Instant Pot Cuban Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)

Arroz con Pollo, or Chicken with Rice, is a common dish among most Spanish speaking cultures. Obviously all of them include rice and chicken, after that, the variations are endless. It really is a versatile dish and once you have the flavorful base down, you can add really anything you want from peas to asparagus to olives. What sets Cuban (and Puerto Rican) Arroz con Pollo aside from those in other countries is the use of beer. My husband’s great grandmother used a mixture of half beer and half water with chicken bullion, which is how I like it. Some recipes call for tomato sauce, but I left this out not only because I think it isn’t needed and it helps to keep from getting the dreaded Instant Pot BURN notice.

Another ingredient that sets this Cuban dish apart is the use of Bijol. Bijol is also known as achiote or annatto and is used in many Latin American cuisine. It’s a vibrant red seed that when ground into a powder can be a cheap replacement for saffron and is what many Cubans use to get the reddish yellow color in dishes like Arroz con Pollo. This is a great ingredient for the home cook because a can of Bijol costs $3.99 compared to 4 grams of saffron that can cost almost $20.00. You can get this in most Latin sections of the supermarket or order this online through Amazon. However, if you can’t get this, you can substitute saffron or even leave it out if you use Sazon with Asafran. If you just use the Sazon, it won’t have as deep a yellow color, but it will still taste just as good.

Below is my video tutorial that takes you step by step through making my IP Arroz con Pollo. I also include substitutions and tips to make it easy and help you get the best meals out of your Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Cuban Chicken and Rice ( Arroz con Pollo)

Recipe by Lana Horruitiner-Perez and Daniel Perez

*Recipe for 6 QT Instant Pot

6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or 2 lbs Chicken Breast
1 tsp plus 1 TBL Salt

Ground Pepper

2 TBL Olive Oil

1 Yellow Onion, chopped fine

1 Green Pepper, chopped fine

4 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 4 oz jar of minced Pimentos

1 1/2 cups Beer ( You can use whatever beer you have on hand. However, if you don;t have beer you can use white wine. If you use wine only use 3/4 cups of wine and 2 1/4 cups water.)

2 cups Water + 1/4 cup Water

1 Chicken Bullion

2 packets Sazon con Asafran

1/2 tsp Bijol

1/2 tsp Cumin

3 rice cups of Long Grain White Rice (not parboiled), quickly rinsed (you must use the rice measuring cup that comes with the IP or other rice cookers. )

2 Bay Leaves

*You can add peas, olives, asparagus tips, etc. to this dish if you like. Add these at the end of the cooking process if they just need to be warmed through. If using canned veggies, drain first.

-Cut the 6 Chicken Thighs into 1 inch pieces and add to a bowl. Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and some ground pepper and mix. Set aside.


-Before you start cooking, mix together 1 1/2 cups beer with 2 cups water. Add the Chicken Bullion and dissolve in the liquid mixture. (You can use cube bullion or powdered or Better Than Bullion. However, if you do not have any of these you can substitute the water with Chicken Broth.) Add 1/2 tsp of Bijol, 1/2 tsp Cumin, 1 TBL Salt, and the 2 packets of Sazon con Asafran. Mix. Set this aside.


-Add 2 TBL of Olive Oil to Instant Pot and press “SAUTE”. When the oil gets hot add 1/2 of the Chicken and brown on all sides. You do not need to cook the chicken through. You are just trying to get some color on the chicken. Once the first batch of chicken is lightly browned, remove it and add the second batch. If you think the pot is dry, you can add a little extra oil. Once the second batch is browned, remove and set aside.


– Add the chopped Yellow Onion and Green Pepper to the pot and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the chicken. Saute the onion and peppers until they start to get soft and translucent. This might take about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir to keep the veggies from burning.


-Once the onion and peppers are soft, add the mince Garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

-Now add a 1/4 cup of the water to the pot and use a spatula to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. This is the most important part of the recipe because if there are any browned bits left on the bottom you will get a “BURN” notice.

-Add the mixture liquid to the pot along with the jar of Pimentos including the liquid and 3 cups of White Rice. Mix. Add the 2 Bay Leaves and then add the chicken and whatever juices accumulated in the bowl, on top of the rice. Do not mix the chicken, just allow the chicken pieces to lay on top of the rice. Do try and make sure the chicken is covered and in a single layer.


-Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and make sure the valve is set to Sealed. Pressure cook on High for 10 mins and the allow the NPR for 15 mins. Release the rest of the pressure.

-Fluff the rice gently with a fork. Add salt if needed. Enjoy!


