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!
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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:
5 Things to Remember Before You Get Started
Top 10 Basic Recipes You Will Use Everyday
Printable Reference Cheat Sheet
5 More Recipes to Get You Started
This weekend, as you know, was 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, and time for the pressure to release.
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. Likewise, it takes time for the pressure to release. A quick release can take between 5 to 10 minutes, and a natural release can take from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the liquid content in your pot.
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. (UPDATE: there are one or two times I break this rule, but it’s definitely the exception).
3. Quick release vs. natural release.
Quick release means you manually release the pressure immediately after the timer is finished by moving the pressure release valve from sealing to venting. (Keep your arm out of the path of the steam). This prevents additional cooking of the food. Natural release means you either leave the Instant Pot alone or turn it off 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 fun! (This is not necessary on the ULTRA or MAX, since they both seal automatically. Just another reason I love my ULTRA!)
Want more great Instant Pot meals? Check out my cookbook, Family Meals from Scratch in Your Instant Pot!
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!
RECIPE :: 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!
RECIPE :: 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. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing to let the juices redistribute.
Don’t forget to save the bones to make chicken stock!! It’s so easy in your Instant Pot and a great way to save money!
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 cuts down on the cook time.
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.
RECIPE :: 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.
Use for 30 minute fried rice (so good!), copycat Zoe’s kitchen, and freezer burritos!
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.
More side dish ideas: perfect collard greens, cauliflower au gratin, and garlic butter pasta.
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
- butternut squash apple soup
- honey roasted carrot soup
- creamy tomato soup
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.
- Sausage & Kale Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken & Lentil Soup :: Skinnytaste
- Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup :: Predominantly Paleo
- Spicy Sausage & Lentil Soup
- Chicken Salsa Soup
8. Mashed Potatoes
Peel (if desired) the mashed potatoes and quarter them. Add a half cup of water and the potatoes to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure, and mash or whip the potatoes. Add a variation of butter, salt, milk, cream cheese, garlic powder, sour cream to taste.
Using a potato masher or immersion blender means you can finish the potatoes in the Instant Pot and prevent dirtying up additional dishes.
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 the trivet or a strainer basket inside, and set in the potatoes. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (small-medium potatoes) to 18 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, set in your trivet or a steamer basket, and place the desired number of eggs on the trivet/basket. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the valve to sealing, and cook the eggs on high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Immediately transfer the eggs to an ice bath, then peel when cooled.
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 go-to stovetop recipe for hearty chili to be made in the Instant Pot. It’s simple, quick, and I can wash the pot in the dishwasher afterwards. We always serve it with cornbread, recipe out of this great cast iron cookbook. Winning.
12. 30 Minute BBQ chicken
I LOVE this barbecue chicken. It’s quick and easy enough for lunch, and delicious enough for dinner. We eat it plain or on rolls, and then use leftovers to make this amazing homemade pizza.
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.
The Instant Pot is amazing for cooking multiple dishes at once (pot-in-pot). I love being able to make meatloaf and cook potatoes for mashed potatoes at the same time, then afterwards make a quick side dish in my extra pot while the meatloaf browns and I mash the potatoes. Family dinner just got so much easier.
15. Healthier Creme Brulee
That’s right. Creme brûlée. I’m including it in a beginner’s list because it’s just soooo easy. I’m talking five minutes of prep, and just a little time in the Instant Pot. Try it. You can thank me later.
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 not too overwhelmed, check the bottom of this post for more Instant Pot tips, recipes, and info!
Sharing is caring! Don’t forget to pin and share. Thank you!
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Leny Marie Cabague says
Made Chicken Taco Lettuce with Lentil and Brown Rice for dinner yesterday on my Instant Pot and it turned out to be fantastic…the whole family loved it….prepared them on 8 qt stackable pans….made a few adjustments from the original recipe.., I used fresh tomatoes instead of the canned ones….no cheese ….no wrap..also used organic chicken.
here is the recipe: https://instantpoteasyrecipes.com/instant-pot-recipes/chicken_taco_lettuce_wrap_and_cheesy_lentils_and_brown_rice
instant pot recipe says
Quite an impressive detail and number of recipes. thanks would love to try some instant pot recipes at home.
Your grid for eggs says 2 cups. But you wrote 1 cup. Is one cup okay? I’m sure it’s faster.
Yes, one cup is what I do.
Hi, I just picked up a new Instapot last night and am excited more so that I found this website – Thankyou!!
My question is when you say ‘cook’ what setting do I use? Eg. in the Chili recipe you say “Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is just browned” what setting do I put the instapot on?
I would assume that she is referring to the “sauté” function on the instant pot. It would allow you to brown meat/develop flavor before adding other ingredients and setting the pressure cooker to “cook” the chili in its entirety.
Hi! I’m a newbie at this! Doing baked potato’s as my first “recipe”. I had read on some Pinterest pins that you poked holes in the potatoes but your directions don’t say to do that……so I didn’t….. Right….?
