Bought it months ago but haven’t had the courage to take it out of the box? These are the recipes that will make you an Instant Pot believer.
So, the internet convinced you to buy an Instant Pot. Now what? Do you try roasting some sweet potatoes or do you dive directly into a complicated lamb tagine? To find out, we asked Instant Pot experts and enthusiasts for the best recipes for newbies. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Boil Some Eggs, Watch Some Tube
Coco Morante, author of the officially Instant Pot–approved cookbook The Essential Instant Pot and a forthcoming second book called The Ultimate Instant Pot, suggests you start with something very simple, like boiling eggs.
Why boil eggs in the Instant Pot when they’re so easy to make on the stovetop? “In the Instant Pot, the eggs are not actually boiled, they’re steamed under pressure,” says Morante. “The membrane comes away from the shell much more easily and they end up much easier to peel than regular hard-boiled eggs.”
You won’t need any special accessories to make hard-boiled eggs, nor are there lots of complicated steps involved: just pour a cup of water into the Instant Pot and place a steamer basket or the trivet into the pot. Gently place up to 12 eggs into the basket or on top of the trivet. Secure the lid and set the pressure release to “Sealing.” Select the Manual setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure.
If even that seems a little intimidating, Morante suggests going to YouTube to see the Instant Pot in action. “Instant Pot has its own channel with basic tutorials, and bloggers like Jeffrey Eisner of Pressure Luck and Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo demonstrate lots of Instant Pot recipes on their channels. It makes the pressure cooker a lot less intimidating when you can watch someone else use one first,” she says.
Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs turn out perfectly every time when they’re steamed under pressure in the Instant Pot. They’re always evenly cooked, plus they are easier to peel than traditional boiled eggs. This recipe works if you are boiling only an egg or two or up to a dozen, and you can use either a quick release or a natural release. You can either put the eggs directly on the trivet, or use a wire-mesh, silicone, or metal steamer basket that fits inside the Instant Pot. Do not be tempted to use a solid bowl.
- 12 servings
- 1 cup water
- Up to 12 large eggs, straight from the refrigerator
Note:For extra-large eggs, increase the cooking time to 7 minutes, and for jumbo eggs, increase the cooking time to 8 minutes.
- 5-Minute Quick Pressure Release Method:
- Pour the water into the Instant Pot and place a steamer basket or the trivet into the pot. Gently place up to 12 eggs into the basket or on top of the trivet, taking care not to crack the eggs as you add them. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Manual setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure.
- While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath. When the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release the remaining steam. Open the pot and transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. Peel when ready to serve.
- Natural Release Method:
- Pour the water into the Instant Pot and place a steamer basket or the trivet into the pot. Gently place up to 12 eggs into the basket or on top of the trivet, taking care not to crack the eggs as you add them. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Manual setting and set the cooking time for 2 minutes at high pressure.
- While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath. When the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. Peel when ready to serve.
You can also use the quick pressure release method for soft-boiled eggs. Cooking times for soft-boiled large, extra-large, and jumbo eggs are 3, 4, and 5 minutes, respectively. For extra-large eggs, increase the cooking time to 3 minutes, and for jumbo eggs, increase the cooking time to 4 minutes.
2. Make Perfectly Cooked Oatmeal
Morante also thinks that oatmeal is a great starter food for the Instant Pot. Since the electric pressure cooker takes time to come up to pressure, it’s not a faster way to make oatmeal, but it is more hands-off. In a 2015 Epicurious piece, writer Nick Kindelsperger noted that making the simplest dishes in the electric pressure cooker, like lentils and oats, were what convinced him of the merit of the machine. “Steel-cut oatmeal became a reasonable weekday breakfast option,” he wrote. “I shaved off only a few minutes at most. But the pressure cooker doesn’t just save time—it saves effort. [It was] almost comically easy to make. It’s akin to using a rice cooker instead of pot on the oven: mindlessly simple, with quality that’s practically guaranteed.”
Making steel-cut oats in particular is easier when you don’t have to watch the pot. “You never have to worry about them foaming up and boiling over on the stovetop or in the microwave,” Morante says. She likes to make brown butter steel-cut oats, using the sauté function to brown the butter in the pot before the liquid is added. “It adds depth of flavor and make your house smell amazing.” she says. The pressure cooker is also conducive to hands-off batch cooking: you can make a big pot of oatmeal and store it in the fridge, taking out enough for individual breakfasts each morning.
