Whether you are a new Instant Pot owner or have been using one for a while, this list of the top 15 must-have Instant Pot recipes is for YOU! Keep reading for tips, recipes, and an AWESOME, FREE printable!
Get ready, friends, because there is a lot here! You may want to go ahead and save or pin this post now, because I am SURE that you will want to refer back to it often!
This is a long post, but I wanted to give you a thorough overview of some of the recipes you will use most often. So here’s what to expect in this post:
This weekend, as you know, what the weekend of SHOPPING. Whether you shopped in the real world or in cyber-world, chances are good that money was exchanged and goods were bought for a deal.
I shared my love for all things Instant Pot on This Pilgrim Life’s Facebook page in a Facebook live video, and told you ten reasons why you should have an Instant Pot in your kitchen. And then on Friday, I heard from many of you that you took the plunge and bought an Instant Pot of your own. (Don’t have one yet? Get one here. They’re so worth it!)
One friend in particular commented that she was the new owner of this magical, multipurpose electric pressure cooker, and told me that now I just needed to help her figure out what to do next. Immediately I kicked into teacher mode and started writing this post in my head. I actually used to teach this friend cooking lessons in my house at one time, so this seems kinda fitting.
I LOVE teaching– it’s one of my favorite parts of blogging, and I am really excited to share this post with you! If you find it helpful, please pass it along.
5 Things to Remember Before You Get Started
1. It takes time to reach pressure.
You need to figure in time for the Instant Pot to reach pressure when you are reading a recipe. Remember, the more liquid, the longer the IP will take to reach pressure.
2. Dairy will curdle under pressure.
Do not add milk or cream to the Instant Pot before cooking. Dairy should be added after the food has been cooked under pressure.
3. Quick release vs. natural release.
Quick release means you manually release the pressure immediately after the timer is finished. This prevents additional cooking of the food. Natural release means you turn off the Instant Pot and let the pressure release on its own (usually about 20 minutes), allowing the food to cook longer.
4. Don’t be afraid to try!
Your Instant Pot can become one of your most used appliances if you give it a chance! With so many ways to use it, there will always be new methods and recipes to try. Keep track of the recipes you love and don’t be afraid to try new ones.
5. Always check the vent!
Get in the habit of checking the vent to be certain it is sealed when you start a recipe. Hearing all the steam escaping from across the room and having to dash over to seal the Instant Pot is not only not fun, it could be hazardous to your health.
10 Basic Recipes You Will Use Everyday
1. Steel cut oats
Starting with steel cut oats, because, breakfast. We eat steel cut oats so often that I would consider buying an Instant Pot simply for how much easier it makes cooking them!
Combine 1 cup steel cut oats and 3 cups water in the Instant Pot, seal, and set it to cook 3 minutes on high pressure. The oatmeal is best when allowed 15-20 minutes to naturally release pressure, but I have skipped that when we are in a big hurry before. Serve with toppings.
Variations: Add 1 or 2 sliced apples and cinnamon to cook with the oats. Add blueberries, maple syrup and a splash of cream to cooked oats.
2. Whole chicken & broth
I LOVE cooking whole chickens and have for years! It is so simple to do (whether you roast it in the oven or cook it in the Instant Pot), and you can turn the chicken into meals for days! I’ve even written a week’s meal plan based off one whole chicken. PLUS, afterwards, you can use the bones for broth!
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil with the Instant Pot turned onto sauté. Brown both sides of the chicken (about 4 minutes per side). Turn chicken so that it is breast side up. Add any additional seasonings as desired. Pour in a cup of chicken broth and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Quick release pressure. Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing to let the juices redistribute.
To make broth: Saute aromatics (onions, garlic, etc) and 1 chopped carrot to build flavor. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and several whole peppercorns. Place chicken carcass in the Instant Pot and pour in about 3 quarts of water (do not exceed the fill line). Cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Quick release pressure. Strain liquid using a fine mesh strainer. Makes about 3 quarts.
