Instant Pot Spiced Chicken Rice with Chickpeas (and hidden veggies!)

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Do you have a go-to recipe technique? I’m sure you do – and today’s recipe is my absolute go-to. I make a recipe like this at least once a month because it’s easy, my entire family enjoys it, and it hits all the nutrient points in one dish. Plus, it’s easily adaptable depending on the ingredients you have on hand and your favorite spices. I actually made this recipe as part of my meal prep when I was pregnant with my 2nd son – I think that proves it to you that this recipe is easy to make and reheats beautifully.

The Instant Pot is a critical item in my arsenal of cooking products. I have the original and have used it every week since I purchased it in 2019. If you are on the fence about getting an Instant Pot or feel intimidated to bust yours out of your pantry – please do so!

To make this, you’ll need the following ingredients: boneless skinless chicken thighs, onion, carrots, butter, lemons, one can of chickpeas (not pictured), chicken bullion (not pictured), water, salt and pepper, paprika, oregano, and coriander.

Kitchen tools needed: Instant Pot (this is the one I have had for years and love — it even has the dent on the side to prove its durability); grater, chefs knife, measuring spoons, lemon juicer, microplane, and a measuring cup.

OK, let’s get started.

First, get your ingredients prepared and ready to go.

Dice your onion (I had a giant Vidalia onion, and only used half of it) – dice this into small-ish pieces. Most of the onions will dissolve when cooking – you may see some pieces, but really, the onion is there to enhance the overall flavor of the rice.

Next, peel and grate your carrots. I used 3 carrots, and this made about 1.5 cups of shredded carrots once complete. You can sub zucchini if you have it – or even add zucchini shreds as well. I use what I have on hand. Why do I include these hidden veggies? Well, they enhance the flavor and they enhance the overall nutrient load for this dish. You can omit if you so incline.

Tip for grating carrots and avoiding nicking yourself – after peeling the carrots, cut the ends off of the larger side, and start grating from that larger side. You will have a better hold on the carrots. Once you get to the small end, it is hard to grate, save that for a snack, but don’t try to grate. Believe me, it’s not worth it!

Final prep item – zest and juice your lemons.

Now it’s time to get cooking.

Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter, and then add in your onions, carrots & one teaspoon of salt. Allow these to cook for about 6 minutes, stirring every minute or so to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom.

After the onions have turned translucent and the carrots have cooked, it is now the time to add your spices and another teaspoon of salt.

Stir stir stir. I like to toast my spices to enhance their flavors!

Now add in your ginger garlic paste and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. NOTE: there are 4 tablespoons in this entire recipe).

Turn the Instant Pot off of sauté mode and prepare your rice.

Take 2 cups of basmati rice and rinse it well. Add to your cooked veggies and spices.

Add in your drained can of chickpeas and stir. Add in your lemon juice and lemon zest.

Once it is well mixed (you’ll see spices on all of your rice and chickpeas) – you are ready to add the chicken broth — I always have Better than Bullion in my fridge, and just mix 3 teaspoons with 2 cups of water. You can substitute regular chicken broth or even water. I have used all variations and they work equally as well. Maybe add in extra salt if you are using plain water.

Once your water is added, give it a quick stir. Final step, add the boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the rice. Just set them on there. One tip: when they pack boneless skinless chicken thighs, they pack them tight so they are compact. You will want to spread them out slightly so they cook evenly in the Instant Pot. Simply use a fork or your hands to unwrap the chicken thigh and lay it down on top of the rice.

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, place the lid on.

Set the Instant Pot to “manual” and select 18 minutes.

It will take about 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure.

After it completes the 18 minutes, allow it to sit for a few minutes before releasing the pressure. Remove the lid, and let cool for a few minutes.

After a few minutes, it’s time to shred the chicken. Simply use 2 forks and shred the chicken – we keep ours in relatively large pieces.

To serve, dish into a bowl and squeeze over additional lemon juice. My preferred way to enjoy this dish is with a bunch of Red Hot sauce and a dollop of whole milk plain yogurt (or sour cream). Delish!

This recipe is completely adaptable – and we make alternate versions, dependent on the veggies I have on hand and the spices that sound good to me at the moment. But the onions, rice, and chickpeas and chicken are the same quantities every time. Let me know if you make this!

Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken with Spices & Chickpeas (and hidden veggies!)

Recipe by Bookish TableCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time




  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 5-6 chicken thighs)

  • 1 onion (about 1.5 cups diced)

  • 3 carrots (about 1.5 cups shredded)

  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, divided

  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

  • 2 cups white basmati rice

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 Tablespoon salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 cups of water mixed with 3 teaspoons Better Than Bullion (or sub chicken stock)

  • For serving: squeeze of lemon, whole milk yogurt or sour cream & hot sauce


  • Prep your veggies: dice one onion, grate 3 carrots, and zest and juice your lemons.
  • Turn Instant Pot to the sauté setting – add in 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once that melts, add in your diced onions and carrots. Sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt and stir. Allow this to cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir every minute to ensure bottom is not browning.
  • Add in your spices and ginger/garlic paste. Stir and allow that to cook for 1 minute. Turn off your Instant Pot from sauté mode and add in your lemon zest, lemon juice, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Prep your rice by rinsing under running water until the water is relatively clear and set aside. Drain your chickpeas, but don’t rinse them and set aside.
  • Mix your better than bouillon with 2 cups of water (or just chicken broth).
  • Add the rice & chickpeas to the instant pot, mix around until coated in the veggies, butter and spices.
  • Add the broth to the instant pot.
  • Lay the boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the rice and water. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, and close the lid.
  • Set the instant pot to Manual for 18 minutes.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before releasing the steam and opening the lid.
  • Using two forks, shred the chicken and mix into the rice.
  • Serve in a large bowl – add a sprinkle of lemon juice or hot sauce & yogurt. Enjoy!

Recipe Video


  • Tip about grating carrots. Start at the thick end and toss once it gets too skinny to safely grate.
  • Serve with a bunch of hot sauce on top and a dollop of plain yogurt!

All nutritional information on this site is based on estimates and is not meant to be exact.

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  1. Pingback: Instant Pot Spiced Chicken Rice with Chickpeas (and hidden veggies!) – Bookish Table | My Meals are on Wheels

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