Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Bowls–the pot-in-pot cooking method allows you to cook cilantro lime rice, seasoned chicken, onions and bell peppers all together and in just a few minutes in your electric pressure cooker. Then they are layered in a bowl with cheese, sweet corn, tomatoes, black beans, sour cream and guacamole. It’s definitely a fiesta in your mouth. Olé!
Get the SLOW COOKER version of the recipe here
Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Bowls
I’ve been mulling over the idea of fajitas in the Instant Pot for a while. There was one main glaring issue though. Every single recipe I’ve seen on the internet has overcooked and mushy peppers. I can just tell by looking at the pictures. How would I remedy that? And also, why would you cook fajitas in the instant pot anyway? They are pretty simple to make in a pan on the stove. Well, I can answer both of those questions now. Although it has caused me to lose some sleep over it. When I get a recipe problem in my head I can’t forget about it until it is solved. Okay so here’s the rundown of what I learned…
- The peppers: bell peppers are a main part of fajitas. And they taste great when they are cooked, but not overcooked. If I threw them in the instant pot with the meat for any length of time they would come out mushy and unrecognizable. The solution to this problem is to cut the peppers up, put a little salt and oil on them and place them in a little foil packet.
- Why make them in the Instant Pot? Well, if you’re not like me who seeks to make EVERYthing in the Instant Pot then you’re probably wondering why you would make an easy-ish stovetop recipe in the Instant Pot. The answer is because you’re able to create these Instant Pot chicken fajita bowls by cooking the cilantro lime rice at the same time as the chicken and at the same time as the peppers. AND let’s not forget you can walk away from the IP and not have to babysit a pan on the stove. My favorite thing to do when I’m cooking in the IP is to unload the dishwasher, wipe down my counters and then load up all the dishes. Then when my food is done cooking my kitchen is clean.
- This type of meal is perfect for picky family members. Everything is cooked separately so each person can make a fajita bowl of their choice. Don’t like beans? Leave them out. Don’t like guacamole? Get out of my house, I can’t live with someone like you.
- What if I don’t want to make the rice? You don’t have to. Just don’t do the rice part of the instructions. You can totally serve these over tortillas instead. I like to warm my tortillas up first…yum yum. My favorite tortillas are the uncooked kind that you cook quickly in a pan on the stove.
So are you convinced? If not, that’s okay we can still be friends. If you are convinced then put instant pot chicken fajita bowls on your menu this week!
More Instant Pot recipes that you’ll love…
Instant Pot Savory Pork Burrito Bowls
Instant Pot Pork Quinoa Cabbage Bowls
What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
For Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Bowls I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.Print
Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Bowls
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes plus 5 minute NPR
- Total Time: 44 minute
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
The pot-in-pot cooking method allows you to cook cilantro lime rice, seasoned chicken, onions and bell peppers all together and in just a few minutes in your electric pressure cooker. Then they are layered in a bowl with cheese, sweet corn, tomatoes, black beans, sour cream and guacamole. It’s definitely a fiesta in your mouth.
For the cilantro lime rice:
- 1 1/2 cups white rice (or jasmine rice)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 (4 oz) can green chiles (optional)
- Half of one bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the peppers:
- 2 or 3 bell peppers, your choice of color(s), cored and sliced into strips
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp oil
For the chicken:
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 2 chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 red onion, diced or sliced
For serving (these are all optional):
- Cheddar cheese, grated
- Tomatoes or salsa
- Guacamole (this is what made the meal for me!)
- Sour cream
- Black beans, warmed up
- Sweet white corn, warmed up
- In a fine mesh strainer rinse your rice until the water runs clear. Shake off excess water. In a dish that will fit inside your pressure cooker (must be oven safe) place all the ingredients for the rice. Stir a bit. I used a 7 inch cake pan. (If you have a dish with a flat bottom that is not glass that will work best.) Set the dish aside.
- Make a foil packet by ripping off a piece of foil and placing your peppers in the middle. Lightly salt and pepper them and pour the oil over the top. Bring the edges up and crimp to seal. Set aside.
- Browning is an optional step, but for best flavor do not skip. Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting and heat up the oil for a minute. Place chicken in the pot. Let the chicken brown on each side for 3 minutes without moving it or checking it. Take the chicken breasts out and slice them into strips. Deglaze the pot with the chicken broth. Turn off the saute function. Add the chicken back into the pot and then add in the seasoned salt, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, lime juice, tomato paste and red onion. Stir to coat the chicken in the mixture.
