90 Instant Pot Dinners You Need to Cook
By Kathleen Flinn
Don’t want to repeat meals for three months? No problem.
If you don’t have an Instapot, you may not know what all the fuss is about. Let us share the magic of the best Instant Pot dinners we’ve found.
What is an Instant Pot?
To start, an Instant Pot is actually a multi-cooker.
It sears, browns, and sautes food like a stove-top skillet. It can steam more delicate ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, and even fish. It doubles as standalone electric rice cookers, too.
You can use an Instant Pot to make hard-boiled eggs, bread, cakes, and other sweets like custards, flan, and cheesecakes. Some models come with a yogurt setting. And yes, it can function as a traditional slow cooker.
But the best part is that as an electric pressure cooker, it cooks things fast without a lot of fuss or cleanup. Combined, these abilities have elevated it to cult-like status
When do you use an Instant Pot?
The Instpot is great for weeknight dinners as you can put ingredients in, sometimes giving it a quick saute, and then let it do the rest of the cooking hands-free for a one-pot meal. It’s also good when you’ve got a stovetop main dish and you want a side dish that basically cooks itself. It can also cook dishes that typically require long-simmering or braising in a fraction of the time.
Pressure cooking retains moistness for juicy meat, creates flavorful veggies, and cuts the guesswork out of trickier ingredients like rice.
There are thousands of Instant Pot recipes on the internet. We’ve done the hard work for you and pulled together this hand-selected collection of some of the best instant pot recipes out there. Most recipes focus on a six-quart Instant Pot, so if you’re using a three-quart version, adjust the recipe accordingly.
Best Instant Pot Dinners
Chicken is the go-to protein for many households and with good reason. Low in fat, high in protein, and widely versatile, chicken is one of those foods generally loved by the whole family. After a day at work, assembled ingredients into the Instant Pot and let it do the work. Here are some easy Instant Pot chicken recipes definitely worth a try.
- Rotisserie-Style Whole Chicken – a deep poaching method for super moist meat
- Chicken Breast – produces succulent breast meat for a wide range of dinner recipes
- Chicken and Dumplings – foolproof version of the comfort food classic
- Garlic Chicken Thighs with Gravy – keto-friendly, easy recipe
- Butter Chicken – velvety version of the Indian classic
- Chicken Cacciatore – easy version of the Italian classic
- Smoky Paprika and Garlic Chicken Legs – a paleo-friendly, weeknight recipe
- Chicken Marbella – briny capers and olives blend with apricots for a dinner party favorite
- Chicken Adobo – Filipino comfort food favorite using chicken thighs
- Buffalo Chicken Wings – bonus, you can make them even if they’re frozen
- Chicken Tikka Masala – a spicy update of the Indian classic
- Chicken Thai Curry – simple, soothing yet with just a bit of spice
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken – add pasta for an inexpensive, filling one-pot meal
Pot Roasts, Stews, and even Roast Beef
Arguably one of the best uses of a pressure cooker is cutting down the long cooking time needed to create classic slow-braised or roasted meat dishes. It also has the advantage of using less energy than your oven and makes for easier cleanup, too, since you don’t end up with messy roasting pans to deal with. Here are a few great options:
- Perfect Pot Roast – American-style by the Pioneer Woman
- Beef Tips with Portobello Mushrooms – an easy, inexpensive dish that is great paired with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.
- Provencal Daube Beef – a classic French version of pot roast.
- Short Ribs in Red Wine – Fall off the tender, serve with creamy polenta
- Moroccan Lamb Stew – a great spiced-up change to everyday roast.
- Coconut Thai Beef – easy recipes that incorporate southeast Asian flavor
- Roast Beef – Yes, instead of roasting! Works with the small eye of round or top sirloin cuts.
- Mississippi Pot Roast – beef spiced up with some peppers
- Classic Meatloaf – mix and pressure cook, what could be easier?
- Beef Bourguignon – The French classic, ready in about an hour
- Guinness Beef Stew – Ireland’s classic dark stout lends an earthy flavor
Purists might argue you can’t BBQ without a fire, but you can certainly create some smoky, hearty, and tasty vittles nonetheless. You can probably make the following recipes from what you already have in your pantry
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- BBQ Pulled pork – great for sandwiches, burrito bowls, tacos, and beyond
- BBQ Beef – just three ingredients and you’re good to go
- BBQ Brisket – buttery tender and juicy
- BBQ Chicken – a few minutes of prep time and cooks in 18 minutes
- Mesquite Ribs – fall-off-the-bone delicious
- BBQ Pork Ribs – a good one for beginners
Taco Tuesday (and Beyond)
Given that tacos generally have only a few ingredients, what’s in them has to be high quality. If you’re longing for a Mexican food dish, try one of these easy recipes and you can’t go wrong.