It’s something that some people do, but isn’t necessary. I made baked potatoes tonight with no poking. 😉
Thanks for the chart today. Already laminated and ready to use.
Lisa, this is probably the dumbest question ever. If a recipe calls for 50 minutes on high pressure, does that recipe include the “coming up to pressure” time unless otherwise stated? I’m new to this! But living everything I’ve made so far.
No, typically the time it takes for a recipe to come to pressure is not included in the time given in the recipe directions. Though, of course, that time does contribute to the cooking time of the food. So if you are cooking chicken in 1 cup of broth and the recipe says 10 minutes high pressure then natural release, you would figure that it will likely take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure, then 10 to cook, and then another 10-15 to release the pressure. Does this make sense?
Nicki S. says
What size Instant Pot do you use? I just received the larger, 8-quart size and I’ve read that the amount of liquid may need to be adjusted if using a larger pot. If that’s true, would I need to increase the liquids you have listed for your recipes? Thanks for your help!
Steve Koshlap says
Great info, but I think you mixed up the chicken broth recipe for the whole chicken on the cheat sheet. I’m inspired to finally start cooking all those dry beans I have!
Goodness, you’re right. Thanks for calling my attention to that! I just corrected the image and the PDF version.
When you make your chicken broth in the Instant Pot, do you still make two batches with the same bones like you do when you use the crockpot?
I usually do, unless I’m pressed for time.
Buckeye peach says
The cheat sheet says 2 cups water for hard boiled eggs,, but the recipe says 1 cup.
I wanted to check to be sure before I responded to you today, so I tested cooking the eggs with 1 cup and 2 cups of water. Like I thought, it really does not matter. I appreciate you pointing out the mistake. But both ways will work. 🙂
1 cup or even less is faster to get to pressure in my experience (not scientifically tested!) it does not take much, as long as enough to not completely evaporate prior to pressure
Definitely. Which is one reason why it’s so quick and easy to make eggs, cook vegetables, etc!
The sausage kale soup is awesome!
Wow, just got a instant pot and I am completely new to it. Thanks for all the information, I feel more secure and ready to start cooking. One question, in the chili, are the beans dry or can?
Carolina MJ | http://www.dearbabymj.com
I’m so glad you’ve found this helpful! For this quick chili, you need to use cooked beans.
On the cheat sheet, what does “build flavor” mean? Is that sauteing carrots, onions, garlic, etc,?
On the cheat sheet, what does “build flavor” mean? Is that sauteing carrots, onions, garlic, etc,?
Yes. Building flavor by browning or sautéing the meat and/or aromatics like onions and garlic and such.
Hi! Do you cook your oats directly in the liner or do you use the pot-in-pot method? Steel cut oats are a favorite in our household too! Thanks for all the great info!!
I just dump the oats and water directly in the pot. Once it’s cooked, I stir in toppings and serve. Immediately soak the pot and it cleans up easily. 🙂
Julie S says
Hi Lisa! I just made the steel cut oats today and they were perfect! Have you ever doubled this recipe? And if so, do you need to double the cooking time? Thanks!
Oh my god! The easy asian ramen! I’m totally making htat!
In the chili recipe, what size cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce do you recommend?
14.5 oz for both.
Coming from UK I’m not sure what you mean by canned tomato sauce.
Suzie, just 2 cups of tomato sauce, not necessarily from a can 😉
Kathy B says
Oh thank you so much for all this useful information. Us newbies really appreciate it! I am making your sausage and kale soup right now, but swapped out the brown rice for cannelloni beans as my hubby is diabetic and they have a lower carb count. Do I still need to take 8 minutes at high pressure, or was that because of the brown rice? Thanks again, Lisa.
You probably do not need 8 minutes. Are your beans already cooked? If so, I would cook the rest of the ingredients for about 4 minutes at high pressure, then add the beans when you stir in the cream so they do not get overcooked. That’s what I did with my chili tonight.
Let me know how it goes!
Kathy B says
Thank you for your quick response. I ended up cooking it 8 minutes and the canned beans were a bit soft. So next time, 4 minutes it is. I loved how the texture of the kale and carrots turned out. It’s a keeper!
Meredith Rowe says
This is GREAT! THANK YOU!
Your chili recipe is cooking in my IP now, and the cheat sheet is laminating! 🙂
We had chili tonight too! YUM!
I don’t understand about meatloaf & water. It sounds like meatloaf is sitting in water. Is it wrapped in foil first or what? Sorry to be so dense. My pot is still in box. I really like what u have done and will print this out.
You make a basket, so to speak, with the foil so that the water is not touching the meatloaf. You could also use a steamer basket in addition to the foil sling if you are concerned about the meatloaf sitting in the water.
When adding the rice to a recipe like the meaty soup, does this mean dry rice?
Yes, dry rice.
Newbie here, and I have a question about the steamer basket. If only using the basket, won’t the item still be sitting in some water? If truly steaming, wouldn’t you want the item (eggs, for instance) to be raised more?
Abbie Chalcraf says
same question! 🙂
Yes, dry rice!