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Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Happy Friday! I’m slowly getting back to blogging regularly again since coming back from vacation (the last two recipe posts were written prior to vacation). We did a two-week cruise around the British Isles. So much beautiful sightseeing, tasty food, and cute sheep!

Plus, on the cruise ship, there were unlimited coffee, tea,and desserts until late into the night… sigh… I. Have. No. Self. Control.

Anyway, it’s good to get back to the groove of everyday life. Although, I’m going at a snail pace, I love testing and creating recipes to share with all of you. This one is made in my trusty Instant Pot.

I hope you enjoy this one: Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice!

How do you make this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice recipe?

Cilantro, ginger, coconut milk, lime juice and zest, salt and pepper in a food processor.

Place all the cilantro lime sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. Full ingredient amounts and instructions listed in the recipe card down below.

Cilantro lime coconut sauce in a wooden bowl.

The cilantro lime coconut sauce will be thin with small bits of cilantro.

Browned chicken thighs and sautéed chopped bell pepper and onions in an Instant Pot.

Brown the chicken thighs first before removing and setting aside on a plate. Then sauté the bell peppers and onions before returning the chicken back to the pot.

Browned chicken thighs, sautéed chopped bell pepper and onions that's topped with cilantro lime coconut sauce in an Instant Pot.

Pour half the sauce, making sure it gets distributed amongst the chicken and vegetables.

Cooked cilantro lime rice that's on top of chicken thighs and vegetables in the Instant Pot.

Then top the chicken and vegetables with rice and the remaining sauce. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes before applying a quick release (The picture is what it looks like right after you open the Instant Pot).

Cilantro lime chicken and rice in the Instant Pot.

Give it a light toss with a spoon to reveal the chicken and vegetables. Taste for salt and pepper.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice with tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and lime wedges in a wooden bowl.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice Tips:

Prepare the ingredients before you start cooking. I like to gather all the ingredients, place them on the counter, and measure and chop them before I start cooking. The exception being the fresh vegetables (like cucumbers and tomatoes) that I add to the chicken and rice at the end.

Make sure you completely unroll (lay flat) the chicken thighs when browning and then again when you place them back among the vegetables and rice in a later step. This ensures that you get even browning and that the chicken will cook all the way through.

Place the rice on top of the other ingredients in the Instant Pot before cooking at high pressure. Don’t mix in the rice. Instead, spread the rice in an even layer over the top of other ingredients. Just make sure that rice touches the sauce. If you mix it in, the rice can burn onto the bottom of pot. Not fun to clean-up at all.

Finish with fresh vegetables.I like to use chopped tomatoes,cucumbers, more fresh cilantro leaves, and lime wedges. It gives the rice bowls additional fresh vegetable sweetness, crunch, and brightness.

Overhead view of a bowl and casserole dish containing cilantro lime chicken and rice that was made in the Instant Pot.

This Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice Recipe is:

  • Delicious and flavourful: It has the delectable combination of fresh cilantro, freshly-squeezed lime juice and zest, a little zingy ginger kick, and a hint of coconut flavour from the milk.
  • Quick and easy to make: Great to make for a filling weekday dinner or a fast weekend meal.
  • Made with simple ingredients: The ingredients in this recipe are most likely easy to find at your local supermarket.
  • A fantastic meal for a family or for meal prepping: Leftovers keep well and re-heats wonderfully, so you can make it ahead of time and eat it over a few days.
  • Gluten-free!
A full bowl of Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, cucumber, and lime wedges.

I hope you try this recipe!If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment and rating below. Or you can tag me on any of my social media. I’m @yay_for_food on Instagram!

A wooden bowl full of cilantro lime chicken and rice with tomatoes, cucumbers, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro.
Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Bright, flavourful, and quick to prepare. This Instant Pot recipe features chicken and rice cooked in an easy to make cilantro and lime sauce. Top it off with fresh vegetables for a perfect family dinner.