Brown Butter Steel-Cut Oatmeal::
Steel-cut oats have a chewy, hearty texture, and I prefer them hands down to rolled oats. Once the pot comes up to pressure, they take just 12 minutes to cook on the Porridge setting. Taking the extra step of browning the oats in butter gives the oatmeal a toasty, rich flavor and helps to keep it from sticking to the pot. Once you have tried your hot breakfast cereal prepared this way, you’ll never go back to plain oats and water.
- Serves 4
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Brown sugar, for serving
- Heavy cream, for serving
- Select Sauté on the Instant Pot and melt the butter. Add the oats and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until aromatic and lightly toasted. Add the water and salt and stir to combine, making sure all of the oats are submerged in the liquid.
- Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Porridge settingand set the cooking time for 12 minutes at high pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and stir the oatmeal to incorporate any extra liquid.
- Ladle the oatmeal into bowls and serve with brown sugar and cream.
- Apple cinnamon: Stir in 1 apple, chopped, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the water.
- Pumpkin spice: Stir in 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice with the water.
- Peanut butter–banana: Stir 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter into the finished oatmeal. Top each serving with banana slices.
- Blueberry almond/pecan: Top each serving with a handful of fresh blueberries, a scattering of toasted sliced almonds or pecans, and a drizzle of honey.
- Savory sesame soy: Omit the salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons soy sauce and add 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil with the water. Serve topped with a fried egg.
3. Make Beans (and Hummus!)
“Beans are one of the first things that I cooked when I took my Instant Pot out of its box,” Morante says. “Pressure-cooking beans is about twice as fast as cooking them on the stove. Chickpeas in particular are very forgiving, whether soaked or cooked straight from dried. When they’re warm, you can blend them up into a super creamy and smooth hummus that’s way better than versions made from canned beans, or anything you can get at the store.” Plus, pressure-cooked dried beans don’t need to be soaked ahead of time.
Kindelsperger agrees: “Black beans take a measly 22 minutes once pressure is reached, and they come out perfectly creamy, with hardly a blown skin in the bunch. Plus, with that sauté button, you can mash the beans in the pot and turn them into creamy refried beans in minutes.”
Instant Pot Hummus
The secret to making a smooth, light, fluffy dip is to use warm just-cooked chickpeas. If serving as an appetizer, accompany with wedges of pita or a plate of crudités. It can also be spooned into a pita pocket along with tomato, cucumber, onion, and shredded lettuce for a hearty sandwich. The hummus will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Makes about 3 1/2 cups
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 4 cups water, plus 3 cups if you soak and drain the beans
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- To serve (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- If you decide to soak the beans, put them in the Instant Pot and add the 4 cups water and the salt. Leave the pot turned off and let the beans soak for 10 to 12 hours or up to overnight. You can then either drain the beans in a colander or not. If you drain them, return them to the pot and add the 3 cups water.
- If you decide to cook the beans without soaking them, put them in the Instant Pot and add the 4 cups water and the salt.
- When ready to cook the chickpeas, secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Bean/Chili setting and set the cooking time for 25 minutes for soaked chickpeas or 40 minutes for unsoaked chickpeas.
- Let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. At this point, you can leave the chickpeas in the pot on the Keep Warm setting for up to 10 hours.
- When you are ready to make the hummus, open the pot. Ladle out 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid and set it aside. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift the inner pot out of the Instant Pot and drain the chickpeas in a colander.
- Transfer the drained chickpeas to a food processor or blender. Add the reserved ¾ cup cooking liquid, the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt. Process at medium speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- If serving as an appetizer, spoon the hummus into the center of a wide, shallow serving bowl and spread it out in a thick circle. Sprinkle the parsley and paprika on top, then drizzle with the oil.
4. Braise Meats
Morante loves making braised or other usually slow-cooking meats, like ribs, in the Instant Pot. “Many recipes require par-boiling ribs in water to get them nice and tender, but you can cook them under pressure instead! It’s way faster, and the ribs retain more of their meaty flavor this way, too,” she says.
The Instant Pot is also great for long-simmering sauces, soups, or stews, like chicken soup or chili. Not only can you make an amazing chili in only 30 minutes, but the high pressure infuses the dish with a depth of flavor you usually only get after it has rested overnight. Plus there’s the bonus, in the hotter months, of not having to have your stove on for hours.
