Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet: Fresh Meals & Freezer Meals

By Polly Conner

After testing hundreds and hundreds of Instant Pot recipes for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, 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 Instant Pot cooking times information with you.

There is so much misinformation on the internet about the Instant Pot. It makes us cringe when we see well-intentioned recipe creators misinform Instant Pot recipe hunters.

This is why we are sharing all of the Instant Pot cooking times you’ll need below. We also created a one page cheat sheet for Instant Pot Cooking times.

No more overcooked meals.

No more undercooked meals.

No more googling, “How long to cook ____ in the Instant Pot?”

We have all the information you’ll need in order to cook meals in the Instant Pot from both fresh AND frozen. Yep. You read it right. We have provided Instant Pot cooking times for freezer meals too!

seasoned chicken drumsticks in instant pot

A few important reminders about cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot:

  • Make sure to read our post about how to prepare and cook freezer meals in the Instant Pot.
  • In order for the 6 quart Instant Pot to work, it needs a minimum of 1 cup of liquid. If you have an 8 quart Instant Pot, it needs at least 1.5 cups of liquid.
  • Do not stack meat when freezing meals for the Instant Pot. This is especially true when it comes to chicken.
  • Use a meat thermometer like the one we recommend here to determine doneness.
  • You’ll find that this is not an exhaustive list of cooking times. We have narrowed it down to types of recipes that we cook the most often and that will be used in our forthcoming cookbook.

Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart Cheat Sheet


If you don’t want to download the Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet, here is the information you’ll find on it.

Instant Pot Chicken Breast Cooking Time

1-2 pounds Medium Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (seasoned or in sauce/marinade):

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release the pressure, or until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when it has no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

From Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release, until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Try these recipes:


Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Cooking Time

 1-2 pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs (seasoned or in sauce/marinade)

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release of the pressure, or until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when it has no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release, until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Try these recipes:


Instant Pot Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks Cooking Time

2 ½ – 3 pounds Bone-In Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks:

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 12 minutes at high pressure and then quick release of the pressure, or until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when it has no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 17-22 minutes with a quick release, until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.


Instant Pot Beef Roast Cooking Time

1 (2-4 pound) Boneless Beef Roast (seasoned or in sauce/marinade)

Fresh:  Cut the meat into 2×2-inch chunks (trimming off fat). Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release and then quick release of the pressure. Remove the meat and shred with two forks.

Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.


Instant Pot Pork Shoulder Cooking Time

1 (3-4 pound) Pork Shoulder (also known as Boston Butt), trimmed

Fresh: Cut into four equal pieces. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes (or more if you prefer) and then use quick release.

Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.

Try these recipes:

Pork Carnitas recipe for the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Pork Loin Cooking Time

2 ½ – 3 pounds Pork Loin (not to be confused with Pork Shoulder!)

Fresh: Cook whole. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 27 minutes with 10 a minute natural release.

Frozen: Cut the pork loin into 3 equal parts. Turn on the Saute Function. Saute frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.


Instant Pot Whole Chicken Cooking Time

Whole Chicken (4-5 lbs):

Fresh: Add 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Place the trivet/steam rack in the bottom of the pot and set the chicken on it, breast side down. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 24-30* minutes with natural release, which will take about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the chicken is done throughout (registers at least 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone). 

Frozen: Add 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Place the steam rack in the bottom of the pot and set the chicken on it, breast side down. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 40-50 minutes* with natural release, which will take about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the chicken is done throughout (registers at least 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone).

*General rule of thumb for a whole chicken is 6 minutes per pound for fresh chicken and 10 minutes per pound for frozen chicken. 


Instant Pot Soup Cooking Times

Soup (with 1-2 lbs raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts/thighs in it):

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 6 minutes at high pressure and then quick release of the pressure. (Chicken is done when it has no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 22-27 minutes with a quick release, until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

Soup, Vegetarian:

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7-10 minutes (depends on recipe) at high pressure and then quick release of the pressure. 

Frozen:  Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 12-17 minutes with a quick release. 

Try these recipes:


Soup (with Cooked Ground Beef/Sausage/Turkey:

Fresh: Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7-10 minutes (depends on recipe) at high pressure with a quick release.

Frozen:  Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Pressure cook for 12-17 minutes with a quick release. 

Try these recipes:


Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats Cooking Times

Steel Cut Oats:

Fresh: Add oats and liquid. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 12 minutes at high pressure with a quick release.

Frozen:  n/a. Simply freeze fully cooked oats and rewarm to eat.

Try these recipes:

We hope this is super helpful to you and your Instant Pot cooking adventures. If you need some recipe ideas, make sure to swing by our recipe index and try some Instant Pot Recipes out. 


Get Your One Page Instant Pot Cheat Sheet Before You Leave!


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