Instant Pot Smothered Greek Chicken and Rice—lemony bites of chicken and creamy rice with a generous scoop of deliciously light and refreshing yogurt-cucumber sauce, diced red onions and tomatoes on top.
Instant Pot Smothered Greek Chicken and Rice
I knew when I envisioned this recipe in my head that it would be a family favorite and I was right. Chicken and rice with lemon undertones and then topped with my favorite tzatziki sauce made a dinner that everyone loved.
What is tzatziki sauce?
The best sauce ever. Basically. It’s a yogurt cucumber sauce with garlic and dill. It’s super simple and it’s so light and refreshing. I like to dip pitas in it or serve it on top of gyros.
I made my tzatziki sauce with homemade Greek yogurt. You can also use store-bought whole fat yogurt, like the Fage brand. I like the thickness and consistency of Greek yogurt best.
What kind of chicken can I use?
For best results use a dark meat chicken like boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They stay tender and are really hard to mess up in the pressure cooker. Other choices would be bone-in chicken breasts, legs or thighs.
If you’re not a dark meat fan you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They won’t taste as moist and succulent but they will still be tasty.
What kind of rice can I use?
I used long grain white rice. You can probably use other types of rice with great results. Just make sure to use the proper cooking time and liquid (broth and lemon juice) to rice ratios. Also you’ll need to consider how long the chicken will need to cook. If the chicken is in whole thighs or breasts you’ll need at least 10 minutes pressure cooking time. If the chicken is cut into pieces you can get away with a 5 minute pressure cooking time.
How do I zest a lemon?
Lemon zest has an intense citrus flavor with very little bitterness. The bitterness is primarily found in the white part of the lemon (the white pith). The lemon zest adds so much to this dish! Don’t skip it! 1 medium size lemon has about 1 Tbsp of zest on it. Use a fine grater* or microplane* to grate the outer yellow layer of the lemon off.
Lemon juice and zest hack: Buy a huge bag of lemons at Costco and juice them.* Freeze the juice in ice cube trays or your egg bites mold*. Once they are frozen pop them out and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. After you have juiced the lemons don’t throw away the peels. Just pop them into a Ziploc bag and when you need some zest you can easily grate off the outside layer of the lemon skin. It is easier to grate frozen than fresh. I can’t wait to use some of my lemon zest for my favorite lemon cookies!
More Greek-Style Instant Pot Recipes…
Instant Pot Greek Chicken Rice Bowls
Instant Pot Greek Lemon Dill Chicken Bowls
Instant Pot Greek Chicken Lemon Rice Soup
Instant Pot Smothered Greek Chicken and Rice
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes (plus 5 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
Lemony bites of chicken and creamy rice with a generous scoop of deliciously light and refreshing yogurt-cucumber sauce, diced red onions and tomatoes on top.
For chicken and rice:
- 2 Tbsp olive
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
For the tzatziki sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups seeded, peeled and finely diced cucumbers
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
- Turn Instant Pot to the saute setting. When the display says HOT add in the olive oil and onion. Saute the onion for 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 20 seconds. Stir in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot clean. Turn off the saute setting.
- Sprinkle in the rice, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne and zest. Nestle the chicken into the pot.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 10 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 5-10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Slice, chop or shred the chicken.
- Make the tzatziki sauce by stirring the yogurt, cucumber, dill, pepper, garlic, salt, garlic powder and olive oil together in a bowl.
- Serve chicken and rice topped with a generous scoop of tzatziki sauce, diced red onion and tomatoes.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. For 8 quart pot, keep the recipe the same. For 3 quart pot, halve the recipe, same cooking time.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Greek
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Dawn W says
4 1/2 stars: Very tasty and I didn’t read all the comments before making because we were too hungry. This has a nice delicate lemony taste!! I used 2c of Jasmine rice with 3c stock and after 10+10NPR, the rice was very starchy/mushy. Should I have used a different rice? Cooked less? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Husband raved about this despite my rice issue. “Good stuff woman!” Tzatziki sauce was super! 👍🏻
You could cut the chicken up into pieces and then only pressure cook for 4-5 minutes
This was delicious and super easy to put together!
So glad you tried this one! I love it too!
I didn’t care for the tzaki sauce – too plain. I think it would benefit by swapping out half the yogurt for sour cream and feta cheese.
Linda Selzer says
This was truly delicious! The smell in my kitchen about later reminded me of what a good meal we had! My only change was using green onions on top because they were what I had on hand. I’ll definitely make it again.
Thanks for the 5 stars Linda!
I have made several of your recipes and haven’t been disappointed. I will be making this in the near future. I have a different brand pressure cooker and would like to know if the manual setting on the Instant Pot is a high or low pressure setting?
It is high pressure!
Bonnie Lippincott says
I’m going to try this, my only problem is I can’t eat cucumbers! I’ve avoided greek recipes because of that. I think I will make it anyway, and try zucchini in instead. We love zucchini and since we don’t know what the sauce is supposed to taste like, I think it will work. I might put a bit more lemon in since I think cucumbers have more liquid than zucchini. I put “raw” zucchini in salads so I know they are good uncooked.
Also, my IP is about 5 years old and I’ve never gotten a burn notice. Maybe because I only use manual and never any of the presets. Who knows.
Let me know how the zucchini tastes!!
Not sure if someone else commented, but there diced onion and tomatoes are in the list with the chicken when cooking.
