Easy Instant Pot Recipes

Linda Johnson Larsen
mac n cheese

An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker and slow cooker in one. You can use this appliance to steam food, pressure cook, brown foods, slow cook, and make pasta, yogurt, and rice. Make sure that you read the instruction booklet, familiarize yourself with the appliance, and follow all the manufacturer's steps before you start cooking with your Instant Pot.

Simple Mac and Cheese

One of the best things about this appliance is that you can cook pasta in it without draining and don't have to struggle with a huge pot of boiling water. This easy recipe will introduce you to the saute and pressure cook functions of the Instant Pot. You can use any type of cheese in this recipe; choose the ones you like best. This is a mild Macaroni and Cheese recipe. For more flavor, use more extra-sharp Cheddar cheese and add a few drops of hot sauce. Serve with sauteed vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken stock OR another 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Colby cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot.
  2. When the appliance is ready, add 2 tablespoons butter and the chopped onions to the pot.
  3. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Then add the pasta, water, and chicken stock, if using, to the pot. Add the lid and seal it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Press "Manual" and "High" and set the timer for 3-1/2 minutes.
  6. When the timer beeps, use the natural pressure release according to the manufacturer's instructions, and stir the pasta.
  7. Taste the pasta to see if it is cooked and is tender, but still firm. If it isn't, press the "Saute" button and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. When the pasta is tender, add the salt, light cream, sour cream, mustard, and cheeses to the pasta and stir well.
  9. Cover the Instant Pot but do not seal the lid. Let stand for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir again and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Variations and Tips

Make sure that you have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. The cooking process is really fast. Additional tips and variations include:

  • If you like bacon, saute four strips in the Instant Pot before you cook the onions. Crumble and bacon and set aside. Stir it in with the cheeses.
  • Other vegetables can be substituted for the onion. Use one cleaned and chopped leek, or use some minced shallots.
  • Other cheeses that are good in this recipe include provolone, Swiss, Havarti, American, Asiago, Edam, and Gouda.
  • Don't cook the mac and cheese after the cheese is added, or it may start to clump.

Easy Ham and Pea Risotto

Ham and Pea Risotto

Since the Instant Pot cooks rice so well, risotto is a natural recipe to make in this appliance. When you make risotto on the stovetop, you need to stir the rice almost constantly so it releases starch into the sauce, which makes the risotto creamy. The pressure in the appliance accomplishes this for you, simplifying the process. Rosemary adds a sharp piney flavor to this comforting dish, and the ham adds a salty note. This is a one dish meal; all you need to add is a simple green salad.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 1-3/4 cups Arborio or other short grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup white wine OR chicken stock
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot.
  2. When it is hot, add the butter, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is tender.
  3. Add the ham, rice, salt, rosemary, and wine (or 1/2 cup chicken stock) to the pot. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until the wine is absorbed.
  4. Add 4 cups of the chicken stock to the pot.
  5. Lock the lid.
  6. Press the "Manual" button and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Since the rice releases a lot of starch, you must release the pressure in two steps. First, let the pressure release naturally according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  8. Then use the "Quick Release" function on your Instant Pot until the float drops.
  9. Unlock the lid.
  10. Add the peas and Parmesan cheese to the risotto and stir gently but thoroughly.
  11. Cover the Instant Pot but do not lock the lid. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Variations and Tips

Switch the basic recipe up by following these tips and options:

  • You can use other herbs in this easy recipe. Try adding some chopped fresh thyme or marjoram. Or you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs in place of the fresh. But don't use dried rosemary if you can't find fresh; the little needles will never soften.
  • Other meats that can be used in this recipe include cooked and crumbled bacon, cooked cubed chicken, corned beef, or even meatballs.
  • You can use generic short grain rice in this recipe if you can't find Arborio.

Convenient Creamy Meatballs and Tortellini

Creamy Meatballs and Tortellini

Frozen meatballs and frozen tortellini are two very delicious convenience foods. They can be made into a meal in a matter of minutes in your Instant Pot. This hearty recipe is mild and simple to make and very satisfying. Serve it with a green salad tossed with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) package frozen fully cooked meatballs
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock OR water
  • 1 (20 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the Instant Pot using "Saute."
  2. Add the olive oil and onion. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the frozen meatballs, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, and chicken stock or water.
  4. Add the lid and lock it. Cook on the "Meat/Stew" setting for 10 minutes.
  5. Use the quick pressure release.
  6. Add the tortellini and cream cheese to the pot, but don't stir. Just press the tortellini down so it's covered with the liquid.
  7. Add the lid and lock it again.
  8. Press "Manual" and cook for 3 minutes.
  9. Release the pressure naturally according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  10. Stir the mixture and top with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Variations and Tips

Give these variations a try:

  • You can use your own homemade meatballs in this recipe. Cook them in the Instant Pot using the "Saute" function until they are browned. Then continue with the recipe.
  • This recipe will be mild or spicy depending on the pasta sauce you use. Read the label and choose the sauce you like.
  • You can find tortellini stuffed with cheese, vegetables, or meat in the frozen food aisle of your supermarket.

Enjoy Your Instant Pot!

Now that you have made a few simple recipes in your Instant Pot, the sky's the limit. Try recipe that came with the appliance or create your own variations on these recipes.

Easy Instant Pot Recipes