- Place your foil packet on top of the chicken. Carefully place your pot of rice on top of the foil packet.
- Lock the lid into place and make sure valve is set to “sealing.” Set the manual button (or pressure cook button) to 5 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 5-10 minutes. Then remove any remaining pressure by moving the valve to venting.
- Remove the lid. Carefully remove the bowl of rice and set it on the counter (the bottom of the pan might be a bit dirty). Taste for doneness. If the rice is not quite done then cover the pan with a towel or foil and let it steam for a few minutes.
- Carefully open up the foil packet and stir the peppers into the chicken mixture.
- Prepare your other optional toppings. Serve chicken and its sauce and the peppers on top of rice and then add any other toppings you prefer.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
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Can I use brown long grain rice in this recipe.
No, because it takes so much longer to cook that the other parts of this recipe would be overdone. I’d cook brown rice separately. It takes 22 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Thank you I’ll make it with the white rice. I make your recipes all the time. I have your cook book. I have never been disappointed.
If I have frozen chicken breasts i’m wanting to use will it work the same? Will i have to increase the cooking time at all?
Because of the different components in this recipe and the short cooking time you will need thawed chicken for this recipe. Most of my other chicken recipes can use frozen chicken though!
This recipe was great! I had to make a few changes because I didn’t have a separate container to put the rice in, so I just put the rice and broth in the bottom and the chicken on a trivet. Reduced the liquid by 1/2 cup since the chicken juice would be dripping onto the rice. Turned out amazing!! All of your spices worked beautifully. Probably the best rice I’ve ever had!!! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!
Good! I’m glad it worked well for you!
Can you use Basmati rice?
yes I bet white basmati rice would work well.
JOHN VAN DOLAH says
I FIND YOUR RECIPES ARE GREAT… WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS HOW DO YOU CHANGE A SLOW COOKER RECIPES TO AN INSTANT POT RECIPES????
Well it just depends on the recipe. Then I do some research and just try it out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!
I want to double the recipe, do I double the time too?
no keep the time the same.
What if you don’t have a pan that fits inside of the instant pot?
You many want to order one! They really come in handy.
Could this be made with instant rice? If so, would that change any settings/time? Can’t wait to try this!
I wouldn’t make the instant rice in the instant pot. I don’t think it would turn out very well. You may just want to make instant rice on the stove top.
I want to try this soon. I’m also new to IP. Mine says always have liquid in the pot, at least 1/2 cup. When would I add it to this recipe?
In step 3 you will add in half a cup of chicken broth when you deglaze the pot. Deglaze just means you’ll use the liquid to scrape off the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Rebecca J says
So when you have the chicken at the bottom what liquid is the IP using to pressurize? The liquid from the rice? I don’t want the burn reading.
Yes that’s right.
Heidi Nelson says
We made this tonight and it turned out wonderful! We will definitely make it again! It was a big family hit with all of our kids ages 2, 7 and 10!
I’m so happy to hear this. Win!
We are eating keto so did not make the rice, and served our chicken, onions and peppers with guac, sour cream and salsa. Delicious!
that sounds so yummy!
Joyce Smith says
How do I select just one recipe as my family favorite when we enjoy many! Although several are asked for, the ‘over all’ favorite has to be Chicken Fajita Bowls. We live in Western Colorado and love Mexican food. (Our Mexican ex-change-student daughter says, “All you Gringos love Mexican food.” She’s right!) I always have the ingredients on hand; it’s easy to prepare, everyone enjoys the meal and the clean-up is minimal. What’s not to love! I thank Karen for taking the time to create, test and to share recipes. I look forward to one day having the Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan, 7-Inch x 3-Inch for this fabulous dish and for preparing a crustless quiche since I have to prepare GF meals. The cake pan, topped with tightly-sealed aluminum foil would be perfect for preparing the crustless quiche.
Thank you for your quick response to my question!
Why does the bowl for the rice have to NOT be glass???
It can be as long as it’s oven safe but it seems to take longer to cook in glass so the rice might not be done when the chicken is done. Just cover the rice with foil or a towel and let it steam if it’s not done yet.
Your Chicken Fajita Bowl recipe sounds great! Can’t wait to try it! Did you use the low or high pressure setting when you cooked it? I am very new to instant pot cooking…so I am still trying to figure everything out. 😊
Hi Mary, I used high pressure. That’s what I always use! I need to clarify that in the recipe don’t I?