The Instant Pot can help take your cooking game to the next level. Food comes out of the pot just as delicious and nourishing, but in a fraction of the time. If you’re busy or lacking inspiration, instant pot dinner recipes are the list for you.
What Are Some Good Ideas for Dinner?
Whether you are a proud Instant Pot owner or just thinking about purchasing this fantastic kitchen tool, our instant pot dinner recipes are here to inspire you with a range of possibilities, from main dishes to sides, proteins to vegetables, and everything in between.
We’ve rounded up 40 easy instant pot dinner recipes that use simple ingredients, straightforward methods, and time-saving tips. This list will make mealtime a breeze:
- Labor-Saving: We all have those busy days when you want to minimize the time and effort spent in the kitchen. With the Instant Pot, once you gather all the ingredients in the pot and set the time, you don’t have to do anything else until your food is done.
- Time-Efficiency: The selling point of the Instant Pot is speeding up cooking time. Some dishes can be done in half the time while others that traditionally need all day, can be done in an hour.
- Flavor Intensification: The beauty of Instant Pot recipes is that everything goes in the same pot, where the magic happens. All the goodness from the individual components intensifies as flavors harmonize and the texture becomes tender and juicy.
- Freezer-Friendly Meals: You can make a big batch of soup in advance or keep the leftovers from last night’s chili for a grab-and-go meal. With our recipes, it’s easier than ever to store and reheat your favorite dish throughout the week.
- Easy Clean-up: There is usually just one stainless pot that needs to be cleaned in Instant Pot dinner recipes. Think of all that time saved not having a sink full of dishes!
Here’s our ultimate guide for hassle-free weeknight meals filled with nourishing ingredients and using just one kitchen appliance — an Instant Pot.
Chicken Dinner Ideas
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos: Takeout food may seem like the best dinner option when you’re short on time, but cooking in the Instant Pot at home can be faster, healthier and tastier. For these chicken tacos, you marinate the chicken in a blend of Mexican spices before searing it until juicy and golden. Top the dish with sweet tomatoes, bright lime, and fresh cilantro, and your delicious dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken: The simple Mexican-style spice blend (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, chili pepper, and paprika) used in this recipe comes together quickly and with the juicy chicken creates a taste sensation. The resulting tender shredded chicken is perfect for tacos, burritos, salad bowls or soups. You can even have it in sandwiches.
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo: Our version of chicken alfredo cooks chicken thighs and vegetables in a silky sauce of milk, heavy cream, garlic powder, onion powder, and other seasonings. This dish has everything you love about alfredo: creamy noodles, golden chicken, and hearty mushrooms as an added bonus.
- Instant Pot Chicken Marsala: This classic dish is beloved for several reasons — it’s hearty, comforting, and flavorful. The chicken is covered in a creamy marsala wine-infused sauce creating a restaurant-quality meal at home. Plus, you don’t even have to marinate the chicken first, making this Instant Pot chicken marsala ideal for a last-minute dinner.
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken: With only an Instant Pot and less than 10 minutes of prep, this mouthwatering chicken teriyaki dinner can be ready and on the table in no time at all. Marinate your chicken in the famous Japanese sauce which you can easily buy at any store but just as easily make at home. We love making the teriyaki marinade since it uses simple ingredients like soy sauce, sake, sugar, and ginger. This effortless sauce also works well with beef, shrimp, and tofu.
- Instant Pot Curry: Inspired by the irresistible Indian curry, this Instant Pot version is made to be a more straightforward recipe but still holds all the classic flavors you’d expect. Chicken is infused with rich, creamy, and warm spices. Plus, this Instant Pot curry is ready in no time at all and is cooked entirely in the same pot, making clean-up a dream.
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip: If you’ve ever thought of chicken as a boring and overrated ingredient, one taste of this Instant Pot buffalo chicken dip will change your mind. The chicken is smothered with a creamy sauce full of cheese and hot sauce. You can make a bunch of it in advance, then reheat as needed and let people munch away during the game.
- Instant Pot Sesame Chicken: For this sesame chicken recipe, you can both brown and cook the chicken in the Instant Pot and the chicken only needs an extra few minutes to cook until tender. The result? Juicy bite-sized chicken chunks that are coated in a delectable sweet, savory sauce. Effortless and delicious, this sesame chicken deserves a place in your weekly rotation.