- Classic Carnitas – crispy, seasoned pulled pork
- Refried Beans – all the flavor and only half the guilt
- Chicken with Salsa – Chicken breasts and salsa = delicious
- Instant Pot Taco Meat – add seasoning, set the timer, and go
- Instant Burrito Bowls – vegetable-heavy, lightened-up take on burritos
- Shredded Chicken Mole Tacos – a healthy take on tacos
- Beef and Rice Burritos – featuring spiced beef, rice, and corn
- Mexican Pork and Black Bean Nachos
If you’ve avoided risotto due to its high-maintenance nature, you’ll be surprised by these easy recipes. Real Simple has a great primer for making risotto in an Instant Pot.
- Instant Pot Risotto Primer – learn the basics of no-stir instant risotto
- Mushroom Risotto – a classic vegetarian version
- Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto – the taste of autumn in a dish
- Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon – light and right for a weeknight
Soup & Chili
Another miracle of the Instant Pot is the drastic reduction in cooking time when using a pressure cooker to make soup. Good soup requires plenty of salt and time. In the past, you could not boil a pot of soup for a half hour and trick the culinary gods into believing that it had actually simmered it for two or three hours. However, half an hour under pressure cooking is a whole different story. Here are a handful of the great soup recipes out there.
- Chicken Noodle Soup – grandmother’s cure for everything
- Zuppa Toscana – olive oil, potato and sausage in this Olive Garden copycat
- Classic Lentil Soup – humble, unconditional love in a bowl
- Thai Red Lentil Soup – gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly
- Curried Coconut Pumpkin Soup – Velvety and rich but without any cream
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup – keep the fixings or just go potato with cheese
- TexMex Chicken and Black Bean Soup – Spicy and packed with protein
- Split Pea Soup with Harissa – a spiced-up version of the classic
- Chicken Tortilla Soup – smoky and soothing with a bit of heat
- Carrot Soup – you probably have everything to make this right now
- Turkey and Sage Dumpling Soup – a recipe to file away for those holiday leftovers
- Umami Chili – complex and load with favor, yet ready within an hour
- White Bean Chicken Chili – just a bit of heat in this easy recipe
The whole family can get behind these easy recipes.
- Instant Macaroni and Cheese – Classic creamy results
- Instant Pot Spaghetti – Simple tomato sauce with pasta
- Spaghetti and Meatballs – Add some meatballs to that spaghetti
- Bolognaise Sauce – Rich and hearty Italian classic, serve over pasta or in lasagna
- Lasagna – a cross between Chicago deep-dish pizza and the classic Italian dish.
- Lemony Spicy Shrimp Pasta – with lemon, diced tomatoes, and arugula
- Beef Stroganoff with Noodles – Great cold-weather dinner recipe
- Bruschetta Chicken Pasta – Bold flavors in a hearty one-dish dinner
Pan-fried pork chops can sometimes get tough and dry, but a short time in an Instant Pot will render them tender and juicy.
- Instant Pot Pork Chops – a great primer for pressure cooker pork chops
- Korean Pork Chops -spicy, gooey goodness
- Pork Chops with Honey Garlic Sauce – terrific paired with noodles or rice
Looking to spice up your weeknight dinner routine? Maybe something you might otherwise opt for when ordering takeout?
- Steamed Pork Ribs with Black Beans
- Spicy Soy Pork Ribs with Shishito Peppers (Dwaeji Galbi Jjim)
- Chicken with Goguchang – chicken thighs spiced with the famous Southern Korean paste
- General Tso’s Chicken – spicy Chinese takeout favorite in less than 30 minutes
- Instant Pot Ramen with Chicken – forget the seasoning in the brick packet
Canned beans are convenient, but nothing beats the complex, earthy flavor of cooked dried beans. Of course, they can take approximately forever to cook — except in an Instant Pot. Grab those beans of beans you snatched up during pandemic panic shopping and get them off the shelf and into your Instant Pot.
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice – sausage and beans, so simple, yet so satisfying.
- Cuban Black Beans – alone or in dishes, a perfect dish
- Classic Baked Beans – the always welcome picnic side dish
- Chickpeas – pressure cooking makes a world of difference when soaking
- Pinto Beans (frijoles charros) – comforting and creamy with a bit of bacon
- Vegetarian Cassoulet – hearty and comforting take on a french classic
- Black-Eyed Peas – for New Year’s or anytime
Veggies and Sides
Sometimes, you just want someone else to cook the side. Here are a few great and mostly healthy Instant Pot recipes for side dishes.
- Spaghetti Squash ready in eight minutes
- Brown Rice – cut the cooking time in half
- Perfect Sweet Potatoes – get in the habit of serving this superfood
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes – you won’t go back to boiling
- Acorn Squash – savory and filling enough to be a main dish
- Garlic and Herb Carrots – tender and flavorful
- Buttered Cabbage – low carb and great with anything pork
- Collared Greens – Southern-style with a ham hock
- Au Gratin Potatoes – a calorie splurge but sometimes you need it
- Quinoa – perfect every time
- Chipotle Lime Sweet Potatoes – great with anything Mexican
- Cauliflower and Fennel with Dijon-Cider Vinaigrette – a healthy main or side dish
An electric pressure cooker is a great tool. We hope these recipes will inspire you to break yours out for dinner tonight.
If you didn’t find something to tempt your tastebuds here, we have other Recipes to check out.
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