  • 1½ lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1½ cups white rice, rinsed
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped

For the sauce:

  • 1½ cups light coconut milk (from a can), stirred well
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 2-3 limes, zest and juice *(see first note)
  • 2-inch fresh ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional toppings:

  • 1 heaping cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 heaping cup English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped
  • Lime wedges


  1. Place the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until the ingredients are well combined. Set aside.
  2. Dry and lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to "sauté”. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and place the chicken thighs flat in a single layer into the Instant Pot (you will probably need to do this in 2-3 batches). Lightly brown the chicken on each side, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  4. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil into the pot along with the onions and peppers. Using a wooden spoon, stir frequently until the vegetables begin to lightly brown and soften, about 2-3 minutes. If there are brown bits left from the chicken, scrap the bottom to remove/dissolve the bits.
  5. Press “cancel” to turn off the Instant Pot. Place the chicken thighs (spread out flat) within the ingredients in the pot. Top with half of the sauce making sure it gets distributed amongst the chicken and vegetables.
  6. Top the mixture with rice (spread into a thin even layer) and pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rice, patting the rice gently to make sure it is soaked with the sauce.
  7. Seal the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure (“manual”/"pressure cook" function) for 10 minutes. After it is ready, carefully apply a quick pressure release to completely depressurize (until floating valve drops).
  8. Open the Instant Pot and plate the chicken and rice **(see second note). Taste for additional salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and lime wedges if you like. Best served immediately.


  • *Two to three limes yield about ¼ cup of juice and 6 tsp of zest.
  • **I like to remove and slice the chicken, but you can also shred the chicken using two forks and then mix it back into the rice if you prefer.
  • Nutritional information represents one serving for a total of eight servings.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 489Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 283mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 30g

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Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Delicious! My family loved every bite! I substituted brown rice for white rice and cooked everything at high pressure for 14 minutes (high altitude + rice substitution). Excited for leftovers for lunch tomorrow!


Thursday 11th of February 2021

Hello! First time I made this recipe it came out great! 2nd time I got the burn notice before the pot was fully pressurized. I put everything in a bowl, cleaned the bottom of the pot and started over but added 1 c water. Still got the burn notice, any idea what went wrong? At that point I just had to throw everything away because the rice wasn't cooked. It seems like the sauce needs more liquid? Would it work to add some chicken broth in the sauce mixture?

Marie | Yay! for Food

Sunday 14th of February 2021

Hi Sara! I'm sorry that you got the annoying burn notice. Did you use white rice or another type of rice? It takes longer to cook brown rice as opposed to white rice.


Monday 8th of February 2021

I just made this and it was great! My toddlers are picky at times, but we they devoured it once they took the first bite.

Marie | Yay! for Food

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Thanks Nate! So glad the kids enjoyed it!


Tuesday 11th of February 2020

This was amazing....I added some stuff I like in burritos like Jalapeños, lettuce, homeade salsa, sour cream, and I spiced it up a little..As a base though this was amazing! Everything was FULL of flavor. I'm used to most stuff cooked with chicken stock etc... to lose flavor during instant release but this retained a rich savory but light flavor the whole way through...I think it's to do with the sauce. I wish I had reserved some for a sauce to go in the burrito!

Anyway, I thought this was great and I'll be making it again very soon!

Marie | Yay! for Food

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Thank you so much Jon! I'm glad you like this recipe. All the additional toppings sound so tasty too!


Monday 16th of December 2019

I would like to make this using an 8qt instant pot. What do I need to adjust regarding the recipe? Thanks in advance! Looking forward to making this tonight!

Marie | Yay! for Food

Monday 16th of December 2019

Hi Kristi. Unfortunately, I've only made this recipe in a 6qt instant pot so I can't tell you with certainty the adjustments that need to be made. According to the website, the general rule is to adjust the amount of liquid (the 8 qt needs at least 2 cups of liquid) and scale the ingredients accordingly, but keep the cooking time the same.

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