- Instant Pot Crack Chicken: The Instant Pot makes crack chicken an easy game — the chicken is seared in the pot and cooked using the saute function. Once the chicken is cooked, you shred it and add in the cream cheese and cheese to make the chicken extra creamy and moreish;melt-in-mouth perfection. This flavor-packed shredded chicken is perfect for buns, sandwiches, or you can put it on top of salads and warm soups.
- Instant Pot Chicken Legs: A quick-yet-flavorful rub seasoning made with garlic powder, paprika, and salt does all the heavy lifting in this dish. The chicken is seared in the Instant Pot and turns out juicy, tender, and delicious with crispy skin.
- Instant Pot Chicken Adobo: This quick and easy version of the traditional Filipino comfort food was made especially for the Instant Pot. In this recipe, chicken pieces are marinated in spices and soy sauce, seared, and stewed until tender. The original recipe requires somewhere from 45 to 60 minutes for the dish, but pressure cookers make it in half the time, and best of all, there’s only one pot to clean up afterward.
Instant Pot Dinner Recipes with Beef
- Instant Pot Beef Stew: This ultra-easy version of beef stew only needs two main elements: beef and veggies. Place all your favorites in the same pot and press the button for a quick and stress-free dinner. We recommend scooping the supreme savory result over steamed rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or into a hoagie bun.
- Instant Pot Chili: When other ideas fail, beef chili can be a great last-minute dinner that helps clean out your fridge. All the goodness is simmered together until tender, and full of colors, flavors, and nutrients. The Instant Pot is perfect for this recipe as it gives the dish a deep flavor that usually requires hours of simmering on the stove.
- Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast: This classic Mississippi staple is made even quicker and easier when seared and pressure-cooked in the Instant Pot. Combine all your favorites — beef, pepper, and spices — in the same pot. The Instant Pot then does the rest of the work and gives you an incredibly tender, melt-in-your-mouth roast dinner in the blink of an eye.
- Instant Pot Pho: Traditionally, slow-cooked pho takes up to two days to cook. However, with the Instant Pot, this Vietnamese beef noodle dish is ready in less than 1 hour. The broth — the star in the bowl — is infused with bones, meat, seasonings, and spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. It ticks every flavor box: herby, savory and rich. You’ll love the beefy broth with its complex depth of flavor, tender beef, al dente rice noodles, and fresh herbs. These noodles are addictive, and every spoonful leaves you wanting more.
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef: Mongolian beef is a simple stir-fried dish consisting of sliced beef coated in soy sauce, ginger, and sugar sauce. Using an Instant Pot for this recipe means that you can cut the cooking time in half while still having all the savory-sweet taste delights of this Mongolian-style beef.
- Instant Pot Sloppy Joes: Instant Pot sloppy joes make it possible for you to decide to have these finger-licking buns at 5:30 pm and enjoy eating up this beefy goodness by 6.00 pm. This flexible recipe has a base of tender meat with aromatic spices, but you can be creative by adding your own flavor blend of herbs and seasonings.
- Instant Pot Salisbury Steak: This Instant Pot Salisbury steak recipe calls for the same two main ingredients as the classic version: beef and mushrooms, but with less time in the pot. Once done, the homemade steak rich with flavor from the savory, umami mushroom gravy is perfect for serving over steamed rice or noodles. Time-saving and nourishing, the dish is perfect for weeknight dinners and any other occasion.
- Instant Pot Meatloaf: Meatloaf is a classic crowd-pleaser and staple in many households. This Instant Pot meatloaf delivers everything you love: savory beef with sweet, tangy glaze, creamy mashed potatoes, but only takes half the time of the oven-baked recipe. The dish freezes well, so please feel free to double the recipe and make extra for future weeknight dinners.
Instant Pot Dinner Recipes with Fish
- Instant Pot Tilapia: If fish is a favorite in your household, then this tilapia recipe may be your next go-to. In this Instant Pot recipe, tilapia is steamed to perfection before being topped with tomatoes and basil. The dish is fresh and healthy, perfect for a light summer meal. Plus, it can be ready and on the table in just a few minutes.
- Instant Pot Salmon: This recipe takes advantage of pressure-cooking, infusing all the goodness of the individual components into one dish. Salmon can be quite bland in taste, making the fish a fantastic canvas to go with any seasoning or blends your heart desires. Great by itself, with salad, rice or steamed veg.
