Instant Pot Pelau Recipe

1.2.19 | Recipe by Renz

A fool-proof recipe for making this delicious Trinidadian specialty in the Instant Pot. This pelau recipe will have you eating in record time.

Pelau Recipe

I know I have been MIA for a while. But I had a really really good reason I promise.

Not to harp on it too much but you can find out more about it on my IG post.

But I'm back into my kitchen, slowly but surely. And playing around with my Instant Pot.

And this pelau recipe is the perfect set it and forget it kind of recipe you want.

A combination of rice and pigeon peas and chicken (or beef or saltfish or pork)

Normally to create pelau, we need to caramelize the sugar to get the brown color, as we do with stew chicken.

But not this time!! This version is now the quick, easy, and foolproof method.

If you were hesitant about having to caramelize sugar then this recipe is especially for you.

Have you fallen into the Instant Pot craze?

I've had my pot for a little time now but haven't been using it to its full potential.

I am trying to get more use of it now.

Picture taken from

These pots (called the magic pot by my aunt) are everywhere now. They are electric pressure cookers and are made by numerous brands.

If you see a recipe that says "Instant Pot" and you have a "crockpot" version, it is just about the same thing.

I have the Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3 6 Qt version. It's a 6-in 1 and I feel like it works great for a family of 4 who eats for like 6.

They are the perfect combination of a slow cooker, fast cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker and some even have the option to make desserts.

Let me also add that some people are even making beverages in them.

pigeon peas and rice

Caribbean people are usually pretty stuck in their methods of making food.

As much as technology advances we are always wary of stepping away from how we normally make something to try something new.

Trinidad Chicken Pelau

Make what in what? No thanks, I'll just use my regular pot that is going to take me 500 hours.

We wouldn't even want to make soup in a slow cooker, and it would save us so much time.

pelau cooked in instant pot

But I love using my IP.

I have seen some benefits incorporating an IP into my rotation.

Benefits of an Instant Pot:

  • Saves time and energy:
  • Retains nutrients and vitamins
  • Preserves foods look
  • Eliminates unwanted microorganisms

With this recipe, I don't have to stand over the pot while the sugar browns to make sure it doesn't burn.

In my other pelau recipe, using the traditional method, sometimes people have an issue with that step.

Browning sugar can sometimes be tricky. One distraction and you have a pot of burnt sugar that is too bitter to use.

I just put all my ingredients into my pot, stir it up, taste it a little for salt and then cover and go.

Be mindful of ensuring that the valve for the pressure is set to sealing before you begin though.

How to make pelau

Cons of having an Instant Pot

This thing takes up space on your counter.

I used to store it in a cupboard with other gadgets but then I had to be taking it in and out too much in the week, so I just decided to keep it up on my counter.

If you are like me and have little counter space, it could be so annoying to have out.

So instead I just put it on a folding table in my kitchen so that I could retain some counter space.

There is a little bit of a learning curve with this device. I've had some misses with the timing with some ingredients under pressure. Imagine a scotch bonnet pepper getting a little too much time, under pressure, in your soup!!

chicken pelau

Pelau might be considered the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago. More so Trinidad. I feel like crab and dumpling might be Tobago's.

But it's a really great one-pot dish that we cook and tote with us everywhere. Where ever we need a dish that is easy to eat. pelau it is.

Carnival fetes, beach limes, cricket matches. This rice and peas and meat dish is really a "can be eaten everywhere" dish.

Chicken pelau isn't the only pelau. There's also the option for beef or pork (pigtail). Ever heard of saltfish pelau? Yummy.

Trinidad Chicken Pelau

But chicken is always my favorite.

DElicious Pelau from Trinidad

Nothing beats a pelau, after spending some hours in the sea, drained out from the sun and drinking too much salt water.

Just add some coleslaw.

Or even at home, this one-pot with some added zaboca (avocado) and a glass of mauby.

I really love using my instant pot to make my usual Caribbean dishes in there and eliminating some of the time for me to be standing in the kitchen and stirring the pot.

Well some, there are still some things my stovetop dutch pot makes a little better.

A plate of Pelau

But if you do have an Instant Pot or any other electric pressure cooker, you definitely need to add this pelau recipe to your line up.

It's a quick and easier version of the traditional classic pelau we as Trinidadians know.

Check out some other one pot dishes:

Pin this pelau recipe NOW!!

Trinidad Chicken Pelau made in the Instant Pot
Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my posts. It is much appreciated. Please, if you can like, share, yum and/or pin this, especially if you enjoyed it.


  1. I have eaten this at a friend's house and want to try making it, can you tell me what browning is

    1. Hi, it's a sauce blend that we use. Caramelized sugar and spices. You can find it pre made in the supermarket. I prefer Grace brand of browning.

  2. It's so terrific finding such an EASY instant pot pelau recipe. I am intimidated by pelau no more! Great results. Thanks HomeMadeZagat! Boss cook!

    1. Thank you!!! It does make it easier right? Appreciate you!!

  3. Hi, I have a different instant pot. Mine is the 8 quart Duo Crisp. How many minutes is the rice function on your machine? I tried this recipe and I wasn't successful but I think it may help if I set the cook time manually. I also ran into a burn issue with the coconut milk powder. I will give it a try again. Thank you for sharing.

    1. My rice gives 10 minutes. So it builds the pressure, the pressure cooks for the 10 mins, then it releases. And u mixed everything up good before setting the pressure? The milk shouldn't burn. Let me know how it goes.

  4. Can I use regular coconut milk instead of the powder? If so, how much of the liquid milk do I use?

    1. Yes you can. About a 1/4 cup. And you can lessen the water amount by the 1/4 cup for the milk.

    2. Hi, I tried this recipe in April and it didn't work very well, but I was able to fix it with your suggestions. It came out just right the second time. It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing and being kind.

    3. Thank you so much for letting me know it worked out for you. Appreciate it!!

  5. Any suggestions for getting nice crumbly rice? Mine came out sticky for some reason. Also I suspect we need to fry the chicken first? Mine came out a little pale. So did the rice actually. Could it be the browning?

    1. What type of rice did you use? I only cook with parboiled rice cause it's stands up to "pressure" a little better than the others. No everything is a dump and go. So yes definitely the browning. You can adjust the amount based on the color you see to get it as dark as you like.

  6. I come back to this recipe time and time again. It’s sooo easy. I’d prefer the rice to come out more al dente than it does buttt again… love that I can make a quick Trini pot. Will definitely look at your other recipes hoping to find more Instant Trinbago dishes. Like a soup or even a curry potato and channa


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