Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice

This Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli recipe features chunky, bite-size pieces of chicken and crisp-tender broccoli, smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and served over fluffy white rice. It’s a family favorite pressure cooker chicken recipe that’s ready in UNDER 30 minutes!

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli over Rice, with an Instant Pot Duo in the background

It’s Jenn again! It’s been over 5 years since Barbara adapted this popular Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Broccoli recipe to the pressure cooker.

Since then, this cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole-style dish has been on regular rotation at my house. It’s the perfect comfort food, and it’s something I know my kids will always eat.

Plus it cooks up quick, which is perfect for busy nights!

We’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe over the years, and so Barbara and I decided it was time to update the post.

Making Creamy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Broccoli over Rice in an Instant Pot

All of these rice recipes will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, and Mealthy MultiPot. They are easy to use and can help you create the perfect InstaPot Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli recipe!

Browning the chicken in an Instant Pot Duo for Cheesy Chicken, Brocoli and Rice casserole

Preparing the Chicken

Do you have to brown the chicken? No! Especially when you’re using frozen chicken breasts (more on that below.)

However, browning the meat makes the cheese sauce much more flavorful, so I don’t like to skip that step.

I prefer to dice the chicken after I brown it, because I think I get a more even browning of the meat. However, if you’d like, you can absolutely dice the raw chicken into bite-size pieces before browning it. It’s your call!

Shredded chicken ready to go into the cheese sauce

Quick Tip: Use Uniform Chicken Breasts

Before you start cooking, take a look at your chicken breasts. Some stores sell relatively flat cuts of meat where there’s not much variation in thickness. Other stores sell chicken breasts with a big change in thickness throughout the cut. 

 

Having the chicken a uniform thickness ensures all of the chicken is done at the same cook time.

For thicker cuts, I like to cut chicken breasts into cutlets or pound them with a kitchen mallet until all parts are a similar thickness. 

Chicken is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F at the thickest part of the meat.

Raw Chicken Breasts ready to be cooked into Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice with broccoli and cheese sauce

See the very thin ends on these chicken breasts? They’ll cook different from the very thick parts on the other end.

Cooking with Frozen Chicken Breasts

This recipe can generally be made with frozen chicken breasts without adding any extra High Pressure cook time. 

The only exception would be if multiple chicken breasts are frozen together in a solid piece or if they are particularly thick at any part. (If that happens, I’d actually recommend using my Quick Thaw tip in my How to Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts post, then proceed with the recipe as directed.)

Defrosting frozen chicken in your pressure cooker / Instant Pot

To cook the chicken from frozen, skip the browning step. Saute the onion and add the chicken broth and spices. Spread the frozen chicken breasts out as best you can and pressure cook as directed. 

After you’ve released the pressure, dice the chicken and and return it to the pot. Select Saute and cook for 1 to 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the cornstarch slurry and continue as directed.

Just a note on timing: Frozen chicken breasts will take longer to cook, since it will take longer for the pot to come to pressure.

Cheesy Chicken and Brocoli for the Instant Pot, MultiPot, or Ninja Foodi

Did I stir the broccoli into the cheese sauce just for the picture? Yes, yes I did.

Making the Broccoli

You’ll notice the ingredients list calls for steamed broccoli. This is so that you can prep your fresh broccoli the way your family likes it—some people like it cut very small so that you get a little broccoli in each bite. Others prefer larger stalks of broccoli. 

Personally, I don’t like the way broccoli reheats once it’s been stirred into the cheese sauce. Therefore, I always keep my broccoli separate. 

I generally cook the broccoli in the pressure cooker before starting on the rest of the recipe. (Set a cook time for 0 minutes [yes, zero] at High Pressure, with a quick pressure release). Or sometimes I forget and just cook it in the microwave. Depends on how the day is going. 😂 

Cooking the Rice Separate

I love cooking the rice separate because it lets me control the sauce-to-rice ratio for my boys.

You’ll notice that there’s two sets of instructions in the recipe, depending on how you want to cook the rice.

Want to make a double or triple batch of Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli? You’ll probably want to cook the Pressure Cooker White Rice before you start the chicken. (Or, you know, invest in a second Instant Pot—one for main and another your pressure cooker side dishes.)

However, if you just want to cook the recipe as directed, you can cook the rice at the same time in the same pot. 

I absolutely love cooking pot-in-pot. If you’re using a 7×3-inch pan, you can cook up to 2 cups of rice at the same time. 

(Not familiar with pot-in-pot cooking? Check out my complete guide on how to use the pot in pot method in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot.)

What Kind of Rice to Use?

Use your favorite! Since the rice is cooked separately, you can use long-grain or short-grain, white, brown, pink, basmati (or whatever else you have on hand 😂)!

(Check out my how to make rice in the pressure cooker post for more tips on making rice.)

An overhead shot of InstaPot Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli with a bowl of broccoli and cheese and an Instant Pot featured in the upper corners.

Making Substitutions

For those of you looking for comfort food taste with fewer carbs, cooking the rice separate also lets you make quick switches. 

While I still usually make a batch of rice for the family, I’ve also enjoyed this cheesy chicken over zoodles (zucchini noodles), riced cauliflower, and even lentil pastas. It’s also good just served over a bed of steamed broccoli.

You can also use either light cream cheese (neufchatel) or traditional in this recipe.

As for cheese, I prefer cheddar, or a mix with cheddar in it like cheddar jack. However, you can use any kind of cheese you have on hand! (For example, mozzarella is a fun variation, but because mozzarella melts with a lot of stretch, it can get messy to eat.)

You can also use chicken thighs in this recipe. You may need to add an extra minute or two of High Pressure cook time. 

Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli inside the pressure cooker pot

Making a Double Batch

If you want to make a double batch, you can easily double all of the ingredients with no change to the cook time. Depending on the pan and trivet you have, you may still be able to cook the rice pot in pot. 

I hope you enjoy this creamy Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli recipe as much as we do!

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice

This Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli recipe features bite-size pieces of chicken and crisp-tender broccoli, smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and served over fluffy white rice. You'll have this family favorite on your table in UNDER 30 minutes!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli, lightly steamed
  • 3 cups prepared white rice, for serving**

Instructions

To Cook the Rice Separately

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Select Saute and add the oil and butter to the pressure cooking pot. When the butter melts, add the chicken and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the cooking pot. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Stir in the chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Return the browned chicken to the pot.
  3. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time.
  4. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut in to bite-size pieces.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Select Saute (adjust to low if needed) and add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the cream cheese and Cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Stir in the diced chicken and steamed broccoli. Simmer for 5 minutes until broccoli and chicken are heated through.
  7. Serve over prepared white rice and garnish with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

To Cook the Rice at the Same Time

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Select Saute and add the oil and butter to the pressure cooking pot. When the butter melts, add the chicken and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer chicken to a plate..
  2. Add the onion to the cooking pot. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Stir in the chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and parsley.
  3. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into the cooking pot.
  4. In a 7x3-inch round pan, combine 2 cups rice and 2 1/2 cups water. Place a tall trivet over the chicken in the bottom of the cooking pot. Use a sling to carefully lower the pan onto the trivet.
  5. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time.
  6. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  7. Use the sling to remove the rice and set aside. (Cover if desired.)
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Select Saute (adjust to low if needed) and add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring constantly.
  9. Add the cream cheese and Cheddar cheese, stirring until the melted and well incorporated. Stir in the broccoli.
  10. Serve over prepared white rice and garnish with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 78mg Sodium: 622mg Carbohydrates: 36g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 23g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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