Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Instant Pot Taco Rice

Instant Pot Taco Rice

This comfort food combines taco-seasoned meat with cooked rice and salsa in a hearty bowl of family-friendly food. This recipe is great to serve a crowd, too. Use the Instant Pot for easy clean up!

image of a bowl of taco rice topped with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, corn, lettuce, and tortilla chips

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This is not a pressure cooker recipe, but I am including it in my Instant Pot on Campus series for a couple of reasons. First, this recipe is a family favorite which my son has cooked on the stovetop many times under my tutelage. I'm posting it on my website so that he can access it without sending me texts at 10:49pm asking how to make it.

photo of an Instant Pot programmed to use the Sauté function

Second, using the Sauté function on the Instant Pot or Mealthy (or Brown on the Presto) makes your electric pressure cooker function like a high-sided electric skillet. When I make this dish in my 12 inch cast iron skillet I inevitably fling some of the contents all over the stovetop as I'm stirring. That results in a thorough cleaning not only of the skillet but also of the stove. Using the Instant Pot to cook this meal saves clean up!

The third reason I'm sharing this is because I think that electric pressure cookers are hidden gems for disabled cooks. Instead of having to strain to access a stovetop to brown meat--or pay to modify the stove height--cooks can position the electric pressure cooker on a convenient flat surface and work in comfort. Wear an apron and mind the splatters, though.

Pin for later!

This comfort food combines taco-seasoned meat with cooked rice and salsa in a hearty bowl of family-friendly food. This recipe is great to serve a crowd, too. Use the Instant Pot for easy clean up!

What is Instant Pot on Campus?

I'm glad you asked. My Instant Pot on Campus series are recipes that have a handful of ingredients and easy preparation. I'm sending my son back to campus this fall armed with an Instant Pot, a wooden flat bottomed spoon ($2 at IKEA), and this website. We're spending the summer practicing so that he will be successful in the kitchen. Please share with any budding campus cooks you know! (Disclaimer--check with Residence Life to make sure electric pressure cookers are allowed. My son will be staying in a campus apartment with a stove so I know this appliance is OK.)

Each Instant Pot on Campus recipe has similar features. I'll tell you what you need to buy at the store (and some tips to save money). I'll tell you what you need to have on hand in the kitchen. If you want to Level Up, I'll offer suggestions for making the meal a bit fancier. Lastly, I'll provide troubleshooting tips for what could go wrong and how to prevent/fix it.

Other Instant Pot on Campus recipes I've published are Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs and Instant Pot Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos. Let's get started!

What you need at the store

image of ingredients used to make Instant Pot Taco Rice

  • 1 pound ground meat
  • taco seasoning
  • 16 ounce jar of salsa
  • rice

At the store you need to pick up a pound of ground meat, taco seasoning, a jar of salsa, and rice. Since you're seasoning the meat well, you can use any type of ground meat that falls into your reusable shopping tote. Minnesota produces a lot of turkeys so there is a lot of ground turkey meat available to me--but choose what is readily available to you: ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken, ground venison, or plant-based products!

I buy taco seasoning in bulk because I use it often, but a packet (good for seasoning one pound of ground meat) will do fine. If you wish to buy in bulk check natural food stores (and BYO jar) or Costco for bulk taco seasoning.

Do not waste your fancy jars of salsa on this recipe! Save them for dipping chips where the taste is much more apparent. If you've got an inexpensive picante sauce feel free to use that. (Disclaimer: Frontera is our current chip-dipping brand and what I had on hand.)

You can use most any type of rice for this recipe--short grain, sushi, jasmine, long grain, minute, brown or basmati. I would avoid arborio just because it's pricier than the others and you don't need or want the creamy result. As always, whatever cooked rice you have is the kind you should use.

When you have extra cooked rice--even from Chinese takeout!--you can wrap and freeze it for later use. Thaw in microwave and it's as good as fresh.

What you need in the kitchen

  • electric pressure cooker or skillet
  • cooking oil
  • something to stir with (I like the $2 flat bottomed wooden spoon from IKEA)
  • water
  • the ability to cook your rice (microwave for Minute rice, rice cooker, saucepan or IP)

Level Up

image of ingredients used to level up Instant Pot Taco Rice

To Level up this recipe you'll want shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, cooked corn, diced red onion, refried beans, salad greens, chopped tomatoes, and/or tortilla chips. In fact, Taco Rice is a terrific way to serve a crowd because everyone can customize their own bowls. You can double this recipe and still use a 6 quart electric pressure cooker.

image of ground turkey and taco seasoning cooked in an Instant Pot


Because you are not cooking this meal under pressure there are no concerns about the amount of liquids or any worry about Burn errors. You may find the normal Sauté setting to be a bit too hot--if so, push the Sauté button again until the temperature light illuminates Low, not Normal or High. Remember it takes a while to get hot--it will take a while to cool down as well. Watch out for oil spattering when you first add the meat!

image of cooked rice being added to an Instant Pot while making Taco Rice

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe is gluten free as shown. Check your taco seasonings, but all other ingredients do not contain gluten.
  • The recipe is best with cool cooked rice, so plan ahead to have your rice cooked and cooled. Even a bag of minute rice zapped in the microwave and then transferred to the fridge will work better than fresh hot rice.
  • Feel free to use inexpensive salsa in this recipe and save the good stuff for dipping with chips
  • This recipe reheats really well for breakfast or a midnight snack.
  • Use any type of ground meat: beef, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, venison, or plant-based.
  • This recipe can be doubled in a 6 or 8 quart electric pressure cooker.

This recipe is part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

image of a spoonful of Instant Pot Taco Rice held over an Instant Pot

image of a bowl of Instant Pot Taco Rice topped with shredded cheese, vegetables, and tortilla chips

Pin for later!

This comfort food combines taco-seasoned meat with cooked rice and salsa in a hearty bowl of family-friendly food. This recipe is great to serve a crowd, too. Use the Instant Pot for easy clean up!

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