Inspired by Tex Mex cheesy nachos, this Instant Pot beef and rice casserole is hearty, delicious and satiating – perfect for the whole family! Made with ground beef, rice, tomatoes and a few pantry staples, it’s a quick and easy pressure cooker recipe you can whip up mid-week in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten-free friendly and can also be made with chicken, pork or vegetarian-friendly beans or lentils.
If you love Tex Mex flavors and hearty dishes like cheesy beef nachos, you will enjoy this Instant Pot Mexican rice casserole. It’s really easy to make and is budget-friendly as you can use ground beef and pantry staples like rice, corn and canned tomatoes. Finished with melted cheese and crushed corn chips on top, as well as your favorite condiments, this is a tasty Instant Pot dinner recipe for the whole family.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS INSTANT POT CASSEROLE
- ALL ingredients are super accessible and affordable; most of them are probably in your fridge and pantry already.
- Everything is made in one pot! No need to heat up the oven or transfer the pre-made beef and rice casserole to another dish to then melt the cheese on top.
- It’s hearty, well seasoned and spiced, a little cheesy and freshened up with zesty guacamole, lime, sour cream and cilantro. The crushed corn tortilla chips add great texture at the end.
- It’s a very balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals.
- The leftovers are fantastic the next day and can be wrapped into a burrito or taco wraps!
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT MEXICAN RICE CASSEROLE
You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here are handy step-by-step photos to guide you along.
Step 1. Prepare the ingredients you need for the cooking stage of the Mexican rice casserole: ground beef, rice, tomato sauce, chicken stock, onions, garlic, chili, Mexican spice blend, corn and roasted tinned peppers.
Step 2. Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Saute setting. Once hot, add the olive oil and onions and cook for 1 minute to soften. Add the beef and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes, breaking the meat apart with a spatula.
Step 3. Add the garlic and chili and stir through, followed by spices and chicken stock.
Step 4. Use the spatula to stir in the stock, scraping the bottom of the bottom from any bits that might have gotten stuck. This will prevent any potential burn error. Press Cancel to stop the Saute process. Add a cup of long-grain rice (well rinsed and drained) and stir through.
Step 5. Add tomato sauce on top (or tinned chopped tomatoes) but don’t stir, simply spread over the top. Follow by corn and roasted red peppers (also chopped). Secure and lock the lid.
Step 6. Select Pressure Cook/Manual (on older models) and use the – and + buttons to adjust the time to 5 minutes at HIGH pressure. In a few moments, the ON sign will come on indicating that the Instant Pot is building up the pressure, which will take about 5 minutes as well. The timer will start once the pressure is built up.
Once the timer is up, leave the Instant Pot undisturbed for 2 minutes (up to 5 minutes is fine) to allow the pressure to release naturally for a while. Then press the steam knob or point the top handle to Venting (on older models) to manually release the remaining pressure.
Total cooking time: From start to finish, the cooking time should be 5 minutes for Sauteing, 5-7 minutes to build up the pressure, 5 minutes cooking at pressure, 2-3 minutes natural release, 3-4 minutes for melting cheese on top – 25 minutes.
Step 7. Prepare guacamole, grate the cheese and gather any other toppings or condiments you want to use (e.g. corn chips, hot sauce or fresh salsa, sour cream, cilantro etc).
Step 8. We’re almost there! Once the pressure is released, the Instant Pot will automatically stay on Keep Warm cycle. You can leave it on that for now. Open the lid, you will see that most of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. Spread the cheese on top and cover the pot with a regular lid for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt in the heat/steam.
Step 9. Crush a few corn tortilla chips in your hands and sprinkle over the cheese followed with some fresh cilantro. Our nachos-inspired Mexican rice casserole is ready! Serve it with a large spoon or spatula into bowls or wrap in burritos/tacos.
TOPPINGS & SIDES FOR NACHOS RICE CASSEROLE
You can serve this nachos-inspired Tex Mex casserole as is or with a side of guacamole and/sour cream, fresh cheese, hot sauce or fresh salsa, extra corn tortilla chips, lime wedges, cilantro, raw onions, pickled jalapenos, tacos or burrito wraps. A little fresh salad might also be nice on the side.