- Instant Pot Tuna Casserole: Dinner can get boring quickly if the protein-based main dish always comes from beef, pork, or chicken. With this Instant Pot tuna casserole, you just put everything into the pressure cooker: pasta, tuna, vegetables, cream, and spices of choice. This creamy tuna casserole is one of the easiest and quickest (and tastiest) ways to get a veggie-and-fish-loaded dinner on your table.
Instant Pot Dinner Recipes with Pork
- Instant Pot Carnitas: The pressure-cooking process of the Instant Pot gets the pork tender and shreddable exactly like the stove-cooked version. While this juicy pork is cooking away in the pot, it’s the perfect time for preparing any sides or garnish: guacamole, pico de gallo, or pickled onions all go great with these carnitas. By using this time, you can have finger-licking tacos in less than 30 minutes.
- Instant Pot Pork Loin: Eating healthy can be a cinch with this Instant Pot pork loin recipe. The meat is cooked until tender and then topped with the gravy made from its juices and seasoning. We love serving pork loin with roasted vegetables.
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin: This pork tenderloin recipe takes all the classic weekend roasts on the same plate but in a way less time and effort. Tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat, and we encourage adding extra vegetables to the pot for a healthy boost of fiber and vitamins.
- Instant Pot Tamales: Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made with a corn-based dough filled with various types of meats and cheeses. The Instant Pot is the ideal way to steam them since they can be cooked faster and more evenly than on the stove. Flavorful and coming in a neat little pocket, tamales are a fantastic pack-and-go meal for children but also adults.
- Instant Pot Ribs: For these Instant Pot ribs, you will need a bunch of dried herbs, onion, and garlic powder to brighten up the moist pork ribs. The pork is delicious on its own, but pairing it with a fresh, bright fruit salad gives contrasting flavor, texture and colors to really ramp up your meal experience.
Soup Ideas For Dinner
- Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana: Zuppa Toscana has become a firm favorite with soup lovers across the country. It’s blend of flavor and creaminess makes it a winner. This version takes the classic deliciousness from Zuppa Toscana but with a boost of nutrition by adding plenty of healthy-fiber vegetables like kale or spinach.
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup: Broccoli cheddar soup is one of the dishes that always hits the spot. It’s rich, nourishing, and delivers a variety of flavor layers. Plus, thanks to broccoli, this keto-friendly soup is naturally high in protein and potassium.
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup: This beginner-friendly soup is tasty and nutritious, thanks to several vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, and spinach. Plus, it receives added protein and richness from beans and shredded cheese.
- Instant Pot Bean Soup: This bowl of colorful bean soup may look like it would take a lot of effort, but the most time-intensive element in this recipe — beans — are canned and ready. This makes the soup more throw-and-go than you would think.
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup: With this recipe you crisp up the ham in butter directly in the Instant Pot, and then add the split peas which cook up quickly in the creamy, meaty broth. Delicious split peas give this recipe plenty of texture, body, and protein, while dried herbs provide a hint of aroma, making the soup even more irresistible.
- Instant Pot Mushroom Soup: This rich and comforting soup is made for cold winter days, and the Instant Pot helps to cut down the cooking time by half. If you prefer a completely smooth texture, please feel free to blend and puree the soup. Whether you blitz it or keep the mushrooms intact, this soup will be a hit at your table.
- Instant Pot Polenta: Though not strictly a soup, polenta can be made to be more watery or more thick depending on your preference. This Italian staple of cooked cornmeal gains its popularity due to its simple and straightforward cooking process. Using the Instant Pot speeds up the time it takes to get smooth, creamy polenta, getting it ready in less than 30 minutes.
Instant Pot Dinner Recipes with Vegetable
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes: With this Instant Pot mashed potato recipe, you can cook a big batch of potatoes in just 10 minutes. To stretch these creamy potatoes into a full meal, top them with your favorite protein and a fresh salad on the side.
- Instant Pot Brussel Sprouts: Thankfully veggie dishes don’t have to be boring. These sprouts are brought to life with garlic, lemon and cheese. You can also top the soft brussel sprouts with crunchy seared bacon and shredded cheddar cheese for delightful diversity of flavor and texture.
- Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower: Coming with different flavor options from herb and garlic, cream and chive, to garlic and cheese, mashed cauliflower is an easy and enjoyable way to add more veggies to your diet. If you want to make this dish even easier, you could use frozen broccoli instead of fresh and you cut out the vast majority of what little prep there was to begin with.
