Chicken meatballs and rice is a delicious one-pot dinner that's big on both taste and looks. Ground chicken is mixed with onion, garlic, herbs and spices, shaped into balls, and shallow fried to golden-brown, buttery perfection in the instant pot. The meatballs and rice are then pressure cooked in broth, and finally topped with tomatoes and slivered almonds. You won't be able to resist this flavor-packed meal!
There's something so wholesome about one-pot meals made in the pressure cooker. Take these spiced chicken meatballs with rice. The rice is cooked right along in the same pot, and the simple combination of meatballs with rice makes for a comforting, nutritious and easy meal that will please just about anyone, even picky eaters.
Of course, if you're in the mood for a quick and tasty snack, you can devour the chicken meatballs without ever cooking them in the rice! Can't say it hasn't happened in these parts;) However, if you're looking for a complete meal, follow the recipe to the end including the garnishes. It will be very worth it, I promise. The flavors and aroma of this dish are deep and rich, and you won't be disappointed. Guaranteed!
What goes into these meatballs with rice?
Note: exact quantities of ingredients are given in the recipe card further down.
How to make chicken meatballs and rice in the instant pot
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters and keep aside for later.
- Chop the onion finely.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Whisk the egg lightly with a fork.
- Transfer the ground chicken to a large bowl and add the chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, bread crumbs, chilli flakes, dried thyme, parsley flakes, black pepper and salt to taste. Mix these ingredients using your hands or a large spoon.
- Grease your hands lightly with some oil and take about one tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Roll into a ball and keep on a platter. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
- Heat the butter in the steel insert of your instant pot (on the sauté setting).
- Slide in the meatballs and fry these in batches until golden brown. Remove onto a platter.
- Rinse the rice and spread it in a layer on the bottom of the pot. Arrange the fried meatballs on top of the rice, pour the broth over the balls and secure the lid. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Wait for 10 minutes after the pot beeps, then release pressure.
- Open the pot and fluff the rice. Garnish with the slivered almonds, quartered tomatoes. I also like to drizzle some melted butter mixed with parsley flakes over the rice for extra flavor. Serve hot.
Some useful tips and notes
- Do not rinse the ground chicken, rather use it straight from the packet. If there is even a little water in it, you will find it difficult to shape it into balls.
- Do rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Rinsing the rice will soften it and make it easier to cook.
- I used Tilda Basmati rice in this recipe (affiliate link). This is a good quality long grain white rice and I find that it cooks perfectly in the instant pot. Of course, you can use your favorite brand of rice if that's what you are used to.
- The ratio of rice to liquid (in this case, chicken broth) is important to know. For one cup of rice, one and a quarter cups liquid (1: 1.25) work perfectly. As you increase the quantity of rice, also increase the liquid proportionately and you'll be fine.
- The egg and breadcrumbs bind the chicken meat and make sure the balls don't break at any point in the cooking process. If for some reason you do not have completely dry meat, you can also add a little roasted chickpea flour to it. Chickpea flour will absorb most of the water and make it easier to shape the meat into balls.
- If using chickpea flour (available in most supermarkets), take about 3-4 tablespoons of the flour in a small frypan and set it on medium heat on the stovetop. Stir the flour with a spoon continuously to prevent scorching. The flour is roasted when the color darkens and it starts giving off a distinct aroma.
- Don't like ground chicken? Make these meatballs with your choice of meat. Lamb, beef, turkey...anything you fancy works here.
- This recipe makes enough for leftovers. Simply reheat in a microwave the next day and eat:)
More meat and rice recipes you might like
Keema Biryani - Keema biryani is a fun variation of the classic Indian biryani. Made with ground lamb meat instead of meat chunks, it has the same unbeatable taste and flavor in every forkful of rice!
Yakhni Pulao - A classic meat and rice dish with deep but subtle flavors. Long-grain Basmati rice teams up with the choicest cuts of bone-in mutton and whole spices to make this aromatic pulao!
Easy Chicken Pulao - Another delicious one-pot chicken pulao recipe that's super easy to make with just a few ingredients. It is the perfect weeknight meal.
Chicken Meatballs and Rice
- 1 lb ground chicken meat
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 egg whisked
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups Basmati rice rinsed and drained
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 small tomatoes quartered
- 2 tablespoon almonds slivered
- Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and add the onion, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, black pepper, thyme, chilli flakes and salt. Mix well, grease the palm of your hand with oil, and shape into balls. You would need approximately one tablespoon mixture to make one ball.
- Switch on your instant pot to sauté mode and heat the butter in the steel insert. Slide in the meatballs and fry on medium heat until golden brown. Remove onto a platter. Fry in batches if you have to. Cancel sauté.
- Spread the rice in a layer at the bottom of the steel insert. Arrange the fried meatballs in a single layer on top of the rice and pour the broth on top. Secure the lid, make sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing' and press the pressure cooking button (high). Set the timer to 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, wait ten minutes before releasing the steam and opening the pot.
- Garnish with the slivered almonds and tomatoes. Drizzle some melted butter mixed with extra parsley on top of the rice. Serve hot.
- Don't rinse the ground chicken or you will find it difficult to shape into balls.
- If your ground chicken mixture is wet for any reason, add some roasted chickpea flour (about 3-4 tablespoons) to it. It will absorb most of the moisture.
- Substitute chicken for the meat of your choice. The cooking times will remain the same.