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Healthy Apricot Chicken Recipe in Pressure Cooker – Easy Pot in Pot Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Meal!

Whether you’re struck with spring fever or just craving something fresh and new, this apricot chicken recipe is a true dinnertime delight! It’s totally satisfying and perfectly savory, with an irresistible natural sweetness from the dried apricots. After cooking, those plump apricots almost melt into a heavenly, syrupy jam!

And, since I’ve designed this apricot chicken recipe as an instant pot dinner, it’s SO dang easy to make. No fussing with the oven or spreading sticky preserves onto your meat like you would for apricot glazed chicken. Thanks to the instant pot, you don’t even have to wait for hours like you would for a slow cooker or crock pot apricot chicken recipe.

Just toss everything into the pressure cooker and let it cook for 6 minutes—and you can have this entire instant pot meal ready to serve in under 40 minutes! The result is deliciously tender, flavorful apricot chicken thighs that taste like they’ve been slow cooked, in just a fraction of the time.

Plus, this is actually an instant pot apricot chicken AND rice recipe that allows you to cook your protein and grains together, in one pot! Not chili-style or like a classic one pot dinner, where everything gets mixed together. I’ll show you how to keep this apricot chicken recipe separate from your rice—while they’re cooking in the same pot at the same time… Say whaaat?!

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The 2-in-1 Magic of Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Meals

Meal prep efficiency fiends or those cooking for an entire household likely know all about the life-changing convenience of one pot mealssheet pan dinners, and slow-cooker recipes.  The entire meal goes into one pot or onto one pan all together and BAM—your easy weeknight dinner is ready to serve!

But, instant pot meals can offer even more convenience on busy weeknights, and they have some downright magical possibilities. For one thing, instant pot dinners like this apricot chicken recipe just cook plain faster, thanks to the wonders of pressure cooking technology. And, with the help of an instant pot steam rack, you can cook TWO separate meal components at ONCE.

That’s the magic of instant pot chicken and rice recipes like this one—along with loads of other 2-in-1 pressure cooker meals that a steam rack makes possible. I found a set of 3 racks online for a very affordable price and each is a different height, so I’ve got a few options if needed. If you cook instant pot recipes even semi-frequently, steam racks are a must-have!

Everything for this apricot chicken recipe happens IN the instant pot: you saute your onions and seasonings, then pressure cook the chicken and rice. But, the steam rack allows you to cook your rice in a heat-proof bowl on top of the apricot chicken thighs. So you get to keep your 2 components separate—even while they’re cooking in the same pot, at the same time!

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How to Cook Apricot Chicken AND Rice in the Pressure Cooker

To make this apricot chicken recipe, all you’ll need are your ingredients, your pressure cooker, and a steam rack. For any instant pot chicken and rice recipe (that’s not a chili-style one pot meal), that steam rack is crucial. It’s the only way to keep your chicken and rice in the instant pot separate, while still cooking them together at the same time!

But, you could just as easily make this instant pot apricot chicken recipe without the rice as well. Just skip the steam-rack-and-rice portion of the recipe and serve your apricot chicken with whichever sides that you like! With or without rice, the process is equally quick and easy.

To start, press the ‘saute’ button on your instant pot and add a bit of oil, onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Taking just a few minutes at the beginning of a pressure cooker recipe to get a flavorful base like this cooking can make such a delicious difference in the final product!

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Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in the instant pot for about 5 minutes.

Saute that for about 5 minutes to get those flavors developing, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Once your onions, garlic, and ginger become tender and you can smell their tasty fragrance, they’re ready!

Next, add your broth, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, dried thyme, and chopped dried apricots to the pot. Give it another good stir and continue sauteing for another minute or so.

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Add remaining flavorings and cook for another minute.

Then, you can turn off the heat and add your chopped chicken thighs to the bottom of the instant pot. (Or, feel free to use chicken breasts if you prefer!) Use a spoon to spread the chicken out evenly across the pot.

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Turn off heat and add chopped chicken to the instant pot.

Now, time for the 2-in-1 dinner wizardry: grab your instant pot steam rack and place it into the bottom of the pot. You want the feet of the steam rack to be flat against the bottom of the pot, and it’s best if the rack is tall enough so it isn’t crushing your chicken.

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With chicken in the pot, add your handy-dandy instant pot steam rack!
Place steam rack into bottom of pot on top of chicken.

On top of your steam rack, place a heat-proof bowl that’s large enough to hold about 3-4 cups (24-32 oz). Fill that bowl with your rice, along with ½ cup of cold water and ½ cup of broth. You could use 1 cup of water alone, but broth is a simple addition that can add major flavor to your instant pot rice!

