20+ “Best of the Best” Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

By Polly Conner
October 19, 2021

Instant Pot freezer meals. This is what we do! Not only have we written an entire cookbook on freezer meals for the Instant Pot, but we have tested and re-tested hundreds of recipes over the years. We wanted to narrow down the best of the best, so you don’t waste your time on any mediocre recipes out there. Because, trust us, there are a lot.

There is also quite a bit of misinformation regarding Instant Pot freezer meals as well. So before we dive into our top recipes, allow us to impart some hard-earned wisdom to you, will ya?

16 images of Freezer meals for the Instant Pot

Pro Tips on Preparing Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

Tip 1: Freeze your Instant Pot meals in a circular form.

While many are accustomed to freezing meals in a nice flat square shaped freezer bag, this shape won’t work when trying to cook a freezer meal in the Instant Pot. It simply won’t fit. My preferred method is to freeze the meal in a zip-top freezer bag, and place the meal in a bowl (or something that is a round shape). After it’s frozen, I snatch my bowl back and leave the meal in the freezer. Then when you want to make your meal, it’ll plop right into that Instant Pot!

Pork Carnitas packaged as a freezer meal for the Instant Pot

Tip 2: If possible, don’t stack your meat when freezing meals for the Instant Pot.

We have learned this the hard way. Because the Instant Pot cooks so fast, if meat (especially chicken breast) is stacked, it’s really hard for it all to cook evenly. The outside gets done and the inside remains pink as a pig. (Is that a phrase? It is now.) If it’s impossible to not stack your meat, just be sure to check for doneness throughout. If it’s not done, move the meat around with some tongs and cook on high pressure for a few more minutes.

chicken drumsticks in a freezer bag

Tip 3: Large cuts of meat should be cut into small pieces before freezing.

We’re talking pork shoulders and beef roasts. In order for meat to cook evenly and to get really tender, it’s better if it’s not in one big chunk. We recommend quartering our pork shoulders and cutting our chuck roasts into 2 inch cubes. It’s some work on the front end but worth it. Chicken breasts and thighs seem to do fine as they are.

Meat cut into smaller pieces to cook in the Instant Pot

Tip 4: Sauté the freezer meal in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes before cooking.

One trick that we have learned about cooking a freezer meal in the Instant Pot is to let the frozen meal simmer for about 5 minutes. Simply turn on the Sauté function, place the meal in the pot, and let it do its dang thing. The point of this is to release some liquid from the frozen meal, which will help the Instant Pot come to pressure more quickly.

Tip 5: Allow extra time to come to pressure and for cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot.

I’ve found that freezer meals take almost twice as long to come to pressure than a thawed meal does. Make sure you allow for that time when prepping or you’ll have a hangry family. I wish there was a one size fits all pattern to freezer meal cooking times in the Instant Pot but there just isn’t.

One trend we see is that the longer it takes a meal to come to pressure, the less additional time you need to add to cook a frozen meal. It seems counterintuitive, I know. You’ll just have to trust us on this one.  So for example, in our recipes for a large batch of soup, we don’t add any additional cooking time when cooking from frozen. On the flip side, we add 10+ minutes to a small chicken recipe. It’s counterintuitive but our tests have confirmed the theory over and over again.

Grab Our Free Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart

We have tested hundreds of recipes for the Instant Pot for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker. During that time, we have honed in on the best timing and methods for cooking different types of meals in the Instant Pot. We are excited to share this valuable information with you in a 1 page cheatsheet!


20+ “Best of the Best” Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

Prepping meals in bulk and cooking them from frozen in the Instant Pot is the ultimate time-saver. If you can master the art (and yes, it is an art!) of Instant Pot freezer meals, your dinnertime hour will be revolutionized.

We have truly pioneered this space of cooking and are thrilled to share everything we’ve learned on our journey so far. Here is the only round-up of Instant Pot freezer meals you’ll ever need!

1. Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

It’s hard not to like Carnitas made in the Instant Pot. In fact, pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat to cook in electric pressure cookers! Carnitas can be prepped in minutes, they make a great freezer meal, and they feed a large number of people. Be sure to quarter the pork shoulder before freezing in the marinade!

Freezer meal Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas on a plate with mexican toppings.

