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…
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.
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.
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*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.