It’s been just less than a year since the Instant Pot made her first appearance on my kitchen counter. I don’t tend to be a “joiner” and was a little skeptical when the Hubs first suggested this new thing he’d read about (on one of those tech blogs he tends to read) might be a super addition to my kitchen lineup, and could maybe replace some other gadgets in the process. It may have stayed in the box for a little bit while I warmed up to the idea, but once it came out, I realized it was totally worth the space it was going to take up inside my hutch when it wasn’t cooking amazing meals for our family.

I’ve had several friends ask recently about some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes, so I decided to create a quick post to be able to quickly and easily share some of the things I’ve learned in the process. A few things I think it is helpful to know starting out:

  1. While the Instant Pot is super fast, the cooking time isn’t just “9 minutes” or “12 minutes” or whatever you see on the recipe. That nine minute countdown will only start once the pot comes up to pressure. This will sometimes mean it’s worth it to go ahead and defrost that meat in the microwave before you brown it on the Sauté setting and start pressure cooking. How long it takes for the pot to come up to pressure will depend on the temperature of your ingredients to start with, and whether you’re working with fresh or frozen stuff, and how much liquid is involved in the recipe.
  2. There are certain cuts of meat that will benefit from being cooked in the Instant Pot and others that won’t. Google is your friend in this regard. Read recipes. Think about what you’re working with. Know that throwing in a really nice cut of beef may not be ideal, whereas ground turkey might be a good one. More suggestions about that below.
  3. Instant Pot can replace the slow cooker if you are worried about it taking up tons of space in the kitchen. It is a powerhouse with a lot of functions — so I really do recommend considering it, knowing it might take the place of something else, if you’re worried about where you’re gonna put the big ol’ thing when you’re not using it.
  4. Did you know I like to play with food? Even better, the IP does its job and I go play outside with the kids…

After about a year of trial and error, here are some of my Instant Pot favorites with links to the awesome recipe bloggers who’ve been making my life easier from the day I finally felt brave enough to open the box. {The recipe titles are linked to the recipes!}

  1. Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili ::

    This is a fast and healthy recipe and I am consistently amazed by how much my family loves it! Something with chickpeas and bell peppers and nobody’s complaining — win! The texture of ground turkey isn’t really my favorite — I sometimes find it a bit chewy?! — but the IP gives it such a melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture, and my kiddos who aren’t fans of sweet potatoes (tragic) still love this recipe. We lay on the shredded cheese and avocado for them and LOVE putting the leftovers away knowing they will not go to waste! Honestly, any chili I’ve tried in the Instant Pot has come out beautifully.

  2. Chicken Tikka Masala ::

    We are big curry fans around here and I LOVE how I can use pretty much any chicken I have on hand — fresh or frozen, boneless or bone-in, and it will be fall-apart wonderful by the time the Instant Pot is done with it. I often throw in bone-in, skin-on chicken for this recipe, and when I pull it out to cut it into chunks, it is crazy easy to discard the skin and bones because the meat is absolutely falling apart. This plus rice getting done in the rice cooker means I can crank this meal out, go for a walk with the kids and come back to a yummy dinner. I should probably insert some sort of disclaimer about not leaving your Instant Pot unattended. So… keep that in mind.

  3. Greek Yogurt ::

    Yes, Greek Yogurt! We eat a lot of yogurt at the Collie house — it is the Hubs’ staple breakfast every morning — and I decided to brave the yogurt making adventure to see what it was like. It is definitely more effort than grabbing a tub at the store, but the results of making yogurt in the IP give you a completely different experience. It really is creamy and wonderful. This recipe will give you a step by step for making yogurt. And then a strainer like this one will allow you to sit that yummy yogurt in the fridge for a few hours, and strain out the whey (which can be used in other recipes) and what remains will be that thick, lovely Greek yogurt that you are hoping for!

  4. Any beans you please ::

    Something I’ve also enjoyed doing is cooking beans in the Instant Pot. Using fresh beans instead of canned ones has environmental benefits, health benefits, and money-saving benefits. And the IP can get beans done for you in next to no time — with or without the soaking. Once again, Google is your friend! You can find so many great ideas, and if you’re precooking them, you can freeze your beans in one cup containers and then (whoaaaa) throw them in with the rest of your recipe still frozen, and they will come out great.

