Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Rice

Due to the overwhelming success of my Chicken Shawarma recipe, I knew I had to take it a step further and make this as a complete rice dish.

The flavors will make you think you’re eating some of the best street rice in the world while using the most affordable and accessible ingredients to make it come to life. Folks, let’s give the Instant Pot a hand. It doesn’t get any simpler or tastier than this recipe.

Chicken Shawarma Rice
Add some butter and oil to the Instant Pot.
Add some butter and oil to the Instant Pot.
Melted butter and hot oil in pot
Once heated and melted…
Adding diced red onion to pot.
…add in a diced red onion.
Sautéing red onion
Sauté for a few moments until it softens a bit and the color begins to fade.
Adding sliced chicken thighs to pot
The we’ll add in some boneless, skinless chicken thighs that we’ve sliced into strands…
Adding garlic to pot
…along with some garlic.
Chicken becoming pinkish-white in color
Sauté for a few moments until the chicken becomes pinkish-white in color.

(NOTE: I’ve since updated this recipe. These next step-by-step photos differ slightly from the written recipe card below to ensure no one gets a burn notice as some pots are more sensitive than others. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE RECIPE CARD. The end results will be exactly the same and just as incredible).

Adding spices to pot
It’s time to spice this up. Add in some seasoned salt, paprika, and curry powder…
Adding spices to pot.
…along with black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin. If you want some spice, add in cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes as well.
Stirring pot
Stir the pot up…
Chicken coated in spices
…until the chicken is fully coated in the spices.
Adding rice to pot
Rice makes everything nice. Add in some rinsed Basmati (or any white) rice.
Stirring pot
…and stir…
Rice coated in spices
…so the rice is fully coated in the seasonings and mixed with the chicken.
Pouring broth in pot
Pour in some broth…
Stirring pot
…and give everything a final stir. Secure the lid and pressure cook.
Finished rice in pot
When done, you’ll witness the sheer sorcery that took place!
Bowl of rice
Serve yourself a bowl.
…and perhaps top with diced dill pickle and tzatziki.
Man holidng rice
Boast about this rice with the most…
Man eating rice
…take a forkful…
…and give yourself a moment to process the foodie miracle occurring in your mouth. How can something that tastes so complex be done so simply and in minutes? (I don’t have the answer, but sometimes it’s best to not ask questions and stuff our faces instead).
Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Rice
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Rice

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Rice

Due to the overwhelming success of my Chicken Shawarma recipe, I knew I had to take it a step further and make this as a complete rice dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 17 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large red onion, diced 
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 cups garlic broth or chicken broth (I used 3 teaspoons Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 3 cups water.)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

Optional Toppings


  1. Add the olive oil and butter to the Instant Pot. Hit Sauté and Adjust to the More or High setting. Once the butter's melted, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, until softened and the color begins to fade.
  2. Add the chicken and garlic and sauté until the chicken is pinkish-white in color, about 3 minutes more.
  3. (NOTE: this step is a little different from my video and step-by-step photos above to ensure no one gets a burn notice as some pots are more sensitive than others. The end results will be exactly the same and just as incredible). Add the broth, curry powder, paprika, seasoned salt, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir until well combined and the bottom of the pot is clear of any browned bits. Add the rice and do not stir, but rather just smooth it out on top.
  4. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, and hit Keep Warm/Cancel followed Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 3 minutes. When done cooking, allow a 10-minute natural release (meaning you do nothing for 10 minutes) followed by a quick release.
  5. Stir the rice to mix it up, transfer to a serving dish and enjoy topped with tzatziki and dill pickle, if desired.

Jeffrey's Tips

Adding the cayenne and red pepper flakes are totally optional. If you add them as written, it's going to be on a spicier side (even more so than my Chicken Shawarma recipe because all the spices are getting absorbed into the rice here rather than just serving as a marinade). So if you want something with just a touch of spice, only use 1/4 teaspoon of each or just one or the other. You can always add more if you want more!

If you want your rice on the firmer side, pressure cook for only 1 minute instead of 3. For brown rice, pressure cook for 18 minutes. Same 10-minute natural release for each.

Make this Dairy-Free by omitting the butter and adding 1/4 cup of olive oil instead.

Reader Interactions


  1. Carol

    Love your recipes. I’ll be getting chicken tomorrow, guess what will be on the menu?
    Will you be showing nutritional information as well?

    • Marjorie

      Check the written recipe that Jeffrey updated.
      This really applies to all recipes after using the sauté function: always deglaze the brown stuff that sticks to the bottom of the insert after browning meat or vegetables, especially onions. Add a bit of cooking liquid or wine and stir away until the brown is dissolved. Ta da! No more burn notice.😀

    • Ed

      My experience with burn notices and rice dishes. You really have to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula after adding the chicken broth. You can’t have any of that buildup remaining on the bottom of your pot when you lock it up to pressure cook.

