This Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice is an economical one-pot marvel. Juicy Chicken thighs loaded with Cajun seasoning with colorful peppers, onions and long grain white rice. The easy and delicious Cajun Chicken Rice Instant Pot recipe comes together under 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights!
Cajun Chicken Rice Instant Pot
We love easy, economical, flavorful and express one-pot meals that don’t require much elbow grease.
Today’s Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice fits the bill perfectly.
Just a little bit sauteing and dump and cook is all you’ve to do.
In fact this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice dish is our most favorite Cajun dishes that we enjoy eating and a lot.
So flavorful and so good!
The sweetness from the bell-peppers and the onion, the tang from the tomato paste, the smokiness from the paprika perfectly balances the spicy kick from the Cajun seasoning.
We went a little heavy on the Cajun seasoning because we love the kick and the taste.
However, you can always scale it down and also totally skip adding the paprika.
You can also use either boneless Chicken Breasts or thighs for the recipe. We chose chicken thighs and hence, the meat is darker.
Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice Ingredients
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and flash marinated them with little bit of Cajun seasoning and paprika. You can also use chicken breasts.
- Rice: Long Grain white rice rinsed and drained well.
- Water or Chicken Stock.
- Onion: Yellow Onion roughly chopped.
- Celery: Chopped finely.
- Bell Peppers: Green, yellow, orange and red varieties finely chopped.
- Tomato paste: Use store bought either from the tube or the can.
- Cajun Seasoning.
- Paprika. (optional)
- Oil: Extra virgin olive oil.
What is Cajun seasoning made of?
Cajun seasoning is made of a combination of flavorful dry ingredients like onion powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme.
However, DIY homemade Cajun seasonings might also contain paprika, black pepper and chili flakes.
Those extra stuffs lend a whole new kick to the Cajun seasoning.
What does Cajun seasoning taste like?
Cajun seasoning tastes smoky, garlicky, peppery with a good kick from the cayenne pepper. It’s a delicious seasoning spice blend perfect for summer barbecue and grilling and so much more.
Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice – Foodies Terminal Tips
How to make Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice? Step by Step
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Step #1 Braise the Chicken
Braising the chicken will greatly increase the flavor of the dish.
Lightly fry the Chicken both sides until lightly brown on SAUTE kept at HIGH in your Instant Pot.
Set aside and use the same oil for the rest of the recipe.
Step #2 Saute the Veggies
You can dump the Onion and the other veggies all at once and saute just for a couple of minutes to develop flavors.
However, you also take our route and saute the onions first until just beginning to become translucent.
Than, quickly add the bell peppers and celery and saute them for about 1 minute.
Step #3 Add Chicken, rice & pressure cook
Add the cajun seasoning, give everything a good mix.
Add back the braised chicken to the pot.
Pour water or chicken stock, mix in the tomato paste. You’ll get a gorgeous bright colored gravy.
Also, de-glaze the pot very well with the help of a spatula so that there are no bits and crumbs stuck at the bottom of the pot. This will prevent the BURN message.
Gently mix in the rinsed rice (READ NOTES). Do not stir too much because the rice grains will break.
Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes and than wait for 10 minutes Natural pressure release.
After that release the rest of the pressure manually and open the pot.
Gently fluff the rice with the help of a fork.
For the best fluffy Cajun chicken and rice allow the dish to rest for at least 10 mins before serving.
How long does Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice last in the fridge?
Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice shall last you for 5 days in the fridge in air tight containers.
Re-heat the dish in microwave oven with sprinkles of water or just grab a skillet and re-heat on the stove top over medium heat.
And do not forget to drizzle a few drops of water. This helps keep the rice moist and fluffy.
Cajun Chicken Rice Instant Pot Freezing Tips
Instant pot cajun chicken and rice is extremely freezer friendly. It will last your for 2 months in the freezer.
We love storing the portion sizes in freezer safe bags. That way it’s way easier to grab the bags and re-heat them as required.
Why not try these EASY Rice Recipes from the world?
Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and RicePrint Recipe Pin Rate
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- 1.66 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2.5″ large chunks
- 2 cups long gran white rice (rinsed very well)
- 2 cups and additional 50 ml water or low sodium chicken stock
- 2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
- 1.5 tsp Paprika Powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste (diluted with 2 tbsp water)
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt (to taste)
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup orange bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion roughly chopped (yellow onion)
For Flash Marinating Chicken (Optional)
- 4 dashes Cajun Seasoning
- 2 dashes paprika
- Salt (to taste)
- Flash Marinate the chicken with 4 dashes cajun seasoning, 2 dashes paprika and salt according to taste. Cajun seasoning already contains salt so you need to keep that in mind. This step is totally optional, however, flash marinating and than braising the chicken does build up excellent flavors. So, if you have a few extra mins on hand do this step.
- Now, set the Instant Pot on SAUTE and set it on HIGH. Add oil. When the oil becomes moderately hot add the flash marinated chicken pieces and braise (fry them) them both sides until lightly golden or golden brown. Set them aside. You’ll have some bits and crumbs sticking at the bottom of the pot while braising the meat, that’s perfectly normal. Moreover. we’ll be de-glazing the pot very well before pressure cooking.
- Use the same oil, add more if needed. Keep the SAUTE settings to NORMAL. Add the chopped onions and saute until they begin to become translucent.
- Now, add the colored bell peppers along with the celery and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add the Cajun seasoning ( I mixed in the paprika too in the cajun seasoning just before adding). Mix everything well.
- Add back the braised chicken chunks to the pot and give everything a very good mix.
- In the meantime rinse the long grain white rice with enough water several times until you see clear water running through. This step is very important. It helps make the rice fluffy and prevents them from becoming messy, sticky and gooey. The surface starch of the rice is all drained out this way. Also, drain the rinsed rice very well. There should not be any excess water left.
- Come back to the pot and add exactly 2 cups + additional 50 ml water and mix well. At this point de-glaze the pot really well with the help of a spatula. There should not be any bits and crumbs stuck at the bottom of the pot. De-glazing the pot well will prevent the BURN message.
- Add the tomato paste and mix well again.
- Next, add the rice and gently mix the grains in the water. Avoid over mixing, it will break the rice grains.
- Check the seasoning and add salt if you need to.
- Close the lid of the pot and seal the valve. Pressure Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes when the Instant Pot begins to beep wait for 10 minutes natural pressure release. Than, release the rest of the pressure manually.
- Open the lid carefully and fluff the Cajun rice gently with the help of a fork. For best result allow the Cajun Chicken and rice to rest for 10 mins before serving. This helps the rice become more fluffy. Enjoy!
- Measuring Units used, 1 cup = 240 ml and 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- What is Braising anyway? Braising means lightly frying or browning the meat both sides. And than cooking the meat covered in the same juices. This adds tons of flavor and depth to any recipe and also makes any tough meat fork-tender.
- Don’t want to braise the chicken pieces? Flash marinate them as already mentioned in the recipe and add them directly in the pot. Saute them for 2-3 mins along with the other ingredients.
- DO NOT ever skip rinsing the rice well. You can find the huge difference once you make the recipe using rinsed rice. No more gooey, sticky and messy rice ever!
- Drain the rinsed rice very well. There should not be excess water left.
- Use the same cup to measure the rice and the water.
- Use the exact amount of water mentioned in the recipe for best results.
- Avoid BURN message: De-glaze the pot very well with the help of a spatula after adding chicken stock or water. There should not be any bits and crumbs stuck at the bottom of the pot. That eventually leads to the BURN message as Instant Pots are sensitive.
- You can reduce the amount of Cajun spice and also skip the paprika totally from the recipe if you prefer a milder Cajun chicken and rice.
- We went a little heavy on the Cajun spice because we love the flavors and the kick.
- NOTE: You can skip sauteing the onion, instead dump the onions and the veggies together in the pot and saute everything for 2-3 mins and follow the rest of the recipe. Sauteing the onion brings out the sweetness and makes the dish more flavorful.
- STORING TIPS: This Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice stores upto 5 days in the fridge in air tight containers.
- RE-HEATING TIPS: Re-heat the Cajun chicken and rice in the microwave oven until warm with sprinkles of water. The water will prevent the rice from drying out. You can also re-heat the rice on a skillet with sprinkles of water and over medium heat. Stir often to prevent it from getting stuck at the bottom of the skillet.
- FREZZING TIP: The Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and rice freezes very well upto 2 months. I often freeze it in freezer safe bags, thaw them over night in the fridge and than reheat with sprinkles of water. Works beautifully every single time.