to kick this up a notch and make it a little more unique? Learn how to pickle red onions (you won’t believe how easy it is!) and sprinkle a few on top!

More healthy Instant Pot recipes:

Southwestern Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa

Southwestern Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 21 minutes

A complete meal that's made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes, healthy, and full of flavor -- this Instant Pot chicken is a weeknight lifesaver!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) chicken broth
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1-2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of your Instant Pot, stir together chicken broth, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and one tablespoon of taco seasoning. Place chicken on top and sprinkle with remaining taco seasoning. Secure lid of Instant Pot and turn valve to seal.
  2. Set Instant Pot for manual (or poultry) for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn valve to “vent” to quick release pressure. Chicken should be at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or above. When pressure is released, remove lid and sprinkle cheese on top. Place cover back on for 1 minute or until cheese is melted.
  4. Serve chicken immediately with quinoa mixture.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 of 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 752 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 173mg Sodium: 1470mg Carbohydrates: 66g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 23g Protein: 77g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.
Verdict: A healthy, ultra-filling meal that’s made in one pot? C’mon, now….you already know how I feel about it.
Husband’s take: Ben loves this Instant Pot chicken recipe and always takes leftovers for lunch.
Changes I would make: None are necessary but make sure to have fun with toppings!
Difficulty: So stinking easy.

 

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51 comments

  1. Great Recipe! I used a can of Rotel Tomatoes as I had no fresh peppers. I also cut my huge chicken breast into chunks. The chicken was quite juicy, so smaller pieces didn’t cause it to overcook. **I made this in my Ninja Foodi on the pressure cook setting. We will have this again!

    Rating: 5
  2. Love this. So delicious! It’s also the first time I’ve enjoyed quinoa. I do have a question though. The chicken came out very tough. This was my maiden voyage using my instant pot. Are there any recommendations to help make the chicken more tender? Thanks. 

  3. Can ground chicken be used in lieu of chicken breasts

  4. Can I use slightly frozen chicken breasts? If so, should I adjust anything? 

    • Yes, that should work! You’ll probably want to increase cooking time by 3-4 minutes. I haven’t tried it with slightly frozen chicken breasts, so I can’t make any promises about the results, but I’d love to hear back from you if you try it!

  5. Can I try this receipe with bone-in chicken thighs? If so, how long should I cook should I cook it in the instapot?

    • I actually haven’t done bone-in chicken thighs in the Instant Pot yet, so I’m not sure about cooking time. I think it would be similar, though. Let me know if you try it!

  6. Got the burn message with the mini as well. Maybe putting the tomatoes on top of the chicken and not stirring will keep it from burning.

    Rating: 2
  7. No problem with the tomatoes! May want to increase the quinoa for 1.5 lbs of chicken breasts. Toppings were salsa, more cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. Used Penzey’s Chicken taco seasoning which gave a great kick.

    Rating: 4.5
  8. I also got the “burn notice”… Gave it a stir, added 2 cups liquid, and I will try it again on low pressure. Now, the quinoa is perfect; however, the chicken is not cooked through. I will try 5 more minutes on high pressure and let you know how that goes.

  9. I am just learning to use the 3 qt mini. Do I just cut the recipe in half for the smaller Instant Pot?

  10. This is the second time I have made this for the family, and we agree it’s a keeper! Lots of “Mmmm”s while we ate. Thank you for this terrific recipe!

    Rating: 5
  11. I got the burn as well, and it sucks because I was really excited to try this! I read mixing the ingredients prior to would cause a burn. I have the Lux mini, and I even put water and chicken broth into it to dilute it in hopes it wouldn’t burn, but to my dismay it didn’t work. 4 stars because this recipe is awesome!

    Rating: 4
  12. Just made for wife and self. Absolutely great recipe. Tweaked it a little. Because taco seasoning is usually salty, I used a lo-sodium variety. I also used RoTel diced tomatoes with green Chiles (2 cans for 20 total ounces). Again, a simple, flavorful dinner. 2 thumbs up. 

