Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
Got an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker? Turns out, the Instant Pot can make eating healthy simple! Here are our favorite healthy Instant Pot recipes! There are full dinner recipes, and basics like how to cook sweet potatoes, dried beans, and rice.
What’s an Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is a programmable digital pressure cooker (Instant Pot is the brand name; Instapot is a slang variation). Here’s the Instant Pot we have. However, there are many other brands of electric pressure cookers. The concept is to cook foods at high pressure, which cuts down on cooking time (versus a crock pot or slow cooker, which is the opposite).
Why cook with a pressure cooker?
We’ll be the first to admit: cooking with an Instant Pot is not something we ever expected to do. Alex and I are wary of adding new gadgets to our kitchen–especially things that seem trendy like the Instant Pot! If we add a new “toy” to our kitchen, we want to be confident it will be useful in the long term before we’ll commit to hollowing out some precious cabinet space.
We were on the fence about the Instant Pot for years until a friend mentioned you can make healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes in the Instant Pot: like cooking sweet potatoes, grains, and dried beans. Since we eat mostly vegetarian / plant-based, we decided to give it a try. Still skeptical, we put the raw sweet potatoes into our pressure cooker…and they came out perfectly moist with little effort and faster than baking them in the oven!
What Instant Pot do you use? Can you speak to other brands and types?
Alex and I use an Instant Pot brand Instant Pot (Instant Pot is the brand name; Instapot is a slang variation). The Instant Pot we use is the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. We have used that Instant Pot to test all of the Instant Pot recipes on this website.
We cannot speak to other brands and types of Instant Pots. For example, we’ve heard that the Instant Pot Mini is pretty different and does not work as well as the standard size. So, only use the Instant Pot Mini for these recipes at your own risk!
The only other pressure cooker we have experimented with is the Ambiano Digital Pressure Cooker that we used to make the steel cut oatmeal in this post. We found that this pressure cooker performed similarly to our Instant Pot and the timing was interchangeable.
Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
Looking for Instant Pot recipe videos? We have you covered!
What to cook with an Instant Pot?
Since the much of what we eat centers around vegetables, our forte is healthy Instant Pot recipes. After mastering sweet potatoes, we’ve tried our hand at several other vegetarian and vegan recipe basics. A few of our favorite Instant Pot basics:
- Sweet potatoes
- Spaghetti squash and acorn squash
- Dry chickpeas and black beans (in under 1 hour!)
- Brussels sprouts
- Hard boiled eggs
- Quinoa, rice, bulgur and farro
- Steel cut oatmeal
We’ve then used these pressure cooker basics recipes to create healthy dinner recipes. For example:
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- Thai Style Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Tacos
- Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Creamy Instant Pot Pasta
We’ve even tried desserts: like this delicious Instant Pot Apple Crisp!
Understanding cook time with a pressure cooker
As we’ve come to understand our Instant Pot, we’ve learned a few things. For example, the cook time for pressure cooker recipes can look deceptively short. Sweet potatoes cook for 16 minutes, and our Instant Pot apple crisp cooks only for 2 minutes in the pressure cooker!
However, there are two additional times to add to the cook time. First, after you add the ingredients to the pot, the Instant Pot requires about 5 to 10 minutes for “preheating” or coming up to pressure. This time can vary depending on the recipe. Then at the end of the recipe, there is a “cool down” process to release the pressure in the pot. Some recipes call for a Quick Release method: this means that the steam in the pot is released immediately and you can remove the lid. But some recipes call for a Natural Release method, where you wait with the cover on for 10 to 15 minutes after the cook time 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. In our recipes, we’ve clearly marked these times so that you can understand how long the pressure cooker recipe will take to make.
A note on the Instant Pot sealing ring
Your Instant Pot or pressure cooker has a plastic sealing ring on the inside of the lid. If you use your Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to cook strong savory items, the sealing ring on the inside of the lid can sometimes pick up flavor. You may want to check the plastic seal on the lid and smell it before you make a dessert recipe, like our Instant Pot apple crisp. To remove the smell from an Instant Pot sealing ring, soak it in vinegar for a few hours. Another option is purchasing two sealing rings. We have 2 Instant Pot sealing rings and use one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes.
Another good practice is to 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.
Looking for Instapot recipes?
Instapot, Instant Pot, and Electric Pressure Cooker are all different names for the same thing: a countertop appliance that cooks food using high pressure. Here, you’ll find our best pressure cooker and Instapot recipes, many of them vegetarian and vegan.