Beef Rice-A-Roni made in the Instant Pot is a quick and easy dinner that any kid would love! With less than five ingredients this recipe is made from pantry staples you may have on hand. Make it fun and add some toppings so everyone can create their own bowl of goodness!
What made Rice-A-Roni a San Francisco Treat?
Yes, this easy boxed side dish was actually born in San Francisco. Domenico DeDomenico was an Italian immigrant that moved to California in 1890. His wife Maria persuaded him to start a pasta factory like the one her family had in Italy.
Domenico's son Tom and his wife Lois rented a room at the home of Pailadzo Captanian. Lois would help Mrs. Captanian in the kitchen, and learned to cook this way. Mrs. Captanian made an Armenian pilaf, and used the pasta from the factory broken into small pieces to make the dish.
It was decided to take the pilaf recipe to the Golden Gate Pasta factory test kitchen to recreate the product into a box. With the move to convenience products in the kitchen this cultural melting pot of a dish became an instant hit. According to KQED, the name is a combination of two main ingredients rice and macaroni.
- Rice-a-Roni - I used the beef flavor but you could substitute with another flavor that uses a 15-20 minute cooking time.
- Ground beef - I used and 80/20 mixture of beef. Ground chicken or turkey can be used. Boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been cut into small strips can be used as well with the same cooking time.
- Onion - a chopped Vidalia or yellow onion.
- Water - I used water for this recipe but you can add the broth of your choice.
- Vegetables - I used a favorite steam in the bag vegetable, so you can use your favorite as it is cooked separately then added in. Canned vegetables can also be drained and added at the end.
Can I make half of this recipe?
Yes, you can make half of this recipe but keep the same cooking time. If you halve the recipe you can make it in a 3-quart Instant Pot as well.
Instructions for cooking
Set your Instant Pot to saute and allow to heat for a few minutes. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add in the ground beef, then cook until no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the meat then return to the inner pot.
Add the water and seasoning packets to the cooked ground beef then stir. Add the rice to the top but DO NOT stir. Tamp down the rice a little if necessary to make sure it is all covered with water.
Close and seal the lid cooking on high pressure (normal) for 5 minutes then follow with a 3 minute NPR (natural pressure release). While you wait cook your vegetables frozen or canned in the microwave.
Stir the meat and rice mixture then add in the cooked vegetables.
Additional tips for a great meal
- Make it interesting by adding extra toppings of your choice like cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, or jalapenos.
- If you don't have ground beef but you do have beef steak instead check out this recipe at Grandma Behrendt's Kitchen!
- If you want just want the rice then you cook with the amount of water in the recipe and use the same cooking time.
- If you like to brown up the rice you can still do this by doing this step first with some butter then removing to a plate while you prepare the meat.
- Be sure to follow this up with a quick dessert like Instant Pot Spiced Peach Crisp!
How to make it video
- 2 boxes Beef Rice-A-Roni may substitute any flavor that has a 15-20 minute cooking time on the box
- 2 pounds ground beef may substitute ground turkey or chicken, and also thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cups vegetables cooked or warmed, frozen or canned
- 4 cups water may substitute broth of choice
- Turn on the Instant Pot to saute. Saute the onions in olive oil until softened. Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain if there is excess grease, and then return to the inner pot.
- Add in the seasoning packets and water then stir together.
- Add in the rice but DO NOT stir. Tamp down with spoon if needed to submerge all the rice.
- Cook on high pressure (normal) for five minutes and follow with a 3 minute NPR.
- Stir the beef and rice then add in the vegetables.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.
- This recipe can be halved and cooked for the same amount of time. When halving the recipe it can also be made in a 3-quart Instant Pot
- Add toppings like cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, or jalapenos
- If you just want the rice then just cook for the same amount of time with the same amount of water
- If you want to brown the rice first then do this first with some butter then remove to a plate to finish the recipe