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.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 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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How long would you cook this in a regular crock pot?
I’d shoot for six hours on low for really tender chicken, Alexandria. I hope you enjoy it!
You have some great recipes, and love your approach of no cans—thanks for that! I’d rather not use canned soups etc. Also love the very thoughtful ‘print version’ button. Many bloggers don’t bother & that makes it difficult for those of us who’d like to print copies. THANK YOU!!
Thank you so much for this word of encouragment, Sue! It can definitely be tough to find recipes that are quick, delicious and healthy; you usually get two out of the three at best. I’m hoping to put a dent in that problem one dish at a time! ;)
I like short grained brown rice and I am wondering if it would take the same length of time as posted. Normally it takes longer that regular rice. Can’t wait to try it!
Do you think this would work with wild rice? And how long would you cook it? Also appreciate you don’t use canned ingredients! Thanks!
I made this for the first time tonight and it was absolutely delicious!
Most people only take time to comment if they want to complain. Thank you, Marita, for your recipe compliment. I appreciate it so much!
I’ve got this cooking right now….can’t wait to try it!
Thanks for sharing a great recipe! Easy. Tasty. Loved it!
So glad to hear it, Lance. Thank you!
This sounds so good that I got inspired…its in my IP right now. After a hard day working in the barn I can’t wait to eat this. Thanks for the no canned stuff approach too….I never have that stuff on hand and hate to use it.
It’s definitely a hearty meal — perfect after a long day of work! I hope it becomes a quick favorite, Kristen.
I always forget to defrost chicken. Do you have any tips for using frozen chicken for this recipe? I can’t wait to make this!! Thank you!
I’ve not tried it with frozen chicken yet, Michele, but I would love to hear your experiences if you try it before I do.
I made this recipe tonight just as written and it’s turned out so good! Even my youngest son liked it and he’s hard to please! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
You have some great recipes on here for Instant Pot. I have to admit that I’ve never tried the Cracker Barrel dish but we made this last night and loved it. I’ll be making it again.
My husband said this is the best thing I’ve made in my Instant Pot yet. I will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you for the great recipe.
I’ve made this twice now, two weeks in a row. It’s so good. A keeper. Thanks!
I loved it. The only thing I will adjust next time, is that salt. I will reduce it to one tsp. Other than that, it was quite tasty.
I’ve made this three times now. Will definitely continue the trend! We love this recipe.
I’m making this tonight. very quick to put together. got 21 minutes left on the counter and it smells great.
This is on deck for tomorrow night. I will be doubling to feed my family. We love creamy chicken and rice, I usually cook the (whole) chicken in the crock pot then shred, cook the rice in the rice cooker, cream of chicken soup from scratch on the stove then bake it all in a casserole dish. If I can do it in 1 pan, this will be a game changer!
I used to work at Cracker Barrel and I’d love to be able to make something like this at home!! I don’t have any brown rice on hand. Would you recommend any cooking time alterations for using jasmine rice? Thanks!!
This was delicious. I switched it up a little. I didn’t add celery or onion(didn’t have) but put onion powder in and used long grain rice. At the end I put a hand full of parm cheese in, made it so creamy. Thank you the recipe.
what size pot is this recipe for?
I’m trying this tonight. This will be my first time using my instant pot.
This one is foolproof, Carol Ann! Let me know how you like the recipe!
This came out perfectly. My husband loved it.
When you say manual, is it on high or low pressure?
High pressure, Evan. I hope you enjoy it!
This is so delicious! We love Cracker Barrel also – but this blows that out of the water.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Rebecca. Thank you for reporting back with a review!
My new go-to dinner!
Thanks for the recipe.
This recipe has made up my mind about buying an instant pot – bookmarking was this now, once my IP arrives, I’ll be back.
You make delicious meals so accessible – love you for that. (So do my kids and husband, for that matter…)
Changed dinner forever.
Died and gone to comfort food heaven. This dish was amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.
I doubled the mushrooms because we love them and this was delicious. I’ll make it again for sure.
I completely forgot about adding the wine and sour cream but it still tasted amazing. It’ll be all the better next time when I do add all the ingredients you call for.
I was so excited to make this tonite for dinner but mine turned out more like soup and was a little bland tasting. I followed the recipe to a T so I’m not sure where I went wrong.
My first thought, Maggi, is that you may have inadvertently used a different type of rice. I’ve tried the recipe with brown Basmati rice and when I did, the dish was far soupier than I would like. It’s super important to use long grain brown rice for the dish to result in a creamy, casserole-like consistency.
I made this for dinner and couldn’t believe how GOOD it was! My husband loved it! This recipe is a KEEPER!
The recipe looks great but I’d like to make it tomorrow and don’t have any white wine. Could I possibly use red wine or cream sherry? Or maybe just skip it and add more chicken stock?
Thanks so much.
Subbing in additional chicken stock in place of the white wine would be perfectly acceptable, Rosemary. Enjoy!
Thanks so much – I just added more chicken stock instead of the white wine and it was really delicious! What an easy and quick recipe – this will definitely be a new go-to meal in our house!
It’s a go-to at our house, too! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it and I appreciate you stopping back by to let me know. Best to you, Rosemary!