  5. Chicken Soup ::

    This is my new favorite chicken soup. With all the gunk going around (which I’ve unfortunately picked up) chicken soup has been high on my feel-better-recipes list, and I have been very pleased with just about every recipe I’ve tried. But this one from Against All Grain (I’m not following a Paleo or Whole30 diet, I just liked this recipe!) is really, really great. I should probably mention I forgot to put butternut squash on the shopping list and skipped it altogether. Otherwise… yum.

  6. Risotto ::

    (Yay!!!) Risotto is one of those dishes that complement a meal so nicely that it is sometimes worth the effort of that crazy long stirring marathon to me… but only sometimes. When I discovered I could do risotto in the Instant Pot, I was thrilled. You still start out with a sauté and get those grains a little toasted and start the absorbing process, but then you switch to pressure cooking and the IP takes it from there with magnificent results!

  7. Southwest Style Chili ::

    This one is a ground beef chili and will give you the opportunity to try a chili with fresh beans that you’ve just soaked the night before! So don’t forget to soak! I typically increase the spices here because we like spicy food and the kids can dollop on the sour cream to cool theirs off! I think you’re going to be amazed at how those crunchy beans turn to magically delicious in no time.

  8. Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Cilantro Lime Quinoa ::

    I feel like I don’t even need to say anything about this one… doesn’t the name speak for itself? Yum. This is another time where I throw quinoa in the rice cooker and feel like dinner is happening without me. I buy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican food section of the grocery store. They are crazy spicy so just one or two with a little of the sauce should give you all the flavor you need here. (I also have chipotle seasoning around as an option.) I use the whole can in this Dr. Pepper Pork Pioneer Woman recipe I love — but I think pork shoulder (also known as “pork butt”) is one of those meats that benefits from “low and slow” and I’m not planning to try it in the IP any time soon. And when you use a whole can of chipotles, your kids might not eat the food — unless you have a kid like my little Tiger Tank, who must’ve been a fire-breathing dragon in a previous life or something. Spuh-icy.

  9. Chicken Cacciatore ::

    I love how I feel like I can dice veggies and hide just about anything in a recipe like this. Shredded carrots, minced celery… you can pack the veggies in here. I think this recipe will benefit from you removing the skin or using a boneless, skinless chicken just so it’s a bit less oily, but it has tons of flavor and was a crowd pleaser at our house!

  10. Adapt and Overcome :: Slow-Cooker Thai Green Curry ::

    The great thing about learning the Instant Pot is that once you start trying out recipes and experimenting with it, you begin to figure out what works well and you can start adapting things you already love to do, to make them work for you here. For example, this Thai Green Curry is one of my favorite recipes in the crock-pot, but I don’t always feel like making dinner before 10 am. In this scenario, I can (based on experience with other chicken recipes) throw everything together in the Instant Pot, except for the bell pepper and green beans. After it cooks for about ten minutes, I can pressure release, stir in those peppers and green beans and let it sauté while the sauce thickens and the peppers and green beans will be just right after just a few minutes!

If you’re thinking about purchasing an Instant Pot, I really don’t think you’ll regret it. One of the best things about it — which I have failed to mention up to this point — is forgetting to defrost the meat is now a non-issue for so many recipes. The chicken soup above, and many recipes like it, will just suggest that you add seven to ten minutes to the recipe time to account for that frozen meat you’ve chunked in there. And it will still fall of the bone at the end of that time. I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been with the falling-off-the-bone meat that has made life easier for us parents still cutting up food for small children. And they love the texture! You can also defrost one of those big old blocks of meat to get it ready for a recipe where you want to brown it with onions and garlic and then turn it into an awesome chili… spaghetti bolognaise… really there’s just no stopping you now!!

So… those are my favorites so far, and I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear some of yours. Have you tried the Instant Pot yet? Will you please leave your favorite recipe in the comments if you have? I’d love to add some more fun to the repertoire around here!


P.S. You can also check out this more recent post with more thoughts… I still love my Instant Pot.

P.P.S. I created a Meal Planning Calendar for my friends again this year … and it is full of recipes we love, including MANY Instant Pot favorites. You can sign up to receive that right here.

Heads up! This post was not sponsored by Instant Pot… or anybody else! But some posts on my site (like this one) contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for supporting With Love!