3. Dried beans
I have recently discovered the amazingness of pintos sautéed with onions and bacon. YUM. And black beans are the star of one of our absolute favorite family meals. Kidney beans and cannellini beans are two other staples in our house. So cooking dried beans quickly is one of my favorite features of the Instant Pot!
When cooking dried beans, remember three things: first, never fill the pot over halfway (beans expand as they cook). Second, natural release is best. Third, soaking the beans overnight before you cook is both better for your health and can almost cut the cooking time in half.
1/2lb beans + 2 qts water + 1/2 Tbsp oil + 1/2 tsp salt
Black beans (20-25 minutes unsoaked, or 10-15 minutes soaked)
Kidney beans (25-30 minutes unsoaked, or 20-25 minutes soaked)
Pinto beans (25-30 minutes unsoaked, or 20-25 minutes soaked)
Cannellini beans (35-40 minutes unsoaked, or 20-25 minutes soaked)
4. Brown rice
Before the Instant Pot, I always cooked my brown rice in the oven, and it was perfect every time. Even so, the Instant Pot does speed up the process, and I am thankful for another quick option.
Combine 2 cups brown rice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 3 cups water in the Instant Pot. Seal the lid and cook for 22 minutes on high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 20 minutes.
5. Simple vegetable side dish
I do not cook every dinner in my Instant Pot, but even when it is not being used for the main dish, I often still use the Instant Pot for quick and easy side dishes. I have a second stainless steel insert and it really comes in handy after I cook meat in the Instant Pot, because I can then cook a quick side dish while my meat rests.
Most vegetables only take 2-3 minutes depending on their hardness, with a quick release of the pressure. I cook these honey ginger carrots for 3 minutes. I make green beans with LOTS of garlic, salt and pepper, and a couple tablespoons of water for 2 minutes. And corn on the cob is easy to make too– just add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pot, stack the corn on a steamer basket, and cook for 3 minutes on high pressure.
6. Creamy soup
Soup is one of the easiest things to make in an Instant Pot. Just combine and cook. Creamy soup adds one additional step of blending the soup before serving.
Extra green broccoli cheese soup is one of our favorites. So is butternut squash apple soup (I adapted this recipe and will share it soon). This creamy cauliflower soup from Happy Mothering looks great, too. And we have previously loved making honey roasted carrot soup in the oven but now I can make it even more easily in the IP (watch the FB Live video showing you the recipe).
7. Meaty soup
As long as we have a stash of chicken broth in the freezer, we have soup at least once or twice a week during the cooler months. And now I have a new favorite!
Sausage & Kale Soup in the Instant Pot (See the whole post): Saute chopped sausage (I used kielbasa, but Italian sausage would work fine too) in the Instant Pot. Let the sausage cook for as long as it takes you to chop 1 onion and dice 3-4 carrots (stirring once or twice). Stir in the onions and carrots. Saute 3-4 minutes more. Stir in 1 cup uncooked brown rice, 2 C chopped kale, and 4 C chicken broth. Cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure and uncover. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp flour and 1/2 C heavy cream. Pour the cream mixture into the soup, stir to mix, and return the Instant Pot to sauté. Let the soup cook for about 5 more minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Salt to taste and serve immediately.
Instant Pot Chicken & Lentil Soup :: Skinnytaste
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup :: Predominantly Paleo
8. Mashed Potatoes
Peel (if desired) the mashed potatoes and quarter them. Add a cup and a half of water, and a steamer basket, to the Instant Pot. Place the quartered potatoes on the basket and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure, drain the water, and mash or whip the potatoes. Add a variation of butter, salt, milk, cream cheese, garlic powder, sour cream to taste.
9. Baked Potatoes (& sweet potatoes)
You’ll never go back to cooking potatoes in the oven again! This method works well for both baking potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Pour a cup and a half of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot, place a steamer basket inside, and stack the potatoes on the basket. Set the IP to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes (small-medium potatoes) to 15 minutes (large potatoes). Let the pressure naturally release for 20 minutes. Serve, (preferably with bacon, cheese, butter, & ranch!).
