Salsa Chicken Thighs with Rice

The flavor and spiciness of this super easy dish depends entirely on the salsa that you use. So use a salsa that you like it and make sure it is the right level of spiciness for you. If you’d like it even spicier, add some Jalapeño peppers to the rice with the bell peppers.

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Salsa Chicken Thighs with Rice

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 35 m
  • Servings:


  • 4 to 6 large skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ red onion finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 cup basmati rice basmati is best, but long-grain can be substituted
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup jarred salsa
  • ½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese about 3 ounces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with the salt and chili powder. Add the oil to the cooker and sear the thighs on both sides until well browned. Remove the chicken from the cooker and set aside. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until the onion starts to become tender – about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat everything with the oil. Season the rice with salt, pour in the chicken stock and return the chicken thighs to the cooker, resting them on top of the rice. Top each chicken thigh with the salsa and lock the lid in place.
  3. Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
  4. Release the pressure using the QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the thighs and return the lid to the cooker for another 5 minutes while the chicken rests and cools. Transfer the chicken thighs and rice to a serving platter sprinkle the cilantro on top before serving.
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Comments (32)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. It is super easy and fast. I use brown rice and just cook it a little longer. I make this every other week.

  2. I’d really like to make this; I have a 2-quart Cook’s Essential pressure cooker. Would this work if I only used two thighs?

  3. 5 stars
    Super easy and very flavorful. I used a homemade taco seasoning blend and boneless skinless thighs and long grain white rice. Everyone loved it. I will make this again for sure!

    1. Hi Chuck. Cook everything for 5 minutes. Then, turn the cooker off, remove the lid, add the cheese to the top of the chicken and rice and put the lid back on. Don’t turn the pressure cooker back on, but just let the cheese melt on the chicken from the residual heat. Only 5 minutes total cooking time.

  4. Been following you for years and have your books. So many recipes including this one use thighs and my family dislikes them. How can I change the time to use chicken breasts?
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Abby,

      The timing on this recipe is really for the rice to cook. If you are using really big bone-in chicken breasts, you can increase the time to 6 minutes, but any longer than that and the rice will be over-cooked. If you are using smaller boneless chicken breasts, I would keep the 5 minute cooking time. The challenge you might encounter is that chicken breasts might be a little tougher than the thighs because of the quick-release method. Still tasty, but not quite as tender as chicken thighs.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for this great recipe. I don’t usually like rice dishes but I had some chicken thighs to use up so I thought I would try it. I LOVE it. Will be making over and over.

  6. 5 stars
    So easy, tasty & quick. I’ll add cumin along w/chili powder and increase the salsa a tad. That’s only a personal preference. All BJC recipes are tasty.

  7. Look forward to trying this dish, but what I really wanted to tell you is how much I appreciate your including directions for the different ways a recipe can be prepared, as indicated in your “One Pot Comfort Food” cookbook. Pure brilliance! Thank you.

  8. 5 stars
    Super easy and delicious. I will make it again. I also cook for my client and I will be sure to make it for them as well. Yummy.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is so flavorful and simple and the rice cooks perfectly ( I used Basmati!) I own 2 of your Pressure Cooker cookbooks and your recipes never disappoint! Please keep them coming ❤️

  10. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes. The Mexican style rice is the best I have ever had. This week I made it with some cut up chicken breasts and it was good also. Love it.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this recipe when you made it on QVC. I wrote it down while you were cooking it. Smelled so good! Even my picky boys loved it.

  12. I had never tried a recipe like this. I was sceptical and only had taco seasoning and not cumin and everything. I am blow away. This was FANTASTIC. I can’t wait to try the other recipes here! I feel like I’ve hit a gold mine!! Finally, scrolling pays off.

  13. 5 stars
    For Cinco de Mayo I made this today, actually this is the first thing I have ever made in my instapot for myself (I purchased the instapot to make dog food). I did fine my thighs did not brown as I expected but it was DELICIOUS and will ask it again. It was easy and fairly quick to made. Thanks.

  14. My 3 qrt instant pot told me food burn. Seems 1 cup liquid is not enough.? Is the recipe correct or should more liquid be used because of rice or should the rice be pre cooked I added more broth after I Depressurize and I still burned the recipe when I restarted.. what went wrong?

    1. Hi there. There is enough liquid in the recipe, along with the salsa that is added. Sometimes, when you add liquid to a very hot pressure cooker and don’t get the lid on quickly, or if there is steam escaping from the lid before pressure is reached and the lid seal is created, you lose the liquid necessary. My advice is to make sure the lid goes on quickly after you add the liquid and if steam starts to escape from the lid, give it a firm push down to get that seal to form right away.

  15. 5 stars
    I made this a while back and my husband can’t stop raving about it.
    I’m making it again today.
    It is great as leftovers, too.

  16. Hi Meredith, I want to try this recipe because chicken thighs are my favorite chicken part.
    I do not have a pressure cooker and was wondering if this could be made on the stove top or in the oven after browning.
    If so, what oven heat would you recommend, and the timing? Stove top……I probably could figure it out…..🤦‍♀️
    I so love your fur babies and look forward to seeing them every time I open your email. Keep ‘em coming, they’re adorable. 💞

    1. You can cook this on the stovetop in a large skillet and follow the same directions. After sautéing the rice and adding the stock, return the chicken to the pan, cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until the rice is soft. Top with the shredded cheese and put the lid back on the pan until the cheese melts.

  17. Just made the salsa rice and chicken thighs, just delicious. I made it in the 2qt cooks essential pressure cooker. Came out great.
    I have a question my sister wants to try it but doesn’t have a pressure cooker can the recipe be made on the stove n would you be able to help with the timing? Thanks so much, Marian Nahrwold

    1. Hi Marian. Your sister will have to change the time and the quantity of liquid. I would suggest increasing the chicken stock to 1½ to 1¾ cups and increasing the time to 20 minutes of very low simmering on the stovetop.

    1. When you increase the amount of rice, you also need to increase the amount of chicken stock added. If you double the rice to 2 cups, I would add 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 cups of stock. You can also add additional peppers if you like. The timing would stay the same.

  18. 1 star
    I tried to make this tonight, followed the directions, only didn’t use the peppers. All went okay until the pressure cooker gave me the burn notice not once but twice. Not enough liquid maybe? It’s now been dumped into a skillet on the stove pot to finish cooking. Hopefully we’ll eat it tonight.

    1. When you add the rice to the cooker, you have to make sure none of the rice is sticking to the bottom when you add the liquid. After you add the liquid, use a metal spoon or spatula to make sure all the rice is loosen from the bottom of the pot and stirred into the liquid. If there is rice stuck on the bottom, you could get a burn notice and it is hard to correct at that point. If you ever do get a burn notice while cooking rice or pasta, try to loosen everything from the bottom of the pot and add a little more liquid.

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