If you snagged an Instant Pot and you’re still wondering what the heck to do with it, you’ve come to the right place. I have been using my Instant Pot for almost a year, and I’ve got to tell you: It’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances. HOWEVER, when it first arrived, I just sat and stared at it in fear and intimidation. I had NO idea where to begin. That’s why I put together a simple recipe guide to help you jump right in and learn to love your new Instant Pot!
In this list, I’ve included mostly tried and true Instant Pot beginner recipes that I personally use, or recipes that are clearly on my “Can’t wait to try this” list.
#1. Start with something simple, like rice or hard-boiled eggs.
You need to get a win under your belt early with this complicated new gadget, and things like rice or hard boiled eggs are hard to mess up. (Not impossible, mind you, but hard. If you’re still trying to figure out how to turn the darn thing on, go watch this video and then come back here.) For everyone else, you should find these first few recipes EASY PEEZY.
For brown rice, you don’t actually use the rice button on your Instant Pot. Follow these simple instructions from Laura over at Hip Pressure Cooking to get perfectly fluffy brown every time. (It sounds almost silly to have a recipe for brown rice, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled “How much liquid for Instant Pot Brown rice?”)
For all of you weekly meal preppers, you can cook a double batch of brown rice without increasing the cook time. Just double the amount of liquid and you’re good to go!
Although it only takes one minute to cook a big batch of quinoa in the Instant Pot, it takes a few minutes to pressure up and then naturally release. Technically, this isn’t faster than doing it on the stovetop. HOWEVER, you don’t have to stand over the stove and babysit these beautiful grains. You can finish up a main dish, go change a diaper, fold a load of laundry or catch up on your favorite tv show while the Instant Pot does all of the work. That’s a win, win for me.
Say goodbye to hard-to-peel eggs. Five minutes at low pressure in the Instant Pot, and voila! Perfectly cooked, ready to peel eggs. (This method works even on farm fresh eggs, which are notoriously difficult to peel.) I usually cook up half a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs on Sunday to last throughout the week, and this is the exact method that I use.
#2: Move on to other staples like beans and shredded meats.
Once you’ve confidently cooked some grains and hard-boiled eggs, you’re ready to move on to the good stuff. Let’s face it…cooking dried beans can be a real hassle, but the Instant Pot makes it super easy. I still keep a few canned beans on hand for last-minute meals, but most of the time, I make a pound or two of dried beans in the IP and freeze the extra for later.
My husband and toddler LOVE when I make homemade refried beans, and let me tell you: It’s so easy! A few notes on this recipe: I use grapeseed oil instead of vegetable oil, and cilantro instead of parsley. I also skip the chipotle powder and just use cumin. My favorite tip? For extra flavor, add in 1/3 cup of your favorite salsa or taco sauce once you’ve cooked and mashed up the beans. If you’ve got leftovers, you can whip up a few freezer burritos for a night when you’d otherwise be tempted to order takeout.
I love black beans for oh so many reasons. You can toss them in a salad, wrap them up in a burrito, or top them with a runny egg and call it breakfast. You can soak the beans overnight the old fashioned way, or follow the instructions in this recipe for a “quick soak” using your Instant Pot. This recipe is a bit more advanced in that it uses both the saute and pressure cooking functions. (In other words, you are going to feel like an Instant Pot rock star when you put these on the table.)
You may have made something like this in your slow cooker, but the Instant Pot gets it done in a fraction of the time. (If you struggle with meats drying out in the slow cooker because they’ve been in there too long, the Instant Pot will take care of that problem for you.) I also cook plain shredded chicken for things like chicken salad, etc. using the same method described in this recipe…I just skip the extra seasonings and stick to salt, pepper and garlic.
This is my most popular recipe on the site, and for good reason: The magic is in the dry rub. You can absolutely convert this to an Instant Pot recipe with just a couple of tweaks. You’ll need to cut the pork loin into two pieces that will fit into the Instant Pot, and once you’ve covered it with the dry rub, place the meat on the wire rack inside the pot. Increase the amount of vegetable broth to 1 1/2 cups and pour it in the bottom around the meat. Press the Manual button and cook on high pressure for 70 minutes with a 10 minute natural release. Then (carefully) turn the knob to manually release the rest of the steam. From there, follow the same instructions as in the original recipe.
#3: Graduate to soups, sides and more complex dishes.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to step out and start experimenting with other recipes. I’ve featured a couple that I’m pretty stoked about, along with a whole bunch of additional recipe links that you can explore at your own pace.
We tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago and even my little one asked for seconds. I stuck exactly to the recipe and the outcome was even more delicious than I hoped. Lentils pack so much good nutritional punch that you can feel awesome about serving this up for your family, and even better? You’ve only got one pot to clean up.
I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’ve added it to my meal planning queue over on Plan to Eat, so it’s happening soon!
Need more recipes? Check out these links.
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