10. Hard boiled eggs
My husband does not like hard boiled eggs, but the rest of us do! I especially love them when we are hiking and picnicking, and also on trips when the extra protein is so helpful. I did not bring any when we went beach camping this year and they were sorely missed (by me)!
Pour in 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot, add a steamer basket, and place the desired number of eggs on the basket. Seal and cook the eggs on high pressure for 8 minutes*. Quick release the pressure. Let the eggs cool slightly, and eat immediately or store in the refrigerator.
*UPDATE: I have since started cooking the eggs for 6 minutes instead of 8. That seems to be the perfect amount of time for how we like our eggs. I changed the printable to reflect this time.
I made this Instant Pot cheat sheet for you to print out and use for quick reference. I laminated mine (love my laminator!) which has already come in handy since I had to wash off pork juice from the front of the page today.
If you are really new to using your Instant Pot, the printable may seem a little daunting. But that’s what the rest of the instructions above are for. After you have made each recipe once or twice, the cheat sheet will make more sense and will become a great tool to keep handy for quick dishes.
I would love for as many Instant Pot owners as possible to be able to use this reference page, so if you find it helpful, please share it with your friends!
But wait, there are still five more awesome recipes to go!
5 More Recipes to Get You Started:
11. Hearty Instant Pot Chili
I adapted my recipe for hearty 30-minute chili for cooking in the Instant Pot. Simple, quick, and I can wash the pot in the dishwasher afterwards. Winning.
Saute 1 diced onion and 2 chopped bell peppers in a tablespoon of olive oil in the Instant Pot for 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add 4 minced cloves of garlic to the onions and peppers and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in 1 pound of ground beef. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is just browned. Add 1 teaspoon each of oregano, kosher salt, basil, chili powder; and a half teaspoon of ground cumin and freshly ground pepper. Pour in 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce. Seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Add 2 cups of kidney beans, drained and rinsed, to the chili. Return the Instant Pot to saute and cook for 5 more minutes. Top with cheddar cheese and/or sour cream if desired.
12. BBQ pork/chicken
Make homemade BBQ sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the Instant Pot turned on sauté. Add 1/2 cup minced onion and sauté 4-5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves and cook 30 seconds. Add 1/2 C cider vinegar, 1/2 C worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Quickly bring to a simmer, then stir in 1 C ketchup. Cook for about 5 more minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
Alternately, use store-bought barbecue sauce.
Cut a 3-4lb pork loin into 4 chunks. Place in Instant Pot, turning to coat with the BBQ sauce. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, allow to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. Shred and serve.
*To make BBQ chicken with 4 chicken breasts, cut the sauce in half, and cook the chicken breasts and sauce together on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
13. Easy Asian ramen
So good. So easy. Ramen noodles, a chicken breast, some julienned vegetables, and an Asian sauce make a really quick and delicious lunch or dinner. You can find the recipe here and you can find the gluten free brown rice ramen at Costco for a great price (the package lasts a while!).
I have cooked this easy weeknight meatloaf in the Instant Pot with great results. I have even prepared the meatloaf, frozen it, and cooked it in the Instant Pot frozen, (I added about 20 minutes to the cooking time).
Make meatloaf following this recipe. Use foil to make a sling to set the meatloaf in, pour 2 cups of water into the Instant Pot, then set in meatloaf (the foil should separate the meat from the water). Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes on high pressure, then quick release the pressure.
Thanks to this incredibly easy recipe, I have several jars of applesauce in our freezer, ready to be pulled out and enjoyed on cold winter days. I love the simplicity of this recipe, and that homemade applesauce truly requires little to no sweetener because it is perfectly naturally sweet and delicious.
I know you probably have information overload if you have even made it this far! But I hope this post becomes a resource you can come back to as you learn to use your Instant Pot. Save it, pin it, share it, and don’t forget to print the cheat sheet for future reference!
If you are looking for another great resource for pressure cooking recipes, this cookbook is incredible! Cooking charts for grains, meats, and more. Plus tasty, reliable recipes.
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