I’ve been making this pretty much every few weeks since you posted it last year. My whole family loves this meal.
I tried this tonight and it was really good!! I used all chicken broth for the liquid (and about a 1/2 cup more) because I had no white wine. I also used a wild rice, medley. It would be easy to substitute some of the vegetables and spices for what you have on hand. Really love there were no processed foods. I will definitely make this again.
Comments like this are so encouraging, Terri. Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you altered the recipe just to your liking and how it turned out. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness!
This has become one of our favorites. I put a full cup of chardonnay in. Thank you for helping make our dinners fantastic! Makes such a difference after a long day. :) God bless you.
A good recipe, an unusual combination of rice and chicken! I will continue to follow your blog, I like it.
I am using frozen chicken boobies. Set timer for 30 minutes. Also used dried mushrooms . No thyme so used rosemary. No wine either, just upped broth to two cups.
Sorry for the changes, it gotta McGiver it now and again around here lol
Have not tried yet as it’s still cookin
It turned out great. Used two boneless skinless boobies, frozen. Increased time to 30 minutes with ten minute before pressure release
Used 2 cups chicken stock and no wine
Used rosemary instead of thyme
Used dried shrooms
Is a good quick easy meal . Will make again
Thank you for sharing this recipe, it was very tasty!
Hi. I was away from my family and was looking for a recipe that they could easily follow that would result in something close to what I would make from scratch without a recipe if I were at home. They were craving “mom’s home cooking.” This was a dead ringer for my own food but written down in easy-to-follow directions. They loved it so much that I actually bought my son an Instant Pot for his college apartment. He made it also, and his roommates told him it tasted like “a bowl full of home.” Thank you for this. It’s a keeper! Which of your recipes is your next favorite? Maybe we will try it next!
*also works great with boneless skinless chicken thighs
*have used both fresh thyme as well as dried time. Both work well.
Delicious! I love chicken thighs – so good for pressure cooking! And I am a huge fan of brown rice! This is a great recipe using many staples from the pantry and fridge/freezer that you’ve always got on hand, but you’d never know it from the taste! I add a handful of fresh grated Parmesan and fresh herbs at the end for a nice finishing touch. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!
It’s a family favorite around here. Thanks for your comment, Britt!
Can this be made in an instapot mini?
I’m not familiar with that appliance, Jason. I suggest checking the capacity limits in your handbook and if it can handle the ingredients, go for it.
Any advise for halving this recipe?
Hi Jan, I’ve adjusted this recipe up & down for quantities. In general, for most pressure cooking recipes, and especially since this one has brown rice, I keep the cooking time the same. The time it takes to come to pressure will vary based on the amount of food & liquid in the pot, so it’s always worked out for me with the same cooking time.
Second time making this recipe. My husband loves it. Me too, easy and delicious. Thanks!
We make this a lot! Never have the wine. We also leave out the rice and it’s amazing. You don’t even miss it. I always add a ton more mushrooms and carrots so my 8 quart is quite full. Takes nearly 45 mins to come to pressure so I factor that in. Used thawed and frozen chicken and didn’t change anything but it takes a few mins longer to come to pressure with frozen. No big deal. So yum!!!
A good recipe, an unusual combination of rice and chicken! I will continue to follow your blog, I like it.
great recipe for rice with chicken, it turned out very tasty, I love different recipes that are based on rice, and meat I like chicken the most, so I’m glad I found this recipe, thank you for sharing it :)
I’ve reviewed this recipe before, but since I now make this at least every other week, I figured I’d provide an updated review. I generally stick pretty close to the original recipe as written, although I omit the mushrooms (I detest them), go heavy on the onion (I love them!), add garlic (because everything needs garlic), and I use chicken thighs, rather than breasts. Bonus, since thighs require NO shredding after pressure cooking, just give a stir and they will fall apart! But tonight after realizing I was running low on carrots, having maybe just under a cup, I added some extra celery and a heaping handful – about 1/2 cup? – of sun-dried tomatoes. OMG, not only did this add some color, but also some tang, enough that I didn’t even add sour cream at the end, saving on calories! Thanks again for this recipe! So good, and often used in my kitchen!
I am going to have to try the addition of sundried tomatoes. Sounds yummy!
What pressure setting do I use, low, normal or high?
I use high, David.
I have used this recipe so many times but the ingredients are not showing up on your website now!
I’m sorry to bug you, but the ingredients aren’t showing up for the recipe. I know they’ve been there before, because I made it once and it was great. Maybe it’s a glitch on my end, but I thought I’d ask.
I’m having a hard time finding the ingredients list, how can I access it? I made this years ago and loved it. Thank you!
We love this recipe and never actually took a screenshot. Don’t know if this is just a glitch but I can no longer see the measurements of the ingredients on the website. Can anyone share this if they have it, please?
Gonna try this tonight. Can’t wait. Any idea what the carb count is so I can calculate WW points? I see cholesterol – I wonder if that should say carbohydrates?
In the ingredient list, it says chicken breasts, but in the recipe instructions, it says chicken thighs. Which one do you recommend for this recipe?
I better fix that! I changed to chicken thighs and found that to be super yummy. Either works, but you don’t need to soak the chicken breasts in milk.