Instant Pot Congee with tender chicken and spinach is your perfect one-bowl dinner. It only takes 2 minutes to prepare and you’ll have dinner ready in 30 minutes. The recipe also works in a pressure cooker.
When I’m feeling a bit under the weather, I always crave a hot chicken noodle soup. When I feel really sick, though, nothing beats a bowl of silky congee made with hearty chicken stock, tender chicken, and some refreshing veggies. It’s not only soothing to eat and easy on my stomach, but also contains enough nutrition to give me the strength to fight the illness.
In the past, I’ve usually made my congee on the stovetop. Not this time. I was down with a cold after a long trip to New York. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep, or read a book in bed if I happened to be awake. Unfortunately, Thomas wasn’t home for a couple of days and I needed to cook myself. And trust me, ordering greasy takeout food was the last thing that came to my mind.
So I ordered groceries online using Amazon Prime Now and made this super easy Instant Pot chicken. It requires next to zero prep. All I had to do was dump everything into the Instant Pot and hit start. The congee took 15 minutes to make. The texture came out perfect, with a silky and gooey texture. The chicken was so tender that I could easily shred it with forks.
Why Instant Pot Congee
Here are a few reasons you’ll want to cook congee in your Instant Pot:
- It takes only a quarter of the time of the stovetop version. Even waiting for the pressure to release naturally, you’ll still finish the dish with half in the time of the stovetop method.
- No time monitoring required. If cooking congee on the stovetop, you have to monitor and stir the congee constantly at the beginning and during the last 10 minutes. Because the rice can easily stick to the bottom of the pan and get scorched.
- You can poach the chicken at the same time and get perfect results. With the stovetop method, you need to cook the chicken separately without overcooking it. The Instant Pot method really saves a lot of time and clean-up.
There are tons of methods to garnish your Instant Pot congee and make it even tastier. My favorite way is to top it with sunny side up eggs and drizzle with a generous amount of Sriracha. YUM!
Instant Pot congee is so satisfying and delicious, that I wouldn’t mind eating for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Pressure Cooker Bone Broth From Leftover Bones
- Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup (with Frozen Chicken)
- Pressure Cooker Lamb Leg
- Pressure Cooker Brown Rice
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Instant Pot Congee (鸡肉菠菜粥)
- 1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice
- 6 cups chicken broth , for a thicker congee (7 to 8 cups for thinner congee)
- 2 chicken breasts (or 4 boneless skinless thighs, about 1.5 lbs (680 g))
- 2 teaspoons ginger , grated
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)
- 4 cups baby spinach (or 2 cups frozen spinach) (*Footnote 1)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 green onions , chopped
- Boiled or fried eggs
- Sriracha sauce or homemade chili oil
- Chinese pickles or fermented tofu
- Crushed roasted peanuts or roasted sesame seeds
- Chopped cilantro
- Add Jasmine rice into a large bowl. Add tap water to cover. Use your hand to rinse the rice gently a couple times, then drain the water. Repeat 2 times. Transfer the drained rice into the Instant pot. Add chicken broth, chicken, and ginger.
- Close and seal the lid. Set to cook in manual mode on high pressure for 15 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, cook over medium heat until the pressure is added. Then cook on high pressure with medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
- Use natural release once done. Do not use fast release. (*Footnote 2)
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a big plate and shred them with forks. Transfer the chicken back into the pot.
- Turn on saute function. Add the spinach into the pot. Cook and stir for 1 minute and turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add toasted sesame oil and green onion. Stir to mix well.
- Transfer the congee into small serving bowls. Garnish with any toppings you prefer. Or you can simply serve the hot congee as it is.
- Other vegetables such as bok choy, kale, and mustard greens work as well.
- Do not use fast release when making congee. Due to its starchy texture, it will clog the valve easily and spill congee everywhere.
Questions and Reviews
making this for dinner tonight! it sounds so comforting and delicious!
How about adding how to cook the recipe in a normal, stovetop pressure cooker for those of us who don’t have an Instant Pot. I love congee and would like to try this recipe.
Hi Nina, thanks for letting me know! I just added the information on how to cook this recipe in a pressure cooker. I hope it’s helpful.
Let me know if you have any questions. happy cooking!
I’m 82 yrs. old and when I want comfort food I often go back to my childhood and make Cream of Wheat. Your congee recipe makes me want to experiment with Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice instead of Congee. Any comment or recommendations?
Hi Boris, I’ve never cooked cream of wheat in a pressure cooker. Maybe this discussion thread helps with the matter: https://www.hippressurecooking.com/forums/topic/has-anyone-successfully-pressure-cooked-semolina-aka-cream-of-wheat/
I made this tonight and it turned out awesome! Everyone loved it, including my black lab – she went crazy over it, even though I put chili oil in mine! I fried up just a little shrimp, made some boiled eggs, and had other toppings so everyone could make it the way they wanted. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender and the flavor was great. It was so easy and I will definitely be making this frequently. Thank you, thank you for the recipe!
I wouldn’t say the cook time is 20 minutes. Not counting the time to bring it up to pressure, the natural release time is a good 15 minutes. Total cook time should be closer to 45 min
YES! 20 minutes is ridiculous, but even 45 is low: if TOTAL, it should be 60 minutes, including the ~15 minutes to get to high pressure.
I substituted the chicken breasts with Costco rotisserie chicken legs and it was awesome! I’ll try it with roast duck next time! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
I made this tonight and it came our delicious! So easy and quick. Thank you!
Would this work with frozen chicken breasts without defrosting them first?
Hi Clarissa, yes you can totally use frozen chicken breasts without defrosting. I’ve tried it that way and the chicken will be cooked through without any problems.