      You can really feel it as you move the spatula around. Once it feels all smooth like nothing is there you good to continue.

      • Expat Coach

        I’d add that the spices in the cooking liquid can also cause problems with a burn notice. I usually add the spice on top of everything and don’t stir them in. That seems to help with the burn notice.

  2. Ana

    It’s cooking right at this moment, and smells amazing. I’m sure it’ll taste delicious. Thanks for the easy recipe!

  3. Cass

    We’re making this for dinner tonight (and pre-ordering the new cookbook — we already have the original!). What brand/type of curry powder did you use? PS: Thanks for adding so much deliciousness to our lives!

  4. Karen

    Made this tonight in my 6 qt Instant Pot and got the burn notice. No problem though. I just let it depressurize and added 1/2 cup liquid, stirred, and cooked for 1 minute and let natural release. I think it’s because of all the spices….maybe?? Anyway, it was delicious.

    • Jeffrey

      Strange! The burn issue is so weird with some pots – especially since yours didn’t even burn at all after giving you the “burn” notice. I think some pots are too overly sensitive with their calibrations.

      • Karen

        Didn’t stop us from digging in! It’s such a short cook time so it’s easy to recover from. I will just use the higher Amy of liquid next time.

      • Steve

        I know I can’t make this recipe as you have. Anything with spices mixed in, no matter how well I deglaze, will give me a burn warning. I have to treat the spices as a layer. In this case, between the chicken and rice.

  5. Bob Pulley

    Made it today with brown rice, EXCELLENT. Needs the chopped dills for crunch and tartness and the tzatziki to kinda smooth things out. This one is a keeper.

      • Laura

        Hi Kate,

        Further down the recipe, Jeffrey’s side tip for brown rice: “If you want your rice on the firmer side, pressure cook for only 1 minute instead of 3. For brown rice, pressure cook for 18 minutes. Same 10-minute natural release for each” 🙂

  6. Cyndi

    Hi. This looks delicious and can’t wait to try it. I want to use breasts instead of thighs, do you have a recommendation on cooking time?

  7. Teresa Mayberry

    I have a lot of chicken breasts in my freezer. If I substitute breasts for thighs, should I make any adjustments?

  8. Judy Hoctor

    Just tried this tonight. I added the cayenne and hot red pepper flakes. The flavor was great. I cooked it for 3 minutes, but I think 1 minute would have been better for the rice, which we like a little firmer. Since it took a while to come to pressure, that short 3 minutes is deceiving (my usual rice takes only 3 minutes, but it comes to pressure much quicker without all the extra ingredients). I was just very uncomfortable with the idea of cooking meat for such a brief amount of time! Very tasty and easy in one pot.

  9. Tayna

    I got the burn notice too (6QDuo), and have never had this notice on any of Jeffey’s recipes. But, we just let it natural release for 10-15 minutes and the rice ended up cooking perfectly. It was still D.E.L.I.C.IO.U.S! Odd, because we make plain rice a couple times a week in our IP, seemed the spices were the culprit – could that be possible? Would still try again, and maybe not stir the rice. 🙂

    • Jennifer

      I have a pot that gives me burn notice quite often. I have noticed no matter how much i clean it, soak it, scrub it, when it dries, it’s like you can see outlines of rice and it looks almost like starch on the pot. I’ve started using my Norwex paste, or barkeepers friend to get the bottom of my pot super shiny and remove those “starch stains” and that helps. I have to be very diligent about it, didn’t have issues till i had my pot a few years.

  10. Jeffrey

    Hey everyone! I’m thrilled this one seems to be a big hit so quickly! If you had burn issues, I’m sorry about the inconvenience. While this didn’t happen to me (I’d never release a recipe that gave me such an issue), some models of pots are just more sensitive than others. Therefore, I’ve tweaked the recipe ever so slightly to ensure this shouldn’t happen to anyone, regardless of model with the exact same outrageously delicious results. Enjoy!

    • Timothy Hoffman

      Your revised recipe works so much better than the original. I just made this for a very picky eater that I am caring for right now. Instant hit! Thank you. (Hope we get a 3rd cookbook from you next year!)

  11. Sue

    We both loved it! I made it for Shabbat dinner with the spicy suggestions and it was perfect for my taste – my husband always likes things hotter. I bet the leftovers will be even better – we are having it for Sunday night too.

    Next time, I will try your regular shawarma recipe with my home made pita.

  12. Heather

    I made your chicken shawarma not too long ago and still have the spice infused oil leftover on my fridge. Any chance I can throw that in when I make this recipe at Step 3? If so, how much do you recommend I use? Any other adjustments I should make to the recipe? Mahalo!

  13. Christine Laycock

    Will brown rice really need 18 minutes vs. the 1-3 minutes for white basmati? That seems like a huge difference. I’ve got it in the pot now – can’t wait to try this!

  14. Sue Warshell

    As another person said, made it for Shabbat- my husband loves spicy foods and it hit the spot. Even better heated up the next day.

