Instant Pot Recipes

Paleo Southwest Chicken and Cauliflower “Rice” in the Instant Pot

August 1, 2016

We took our first round of Berkshire Hogs to the butcher! By we, I mean Whitney did. It is quite the story of how he got 8 pigs loaded into the trailer- ask him about it next time you see him! We’ve certainly learned a lot about raising our own hogs, and can’t wait to have a freezer (or two) full of delicious Berkshire pork. Our freezer is pretty full with our last round of chickens, and with pork coming in a week or so, we really need all the freezer space we can get. So this week I’ve been on a mission- to creatively make dinner each night with our chicken. Now, I don’t know about you, but whole chicken is about my least favorite thing to cook, with chicken legs / hindquarters a close second. It isn’t that I don’t like it- I just can never seem to get the skin right (it always turns out gooey.. never nice and crisp like Pinterest would have you believe), and honestly it usually turns out overcooked and bland. While normally a week’s worth of cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken would be a daunting chore, I have a secret weapon.

Enter, the Instant Pot.

If you have cruised around this blog, or ever had a chat with me about food, I’ve likely mentioned how obsessed I am with our Instant Pot. It makes THE BEST whole chicken, spaghetti squash, cauliflower, pork roast, and numerous other things that I find tedious to cook. Since we did Spicy Sticky Chicken yesterday, I went a different direction with tonight’s hindquarters: Paleo Southwest Chicken and Cauliflower “Rice”. I used hindquarters, but you could easily use thighs, drumsticks or wings. Just adjust the cooking time of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, please- get one! Honestly, you will actually look forward to cooking weeknight dinners!

The best price I’ve found is on Amazon:

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

Paleo Southwest Chicken and Cauliflower “Rice”



We just switched to new stainless steel pots and pans, which means wooden utensil (so as not to damage the pans). Currently, I’m obsessed with this set of bamboo utensils:

7 Piece Bamboo Kitchen Utensil Set with Elevating Silicone Handles and Utensil Stand



Freshly ground pepper tastes SO much better! It’s so easy, grab a grinder and bulk organic peppercorns here:

Brushed Stainless Steel 2 in 1 Salt and Pepper Shakers with Adjustable Coarseness – Premium Quality & Elegant Manual Design Mill – Perfect Grinder to Grind Fresh Spices Himalayan Salt and Peppercorn

Frontier Peppercorns Black Whole Organic, Fair Trade, 1 Pound




Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Make the spice rub by combining the cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, onion powder, coriander, garlic, cayenne, sea salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken with the rub well on all sides. Save back a bit of the spice rub to add into the cauliflower later.

Add your choice of fat to the Instant Pot- I recommend coconut oil. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” with the lid off. Brown the drumsticks / hindquarters on all sides.

Remove the drumsticks / hindquarters from the Instant Pot, carefully add a bit of water (about 1/2 cup) – this will hiss and boil- so use an oven mitt, and don’t stand directly over the Instant Pot! Scrape the chicken bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Add the steaming rack, and carefully stack the hindquarters back into the instant pot. (Note: you do not have to use the steaming rack, this is a personal preference, but I find that if I don’t use it, the skin sticks to the bottom of the Instant Pot and can tear off.)

Set the Instant Pot for Manual, and adjust the time to 12 – 13 minutes depending on how large your hindquarters are. If you are doing just drumsticks, 10 minutes is fine. Make sure the steam valve is set to “sealing”.

When the time is up, use the quick release method to vent. Do not use natural pressure- as the chicken will continue to cook and will likely be overdone. Exercise caution! I like to use a wooden spoon to move the valve- obviously the steam will be hot!

Remove the lid and carefully remove the drumsticks with kitchen tongs. Cover them with foil to keep warm.


While the chicken is cooking, break your head of cauliflower into large chunks.

When the chicken is done, remove the steam rack as well, and using oven mitts; carefully lift the inner pot and pour MOST of the liquid- leave about a cup. When you replace the steaming rack, the liquid should be almost level with the bottom of it.

Add the steam rack and cauliflower chunks to the Instant Pot. Set the Instant Pot to Manual: 1 minute. Again, make sure the steam valve is on sealing.

It takes about 10 minutes or so to actually get up to pressure, so when the time is up, use the Quick Release method, and carefully remove the cauliflower, steam rack and all the liquid.

Set the Instant Pot to “Saute”, and add butter.

Add the cauliflower back in, and break it up with a potato masher, or this thing– which we received for Christmas, and is apparently used for breaking up ground meat while cooking? It is amazing, btw, and we have obviously found many uses for it!

Add tomato paste, and the remaining dry seasonings, saute until all the cauliflower pieces are broken up.


paleo southwest chicken instant pot


Hope you enjoy this recipe for Paleo Southwest Chicken and Cauliflower “Rice”. I would love to know: what is your go-to method for dealing with (whole) chicken?


Edit: I’ve discovered that the awesome tool we got for Christmas is called a Mix and Chop, and can be purchased on Amazon (where else!) here: The Pampered Chef Mix N Chop 2583


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  • Dana Ivy August 2, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Ok, I’ve heard a million amazing things about the instant pot and I think you might have just sold me!!!! While I’m perfectly happy in my marriage, I wish I could have another wedding and register for all the things again! Haha! This dinner looks delish!

    Xox Dana Ivy //

    • August 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      😀 Thanks! Yes.. I’ve already added a second one to my Christmas list..

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  • Valerie January 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Sounds yummy! How many servings will the cauliflower rice make? And if I use drumsticks or thighs instead, how do I adjust the time?

    • Amy January 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Usually a good sized head makes 4 servings… but sometimes only like 3 or 2.5 if you are feeling particularly hungry ;D
      I would do a little longer for (bone-in) thighs, 15 minutes and see how it does!

  • Valerie January 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Can I just use the poultry setting?? I have yet to find recipes that use the preset function keys.

    • Amy January 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Hi Valerie! You absolutely can! I *think* the default for the poultry setting is 15 minutes. So just adjust a couple minutes less if you are doing legs. To me, those buttons are just shortcuts, but you will often adjust the time either way! 😀

  • Valerie January 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Thanks so much! Making this tonight for a potluck and doubling the cauliflower!

    • Amy January 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Yay! Plus it makes awesome leftovers 😀

  • valerie January 4, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    After I scrape the pot do I discard that liquid? When I pressure cook the chicken do I put at least one cup of water in the cooker?

    • Amy January 5, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Scrape and leave the liquid- you will need some liquid in the pot for it to come to pressure. They recommend at least a cup… but I’ve found with meat (or other things that release natural juices), a full cup isn’t necessary. I usually just guess… at least enough to cover the bottom, but not so much that the liquid touches the steam rack. There should be at least a cup when you do the cauliflower- there will be more from the chicken juices… I hope that all makes sense!!!