MORE TEX-MEX INSTANT POT RECIPES
- Vegetarian Instant Pot Burrito Bowl With Avocado Crema
- Instant Pot Taco Meat
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos With Pineapple Salsa
- Mexican Instant Pot Quinoa With Cilantro & Lime Dressing
- 20+ Instant Pot Mexican Recipes (Muy Deliciosas!)
WATCH OUR TOP 10 VIDEO RECIPES HERE
Learn how to make nachos-inspired Mexican rice and beef casserole in the Instant Pot. Topped with melted cheese and corn chips, this pressure cooker dinner recipe is perfect for the whole family. Gluten-free and can be made vegetarian by swapping meat with canned beans or lentils.
To cook in the Instant Pot
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb (450 g) ground beef mince
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/2 long red chili (jalapeno), diced
1 tablespoon Mexican taco seasoning or spice blend
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup long-grain rice (e.g. Basmati, rinsed well)
1 cup canned tomato sauce (or diced tinned tomatoes)
1/3 cup canned sweet corn (frozen can also be used)
1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers (like these)
1.5 cups grated cheese (e.g. cheddar or Mozzarella or a mix)
1 cup corn tortilla chips
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large avocado, diced and scooped out
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 small tomato, diced
1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
A little chili if you wish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light sour cream
Extra corn chips
Hot sauce or salsa
- Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Saute setting (it will say 30 mins, Normal – no need to change the time, it simply gives you a countdown clock). Once the bottom of the pot feels hot, add the olive oil and onions and cook for 1 minute to soften.
- Add the beef and salt and cook with the onions for 1-2 minutes, breaking the meat apart with a spatula. Add the garlic and chili and stir through. Add the spices and stir, followed by chicken stock. Use the spatula to stir in the stock, scraping the bottom of the bottom from any bits that might have gotten stuck. This will prevent any potential burn errors. Press Cancel to stop the Saute process.
- Rinse the rice under cold water (4-5 times to remove excess starch) and strain. Add to the beef and stock and stir through. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and spread over the top but do not stir into the rice. Spread the corn and roasted red peppers over the top. The reason we are not stirring the tomato sauce into the rice is that sometimes having tomato-based foods at the bottom of the pot (especially when the liquid gets absorbed during cooking) can also result in a burn notice.
- At this stage, secure and lock and lid. Select Manual/Pressure Cook setting and adjust the time with – and + buttons to 5 minutes at HIGH pressure. In a few moments, the ON sign will come on indicating that the Instant Pot is building up the pressure, which will take about 5 minutes as well. The timer will start once the pressure is built up.
- While the rice and beef are cooking, prepare the guacamole, cheese and any other condiments you want to use.
- Once your 5 minutes are up, the display will change to a new timer indicating the depressurizing of the pot. Allow about 2-3 minutes for the pressure to release naturally and then use the steam releasing knob/handle on the top of the lid to manually let off the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid. You will see that most of the liquid and tomato sauce have been absorbed into the rice. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top and cover the pot with a regular glass lid or a towel to keep the heat inside. Leave for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has melted. Finish with scrunched corn chips and fresh cilantro on top and you’re ready to serve.
- From start to finish, the cooking time should be 5 minutes for Sauteing, 5-7 minutes to build up the pressure, 5 minutes cooking at pressure, 2-3 minutes natural release, 3-4 minutes for melting cheese on top.
- Serve the casserole in bowls with a side of guacamole, sou cream (if using) and extra corn chips. You can also add fresh salsa, extra jalapenos, raw onions etc.
Vegetarian version: Swapping ground beef for 1-2 cans of beans or lentils or vegan alternative to ground meat.
Store leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat in a microwave, oven or in a frying pan with a splash of water and melt extra cheese on top if you like.
Keywords: Mexican, Rice, Ground Beef, Casserole, Nachos, Pressure Cooker, Dinner, Family-Friendly, Kid-Friendly