    BTW, when I bought my instant pot (duo evo plus) the cashier told me I had to watch your channel. So glad he did! Lanzman!

  15. Amy

    My favorite restaurant serves something similar with firm lentils mixed into the rice- so yummy! Do you think I could throw in a cup with this recipe? Should I add more liquid? Or would they turn to mush?

    • Karma

      I’m thinking similarly. I love this recipe and I want to make a chickpea version for my vegetarian daughter. Should I change anything? Add the chickpeas at the same time as the rice so they soak up flavor or at the end just stirred in?

      • Karma

        I tried it and yum! I followed the recipe exactly, but instead of adding chicken I added 2 cans of rinsed chickpeas. It was perfect!

  16. Alice

    Delicious. I used drumsticks (as that was what I had in the freezer) instead of thigh meat. Will definitely cook this again! 🤤

  17. Maria

    I only had bone in thighs but no big deal, meat just fell off the bones when it was done and just as delish! Sever with a little garlic naan and a app of Samosasand all is right with the world, lol!

  18. Melissa

    I have a new 3 qt IP in my camper. I have not used it yet. Would this recipe fit in it or do I need to halve everything?

  19. Hezzie Mae

    I just made this today for my daughter. Since I’m the cook thought I should give it a try. OMG! So good! My mom tested it too and told me I could make it for her too. Seems like more often than nor we are making Pressure Luck recipes for dinner these days. Thanks for sharing your gift of cooking with us!

  20. Heather Marshburn

    This was awesome! I used chicken breasts, white onion, and I left out the turmeric. I will add this to my regular rotation, although next time I’m going to try brown rice to make it a tad healthier. Thanks for this great, easy, recipe, Jeff!

  21. Trish

    This was delicious, but if I make it again I think I’d cut the butter and oil in half. . . it seemed a little greasy to me. Great flavor, though, and super easy. Thanks!

  22. Lynn R

    Oh. My. Gracious! This was delish! I mean a one pot dish in 20ish minutes total that is super tasty – yes please, had to leave out the curry powder (I was out), but added the cayenne and red pepper flakes, oh, and I threw in a handful of frozen peas to make myself feel like I had a veggie too lol! My husband loved it, this will definitely be in the rotation.

  23. Andrew

    This came out so good the first time I made it again like 3 days later. The second time I diced an eggplant real small and sauteed it down to almost mush then did the rest as instructed. I just felt that it needed a bit more vegetable if I was going to serve it as a one-pot meal.

  24. Billie Jo Sword

    Do you have a serving size for this? I am trying to track for dietary purposes but there’s no division of how many this recipe as made feeds.

  25. Wendy

    Since I am following WW, I adapted this to lower points (cut the oil and butter in half, used chicken breasts and brown rice). FANTASTIC!!! Husband and son both had seconds. Thanks for creating another meal for me to add to the rotation!

  26. Lori

    OMG this was amazing (I even surprises myself). Followed it to the letter, omitting the cayenne and red pepper – i know my fam and it was outstanding. Didn’t want to risk the rice being hard so cooked for 4 min instead of 3 (I used long grain white) and it was a tad mushy) but the flavor and color was WOW! made a tomato/cuc salad and bought tzatziki. Thx for the inspiration! I always look to PYL first and this didn’t disappoint!

  27. Celina

    I can’t wait to try this! I made the other chicken shawarma the other day and my entire family loved it! Even my 4 year old loved it. I made Naan to eat them on and the only reason we still have left overs is because we ate all the naan. So looks like I need to make more.

  28. AB

    Turned out awesome! I dod cut the spices in half and left out the cayenne and red pepper in (successful!) attempt to get the picky toddler to eat it, and it was still so good! Ended up making a second batch of this and some tzatziki to munch on for lunches during the week.

  29. Hasan

    Fantastic recipe. Just made it and it was wonderful! And so easy to make for a complete beginner like me. I served it with the Tzatziki like suggested and it went very well together.

    The hardest part was slicing the chicken thighs into strips, haha. I’m a complete beginner but that took me at least 20 minutes! I might need a sharper kitchen knife. 🙂

    Thank you for posting this!

  30. Sarah

    So good and really easy! It was gobbled up by everybody. To us it tasted more southeast asian inspired than a shwarma, but still delicious.

  31. Susan Green

    I made this today an it turned out perfect. I did the updated version, no burn notice. I also cooked it for 2 minutes and the rice was amazing! My house smells soooo good…another fabulous recipe!!..6 for 6.

  32. Cristina

    Just made this as a last minute dinner, because our original dinner plan got mixed up! The whole kitchen smells wonderful, and it tastes delicious! I didn’t have any thawed chicken on hand, so I subbed a can of drained chickpeas. Worked beautifully! Thanks for another great recipe!!!

  33. Sharon

    This recipe is D E L I C I O U S along with being super easy! I cut the recipe in half and used my 3qt Instant Pot.

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