How Freeze For Later: Place the quartered pork and ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag or round freezer container. Seal and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook at high pressure for 45-50 minutes with a natural release for 10 minutes and then a quick release. 


2. Instant Pot Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This dump-and-go Instant Pot Tortilla Soup is one of the easiest you’ll ever make. Almost every ingredient comes straight from your pantry!

Freezer friendly Instant Pot Vegetarian Soup in a dark bowl with spoon

Freeze For Later: Add all the ingredients, except the rice, to a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal, toss gently to combine, and freeze in a round bowl or container with a diameter similar to the instant Pot (so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Place the cooked rice in a separate small freezer bag. Seal and freeze alongside the soup. 

Prepare From Frozen: Put the rice on the counter to thaw. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute.” Transfer the frozen soup to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook for 12 to 17 minutes.


3. Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

With only 6 main ingredients, this Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce couldn’t be easier or tastier! Serve over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious and healthy dinner.

a hand with a fork twirling a bite of spaghetti on a plate

Freeze For Later: Pour the cooked meat sauce into a gallon-size freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.)

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have cooked whole-grain pasta, zoodles, etc and (optional) Parmesan on hand to complete this meal. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen sauce to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook at high pressure for 10 to 15 minutes.


4. Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken

A little sweet and a little spicy, this EASY Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken recipe is BIG on flavor and takes just minutes. It’s a fan favorite and, of course, freezer friendly.

Freezer friendly Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken with vegetables

Freeze For Later: Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen).

Prepare From Frozen: Note: Have cornstarch and (optional) cooked rice and stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.


5. 4-Ingredient Instant Pot Drumsticks

Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks couldn’t be easier or tastier with this 4 ingredient recipe. Make them fresh or straight from frozen. All ages love these!

frozen seasoned chicken drumsticks in instant pot

Freeze for Later: Place the seasoned chicken and the broth in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (try not stack the drumsticks in the bag/container as much as possible; instead, place them side by side). Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen).

Prepare From Frozen: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook for 17 to 22 minutes.


6. Instant Pot Pulled Pork

It’s hard to mess up a pork shoulder recipe in the Instant Pot. It gets perfectly cooked and tender using our recipe instructions and your electric pressure cooker. Our homemade BBQ sauce takes this dish over the top.

Freezer friendly Instant Pot Pulled Pork Sandwich on a white plate with an asian salad

Freeze for LaterPlace the seasoned pork and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.) Place the remaining 1 ⁄2 cup BBQ sauce in a small freezer bag or container and the buns in a separate freezer bag. Seal and freeze them alongside the pork.

Prepare from Frozen: Thaw the sauce and buns. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook at high pressure for 45 to 50 minutes. (The frozen meat will cook in about the same amount of time as fresh.)


7. Chicken and Dumpling Stew

You may never return to making chicken and dumplings on the stove! It’s soooo good made in the Instant Pot or the crock pot. The Instant Pot instructions are about 2/3 way down in the blog post.

Freeze for Later: Place seasoned chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow the steps to make the dumplings with the dry mix.


8. Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

This kid-friendly Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos recipe goes from frozen chicken breasts to a delicious dinner on the table in 45 minutes with very minimal hands-on work. You can easily double and freeze these for later.

Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos piled on a serving platter with avocado lime salsa on top

Freeze For Later: Follow recipe instructions but do not bake. Place rolled up tortillas in a freezer bag or freezer container (BEFORE baking) in a single layer. Separate the single layers with parchment paper. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place frozen taquitos on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or foil. Cover them lightly with a piece of foil (so they don’t brown too quickly). Bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melty. Remove foil and bake about 5-10 more minutes until golden brown on top. (Note: You can use the broiler to crisp them up at the end for about 2 minutes, if desired. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.)


9. Instant Pot BBQ Beef Sandwiches

This well-seasoned, fall-apart shredded BBQ Beef takes under an hour in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Serve with our Homemade BBQ Sauce for extra deliciousness!

Instant Pot BBQ shredded beef sandwich on plates with corn and grapes

Freeze For Later: Place the seasoned meat and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce into a small bag/container and seal. Freeze the sauce and buns alongside the meat.

Prepare From Frozen: Set the extra sauce and buns out on the counter to start thawing. Set the Instant pot to “Saute”. Transfer the frozen meat and sauce to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel”. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.


