Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa with Broccoli is an easy and complete weeknight meal with just a few ingredients. It is creamy, healthy and satisfying. Eat right out of Instant Pot or convert into a delicious casserole.
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If you would like some variety in your diet then quinoa is a great alternative to the more traditional rice. It is delicious and relatively similar in to rice in terms of flavour and texture so that even picky eaters would eat it.
Quinoa is also higher in protein and fibre than rice, so it is healthier and more filling. So, if you’d like to change up your menu and try something other than Instant Pot Chicken and Rice, then this Creamy Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa recipe is delicious!
Creamy Chicken, Quinoa, and Broccoli recipe can be eaten straight out of Instant Pot or turned into a delicious casserole in just a few minutes. Regardless of how you decide to eat it, the recipe reheats beautifully, so it is also great for leftovers or meal prep lunches.
Ingredients for Creamy Chicken, Quinoa and Broccoli Recipe
- Chicken thighs
- Seasonings (I used pepper, paprika, and garlic powder)
- Cream cheese
- Chicken broth
Note: I don’t use salt when making this recipe as there’s enough sodium in cream cheese, chicken broth, and crunchy toppings I add for casserole. But feel free to add salt if you prefer saltier foods.
How to make Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa
This recipe is very easy to make but it has a slightly unusual timings. There’s a reason why the recipe is cooked that way but you can adjust it if you’d like.
- Layer all the ingredients in Instant Pot in the order listed. Do not mix.
- Cook on High Pressure for 2 minutes.
- Do a Natural Pressure Release for 10 minutes.
- Mix well, then cover with a lid and let stand for another 10-15 minutes.
So, what’s up with all the waiting? Trust me, there’s a reason for it.
I love when Instant Pot chicken is cooked directly in liquid as opposed to on top of the liquid. There’s something about the texture that is just better. It is softer, juicier, and pull-apart tender.
Adding chicken to the bottom means that quinoa is not fully submerged in liquid, so although it is mostly cooked, the top layer will still be crunchy after Instant Pot is opened. There will also be a lot of thin liquid.
Mixing everything up and letting it stand for an additional 10-15 minutes, ensures that quinoa softens and absorbs the broth. Also, thin liquid thickens and becomes creamy.
Questions and Answers about Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa
Can you use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
Yes, you definitely can. Just cut up the chicken breasts in the same 1-inch size pieces as chicken thighs and it’ll work beautifully also.
Is chicken actually cooked in 2 minutes?
Yes! The actual cooking time of the dish isn’t 2 minutes anyway. It takes about 10-12 minutes for Instant Pot to come to pressure and it is part of the cooking process.
After 2 minutes of cooking are done, there’s still another 10 minutes while electric pressure cooker gradually releases pressure and reduces temperature but it is still part of cooking time.
Can you make it without chicken?
Yes. It’ll be creamy and savoury Instant Pot Quinoa with Broccoli. You may need to adjust the timing a little bit.
Most likely quinoa will be fully submerged into the broth and cook fully without any additional waiting time. But please do let me know if you try.
Can you omit cream cheese?
Yes, you can omit cream cheese. Chicken and Quinoa recipe will not be creamy though. You might also need to increase the amount of broth a little bit.
Will broccoli be mushy?
It will not be mushy but it will be pretty soft.
Can you add other vegetables?
Sure. After opening the lid and mixing everything up, add some frozen peas or a mixture of peas and carrots and let stand. The residual heat will defrost them and heat through.
Do you need to rinse quinoa?
This is an interesting question. Most websites online will tell you that you must rinse quinoa. I personally don’t rinse it every time.
I do not notice any difference in flavour or texture between rinsed and un-rinsed quinoa. I rinse when I have time and leave it un-rinsed if I’m in a hurry.
How long does it actually take to have Chicken and Quinoa meal on the table?
Depending on how cold the ingredients are, it’ll take Instant Pot about 10-12 minutes to come to pressure. Then 2 minute cooking time, 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release, 1 minute of mixing and another 10 minutes of waiting with the lid closed. That is 35 minutes.
Let’s add another 10 minutes for prepping the ingredients. So, all in all, it is about 45 minutes from start to table but only 10 minutes of active cooking.
Note: if you are going to turn this Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa into a casserole, then it’ll be another 5-10 minutes extra in the oven.
What toppings to use for Chicken, Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole?
- I absolutely love using Crispy Onions for casserole toppings. For this particular video and photos one I used crispy onions and a bit of parmesan cheese.
- I have made this Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa Casserole topped with shredded mozzarella once and it was delicious!
- I also suggest a topping I used in this Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta, it is simple and delicious.
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- Add all the ingredients in the order listed to Instant Pot. Make sure that each layer is even. Do not mix.
- Close the lid. Turn the valve to sealing.
- Press Manual or Pressure Cooker button (depending on your model) and using the arrow buttons set the cook time to 2 minutes. Use default High Pressure.
Depending on your Instant Pot model and the temperature of the ingredients, it'll take around 10-12 minutes to come to pressure.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps that 2 minutes of cooking are done, do a Natural Pressure Release for 10 minutes, that means do nothing for 10 minutes.
- Finish with a Quick Release which at that point should take under 1 minute.
- Once you open the lid, you'll see that there's a lot of quinoa that is still uncooked, that is expected. There will also be a lot of liquid. Mix everything up really well, so that cream cheese is fully incorporated into chicken and quinoa.
- Close the lid and let sit for another 10-15 minutes.
- At that point, uncooked quinoa should soften and the liquid will thicken.
- Eat right out of Instant Pot or transfer to a casserole pan, sprinkle your favourite crunchy (or melty) topping and broil for a few minutes until everything is bubbly.
Adjust the salt to taste. I don't add any since there's enough sodium for me in the broth, cream cheese, and various casserole toppings.
Note: Quinoa will look uncooked after opening the lid initially, make sure to mix everything up, close the lid and wait for another 10-15 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 32g