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Instant Pot Chicken Pulao

This quick and easy Instant Pot Chicken Pulao recipe requires just 25 minutes of prep time and results in tender boneless chicken and perfectly cooked rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Halal
Keyword Instant Pot Chicken Pulao
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Natural Pressure Release 15 minutes
Total Time 46 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 2314kcal


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 ½ cups (285 grams) aged, long grain basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 2 small (or 1 large) bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 small black cardamom optional
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3/4 inch piece ginger crushed
  • 1 lb boneless chicken (I prefer thighs or tenders but you may use breast) cubed into 1” pieces
  • 1 small (50g) tomato finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chili peppers whole or chopped (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 ¼ tsp kosher salt divided (or to taste)
  • small handful chopped cilantro and/or mint


  • Thoroughly wash the rice and soak it in water for 15-25 minutes (see notes). Then drain. I usually start pulao preparation while the rice is soaking.
  • Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add the oil, ghee, and thinly sliced onion. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water. The color of the onions will determine the color of the rice so you want to get them even and golden brown.
  • Add the whole spices, garlic, and ginger and sauté for another minute or until the raw smell disappears. Add the chicken and ¼ tsp of the salt and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes until the color of the chicken changes. Add the tomato and green chili pepper and sauté until the tomato softens, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice, remaining salt, and water and stir to combine. Scrape the sides of the pot and gently press down the rice to make everything is submerged in the water.
  • Cancel the Sauté setting, secure the lid, and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Pressure-cook on high setting for 6 minutes. Let naturally release for 15 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle the cilantro/mint over the top and serve with raita or yogurt.



*If your rice generally takes less soaking, soak only for 15 minutes. See post for notes on how to prevent mushy rice.
*Recipe adapted from my Instant Pot Chana Pulao.


Calories: 2314kcal | Carbohydrates: 306g | Protein: 116g | Fat: 65g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 469mg | Sodium: 5694mg | Potassium: 1766mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 10mg