10. Instant Pot Beef Stew

This Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe is easy enough to be a mid-week dinner or fancy enough for dinner guests. What would typically take all day in the slow cooker, only takes about an hour from start to finish in the Instant Pot. You’ll take a short cut by using stew meat (no chopping!) and Yukon gold baby potatoes (no peeling!).

bowl of Instant Pot stew in white bowl with napkin

Freeze For Later: Let the sauce & veggies cool and then add to a one gallon freezer bag. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and add to the bag or container, along with the bay leaf and potatoes. Seal, toss gently to combine, and freeze. (Note: Make sure the potatoes are completely submerged in the liquid to avoid browning.) Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the pressure cooker.

Prepare from Frozen: Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release and then quick release of the pressure.

Alternative Freezer Meal Option: Fully cook the stew and freeze in small portions. To reheat, thaw the soup using one of these methods and then warm over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.


11. Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This freezer-friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup has it all. Since it is a great freezer meal, we’ve written the recipe to be very large. This meal works well for large groups or simply to freeze as leftovers in small portions for lunches down the road. 

Instant Pot Tomato Soup in a bowl with bread

Freeze For Later:  Add the uncooked soup mixture to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From FrozenNote: You will need butter, half and half, and Parmesan to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Seal and lock the lid. Ccook for 12-15 minutes with a quick release.

Alternative Freezer Meal Option: Fully cook the soup and freeze in small portions. To reheat, thaw the soup using one of these methods and then warm over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.


12. Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

This is the only Mexican Soup recipe you’ll ever need. I’ve been making a variation of this soup for my family and guests for years. Since you can brown your beef in the Instant Pot, you will save time on dishes! I love to fully cook this one and freeze it in small portions to have for lunches down the road.

Instant Pot Mexican Soup from a freezer meal

Freeze for Later: Use the sauté setting to cook the onions and beef. Add all the ingredients in, lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Place fully cooked soup into small containers and freeze.

Prepare from Frozen: To reheat, thaw the soup using one of these methods and then warm over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.


13. Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

You can’t go wrong with this classic recipe. With only five ingredients and the magic of the Instant Pot, you’ll have this healthy dinner on the table in about 15-20 minutes from start to finish! Kids (and adults) go for this one.

Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Sliders on a cutting board

Freeze For Later: Place raw chicken breasts and marinara in a gallon-sized freezer bag or round freezer container. Seal and freeze. (Tip: Freeze the bag inside a medium-sized bowl until solid, so it’s the shape of the Instant Pot.)

Prepare From FrozenTurn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.


14. Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya

Our 3-step, dump-and-go Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe is incredibly flavorful and so easy! Serve over brown rice for a healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free dinner.

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage in the Instant Pot with a bowl of wild rice on the side

To Freeze for Later: Add the veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, and seasonings to one or two gallon-sized freezer bags or round containers. Seal and freeze. (Tip: If using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.)

To Prepare From Frozen: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook at high pressure for 17-22 minutes. (I usually start at the lower time recommendation. Check to make sure the chicken registers 165°F internally or is no longer pink inside. If it’s not done, cook at high pressure for another 2 minutes and check again.) Serve warm over rice.


15. Any of our 7 Best Chicken Marinades

We have a collection of amazing chicken marinades that will all work to cook from fresh or from frozen in the Instant Pot!

Here are the recipes:

  1. ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN MARINADE

2. HONEY DIJON CHICKEN MARINADE

3. LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN MARINADE

4. BALSAMIC HERB CHICKEN MARINADE

5. CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN MARINADE

6. THE BEST SAVORY CHICKEN MARINADE

7. SOUTHWEST CHICKEN MARINADE

Freeze for Later: Add marinade and chicken to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. (Tip: Freeze the bag inside a medium-sized bowl until solid, so it’s the shape of the Instant Pot.)

Prepare from Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen chicken and marinade for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Make sure you grab your Chicken Marinade Cheatsheet!


16. Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

Our freezer friendly Instant Pot Chicken Nachos are a great starter meal for the Instant Pot. We teach you how to make this easy Instant Pot freezer meal from fresh or from frozen. The best part about the recipe is that you can customize it how you want and it is great recipe for large groups.

