Here are all the best Instant Pot recipes! From soups to stews to one pot meals and breakfasts, the pressure cooker does it all.
Looking for the best Instant Pot recipes around? We’ve got you covered! Here at A Couple Cooks we’ve been using our pressure cooker for years. While at first we were dubious on its merits, consider us true converts. It doesn’t cook things instantly, but it’s most often easier to put together (and sometimes quicker too!).
To us, best Instant Pot recipes combine great flavors and healthy ingredients to make meals fast and easy. They’re also recipes that have been made and loved by our readers! So every single recipe below is a fan favorite: we’ve included a little testimonial for each recipe. From chili to oatmeal to tacos to apple crisp: there’s really no end to what you can do with a pressure cooker.
Can the Instant Pot cook pasta without turning it to mush? Turns out, it works: and it’s absolutely delicious! This Instant Pot pasta recipe has a quick and easy marinara sauce mixed with creamy goat cheese. It does taste a bit softer than the al dente you can achieve on the stovetop, but in a cozy, comforting way. It’s so seriously flavorful, it might just be one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes yet.
Reader feedback: "This recipe is SO easy. This will definitely be a staple for years to come for me!"
Chili is the epitome of crowd-pleasing, and it’s a meal we often make for guests. So if you’ve got a pressure cooker, why not try…Instant Pot chili? This one is really the best Instant Pot vegetarian chili: it’s full of beans, veggies, and lentils to up the plant-based protein. It's full of savory, hearty flavor and one of the best Instant Pot recipes around. Serve with our Classic Cornbread Muffins.
Reader feedback: "Made this tonight for my friends and I. So delicious! All my friends loved it as well and got seconds. Thank you!"
Our favorite Instant Pot soup recipe? Lentil soup! It’s easy to make and full of nutritious ingredients. Lentils load it with plant based protein, and it’s bright red from fire roasted tomatoes. The star ingredient: fresh fennel, which adds a smoky undertone. This soup is ultra cozy and perfect with a side of our best cornbread.
Reader feedback: "This could easily go into regular rotation at our house!"
There’s nothing more comforting than a good bowl of mac and cheese. Ever tried it in your pressure cooker? Turns out, Instant Pot mac and cheese is layer upon layer of cozy. The way the Instant Pot cooks pasta makes it soft and supple, which has a down-home sort of vibe to it. It’s not al dente, but it almost feels like an elevated version of box mac and cheese. The method is very hands off: throw the ingredients in the pot and press Go! Nothing better than that.
Reader feedback: "Oh my! This recipe was so delicious and easy."
This Instant Pot wild rice soup is a hands down fan favorite because of its incredible creamy flavor! Here the pressure cooker cooks dried white beans at the same time as wild rice (wow!), and it’s hands off, for the most part! It’s also vegan and vegetarian, so it’s all naturally creamy goodness. It's one our readers come back to again and again.
Reader feedback: "WOW what a great soup! Sooooo tasty and is now on my top 10 list of favorite recipes."
Are you looking for a fast and easy dinner recipe, where all you have to do is “set it and forget it”? Alex and I created this Instant Pot spaghetti recipe for busy weeknights, and times when you just don’t want to have to think about dinner. All it takes is just throwing all the ingredients in the pressure cooker!
Reader feedback: “Oh my, I scraped the bowl clean on this one! The flavor was awesome and it was so easy, it was exactly what I needed."
Split pea soup might sound humble, but it’s pretty much the perfect meal. Really, split pea soup? Yes, this tasty soup has lots of virtues. First of all, it’s delicious: full of cozy, lightly smoky flavor. Because split peas have lots of plant-based protein, it’s very filling. Best of all, it’s very easy to make! If you use your pressure cooker to make split pea soup, all you’ll need is about 15 minutes of active time: then it’s totally hands off!
Reader feedback: "This has become a staple in our house. As someone who would turn my nose up as a kid to the idea of split pea soup, this has won me over!"
Ready to meet another healthy dinner recipe? Instant Pot tacos! Man, oh man, are they delicious! Alex and I have made oodles of recipes in our pressure cooker, but we keep going back to these tacos! They’re fresh and tasty, filled with an irresistible smoky lentil taco meat and topped with all the crunchy veggies. It’s an easy healthy dinner recipe that pleases everyone.
Reader feedback: "OMG. This was my first Instant Pot recipe and the whole family loved it. We used it as a filler in burritos. Delicious."
Ready for the coziest of our best Instant Pot recipes? Meet this Instant Pot potato soup. It’s velvety and creamy, with light chunks of potatoes for texture. It’s savory with a hint of Old Bay seasoning. There’s no heavy cream, and loaded with all the fixings, it’s a deliciously tasty healthy dinner idea. And did we mention you don’t even need a blender?
Reader Feedback: "The best potato soup ever. It’s done so quick and it’s so easy. I make this every single week now."
Here’s an easy, healthy Instant pot breakfast recipe for weekdays or entertaining guests: Instant Pot oatmeal! If you’ve got a pressure cooker, oatmeal is even easier to make. The oats are toasted until fragrant, then mixed with milk and cooked for just 3 minutes. What comes out is the creamiest, tastiest, easiest pressure cooker oatmeal you’ll find.
