Everyone has that one meal that reminds them of home. It brings back the sights and smells of home. Most importantly, it is entirely associated with the greatest food of all- mom's cooking. Very few people don't love their mom's cooking and I am no exception. One of my favorite meals that my mom makes is chicken pilau. In her case, it is much lengthier and involved recipe. She uses fragrant broth made with chicken bones, basmati rice layers with the chicken and the broth, drizzled with saffron and cooked on low heat until everything is done. I could honestly eat it all day, every day. While this Instant Pot Chicken Pilau doesn't compete with my mom's recipe, it definitely helps curb the cravings until I eat my mom's cooking again.

Instant Pot Chicken Pilau Rice

What is Pilau

Pilau is rice cooked in a well-seasoned broth alongside a protein- generally chicken or beef, but sometimes seafood as well. It is a very popular dish in South Asian cuisine. Every family has its own variation of how they make and serve pilau. In my mom's case, she always serves pilau with shami kebabs (spicy ground beef patties), raite (seasoned yogurt with chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and green chilies) and spicy sauteed peas.

Since I am always on the hunt for quick and easy, I tried adapting my mom's recipe to the Instant Pot and it was amazing. In less than 20 minutes, I had delicious chicken breast pilau. While this Instant Pot Chicken Pilau isn't my mom's pilau, it is a very close dupe and so perfect for the busy weeknights when I have very little time to fix dinner.

Instant Pot Chicken Pilau Rice

If you love this recipe, you'll really like my Mediterranean Tomato Chicken and Rice dinner. You can check it out right here.

Instant Pot Quick Chicken Pilau

This Instant Pot Chicken Pilau recipe features fragrant basmati rice, cooked in a well-seasoned chicken broth with onions, ginger, garlic and chunks of boneless chicken. It is quick, delicious and an awesome recipe to have for those weeknights when too much is happening around you.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 6 people


  • 2 tbsp Butter or Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Chopped garlic and ginger or 1 heaping tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 medium Onion- thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Stock/water
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Chilli Pepper
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 whole Dried red chilli pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole Chicken Breast- cubed
  • 2.5 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups White basmati rice, rinsed
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  • Turn on the Instant Pot and set it to the Saute setting until the display reads HOT.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot and set it to the Saute setting until the display reads HOT.
  • Add the butter/ghee along with the sliced onion. Fry until translucent, then add the ginger/garlic paste and 1/4 cup water.
  • Add all the spices up to and including the dried whole red chili and let cook until fragrant.
  • Add the salt and pepper and the cubed chicken breast. Speed is important at this point since you don't want your chicken to get overcooked. Mix the cubed chicken well with the paste in the pot, add the 2.5 cups chicken broth and the 2 cups rice.
  • Place the lid on the pot and turn the knob to sealing. Turn off the pot and then turn it on the Manual (Pressure Cook on newer models) setting for 7 minutes.
  • Once the cooking cycle is done and the pot is on keep warm mode, let NPR for 5 minutes and then quick release. Fluff the rice with a fork and release all the steam. Then replace the lid and let the rice sit in the warm pot until it's time to serve.
  • Serve with a side of shami kebabs, raita, and sauteed peas or whatever your favorite side is with pilau. Give your Instant Pot a hug and tell it how you'll never let it go.