My Go-To Instant Pot Recipes

I posted about my most favorite kitchen appliance, the Instant Pot, the other day on my Facebook page and wanted to talk about it in a bit more detail. With the school year approaching, I want to share some of my go-to helpers, both in the classroom and my home, to help support your transition into August and beyond.

If you haven't tried an Instant Pot, I am hoping you'll see how helpful this little workhorse is in the kitchen, especially during the chaos of the school year. And if you already have one of these, you can try some of my favorite recipes and share yours below in the comments! Prices on Instant Pots vary greatly, so keep your eyes peeled for good deals (and I'll try to feature them on social media when I find one!). I recommend the 6-quart one HERE. I purchased mine over four years ago and it's still going strong.

In short, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. Don't let the "pressure cooker" title scare you, as it did me!-- this is not going to explode and cover your kitchen in food! I think I left this in the box for the first three months I had it because I was still thinking of it like the stovetop version my grandma had. And while this can be used for all of those recipes and more, it is a "set it and forget it" kind of machine. These types of appliances are invaluable, especially in the months of August and September, when the only energy I have is to dump something into a pot and press a button!

Besides pressure cooking, this can also be used as a slow cooker and rice cooker. There are functions for soup, meat, poultry, chili, and more. You can also manually adjust the pressure (high/low) and cook time to fit your needs. I use Manual when I make hard-boiled eggs and they turn out perfectly!

If you have a favorite recipe for a pressure cooker or slow cooker, there are loads of resources to help guide you through the conversion, but the one I typically rely on is THIS SITE. If your food isn't listed, a Google search will help-- these have become so popular in recent years, it's much easier to find information than when I first got mine back in 2014!

Because liquid doesn't escape from an Instant Pot, like it does in a slow cooker, you won't need as much when you're putting your meals together. A general guideline is 1 cup, although that depends on other ingredients you have. My favorite feature is the Saute function, which allows you to get some nice crust on your meats before they cook, but doesn't dirty an extra pan (because who has time for that?!).

I want to share some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes with you-- these are my go-to's when school is crazy and I want good food in minimal time. It's just my daughter and I, and she's only 7, so all of these recipes yield delicious leftovers that I bring to lunch for the next several days. There's something about food that is pressure or slow cooked that makes it even more tasty when reheated the next day, right?

All-Time Favorite: 

Kalua Pig from Nom Nom Paleo

My all-time favorite Instant Pot recipe is the Kalua Pig from Nom Nom Paleo. I can never, ever, ever get tired of this recipe. It is so simple and easy, you almost question if it can taste good, or at least I did! Let me assure you, it is deliciousness and is very versatile-- you can add various sauces as you serve it and cover nearly every cuisine! Our favorite is teriyaki with some broccoli and rice (which I make in the IP after this is done), but we've served it with tacos, BBQ sauce, and even with eggs for breakfast and it is yummy across the board.

*Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo has a huge collection of Instant Pot meals that are all worth a try. She was the one who introduced me to Instant Pots via her tasty blog and I've been a devoted follower ever since-- she doesn't disappoint!

Lemon Chicken with Garlic from Life Made Sweeter

I love the freshness of this Lemon Chicken and Garlic recipe, especially with the real lemons. It just makes me feel fancier to serve with those slices. I never liked chicken thighs and always defaulted to chicken breasts, and while this meal works well with either, I hope you'll try the thighs to see how amazing they can taste in an Instant Pot! I serve this with asparagus and rice and it's a hit every time.

Honey Mustard Chicken from Paleo Running Momma

This Honey Mustard Chicken is another recipe that is stellar with chicken thighs. I usually buy the organic packages from Costco and keep them in the freezer until the night before, when I defrost them in the refrigerator.

This recipe is also a great example of the Saute function being a time and energy saver. The crispiness paired with the honey is finger-licking good, and a huge hit with my daughter. I've served this with rice (see a theme here?) and any vegetable we have on hand. It's also great to shred later and make sandwiches or wraps with.... if there's any left over for that long.

*This does use Paleo ingredients, but if you don't have coconut aminos, just use soy sauce and flour is the perfect substitute for arrowroot starch.

Mexican Tortilla Soup from Chelsea's Messy Apron

If you know me at all, you know I love Mexican food, so this Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites, especially in the cold Colorado winter. I find the flavors are even more profound when using an Instant Pot, and this is definitely one that gets better as leftovers. On that note, be careful how much chili powder you add, especially if you're trying to feed picky eaters. My daughter and I differ in our spice preferences, a LOT, so I tend to make this pretty mild and add my own spices to my bowl. Even without my extra spices, I find there's plenty of taste.

The reason I love this recipe is because it involves opening cans and sauteing chicken. Some soups require so much prep work, it's just not feasible in the busy school week. This is a great one to stock up for in your pantry and, if you have chicken breasts and are out of meal ideas that night, this one can save the day! I also love that you can add all sorts of toppings to it-- my favorites are avocados and Fritos instead of tortilla chips. Growing up, my grandparents always had Fritos in their house as a snack, so it takes me back and puts a smile on my face.

Tacos Al Pastor by Evolving Table

See? I told you I love Mexican, and Tacos Al Pastor is my default order whenever we go to a restaurant. This recipe is great in that you can prep the night before or day of and marinate the pork so it's ready to go for dinner.

I also recommend prepping the pineapple at the same time. It's honestly so easy to cut a whole pineapple, I couldn't believe I was spending so much money for the pre-cut spears before! Take a look at this VIDEO for a quick tutorial and hopefully you'll agree.

*This recipe does take more time than some of the others, but I just had to share my favorite dish. The sweet and savory together makes this a delicious break from the traditional.

. . .

I love sharing recipes, so be sure to leave links to some of your favorite Instant Pot meals if you have any to add. Cooking these meals is quick and easy, plus the leftovers for lunch or future dinners really helps relieve stress during these busy back-to-school months. I have found that when I rely on my Instant Pot, I eat out much less and can enjoy a home-cooked meal with my daughter without dirtying up the entire kitchen. This is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to IP recipes-- take some time to look on Pinterest or Google to see just how many thousands of ideas are out there! Happy cooking!

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