Baked chicken nachos made in the Instant Pot from frozen

Freeze For Later:  Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.


17. Instant Pot Loaded Potato Soup

This freezer-friendly Loaded Potato Soup is rich, delicious, and can be thrown together in your Instant Pot right before dinnertime.

bowl of Instant Pot loaded potato soup

Freeze For Later: After fully cooking the soup, let it cool. Store in an air tight freezer container and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: To reheat, thaw the soup using one of these methods and then warm over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.


18. Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

Making steel cut oatmeal in the Instant Pot is a breeze. This easy breakfast idea will quickly make its way into your healthy breakfast rotation!

Instant Pot Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oatmeal

Freeze for Later: Fully cook and cook the oatmeal, then divide it evenly among 6 greased jumbo muffin tins (or jumbo silicone muffin liners) to create single-serving portions. Freeze until frozen solid, then pop out the oatmeal portions and transfer them to a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Prepare from Frozen: Note: You will need milk to complete this meal. Place a serving of frozen oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl. Add about 1 ⁄3 cup milk and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until warmed through. Add more milk as needed to reach the desired consistency.


19. Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

This Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is filled to the brim with hearty vegetables, black beans, and barley. It provides the nutrition you need this winter to boost your immune system and fight off sickness plus amazing taste that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Freeze For Later:

Method 1 (Before Cooking): Assemble the soup. Transfer the uncooked soup to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Place freezer bag in a bowl until frozen to freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Method 2 (After Cooking): You can also fully cook this soup, freeze in small portions for individual meals, and rewarm in the microwave or stove top. Or you can fully cook it, freeze the whole recipe in a round container or freezer bag. Tip: Place the freezer bag in a round container in the freezer until it freezes in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen:

Method 1 (Before Cooking): Turn on the Sauté function. Sauté the frozen soup for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release.

Method 2 (After Cooking): For individual portions, thaw and warm up the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop. For an entire frozen batch, drop the frozen soup block in the Instant Pot and saute for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Then, lock and seal the lid and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes with a quick release. 


20. French Dip Sandwiches

This drop-and-go meal can slow cook all day or be whipped up in the Instant Pot. It is fall-apart tender either way. Simply shred the meat, put together the sandwiches, and dip them in the leftover au jus. 

Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches

Freeze For Later: Place the sauce and the meat in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Place the bread and cheese in separate freezer bags or containers. Seal and freeze alongside the meat.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter on hand to complete this meal. Thaw the bread and cheese. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” Transfer the frozen meat to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Assemble sandwiches and eat!


21. Cuban Pulled Pork Paninis

This panini has the perfect balance of complex flavor, texture, and gooey goodness. Trust us when we say, the interesting combo of ingredients results in one amazing hot sandwich. Plus, you can make the fall-apart pulled pork in either the slow cooker or the Instant Pot.

Freeze For Later: Place the marinade ingredients and pork shoulder in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal, toss to combine, and freeze. Place the ciabatta rolls, cheese, and ham in separate freezer bags. Seal and freeze alongside the pork to create a meal kit. 

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, mustard, and pickles on hand to complete this meal. Thaw meal kit. Cook the pork in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Build the sandwiches. Cook in a pan on the stove, pressing them down until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.


22. Instant Pot Chili

A down-the-pipe, classic chili with the perfect balance of ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and spices. Perfect for groups!

Freeze For Later: Two options for freezing:

  1. Not Fully Cooked: Saute the onions and beef. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Freeze the uncooked chili in gallon-sized freezer bag and place it in a round container while freezing (so it freezes in the shape of the Instant Pot).
  2. Fully Cooked: Fully cook the chili and let it fully cool. Place in a gallon-sized freezer bag and then set it in a round container while freezing (so it freezes in the shape of the Instant Pot).

Prepare From Frozen: Two options for preparing:

  1. Not Fully Cooked: Saute the soup in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook at high pressure for 12-17 minutes, and then quick release the pressure.
  2. Fully Cooked: Saute the soup in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, and then quick release the pressure.

Don’t forget to Snag Your Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet Here!

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2 replies
  1. Pamela says:

    I just got an Instant Pot for Christmas, so this post is so helpful as I learn how to cook with it. Thank you for the help!

    Reply