This Instant Pot Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa recipe has melted cheddar cheese in every bite. It’s packed with wholesome ingredients and is total comfort food. It tastes like broccoli cheese soup, but in casserole form, with chicken and quinoa added. YUM!
The instant pot makes easy work of this recipe. While it won’t save you THAT much time compared to making it on the stovetop (see notes in recipe for how to do this), there’s something great about the “set it and forget it” method of Instant Pot recipes that makes them so appealing.
You don’t have to pay attention to stovetop temperature, and you don’t have to stir to make sure it isn’t sticking or burning on the bottom.
Here’s the thing about Instant Pots: unless you are cooking something that usually takes a LONG time to cook (such as dry pulses in this Split Pea Soup or a really tough cut of meat, like pork shoulder), pressure cookers generally don’t save a lot of time.
Sure, you can technically cook chicken meat in 5 minutes. BUT, that doesn’t account for the time it takes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure, which can sometimes take 15-20 minutes depending on the recipe.
But I LOVE how easy it is to walk away from the Instant Pot without giving it a second thought.
I love that you can keep whatever you are cooking in it and it will stay warm- close to piping hot- until you are ready to serve it.
And I love that you can sauté directly in it, unlike most slow cookers, so it’s easy to use it for one-pot meals.
For this Instant Pot chicken, broccoli, and quinoa recipe, you’ll first sauté the aromatics (onions, celery, and carrots) in butter (which smells so insanely good). Then, just stir in some quinoa, chicken broth, and chicken breast pieces, along with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and cook for five minutes!
Of course, 5 minutes in instant pot time really means more like 10-15, but still. Super fast and easy.
After it’s done cooking, just stir in some shredded cheddar cheese and broccoli florets. Cover, and allow to sit for five minutes. The residual heat and trapped steam will soften the broccoli to crisp-tender and melt the cheese to perfection.
The first time I made this, I used tri-color quinoa. The second time, I used white.
You can use whatever kind of quinoa you want. But while tri-color may be prettier, I do find that white quinoa tends to cook faster than other colors, so if you use tri-color, you may have some pieces that taste a bit crunchy or underdone. It just depends on your preference.
By the way, did you know that quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain? True story! Although, it’s considered a whole grain for most culinary and nutritional purposes. It’s high in protein and other vitamins and minerals, and is super good for you.
One quick tip: make sure you clean, or at least soak, your pressure cooker liner immediately after serving. Since this recipe has cheese in it, it will be difficult to clean if you let it sit for too long.
Here’s a tutorial for how to cut broccoli into florets. This method has been SO helpful for me!
If you like this easy Instant Pot recipe, here are a few more you’ll love: Instant Pot Split Pea Soup, Instant Pot Pulled Pork, Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Herbs, and Instant Pot Pumpkin Chili. And if you like one pot chicken meals, try this baked Spiced Chicken and Rice with Apples and Raisins.
Here’s the recipe for Instant Pot Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa with Cheese!
Instant Pot Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa with Cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts cut into approximately 1/2" pieces
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 cup uncooked white quinoa rinsed
- 1.5 cups chicken stock/broth
- 3 cups small broccoli florets frozen or fresh, from about 1 medium head
- 8 oz. cheddar cheese grated
- Turn your pressure cooker to the "sauté" function. Melt the butter (1 tablespoon) and sauté the onions, celery, and carrots for 3 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
- Add the rinsed quinoa (1 cup), stir to coat.
- Pour in the chicken broth (1.5 cups) and add the chicken pieces and stir to mix together well. Turn the "sauté" function off. Cover the instant pot and set manual pressure to "high" for 5 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure and wait for the float valve to depress.
- Stir in the broccoli and cheese. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until broccoli is crisp-tender and cheese has completely melted.
- Stovetop Directions: To make this on your stovetop, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet for three minutes. Add the chicken with salt and pepper; sauté for three minutes more. Add the quinoa and chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is almost completely cooked. Stir in the broccoli and cheese, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes, until broccoli is tender. Serve.
- Make it dairy free: omit the cheese and use olive oil instead of butter.
- I made this recipe in my 6 qt. Instant pot. It should work the same in an 8 qt., but you may need to cut the ingredients in half for a 3 qt. mini.
- The timing is for white quinoa, which cooks faster than tricolor, red, or black quinoa. If you use another kind, I recommend adding more time for it to cook. Keep in mind- adding more time may result in overcooked chicken.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
This recipe first appeared on Bowl of Delicious in February 2018. I’ve updated it with new photographs and tweaked the recipe in response to some user comments and questions.