Reader feedback: "One of the few items I’ve attempted in my new IP and I must say, best oatmeal I’ve ever had. My teen asked for seconds."
Do you make your own refried beans? Homemade refried beans taste so seriously good, it’s worth making them when you have the time! The Instant Pot is actually perfect for homemade refried beans, because it skips the soaking time! Just throw the beans in with some seasoning, and in 1 hour they come out perfectly tender.
Reader feedback: "This is SERIOUSLY the BEST refried beans recipe I’ve ever had! I just have to cook these to enjoy regularly."
One of our fan favorite best Instant Pot recipes to date, these sweet potatoes topped with a zesty slaw and creamy Thai-style peanut butter sauce are an irresistible plant based dinner recipe! The Instant Pot method makes super moist sweet potatoes and it's totally hands off.
Reader feedback: "This is a super easy recipe and surprisingly packed with flavor! It also took barely any time to prepare and was so healthy, I think this is going to become a staple recipe!"
The words “life changing” are overused these days. But if you happen to have a pressure cooker and love spaghetti squash…well, this method might change your life. (Sorry, we had to.) Gone are the days of waiting over 1 hour to roast spaghetti squash. This Instant Pot spaghetti squash method cuts the time in half! The cook time is only 8 minutes. Add in the time for the preheat and draining the squash afterwards, and you’re looking at about 25 minutes total to make spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot. Use it in your favorite recipes like this Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti.
Reader feedback: “We all thought it was yummy, flavorful and we would love to have it again. I will put it in the Instant Pot rotation!”
Want the best ever comfort food? Steaming bowls of slurpable ramen is where it’s at. Authentic ramen from a Japanese restaurant is the absolute best. But the next best thing is trying it homemade! This recipe was born out of a challenge: can you use your pressure cooker to make ramen? (Spoiler alert: you can.) This Instant Pot ramen features a savory broth flavored with umami-laden miso and soy sauce, tender noodles, and runny soft boiled eggs.
Reader feedback: "The family liked it! Will make it again for sure!"
Did you know you can cook dried chickpeas and beans in an Instant Pot? It takes a while to cook dried beans on the stovetop, but it's totally hands off in the pressure cooker! Consider us impressed. Cooking dried beans is cheaper than buying them canned, and they taste better.
Last up in our best Instant Pot recipes, we'll leave you on a sweet note! This Instant Pot apple crisp recipe is quick and easy, and lets the apple flavor to really shine. And here, the pressure cooker isn’t the only time saver. The topping is made with granola! Using granola brings in some seasoning and sweetness.
Reader feedback: “It was easy and quick and even though it was made in the Instant Pot rather than the oven it made my kitchen smell amazing. The apples came out perfectly tender!"
What Instant Pot to buy?
Here at A Couple Cooks we use an Instant Pot brand pressure cooker: theInstant Pot 6 Qt Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. Note that we can’t speak to how other brands of pressure cookers work. For example, the Instant Pot Mini can perform differently than a 6 quart size.
“Hidden” cook time with a pressure cooker
What to know about cook time with an Instant Pot? The cook time for Instant Pot recipes can look deceptively short. Sweet potatoes cook for 16 minutes, and apple crisp cooks in 2 minutes, and broccoli in 0 minutes! But there are two hidden cook times to be aware of:
“Preheat” time: When you press “Start”, the Instant Pot requires about time for “preheating” or coming up to pressure. The exact time varies depending on how much food is in the pressure cooker. It varies between 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes.
Natural release time: Some recipes call for a “cool down” process to release the pressure in the pot. A Quick Release means that the steam in the pot is released immediately and you can remove the lid. But some recipes call for a Natural Release, where you wait with the cover on for the pressure to naturally release from the pot.
Once you take into account these additional times, you can accurately estimate the time needed to cook using a pressure cooker! All our Instant Pot recipes have the preheat time (and Natural Release, if applicable) clearly marked. We want to help you understand how long the pressure cooker recipe will actually take to make.
How to clean the Instant Pot sealing ring
Your Instant Pot or pressure cooker comes with a plastic sealing ring on the inside of the lid. The sealing ring can sometimes pick up odors from the cooking. Here are a few tips on caring for the sealing ring:
Make sure to remove the sealing ring and fully clean it after cooking.
Store the Instant Pot with the lid upside down so the sealing ring is exposed to air, instead of with the lid closed onto the pot. This allows the sealing ring to air out between uses.
To remove the odor from an Instant Pot sealing ring, soak it in vinegar for a few hours.
Tip: Buy multiple sealing rings
If you use your Instant Pot often, here’s a tip. Consider purchasing two sealing rings! It’s especially important if you plan to make both savory and sweet recipes back to back. We have 2 Instant Pot sealing rings and use one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes.
More Instant Pot recipes
Want more? We’ve got ’em. Here are more collections of recipes with a pressure cooker:
Place the following ingredients into the Instant Pot: water, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, whole basil leaves, and penne. Stir until combined.
Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 10 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
Open the lid and crumble in the goat cheese; stir until a creamy sauce forms. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.