    Rating: 5
  13. When I made it before, I almost forgot the tomatoes so threw them on top at the last minute & it was fine. Today I made it again and the only difference was I mixed the tomatoes in with the other wet ingredients & I got the dreaded overheat/burn alert. I Googled it and apparently it’s fairly common for thick tomato-based sauces to cause this. I’d suggest people add the tomatoes on top of everything at the end (and don’t stir!) to prevent this. Maybe that’s what happened to the other commenters who also got a burn alert.

  14. Made this tonight with bone-in chicken thighs (12mins). Absolutely delicious. The only slight niggle is that the base of the pan was charred a bit, though it didn’t affect the flavour. I will definitely make again; next time I’ll try boneless breasts or thighs to see if that stops the charring.

    Rating: 4.5
  15. I feel like I should know the answer, but do you mean to let it naturally release for 10 minutes after cooking before doing the manual, or do you mean manual release immediately after the 10 minutes cook time is done?
    Can’t wait to try this – looks amazing!!

    • The way I have the directions written is a little confusing, I’ll reword them. You can release the pressure immediately when the cook time is done. Thanks for asking! I hope you like it!

  16. Do I need to change the timing if I double this?

    • I haven’t tried it — do you have the larger size instant pot? It might overflow otherwise. I typically need to increase cooking time slightly when doubling recipes so I would start by increasing by maybe five minutes and seeing how that goes. I can’t make any promises because I haven’t tested it that way, but let me know if you try!

  17. This recipe is amazing. I have made it many times now. It’s so tasty and super easy to make. I was wondering what to change if I made this without the chicken. I know chicken provides alot of moisture and I’ll have to lower the cook time. But I have know idea how much liquid to add or how much less I should cook it. Any tips? Either way thanks for this great recipe.

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so happy you like this recipe! Thanks for coming and leaving a comment! I haven’t tested this without chicken, but I actually think it would work pretty well with the measurements as written, minus the chicken. I can’t make any promises, but I’d love to hear back from you how it turned out! I think it would fully cook in five or six minutes.

  18. This recipe is amazing. I have made it many times now. It’s so tasty and super easy to make. I was wondering what to change if I made this without the chicken. I know chicken provides alot of moisture and I’ll have to lower the cook time. But I have know idea how much liquid to add or how much less I should cook it. Any tips? Either way thanks for this great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  19. I got a BURN message on my IP. Had to finish it in a regular pot. I googled BURN on IP and there are a lot of problems when there are so many ingredients getting sauted first. Any help would be appreciated as this recipe is delicious, even though I had to finish it without the IP.

    Rating: 2
    • Hmm, I have not had that problem! What size IP do you have? There are actually no ingredients sautéed in this recipe, so I don’t think that would cause a BURN message (unless you mistakenly sautéed something). Did your remember to add the full amount of liquid? I’ve never encountered this issue so I’m not sure what caused it.

    • I’ve heard that the BURN message is a common occurrence with the larger InstaPot.

      • Good to know! I’ve never used the larger size.

        • I just made it with the 8 Qt size IP but I chose to saute a small amount of onion first, then seared the chicken breasts cut in strips till starting to tun golden on one side (worried I would make it tough). I then removed the seared chicken strips, added every ingredient Rachel listed for the recipe ending with chicken on top to make the recipe. When I pressed Poultry, it put 15 minutes on the clock, I reduced this to 10 min as they were strips and partially seared. It was just perfect! Tender yummy chicken!! Served with avocado slices, cilantro and fresh tomatoes. Everyone had seconds!!

  20. Re: chicken – do you cut it up or whole boneless breast?

  21. I used salsa instead of a can of tomatoes. It was awesome!

    Rating: 5
  22. What adjustments should you make if cooking chicken from frozen?

    • You’ll need to increase cooking time by about 5 minutes. Make sure to check the chicken when you’re done to make sure it’s at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy!

  23. I’m really getting into using my pressure cooker too lately! Excited to see more recipes! It’s kind of magical!

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