Definitely on my list to make! How long will this keep in the fridge for? Is it as good the next day?
Hi Amy, it usually stays well for 3 days, maybe 4. It might be thicken the next day, I usually just add a bit more water when reheating so it reaches the desired texture 🙂
With my new IP, I searched for recipes and stukbled upon your site (great, I LOVE Chinese food).
Want to try this congee but am a bit confused about size of cup. In an other recipe (rice with veggies? Or something? I looked a lot recipes of you, so I can’t remember for sure) you talken about a Chinese size and a American size of cups. Both completely different in contents.
Could you pls me the size of cup? Me, being a starter cook and completely new to IP, haven’t a faintest clue how to figure this out.
Hi Magda, I used the regular American cup (240 ml) in this recipe. You’re right, I used to use the Asian rice cup in some of the recipes in the past. Later on I realized it might cause confusion. Plus, some Instant Pot doesn’t come with the Asian rice cup. That’s why I used the more commonly used cup size in my IP recipes.
Thank you Maggie! Indeed, my IP-cup is not “Chinese-style” ;))
This will be my first try-out: so fingers crossed!
I have made this like 4 times now! Packs well for a camping trip too. I add in Shiitake mushrooms and Bok Choy to be cooked along with everything else. And topped off with green onions and a ramen soft boiled egg. Sooo good, can’t wait to make again (and again).
They sound like wonderful additions! At what point of the method do you add the Bok Choy and shiitake mushrooms?
Could this recipe work with leftover cooked rice?
Hi Sarah, I don’t think cooked rice will work in this recipe. The rice will become too tender and fall apart due to the long cooking time. You can use cooked rice with chicken broth to cook congee on stove top, in a regular pot, with shorter cooking time. And maybe use leftover chicken in the congee if you have any on hand.
Hey what size instant pot did you use for this recipe? I think I have the small one.
Hi Lauren, I used the 6-quart Instant pot (the small one).
Maggie, i really hate those recipe that lie on cook times!
i hate it when my family is expecting dinner in 30 mins, and it took an hour.
25 mins to reach pressure, 15 mins to cook, 17 mins for natural release + saute.
How is this 30 mins?? this is so misleading when it comes to time!
Hi Maddy, I’m so sorry about this.
Lately I have changed a recipe plugin that have different functions for recipe formatting.
In the past I cannot add time such as “pressure adding and release” to my recipe card. I can only use prep and cook time.
I didn’t add it because the 25 minutes adding pressure and 17 mins natural release are not “prep” or “cook” time either.
I’m slowly adding the detailed time to my recipe one by one, but it will take a while since I have more than 600 recipes on my website.
Hi Maggie- can I used Basmati rice instead of Jasmine (all out) or how about brown rice? Love your recipes. Never fail to impress Chinese friends when they come over.
Basmati rice is totally find and it will yield a less starchy result. For a very starchy result, try short or medium grain.
I wouldn’t use brown rice because it takes much longer to cook (35 mins) and the chicken will be overcooked. If you prefer to use brown rice, you should cook the rice at high pressure for 20 mins, natural release, then add the chicken and continue to cook at high pressure for another 10 minutes.
I love this recipe using Instant Pot without the Porridge function as my model doesn’t have one. Could you please give us more Instant Pot chinese recipes?
Hi Maggie, I don’t have any type of pressure cooker, but this recipe sounds delicious! I would love to try this on the stove. I’m a pretty novice cook & have no idea how I would adapt the recipe, can you help with that?
This recipe was a big hit with my husband (I’m vegan) who had an upset stomach. Super easy in the instant pot. Can’t wait to check out your other recipes
Made this recipe for my family today, super easy and came out at the perfect consistency (i used the 6 cups of stock). added frozen mixed veggies instead, definitely gonna be a repeat recipe for us!
I’ve had an unfortunate case of food poisoning and this was great for me. Not to heavy for my stomach and tastes amazing!
Thank you! So very comforting!
I made this congee today. I used cal rose rice instead of jasmine. It was really great! I have had congee in several countries (China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia) and I miss it so decided to try making my own. the instant pot makes it so easy. except don’t forget when calculating how long it takes to factor in the time required to come up to pressure, and to release naturally. So far all recipes I try here such as Mapo Tofu have been wonderful. And the pictures are really helpful. Instructions clear. Flavors great. Congee is so versatile as you can change it so easily with various ingredients/toppings. Thank you so much for this! Oh and the chicken breast came out SO tender it was really easy to shred. Unlike some other recipes I’ve tried with chicken breasts.
I’m curious to know why you rinse the rice. I’ve never rinsed the rice for congee because rice, including jasmine rice, sold in America are already clean. The only reason to rinse rice is to get rid of surface starches but in congee, you want as much starch as possible.
As an aside, I never rinse white rice, period. People mistakenly think that the cloudy water results from dirt. That’s false. It’s actually powdered nutrients (iron, folic acid, thiamine and niacin), added in as required by law. When you rinse your rice, you’re actually washing off the nutrients. If you look on the packages of white rice, you’ll even see instructions saying not to wash the rice.
I used to rinse rice for congee more from a habit, because my mom did so when I was growing up.
Also, I think the rice sold was a little different in China. I remember during the old days my grandma has to carefully rinse the rice every time, to pick out the small stones, so it doesn’t crack our teeth.
That being said, after living in the US for a couple years, I don’t rinse my rice for congee anymore. I still rinse the white rice when I steam them, mostly because I like to make fried rice and the rinse removes the extra starch. I mostly steam multi-grain and brown rice for eating, and I don’t rinse them.