I’m not sure what it says about us but if I’m being 100% honest with you I have to admit that one of our go-to road trip meal stops is and probably always will be Cracker Barrel. It’s basically cafeteria food but something about the experience of eating there feels safe and comfortable and so you can bet that it’s our first choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner on the road. If it happens to be a Saturday, we’ll even drive far past our preferred stopping time until we reach a Cracker Barrel because, my friends, the Saturday Cracker Barrel special is a family favorite. Every Saturday, after 11am, Cracker Barrel serves up a chicken and rice dish that’s tough to beat. It, at least, was tough to beat. Now that I’ve perfected my own version of healthy Instant Pot chicken and brown rice, it’s safe to say that Cracker Barrel’s version is a close second.
Healthy Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice
Like so many of my favorite Instant Pot recipes, this one has been a huge hit with my family, and with several friends, neighbors and readers who’ve sent me sweet notes to let me know how much they love it. What makes it so special? I thought you’d never ask.
Making chicken and rice in the Instant Pot results in a creamy, casserole-like dish that takes comfort foods to a whole new level. Inspired by the Cracker Barrel version I love, this recipe brings mushrooms together with tender chicken and hearty brown rice.
I plus my version up by adding carrots and celery and a couple of additional surprise ingredients that give this dish a gourmet twist. The best part, though, is that this recipe uses real food ingredients — none of those cream of mystery soups. It’s hard to believe that such a creamy result can be had without using any of those canned soups full of salt and fat and ingredients you cannot pronounce. But indeed, this healthy Instant Pot chicken and brown rice is super creamy and super healthy and super delicious.
Another perk is that this is a one-pot dish. You simply toss everything into the Instant Pot and dinner is pretty much finished. Who doesn’t love a one pot meal?
I’m happy to tell you that I’ve been tweaking this recipe for years. Before I bought my Instant Pot, the Crock Pot was my instrument of choice for replicating Cracker Barrel’s dish and I can assure you that if you haven’t taken the leap and purchased an Instant Pot yet, the Crock Pot works just fine in this recipe. The Instant Pot, though, allows you to take this dish from fridge to the table in record time. I love my Instant Pot because it makes it so quick and so easy for me to serve real food, made from scratch.
Whichever vessel you choose, I implore you to try this healthy Instant Pot chicken and brown rice sometime soon. Whether you, like me, are a fan of the Cracker Barrel dish or not, I can almost guarantee that if you try this dish, you’ll lick the bowl clean.
There’s a good chance that once you’ve tried this recipe, it will make your regular dinner rotation. It’s too easy and delicious not to. But don’t stop with this one. My Instant Pot Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup should also make an appearance on your dinner table sometime soon. It’s another delicious dinner idea. And then, of course, you can’t go wrong with my Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup, either.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 16 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer in a shallow dish and pour in just enough milk to cover the chicken. Soak for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the veggies. Discard milk after soaking.
- Add chicken, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, rice, salt, Worcestershire sauce and thyme to the stainless steel bowl of your Instant Pot.
- Pour chicken stock and wine into the stainless steel bowl.
- Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and set the valve to the "sealing" position. Program the Instant Pot to the Manual cooking mode (high setting) and set the time for 25 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally depressurize for ten minutes. When ten minutes have passed, change the valve to the "venting" position. When the pin drops, unlock and remove the Instant Pot lid.
- Remove thyme stems. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return it to the stainless steel bowl of the Instant Pot. Add sour cream and stir thoroughly to combine. Add pepper to taste.
Soaking the chicken thighs in milk prior to cooking alleviates any gamey taste. Feel free to skip this step if that flavor doesn't bother you.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 731mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 14g
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