Know anyone whose day wouldn’t improve if they had more time and fewer dishes to scrub? Me, either.
Famous for hands-off meals and cook times that are almost too good to be true — not to mention the ability to accomplish multiple cooking methods in a single pot — the handy Instant Pot could be just what you need to make healthy, home-cooked meals a regular occurrence.
On top of quicker cook times, the pressure-cooking method that the Instant Pot uses is said to retain more micronutrients in food. Whether you eat paleo, vegan, vegetarian or keto or follow some other guidelines, the Instant Pot offers enough functions to make meals your way.
Breakfast Instant Pot recipes
Breakfast is the easiest way to start your day on a high note, yet it’s probably the hardest meal to commit to for some people. I mean, would you rather have 15 extra minutes of glorious sleep, or sloppy scrambled eggs?
With an Instant Pot, your weekday breakfast prospects become much more appealing. No scarfing down a granola bar because you chose the extra sleep, and no regretting the choice to wake up early and cook breakfast, only to be left with a sink full of dishes to clean upon arriving back home.
A blend of eggs, cream, diced vegetables, cheese and your choice of protein simmers into a thick scramble in the Instant Pot. This recipe makes more than you’ll need for one sitting, so it’s perfect for scooping into make-ahead portions and storing them in the freezer for later use. The extent of manual work required for these easy burritos is wrapping the egg mixture into tortillas.
Steel-cut oats are the least refined type of oats and have a chewier texture than rolled oats. They’re chock-full of fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. The downside is that they take a long time to cook on a stovetop, and they must be babysat or else they may burn. Cook time in an Instant Pot? A whopping 4 minutes, plus some time to let the pressure release from the Instant Pot.
To start your day with a big nutritional wallop, try this veggie-loaded frittata-type casserole. Packed with bell peppers, onions, spinach and cheese, this frittata is well-rounded as far as nutrients go. Best of all, with just 10 to 15 minutes of prep time for chopping and sauteing veggies, you can make multiple portions and have easy reheatable breakfasts ready for the following days.
Potatoes are my morning carb of choice, but they’re either undercooked if I attempt to make them morning-of, or soggy if I prep ahead of time and heat them in the microwave. This recipe promises crispy sweet potatoes with lemon zest — a morning side dish I’d invest in an Instant Pot for.
“Crustless quiche” may be the biggest oxymoron ever created in the culinary world, because traditionally, a quiche is all about the flaky crust. But I’ll run with it, because this crustless version looks just as delicious. It’s simple, too: Just place bacon, onions and cheese in your Instant Pot pan insert, pour whisked eggs over the top and let the Instant Pot do its thing for a few minutes.
Lunch Instant Pot recipes
Like breakfast, lunchtime tends to conjure a self-debate: Should I leave for takeout? Eat a protein bar at my desk? Skip it altogether?
With a little premeditation and, of course, an Instant Pot, lunchtime woes begone.
This lunch recipe is a two-step — first you need to cook whole-grain wheat berries in your Instant Pot, then the pork — but it’s worth it. Toss two of these in a Tupperware and you’ll be full for hours after lunch, without the dreaded afternoon crash. Keep the leftover mixture refrigerated and scoop into lettuce leaves when you’re ready to eat them again.
Chili is one of my favorite meal prep lunches. It’s hearty and easy to eat, and not so filling that I feel sluggish after downing a bowl. Problem is, it takes literal hours to prepare, and I don’t like sacrificing my entire Sunday to whip up a pot of chili, no matter how scrumptious it makes my home smell. With an Instant Pot, chili cook time drops from hours to a mere 30 minutes.
Like chili, soup is a favorite lunch option of mine because it’s easy and nourishing for both the belly and the soul. French onion soup is something I’d normally only order at a restaurant because it seems fancy and intimidating to make at home. However, this recipe calls for just 10 minutes of prep time before popping it all into an Instant Pot for an hour and 20, which sounds totally doable.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this recipe. The shredded chicken concocted here can be used for tacos, sandwiches or anything else you can think to put cool-ranch-seasoned chicken on. That said, a scoop of this Instant Pot chicken on a crispy lettuce leaf topped with avocado and ranch sounds like exactly the lunchtime pick-me-up I always crave.
A pure classic. Chicken and rice is a meal of many flavors: Tweak this recipe with your favorite seasonings. For 15 minutes of prep time and 45 minutes to simmer, you can make enough chicken and rice for several workday lunches.
Dinner Instant Pot recipes
So breakfast is a struggle and lunch is a personal battle (pre-Instant Pot). That brings us to dinner, which, if you’re anything like me, is often preceded with the internal “We have food at home” talk as you sulk past your favorite takeout joint.
Again, with an Instant Pot, delectable dinners are just an hour away, or just a few moments if you prepared your meals ahead of time.
While spaghetti isn’t really considered a difficult meal to make, it does lead to a significant amount of cleanup. On a stovetop, you need a separate pot or pan for pasta, meat and sauce. In an Instant Pot, everything cooks together at the same time. Who knew spaghetti could get even easier?
If you’re willing to (and remember to) marinate this chicken for 4 hours before popping it in your Instant Pot, it makes a seriously satisfying and piquant dinner. The cook time is only 18 minutes, so I’d recommend marinating your chicken overnight so it’s ready to toss in when you get home from work.
Instead of longingly casting glances at takeout signs and food billboards on your homebound commute, you can zip along excitedly thinking about the Instant Pot kung pao chicken waiting for you at home. This one can be made in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, but both versions look equally as delicious and healthier than what you’d get from Panda Express.
Yes, you can eat gourmet meals on weeknights. Apple and pork are a classic combo, but add in the bourbon for a new twist and flavors you might not get to enjoy on a regular basis. This recipe also employs the flavors of garlic, thyme, rosemary and Dijon mustard for a flavor straight out of a dimly lit restaurant dining room.
Roast and potatoes was a staple meal during my childhood, and it’s still a meal laden with nostalgia for me. I’m willing to bet a lot of people feel the same way about this classic savory dish. Depending on the size of your roast, an Instant Pot will tenderize it in just 45 minutes to an hour, and then you can dig into a plate full of fall-apart roast beef, carrots and potatoes.