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?!
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 meals, sheet 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
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!
How to Cook Apricot Chicken AND Rice in the Pressure
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs vs. Chicken Breast – Can I
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!
Healthy Instant Pot Meals for Spring (Vegan Options!)