Instant Pot

Favorite Super Short, Super Easy Instant Pot Recipes

I have loved my Instant Pot since the day it arrived back in 2016. I’ll admit to being slightly intimidated in the first few days but that was short-lived. Thanks to a few tips, tricks, and these ridiculously simple recipes, in no time I was making dinners in 30 minutes or less—start to finish.

Instant Pot

Meals from my Instant Pot are as good (often better) than slow-cooked meals that I have to think about early in the day—and only one pot to clean at the end.

While there are plenty of recipes out there for electric pressure cookers, I find myself going back to my tried and true, no-brainer recipes that are as simple and the gadget itself.

All you need to pull this off in your kitchen is an Instant Pot, a few awesome, albeit it simple, recipes plus a general knowledge for how it works. Here are the basic terms:

Sauté: Set it to Sauté mode on High heat and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until things start to soften and brown a bit.

Manual: Set an exact cook time and pressure level (both indicated in the recipes).

Quick release: Activate the pressure-release valve as soon as the cooking time is up.

Natural release: Wait for the pressure to release naturally until the safety valve deactivates and you’re able to open the lid (typically 10 to 20 minutes).

Also: Instant Pot Quick-Start Guide

Here are some of my quick, go-to recipes, shorthand style. None of these require precise measurements and they’re nearly impossible to mess up. Instant Pot is so forgiving and makes just about anything turn out fabulously.

Soy Sauce Chicken

Rinse one whole chicken, inside and out and then pat dry. Brown the chicken on all sides in a couple of tablespoons of oil on Sauté. Add 4 whole cloves garlic, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches of ginger sliced, ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup brown sugar and 4 cups water. Manual, high pressure, 25 minutes. Quick release pressure. Suggestion: Serve with rice and vegetable like broccoli or asparagus.

Chicken and Vegetables

Sauté (or simply add to the pot if you’re short on time) about 4 cups vegetables cut to roughly equal-sized chunks together with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, and garlic are all good options. Layer about 4 pounds of chicken parts (leg quarters, thighs, breasts—with or without bones—along with more salt and pepper on each layer. Add an optional bay leaf or other herbs if you’d like.

Manual, high pressure, 20 minutes (15 minutes if using boneless chicken). Natural release until it opens on its own (about 20 minutes). Optional: Garnish with chopped parsley.

  • Variation 1, Instant Pot Chicken and Rice: Add 2 cups of rice and about 2 cups of chicken stock or other liquid (make 1 cup of it cream if you like it creamy).
  • Variation 2, Instant Pot Coq Au Vin: Make the main recipe but add about 4 slices of bacon, chopped, to your sauté mix. Add a few glugs of red wine. Follow the same pressure instructions.

Related: Favorite Egg Recipes for Instant Pot

Tomato Soup

Sauté about 6 cloves of smashed garlic and roughly chopped onion in a couple tablespoons of oil. Add a 28 oz. can (or two 14-oz. cans) whole tomatoes and their liquid together with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Manual, high pressure, 10 minutes. Quick or natural release. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add fresh herbs and adjust salt, and pepper to taste.

Reader Feedback: Instant Pot, Home Chef, Etiquette, Tap Water

Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs beef, chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 1 to 2-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
  • 6 carrots, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Place everything in the Instant Pot. Select the stew/meat setting; 35 minutes, high pressure. After it’s done, let everything mellow out for about 10 minutes before using quick release. Technically at this point, it’s done. But I recommend placing stew in a casserole or other serving dish and finishing with a quick browning session in the oven giving it about 10-20 minutes in a hot oven (400-ish F.), uncovered, before serving. It gets the meat nice and caramelized on top and helps thicken the gravy.

Do you have a super short, easy recipe for your Instant Pot? Share it in the comments below so we can try it, too.

PREVIOUSLY: Super Useful Gadgets for Home and Kitchen

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7 replies
  1. Linda says:

    Mary, please check your IP User Manual under the heading, “Getting Started” and also toward the back of the manual under the heading, “Cooking and Safety Tips”. Both places state that at least 18 oz. of liquids must be added to create enough steam to cook under pressure. I have had two scary blowout experiences with mine when using recipes with only one cup of water. I don’t like having to use so much liquid and then having to reduce it with the saute feature to get the proper dilution for best flavor, so I don’t use my IP much. Hip Pressure Cooking discusses this water issue, so I believe it is necessary. FYI my IP is the IP DUO60 V3. Please do some research and let us know if there is a way to use less liquid safely. Thanks!

    • Jacqueline in Atlanta says:

      I found that pretty useless, too. I just go to the internet and google instant pot plus whatever I am trying to cook, e.g. boil eggs. Also, on Facebook there are discussion boards dedicated to instant pot and those are very helpful when you first get an IP. When I find a recipe that works well, I print it off and add it to the binder I have started just for IP recipes. Others use an ipad/kindle type device in the kitchen and bookmark IP recipes. I like paper recipes. I know where to find them. It doesn’t cost me to store them. No one will accidentally erase them. It doesn’t require electricity to view and use them. But whatever works for each person is perfect for him or her! Good luck.

    • Shila says: has times, pressures, etc., for electric & stove pressure cookers. Best spot I’ve found for quick reference on almost everything


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