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Place a heat-proof bowl on top of steam rack.
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Fill bowl with rice, water, and broth.

Finally, you can close up the lid and set your instant pot to cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.

In the meantime, you can wash the few dishes you may have lying around—but you won’t have too long to wait! After cooking, flip the release valve to let the steam quick release for 10 minutes.

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Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
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Then, quick release the steam for 10 minutes.

Carefully open up the lid and you’ll see your perfectly cooked rice, and you’ll smell that deliciously savory-sweet apricot chicken waiting for you in the bottom of your pot!

To your cooked rice, add a pinch of salt and stir in some thawed frozen peas for springtime flair. Then, use oven mitts to carefully remove the bowl of rice from the instant pot, along with the steam rack below.

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Stir salt and thawed peas into cooked rice.
Remove bowl of rice to reveal cooked apricot chicken underneath!

To your cooked chicken, add some lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley mix well to combine. It’s best to do this at the end of the pressure-cooking process so you don’t lose the flavors of the bright citrus and fresh herbs!

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Add lemon zest, juice, and parsley to cooked chicken.

Finally, press the ‘saute’ button once more and simmer for just 2-3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the mixture thickens. Serve your warm apricot chicken with your fluffy, flavorful rice and devour!

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Simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the liquid has reduced.

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs vs. Chicken Breast – Can I Substitute?

In this recipe, and in many of my instant pot recipes, you’ll see that I often use chicken thighs. Personally, I just enjoy chicken thighs because their higher fat content makes for juicier, more flavorful meat after cooking! And I think pressure cooker chicken thighs turn out especially melt-in-your-mouth-delicious.

But, that doesn’t mean that you have to use thighs in this or any other of my instant pot meals if you don’t want to. You can just as easily swap out the thighs and make this apricot chicken recipe with chopped chicken breast instead! The preparation and cook time would be just the same.

I prefer the taste of chicken thighs, they add some nutritious dietary fats to my meal, and those fats make the meal more satiating and filling. But, maybe you’re trying to limit the fat in your diet or looking for a moderate boost in protein, or maybe you just prefer to make this apricot chicken recipe with chicken breast.

Whatever the case may be, choose what works for your lifestyle—you do you!

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Healthy Instant Pot Meals for Spring (Vegan Options!)

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Instant Pot Apricot Chicken Recipe with Rice

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Pressure Cooker Pot in Pot Apricot Chicken and Rice

  • Author: Alyssia Sheikh
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Method: 10 minute steam release

Ingredients

Apricot Chicken

1 Tbsp avocado oil
⅔ cup onion, sliced
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
~1 cup Sunsweet® dried apricots, halved
1½ lbs boneless chicken thighs (or breast), cut into pieces

Add to Chicken After Cooking

1 lemon, zest and juice
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instant Pot Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
½ cup cold water
½ cup chicken broth

Add to Rice After Cooking

½ cup frozen peas, thawed
salt, to taste

Instructions

  • To the Instant Pot, add oil, onions, garlic, and ginger. Press ‘sauté’ button and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly—don’t let it burn!
  • Add broth, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, dried thyme, and apricots. Mix well to combine and sauté for another minute.
  • Turn off heat and add chopped chicken.
  • Place a steam rack into bottom of Instant Pot—tall enough so it isn’t crushing the chicken. Add a heat-proof bowl on top of steam rack, and fill bowl with rice, cold water, and broth.
  • Cover Instant Pot with lid and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • After cooking finishes, quick release the steam for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully open lid, then stir a pinch of salt and thawed peas into cooked rice. Using oven mitts, remove bowl of rice from Instant Pot.
  • Stir lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley into cooked apricot chicken. Press ‘sauté’ button and cook for 2-3 minutes, until liquid has reduced.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Yields 4 servings apricot chicken recipe and ~2 cups cooked rice.

Notes

Nutrition per ~6 oz serving apricot chicken recipe only, yields 4 servings:
369 calories | 14g fat | 30g carbs | 3g fiber | 17g sugars | 30g protein

Nutrition per meal (~6 oz apricot chicken with ½ cup cooked rice) provided below:

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 meal
  • Calories: 543
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrates: 68g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 34g

Want More 2-in-1 Instant Pot Recipes & Easy Weeknight Dinners?

Check out some of my other easy pressure cooker meal ideas!

For more recipes using an instant pot steam rack, try my instant pot teriyaki chicken and rice, healthy instant pot butter chicken and rice, or my instant pot chicken fajitas.

Or, for 2-in-1 meals that you can make without a steam rack, try my instant pot spaghetti and meatballs, vegetarian instant pot pasta primavera, or my vegan instant pot risotto!

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