- Instant Pot Ratatouille: The beauty of ratatouille is that all the vegetables are cooked directly in the sauce, giving you a dish that’s packed with flavor from the inside out. This satisfying vegetarian side dish tastes like a glorious garden harvest in your mouth.
- Instant Pot Red Beans And Rice: The good news is that there is no need to pre-soak the beans the night before with this Instant Pot recipe. Sausage, ham and seasoning are combined with dry beans in the same pot, making the dish extra easy and appetizing. Once the bean mixture is done, serve it over white rice.
- Instant Pot Asparagus: This recipe requires only 15 minutes to get tender and flavorful garlicky asparagus. Top the dish with shredded cheese to finish, or you could use crunchy diced bacon as an ideal alternative.
Tips for Instant Pot Dinner Recipes
There is nothing wrong with making your time in the kitchen a little easier and stress-free by taking smart shortcuts.
- Frozen Goods: Using store-bought dough or pre-cut meat and vegetables can make a noticeable difference in prep time compared to uncut vegetables and from scratch dough. Vegetable nutrition will not vary but store bought vs. homemade dough will, so if you are on a specific diet, just check the nutritional values first.
- Pressure Releasing Time: Add 5 – 10 minutes to your meal planning time when using the Instant Pot. It usually takes a few minutes to naturally release all the pressure within the inner pot so that you can safely open the lid. Pay attention to the recipe as some utilize quick release to stop cooking or natural release to continue cooking.
- Thickening Agent: One of the many special things about the Instant Pot is that it retains liquid well during the cooking process. However, it is sometimes unnecessary since your dish ends up having too much excess liquid.
When this happens, add a bit of cornstarch mixed with cold water to thicken the dish. Be sure to add the cornstarch mixture at the end of the cooking process, not at the beginning (as it can split and that’s not pleasant in a dish).
2. Can you put frozen meat in the Instant Pot?
Yes, the Instant Pot works wonderfully with frozen meat, too. Add an extra 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the size, thickness, and type of meat you put in the pot.
Most meat recipes can be done in less than 40 minutes. Soup and stew can be ready in 20 minutes with a texture and flavor similar to if they had been cooked all day.
Leftovers are never a waste if you know how to deal with them. Follow these important food safety tips which can help you save time and money.
- Once the food has been cooked, it needs to be put in the refrigerator within 2 hours of being cooked. This helps to keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying.
- Divide a large amount of leftovers into serving sizes and keep them in separate airtight containers or Ziplock bags. This trick works for quick cooling in the fridge and a quicker thawing process later when you’re ready to have more.
- Another tip is labeling and dating the foods before putting them in the fridge or the freezer. This way, you can ensure the food is still safe to eat and repurpose within a proper time frame.
The basic rule is to reheat your food in the same place it was cooked initially. This originates from the idea that using the same method means that your food is heated through in the same way it was made.
However, when you need the job done quickly, a microwave can be a savior. The essential technique in microwaving foods is to cover them with parchment paper. This helps to trap the moisture inside, so your food doesn’t dry out or burn.
For frozen food, don’t forget to thaw it overnight. The safest way to do this is in the fridge, as it prevents bacteria growth.
4. Repurpose Leftovers
Weeknight dinner doesn’t have to be just the perfect amount for one dinner with nothing left over. With some planning and creativity, any leftovers can be revived in a new, exciting dish.
- Soup: Soup is a quick way to use leftover meat and vegetables, and packs tons of nutrients. Whether from previously roasted veggies or grilled chicken, it can all go in a pot for a hearty bowl of goodness.
- And if you feel extra fancy, puree the entire soup, then add heavy cream, cheese, and bacon. An additional step of 5 minutes but entirely worth it!
- Chili: If you have several food containers from previous meals and are looking for a recipe to incorporate them all, make a chili! Carrots, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, butternut squash, throw them together in a pot with a protein — meat, eggs, or beans — then add chili spice and broth. Serve the dish over steamed rice or noodles, and you’ll have a nourishing dinner with surprisingly little time and effort.
- Tortillas: Here is another way to breathe new life into last night’s proteins; wrap them up! Tortillas are our favorite, but if you have leafy greens like lettuce, they are also a delicious alternative.