28 Comments Add yours

  1. Melodie says:

    Can you give a recipe for I.P. Pollo Ala Crema?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      I’m so sorry it took me so long to reply. For some reason I just saw your comment. I think Pollo a la Crema would be perfect in the IP. It’s not a Cuban recipe, but I will add it to my list of recipes to work on. Thank you so much for the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia says:

    I have been wanting to learn some authentic Cuban dishes, so glad to have found your site while initially looking for a review on the Instant Pot Omni, which byw your review was excellent! Thank you!
    I will look forward to trying this recipe as soon as I can get the Sazon con Asafran hopefully here in Canada. ( already have the Crystal! 😉
    Thank you for your reviews, tips and recipes!!


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Oh wow I am so glad you found me and my videos and site are helpful for you. If it’s hard for you to find the Sacon con Asafran, you could always use my recipe to make it from scratch (really easy) and just add saffron if you have that. Stay safe and happy cooking!


      1. Patricia says:

        ok Thanks! I will try making it from scratch! 🙂


  3. Lydia Alejandre says:

    How many servings does the Instant Pot Cuban Arroz Con Pollo make?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      8 to 10 depending how big the portions.


  4. Lydia Alejandre says:

    I made this dish last night for the first time. I had run out of Cumin so I didn’t use any but my family still loved it. The chicken came out very moist and tender. Thank you for the recipe.


  5. Lydia Alejandre says:

    I’m definitely going to try more of your cuban recipes! So glad I found you.


  6. andrea cuenca says:

    Can you use drumsticks for this ?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      When cooking in the Instant Pot, you can’t because the cooking time for drumsticks would be far too long for the rice. You can cut the meat off the drumsticks though and use that.


  7. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Lana! I just had a dish called “Arroz Texano” from a restaurant that included rice and shrimp that was soooo delicious! I think there was queso on it? Do you have anything similar to that? Or, could I substitute shrimp somehow with this? I would appreciate any/all suggestions/input. Thanks so much!


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi! I’ve actually never heard of it but it sounds amazing. Shrimp has a very short cooking time, so you would be best sauting then first, removing them, then adding after it’s done. I’ll look it up.


  8. Lissette says:

    Hi there, I want to make sure I am
    Understanding the directions. It’s 2 regular cups of water and 1.5 cup of beer, but 3 rice cups ( not regular cups?) thanks!


      1. Hazel says:

        Hello! What if we don’t have the rice cup that came with the instant pot ?


      2. drlanaperez says:

        Hi. It’s about 3/4 of a cup (heaping).


  9. MARY D. says:

    If I want to cut the chicken & rice recipe in 1/2 because I only have a 3 qt pot how do I adjust the cooking time or do I leave it the same?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi. I would keep the time the same since the time is based on density of food and not quantity. I dint have a 3 qt so I haven’t done it, but that’s my best guess.


  10. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My boyfriend and I loved it! I really enjoy your site and I’m hoping to make the flan next!


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Oh wow I'm so glad you enjoy it. Happy cooking and stay safe.


  11. Annie says:

    Hi Lana! I have made this recipe 2x and while we LOVEEEE the flavor my rice always comes out a bit mushy/overcooked – any tips as to what i am doing wrong?? i have followed the recipe to a T both times!


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi. What rice are you using and how much are you rinsing it? Also, are you using a standard measure cup or a rice measuring cup? What size Instant Pot are you using?


      1. Annie says:

        I have an 8 qt instant pot. Using Carolina Brand Jasmine long-grain. Yes, using the plastic cup that came with it. Rinsing the rice about 2x.


      2. drlanaperez says:

        Ah that's it. First, when you use the larger IP it will throw off the time needed because it cooks faster. This is a good tip for just about all recipes because most recipes are made for the standard 6 qt. Also, just rinse the rice briefly 1 time. Literally run it through the water and that's it. You want to keep some of that starch.


      3. Annie says:

        Any idea what I should reduce the time to on the IP? I did not realize this at all? We LOVE the flavors of this dish which is why I made it 2x thinking i did something wrong the first time!


  12. Brynn Cruz says:

    My husband is Cuban and I have always used his mom's recipe which she cooked in a stove top pressure cooker. It was good! But always burned on the bottom, even when she made it. I tried to convert it for the instant pot and it seemed the rice was partially over done and partially under done. Your recipe is very similar to hers. I used wine instead of beer because that is what she used. I made it tonight. I actually made it twice, I had both of my Instant Pots going with a batch in each. It turned out perfectly! No burning on the bottom. I added the peas and green olives because her recipe had them and it worked great to just add at the end. Thank you for this recipe. I hadn't made it in so long because I hated scrubbing the pot. My husband is very happy tonight!


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Oh my goodness this made my day! I am so glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for letting me know. Stay safe and happy cooking!


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