Steve S says
It seems to only be a problem with newer Instant Pots. Mine is 2 years old and I ALWAYS get a burn notice after using the saute function. I have seen Karen and other posters of recipes show some confusion about the burn notices ( because they don’t get them either.) I just saute everything on stovetop and dump it in although I could have bought a regular pressure cooker at half the price ( and would have, had I known)
How long would I cook this if I doubled the recipe?
Cook the same amount of time 😊
This is a great recipe! Would I be able to use chicken breast instead of thighs?
Sure! If you’re not a dark meat fan you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They won’t taste as moist and succulent but they will still be tasty.
Sharon Bernard says
Can you tell me the adjustments I need to make using brown rice?
Thanks…love your recipes…I have made so many of them!!! Everyone a hit!!!
Use 2 cups brown rice and 2.5 cups chicken broth. Cook for 22 minutes with 10 minutes NPR.
Sharon Bernard says
Rachel Kay says
Thanks for this great recipe. I noticed you have a cup of onion and then a half cup of red onion but I don’t see any instructions on what to do with the red onion.
Oh sorry, the red onions are just for serving on top!
Kathleen Griswold says
I bought the wrong chicken. How should I adapt using regular thighs with bones and skin? I can probably pull the skin off.
BTW, I have used several of your recipes and will go back through and rate them and comment. They have been a life saver!
I’d remove the skin and then just put them in the pot, same directions as listed in recipe. Then eat chicken with bone-in or pull off meat from thighs chop it up. You may want to add more chicken in since a lot of the weight will be bones.
Did the Sauté part in a pan after reading comments. Everything turned out great, super yummy and lots of leftovers for my lunches this week! Thank you!
Yay! Glad it worked well for you Heather!
Okay! I will have to do that. I’m sad that people are getting the burn notice.
I tweaked this recipe when I cooked tonight, and it came out amazing. I halved it, substituted quinoa for rice, and used a 1:1 liquid quinoa ratio. Just over a pound of marinated chicken breasts. It was perfection!
I really really love the idea of quinoa with the tzatziki sauce on top. That just sounds so delicious!
I’m so sad about this Beth. I need to rewrite this recipe as pot in pot for those struggling with the burn issue.
Suzanne Hebert says
I had the same issue with the burn message, but I did not rinse my white rice first. I am hoping this may make a difference. BTW everyone loved it and it moves over to my “make at least twice month”
Rachel Gallagher says
I cooked this per the recipe and got the burn notice too….when I checked the automatic rice setting it cooks on low pressure, so I changed it to manual, LOW pressure and it turned out just fine, with the chicken cut into smaller chunks. 🙂 Can’t wait to eat!
Good to know! thanks for sharing 😊
Me too – burn notice, burn notice, burn notice. Hating the instant pot. 🙁
Can you tell me what model of Instant Pot you have? I think the newer models get the burn message a lot. I have never gotten the burn message.
If I were you I would try using the pot in pot method for rice recipes. You’ll need to increase the cooking time though but upwards of 50% as the food will not be sitting directly on the heating element. I would buy a 3 quart instant pot liner https://amzn.to/2ZIlp7r and use that at the pot in pot since it is so tall and will accommodate most recipes that are made for the 6 quart pot.
I haven’t made this yet but like to read reviews first. I too believe the newer IP get the burn notice more often. I had the 6 quart and never got the burn notice. I recently upgraded to the 8 qt Duo and got the burn notice a couple times. Frustrating.
I often do all “sautee” functions on the stovetop because I find the chances of getting a BURN notice after using the pot for the sauteeing go up exponentially. That’s how I will attempt this recipe – no sauteeing IN the pot. Fingers crossed!
interesting – great tip!!
That is interesting. I have used my saute function the first time I used my IP. I have had it for 2 years and never had a burn notice.
Tasted great. I would recommend that frozen chicken not be used. It was still partially raw after a 10-minute cook and a 10-minute stand time. The Tzatziki sauce was excellent. Am I safe to assume the cucumber should read 1 1/2 cups and not 1 1/2 cucumbers?
Larece Younger says
Was it too much or not enough?
Yes that’s right! I’ll correct. I did frozen chicken and it was really quite done but that’s because it was thinner, probably.
Where can I find the crockpot version of this recipe?
Did you get an answer? Wondering the same thing.
Hi Emily I haven’t tried it yet in the slow cooker but if I did this is how I would make it:
2 Tbsp olive
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups uncooked brown rice
3 cups boiling chicken broth
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil into the pan and swirl around to melt. Once melted, add in the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 20-30 seconds. Add in the brown rice and stir to coat the rice in butter and onions. Add the mixture to the slow cooker.
Stir the boiling chicken broth, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon zest into the slow cooker.
Nestle the chicken into the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or until rice is tender. Remove the chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Stir the chicken back into the slow cooker.
Serve chicken and rice with diced tomatoes and onions and tzatziki sauce.
Is it 10 min for frozen too? Love your recipes!
I used chicken thighs that were boneless and skinless (so they are not as thick in the middle as chicken breasts) that were frozen. I used a 10 minute cooking time and 10 minute NPR. They were perfectly cooked. IF you use thicker pieces of chicken then they will likely be raw in the middle. I would suggest using thawed/fresh chicken and using the 10 minute cooking time.
Saving this recipe. Sounds and looks delicious!! Can’t wait to make it!
It’s already become a favorite!!! The tzatziki is killer!
Jane McKenzie says
Hi Karen! I love your recipes and have tried so many. I am 70 and now live alone. How might I cut this recipe in half please? My freezer is full of food that the recipes are for 4+ people!
Hi Jane, I would halve all the ingredients and keep the cooking time the same. Here’s a great article that explains how to halve instant pot recipes: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/how-to-halve-instant-pot-recipes/