I am so happy to share another tried-and-true Instant Pot recipe today! Man, this device really is a game changer. If you don’t have one yet, you need to get on the bandwagon! This is the one I have (affiliate link). Today I’m sharing my family’s recipe for Puerto Rican-style arroz con pollo adapted for the Instant Pot! Made completely in your Instant Pot or multi-functional pressure cooker, this arroz con pollo is as easy as it is delicious! You can also get my Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe here if you’d like to try that variation, prepared in the traditional stove-top way. NOTE: This post has been updated to include trouble-shooting for those who receive the burn error when making this recipe with an 8-quart pot (the recipe was created with a 6-quart Instant Pot). The recipe will still turn out if you follow the trouble-shooting tips.
If you’re already on the bandwagon and looking for more recipe ideas for the Instant Pot, check out this post with my favorite, delicious, tried-and-true Instant Pot recipes, click here to get all of my original Instant Pot recipes, and stay tuned for more brand new Fab Everyday Instant Pot recipes right here on the blog.
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I developed today’s recipe as part of the Allrecipes Allstars Tastemakers program. Rate, review, and photograph my recipe for Instant Pot® Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo on Allrecipes here, and see the full recipe along with some of my cooking tips and ingredient recommendations below. Or if you’re ready to cook click here to Jump to Recipe.
This recipe starts by using your multi-functional pressure cooker’s Sauté function. Heat some olive oil and then add either bacon, cubes of ham, or salt pork (or a combination of all three). I personally prefer to use salt pork. You’ll cook the pork pieces and stir until the edges start to brown, about 2 minutes (Sauté works fast in the IP).
Next you’ll add chopped chicken and sazon seasoning. Part of the way this meal gets its lovely color is from the achiote in these Goya Sazón (affiliate link) seasoning packets (this recipe calls for two of the individual small packets from the 1.41-ounce box). Goya makes a few varieties of Sazón, but make sure the one you use includes achiote. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is white on all sides (about 5 minutes).
The base to this dish, as with many savory Puerto Rican recipes, is sofrito, which is essentially the Spanish version of mirepoix. While you can find jarred, pre-made versions (affiliate link), there’s nothing quite like homemade sofrito for your Puerto Rican cooking. This is why I always have a few portions of homemade sofrito in my freezer, ready to use when I need it. Get my family’s Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe here.
Add the sofrito to the Instant Pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. The fragrance of this phase of cooking will have you salivating! There is just something about when that sofrito hits the pot.
The recipe calls for green olives stuffed with pimentos and capers (the mixture of these two ingredients is called alcaparrado). You’ll add tomato sauce and the olives and capers to the pot, stirring to combine, then cooking until bubbly and all flavors are incorporated (1 to 2 minutes).
Next you’ll add the rice and mix well. Turn off the Sauté function after this step, ’cause we’re moving on.
The recipe calls for gandules (affiliate link), AKA green pigeon peas. Their flavor is much milder than an English pea, so a substitution would change the flavor of the dish. In addition to the link above, you can find gandules where Goya and other Latin food products are sold in stores.
This part is important: be sure not to drain and discard the liquid from the cans, as you will need it in the recipe! Instead, drain the liquid from the can of gandules into a large measuring cup, then add enough water to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid (if using a 6 quart pot; 8 quart pots should add enough water to make 3 cups of liquid).
Add the gandules and liquid to the pot and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned parts. Season with salt and pepper, then close and lock the lid. Select high pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions and set the timer for 17 minutes. Remember you’ll need to allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build before that 17 minutes of cook time begins.
When done, release the pressure using the natural-release method according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 15 minutes. Then you can release the remaining pressure carefully using the quick-release method.
TROUBLE-SHOOTING FOR THE BURN NOTICE: I originally developed and made this recipe with my 6-quart Instant Pot DUO, and while I never personally received the burn error with that pot, I had several people report that they received the burn notice when making this recipe. This appears to be a common issue with Instant Pot arroz con pollo recipes online (including a recipe on the Instant Pot website), especially for those using an 8-quart pot or a newer pot model that is more sensitive to the burn error. Per the Instant Pot website, “If your display is showing a burn warning, don’t panic. Remember, it’s a safety feature to prevent burns, not a notice that it’s time to order pizza… What to do next depends on what you’re cooking. If it’s something quick like steel cut oats, you can just ignore it and let the Instant Pot finish its work.” Upon trouble-shooting this myself with an 8-quart Instant Pot, I received the burn error after the pot came to pressure, and since the pot was still at pressure (pin up), I ignored the error, and did NOT release pressure or open the lid. The pot remained at pressure, and 2 minutes later, the error went away and the countdown continued as if nothing had happened (with 2 minutes less on the clock, even). Mid-way through, I received the burn error again, and kept the lid on. The pot stayed at pressure despite the burn error. After the total pressure cook time of 17 minutes, I pushed cancel and continued with the recipe instructions of letting the pot naturally release for 15 minutes, then using a quick release to finish it. The rice cooked perfectly and was not burnt. The key is not to open the pot or try and bring it back to pressure; let it continue to steam with the lid on.
After the pressure release, unlock and remove the lid, then fluff rice with a fork and serve! You may notice that some of the rice on the bottom of the pan has browned. Don’t worry about this – that crisp layer of rice is called pegao and adds a delicious taste and texture. Some people worry that it’s burnt, but this is actually a part of the process and would be the same as cooking arroz con pollo in a pot on the stove (see my traditional Arroz con Gandules recipe here).
Yum! I always love discovering when something is easier to make, but comes out just as good, in the Instant Pot! Here’s the recipe!