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Making a batch of barbecued ribs in the Instant Pot is much faster than doing it on the grill, and you can make them any time of the year. The ribs cook to tenderness in the pot, then get brushed with barbecue sauce and take a quick trip to the oven until nicely browned and caramelized.
- Serves 4
- 1 or 2 racks baby back ribs, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds total
- 4 cups apple juice
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup favorite barbecue sauce
- With a rack bone side up, and starting at one end, slip a knife tip under the translucent membrane, loosening it from the bone. Once you have lifted enough to get a good grip, grasp the membrane with a paper towel and peel it off the rack (or ask your butcher to do this). Repeat with the remaining rack(s). Cut the rack(s) in half crosswise.
- Stack the ribs in the Instant Pot. Pour in the apple juice and vinegar. Secure the lid and move the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Meat/Stew setting and set the cooking time for 20 minutes at high pressure. (For meat-falling-off-the-bone ribs, set the cooking time for 25 minutes.)
- Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. While the pressure is releasing, preheat the oven to 400° F and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat.
- When 15 minutes have passed, move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and, using a pair of tongs, transfer the ribs to the prepared sheet pan. Discard the cooking liquid.
- Brush the ribs on both sides with the barbecue sauce, then bake for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is a caramelized and browned. Remove from the oven, cut the ribs apart, and serve.
You can steam the ribs with water instead of braising them in the apple juice and vinegar. They will be slightly less flavorful but still good. To steam the ribs, pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot, place the trivet in the pot, arrange the ribs on top of the trivet, and secure the lid. Select the Steam setting and set the cooking time for 20 or 25 minutes at high pressure, depending on how well-done you like your ribs. Release the pressure and bake the ribs as directed.
5. Make Long-Cooking Vegetables
Megan Gilmore, author of the upcoming book The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook loves that long-cooking vegetables, like the lower-carb spaghetti squash she serves with turkey bolognese in lieu of noodles, can be made in an electric pressure cooker in record time.
“The Instant Pot cooks a whole squash in 15 minutes!” Gilmore says. “To make things even easier, you can cook it at the same time as the sauce for a convenient one-pot meal.” Of course, the same goes for sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, or other types of squash, all of which can be cooked in large batches in the Instant Pot.
One-Pot Turkey Bolognese with “Spaghetti”
This is total comfort food, but made with less saturated fat and more veggies than traditional recipes. Using spaghetti squash as the noodles makes this dish lower in carbohydrates and higher in nutrients, and because you cook it all at once along with the sauce, it makes for a convenient weeknight meal. If your family is anything like mine, dice the vegetables very small so your picky eaters don’t notice them!
- Serves 4
- ACTIVE TIME
- Prep: 5 minutes Pressurize Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 28 minutes, Natural Release: 10 minutes
- TOTAL TIME
- 53 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- One 3-pound spaghetti squash
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (optional)
- Press Sauté and add the olive oil, onion, garlic, turkey, and 1 teaspoon salt to the Instant Pot. Sauté until the turkey is browned and cooked through, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you stir, about 8 minutes. While the meat is cooking, pour the diced tomatoes, with their juices, into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside until the meat is browned.
- Press Cancel to change cooking cycles. Add in the blended tomatoes, celery, carrots, vinegar, maple syrup, oregano, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.
- Wash the spaghetti squash and carefully pierce the skin with a sharp knife to vent. Place the whole squash directly into the sauce, making sure that the area where you pierced the skin is facing up, out of the sauce, to vent. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid. Use oven mitts to lift the spaghetti squash out of the pot. Transfer it to a cutting board to cool slightly. Stir the coconut milk into the sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cut the cooked spaghetti squash in half crosswise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds from the center. Use a fork to scrape out “noodles” from the squash and place them on plates. Spoon the Bolognese sauce on top of the noodles and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
If your spaghetti squash is heavier than 3 pounds, it might take longer to cook in the Instant Pot. For a 4-pound squash, add 5 minutes to the cooking time. I don’t recommend cutting the squash in half for this particular recipe, as the halves are messy to remove from the sauce and the extra liquid from the cooked squash makes the sauce too watery.
- 5-Minute Quick Pressure Release Method: