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Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

multi image with instant pot jambalaya in a bowl, in a freezer bag and in the Instant Pot

This Instant Pot jambalaya recipe was inspired by one of my favorite people in the world–my dad! He’s been making and honing this Cajun specialty dish for some time now. In fact, his slow cooker version called “Curt’s Slow Cooker Jambalaya” made it into our first cookbook, From Freezer to Table. Let me tell you, he really knocked it out of the park!

So with dad’s original recipe as my basis and my Instant Pot know-how (Did you know Polly and I published a whole cookbook full of Instant Pot recipes, too?), this Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya came to life.

Why I Love Jambalaya in the Instant Pot

In case you need some convincing, let me tell you why it’s totally worth throwing this dish together.

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl
  1. It’s super easy! This “dump and go” meal only requires three steps, a handful of ingredients, and about 30 minutes from start to finish.
  2. Delicious! The combo of all the vegetables, the andouille sausage, and seasonings create a complex flavor explosion in your mouth without much work.
  3. It makes a LOT. This can feed a large group or you can freeze half a batch for another meal later.
  4. Speaking of freezing, this makes a great freezer meal. I’ll teach you the best method for freezing below.
  5. Really healthy! It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, full of vegetables, lean protein, and is served over fiber-rich brown rice.

What is Jambalaya and What’s in this Recipe?

Jambalaya was born in Louisiana and is filled with a combo of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors that make it stand out from other one-pot dishes. The Spruce Eats says, “Although the exact origin of jambalaya is unknown, it is most likely the result of multiple ethnicities mingling in the port city of New Orleans centuries ago.” There are two versions of the dish:

  • Cajun – Called “brown jambalaya” that doesn’t contain tomatoes.
  • Creole – Known as “red jambalaya” that does have tomatoes.
Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage in a freezer bag

My recipe falls under the Creole category because I used tomatoes. I tried to keep it pretty lean and healthy while also packing in big taste! Here are the simple ingredients you’ll find in it:

Onions, Green Bell Peppers, and Celery – This combo of veggies is known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking. It’s also known to make your house smell amazing while they cook.

Andouille Sausage – A Cajun sausage that infuses the other ingredients in the pot with spice and smoke. I opted to slice up some all-natural, fully-cooked andouille as a short-cut for this recipe.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – This lean cut gets infused with flavor and doesn’t dry out thanks to the Instant Pot. But, you can use boneless, skinless thighs instead to add in a little more fat (read: more flavor).

Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – If you can find canned fire-roasted tomatoes in the store, they add complexity to this dish and are my favorite. But, if you can’t, look for petite diced tomatoes instead.

Chicken broth – You can either make your own or buy some at the store. I really like the Swanson brand. It tastes homemade and doesn’t have all the yucky additives.

Cajun seasoning – My dad swears by Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning but use whatever kind you like. This seasoning adds in salt, black and red pepper, chili powder, and garlic.

Dried herbs – A combo of dried oregano and thyme round out the seasoning. Make sure you have these in your pantry.

A lot of jambalaya recipes also call for shrimp. You can easily stir in some pre-cooked shrimp at the end of the cook time, if you want. Or, you can use uncooked shrimp and boil the jambalaya for a few minutes using the “Saute” function, until the shrimp is just cooked through. I decided to keep things simple and exclude it myself.

How to Make Jambalaya in the Instant Pot

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage in the Instant Pot with a bowl of wild rice on the side
  1. Stir in the Ingredients: Add the chopped veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and thyme to the Instant Pot. Stir.
  2. Pressure Cook: Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (Note: It will take about 10-15 minutes for the IP to come to pressure before starting the cook cycle.)
  3. Serve: Stir and serve warm over cooked rice. Top with hot sauce, if desired.

How do you Freeze Jambalaya?

One of THE best qualities of the Instant Pot, in my humble opinion, is that you can cook frozen meals directly in it. That’s not the case with the slow cooker, according to the USDA! Seriously, don’t put frozen food in your crockpot.

We recommend freezing this jambalaya dish before pressure cooking it, so it turns out tasting just like a fresh meal. Since this is a big batch meal that feeds at least 8 people, one idea is to freeze half the batch and cook the rest for dinner. The cook time will NOT change if you do this.

How 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.)

How 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 another 2 minutes and check again.) Serve warm over rice.

How to Serve Instant Pot Jambalaya

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl with a spoon

Serve over brown rice or quinoa and you will have a delicious, nutritious dinner. If you want to go completely grain-free, try serving it over cauliflower rice. Top with a little hot sauce, if you want to kick up the heat.

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Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl

Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (Sub: petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 11.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes (Sub: boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1214 ounces precooked, all-natural andouille sausage, thickly sliced (Sub: andouille chicken sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (Recommended: Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in hand
  • 8 cups cooked brown rice (Sub: cooked long-grain white rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice)
  • Hot sauce, optional for serving

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Into the Instant Pot, add the onion, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, broth, diced chicken, sliced sausage, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and thyme. (Do not add the rice.) Stir to combine. 
  2. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure*. (Note: It will take about 10-15 minutes for the IP to come to pressure before starting the cook cycle.)
  3. Stir and serve the jambalaya mixture over rice. Top with hot sauce, if desired.

*This is a good time to make a quick-cooking rice on the stovetop, if you aren’t using the pre-cooked rice from the store.

Freeze For Later:

Add the veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, and seasonings to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. 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.)

Prepare From Frozen:

Note: You will need to have cooked rice 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.” Follow step 3, but cook for 17-22 minutes. (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 another 2 minutes and check again.) Follow step 4.


Notes

Chopping Tip: Be sure to chop the veggies all about the same size and fairly small, since we aren’t sautéing them at the beginning. That way they cook at the same rate and get cooked through. 

Freezing Tip: Since this is a big batch meal, you may want to freeze half the batch for later and make the rest now. Note: If you divide the batch in half, you will NOT have to adjust the cook time. It will cook at the same rate.

Heat Level: I would say this dish is moderately spicy. If you’re sensitive to heat (or are making this for kids), I suggest only using half of the Cajun seasoning. You can always add more hot sauce to individual servings later, if needed.

Can I cook the rice in the Instant Pot with everything else? I did not test it this way because I like the texture of rice cooked on the stove for the exact amount of time better. However, you could throw some Instant Brown Rice (not the long cooking rice!) in with the other ingredients before pressure cooking, and it will work out okay…just not perfectly. And I like perfectly. 🙂 

How to Add in Shrimp: You can easily stir in some precooked shrimp at the end of the cook time, if you want. Or, you can use uncooked shrimp and boil the jambalaya after pressure cooking for a few minutes. To do this, turn on the “Saute” function, stir, and cook until the shrimp is just cooked through. It won’t take long. P.S. I recommend using peeled, deveined shrimp to make your life much easier!

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

By Polly Conner

Our Instant Pot Chicken Nachos are a great starter meal for the Instant Pot.

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

Freezer friendly Instant Pot nachos on a baking sheet

“I have an Instant Pot. Now I just need things to make in it.”

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who have an Instant Pot but feel a little stuck. Either they are too intimidated by all of the functions or simply don’t know what recipe to start with.

As cookbook authors of, From Freezer to Cooker, we can assure you that we have tested loads of amazing Instant Pot recipes (which are also freezer friendly). We’ve learned the ins and outs of the Instant Pot and have even perfected how to prep freezer meals for the Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Chicken Nacho recipe works both from fresh and from frozen!

How Long do I Cook Chicken in the Instant Pot?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts don’t need long in the Instant Pot. You’ll pressure cook the chicken breasts and sauce for just 7 minutes. Then, use a quick release of the pressure. That’s usually all you need, otherwise you’ll dry out your chicken. But, be sure to check to make sure the chicken is done using a meat thermometer. It should register 165°F internally. Or, another way to check for doneness is to make sure there is no more pink inside when you cut into it.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board

During our two years of research and testing, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here. It’s so helpful to have inside your cabinet.

Close up of Instant Pot chicken nachos

Can I Make These in the Slow Cooker?

We know you love versatility! Yes, these can easily be made in the slow cooker as well. Just follow the recipe below and instead of cooking them in the Instant Pot, just cook them on low in the slow cooker for about 3. 5 hours. Just make sure you don’t overcook your chicken!

How to Serve Instant Pot Nachos

For dinner of course! Why not? It has protein, veggies, and each family member can customize their portion with a variety of Mexican toppings, like shredded lettuce, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, etc. 

Side dish ideas include cut up fruit, raw veggie sticks with our Creamy Southwest Ranch Sauce, or our Fiesta Chopped Salad

Close up of instant pot chicken nachos

How to Make it a Freezer Meal

Nachos? A freezer meal?

Yes! Well, kinda. To make Instant Pot Nachos a freezer meal, you’ll just prep and freeze the seasoned chicken before cooking it in the Instant Pot.

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.

Instant Pot Nachos Freezer Meal

Mix It Up!

The chicken in this nacho recipe is really versatile! Try one of these alternate ways of serving the cooked chicken.

  • Create a Chicken Burrito Bowl by serving the chicken and your favorite Mexican toppings over rice or quinoa. 
  • Make quesadillas with the chicken and cheese on whole wheat, corn, or gluten-free tortillas. 
  • Top a salad with this chicken, corn, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Use our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette as the dressing.
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Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Mexican
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos: A simple, lime-infused marinade for chicken breasts produces flavorful and moist shredded chicken with a hint of heat. Use it atop baked nachos, which come together in just minutes.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (p. ?)
  • 2 cups of mild salsa (or medium, if you want a little more heat)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes)
  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro
  • Half a bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional Toppings: avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Season all sides of the chicken with taco seasoning. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro in the pot and give it all a stir. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and either shred it, using two forks, or dice it. Place the chicken back into the juice. Stir it around so it picks up a lot of that flavor and stays moist.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Cover a sheet pan with parchment or foil for easy clean up. Spread out the tortilla chips on the pan. Top the chips evenly with the shredded chicken (use a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid) and the cheese.
  5. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. 
  6. To serve, top with additional fresh toppings, as desired. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. 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. Follow Steps 2-6, except cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos with toppings

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

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!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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. Freezing instructions included.

Some affiliate links are within this post.

Instant Pot Meat Sauce = No Whining at Dinner

You know those meals you make for your family where everyone is content? (I know, I had to sit and think for a minute, too.) It’s not easy cooking for 5 different people with different palettes. But, I can safely say, this meaty marinara sauce makes the “winner dinner” cut for us!

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

Here’s why I make this recipe at least once a month:

  • Hearty, delicious, and versatile!
  • A well-rounded and healthy dinner. Serve over whole grain pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or even quinoa. Sometimes I toss in some chopped spinach, too, and no one even knows!
  • Requires only 6 main ingredients, including a short-cut from the store (jarred marinara sauce).
  • Freezer-friendly! Just double and freeze the second batch for another meal. (See our freezing instructions below.)
  • Gluten-free and dairy-free.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple-tasting sauce just because the ingredients are simple. Check out the heavy-hitting line-up of complex flavors…

ingredients for meat sauce for pasta on a cutting board

Yellow Onion – You’ll start building big flavor right off the bat by sauteing diced onion in the Instant pot. The high heat brings out the sugars in the onion.

Fresh Garlic – What pasta sauce can go without garlic? Add this in at the end of sauteing the onion for a little pungent kick.

Lean Ground Beef – I use grass-fed, organic lean ground beef, but you can easily sub ground turkey or ground chicken. Here’s where Polly and I both get our grass-fed beef.

Ground Italian Sausage – Oh man, sausage takes this sauce to a whole new level! You can use mild or spicy Italian pork sausage, but make sure it’s ground (not pre-cooked in a link). You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken sausage here. I get my Italian sausage from ButcherBox, because it’s hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and has no icky additives.

Red Pepper Flakes – This is a favorite pantry seasoning for me. It easily adds a little heat to sauces, soups, and dry rubs. Feel free to add more than the recipe calls for if you like your food spicy. (I’m looking at you, Mom and Dad.)

Marinara Sauce – Woo hoo for store-bought short cuts! This is one you can feel good about if you select a sauce that’s organic or all-natural. Be sure to read the ingredients and try to avoid “natural flavors”, a lot of added sugar, and other weird ingredients you’re not familiar with. I personally love Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce. Or, try making your own with our Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce recipe. It’s cheap, budget-friendly, freezable, and amazing!

We’ll talk more about what ingredients you’ll need to serve the sauce a little later.

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce in the Instant Pot

Watch this 1 minute video to see how easy it is to make meat sauce in your electric pressure cooker…

How Long Do I Cook Spaghetti Sauce in the Instant Pot?

Once you’ve sautéed your veggies and meat, which takes about 15 minutes total, you’ll pressure cook the sauce for 5 minutes. Then, use a quick release of the pressure.

spaghetti sauce being ladled out of the Instant Pot

Did you know we’ve published an Instant Pot cookbook called From Freezer to Cooker? During our two years of research and testing, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here.

How to Make This Recipe Into a Freezer Meal

When you combine the magical powers of the Instant Pot AND freezer cooking, you practically set yourself up for hands-free cooking. That’s because you can dump your frozen meal directly in the Instant Pot and cook it from frozen! Here’s how…

meaty marinara sauce in a freezer bag in the Instant Pot

Freeze for Later: Follow steps 1 and 2. Pour the 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; see page 20).

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.” Follow step 3, but cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow step 4.

Fully Cook and Freeze It” Option: Another option is that you can fully cook and cool the sauce and then freeze it. When you’re ready to use it, throw it in the Instant Pot from frozen, saute the frozen block of sauce for 5 minutes to release some liquid, and then pressure cook for 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

Can I Cook Spaghetti in the Instant Pot with the Sauce?

Yes, you can cook spaghetti in the Instant Pot with your sauce!

  1. After you saute the onions, garlic, and meat (Step 1), add 1 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pot. This will help prevent the burn signal later.
  2. Then, break one package (16 ounces) of spaghetti noodles in half. Layer them in the pot in a few crisscrossing layers over the meat and veggies.
  3. Cover the noodles with 2 more cups of water and all the marinara sauce. Do not stir!
  4. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure and stir the pasta and sauce together. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

How to Serve Instant Pot Pasta Sauce

This sauce works to serve over any pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or even quinoa. It’s super versatile like that! Here are a few ideas of side dishes to serve along with your main dish:

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Garlic Bread (Done Right!)

Cheesy Pesto Bread

Bottom Line

Whether you want a healthy, kid-friendly dinner or a freezer meal on hand for later, we think you’ll love the simplicity of this Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce!

Whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce and parsley on top
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a hand with a fork twirling a bite of spaghetti on a plate

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 8
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

With a few simple ingredients, this hearty Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce couldn’t be easier or tastier! Serve over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious and healthy dinner. Freezing instructions included.


Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1⁄2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1⁄2 pound mild ground Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce (or make your own)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Set the 6-quart Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Pour the oil into the pot and heat until shimmery. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened, stirring in the garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning lightly with the red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper while it cooks. Using pot holders, carefully lift the inner pot and drain off the grease.
  2. Add a 1/2 cup of water and scrape the bottom with a spatula to help prevent the burn signal. Add the marinara sauce to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure.
  4. Serve the sauce over whole-grain pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or quinoa, topped with Parmesan, if desired.

Freeze For Later:

Follow steps 1 and 2. Pour the 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; see page 20).

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.” Follow step 3, but cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow step 4.


Notes

To Make With Spaghetti Noodles in the Sauce: Complete Step 1. Add 1 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pot. (This will help prevent the burn signal later.) Then, break one package (16 ounces) of spaghetti noodles in half. Layer them in the pot in a few crisscrossing layers over the meat and veggies. Cover the noodles with 2 more cups of water and all the marinara sauce. Do not stir! Follow Steps 3 and 4.

    Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

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    Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks

    By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

    seasoned chicken drumsticks in an Instant Pot with chicken broth

    Some affiliate links are within this post.

    Why Chicken Drumsticks in the Instant Pot are the Bomb

    Like some of you, I’m a work-at-home mom with three kids who are schooling virtually right now. We are 8 months into this routine and I’m honestly so tired of cooking every meal. (Yes, even food bloggers/cookbook authors can say that!)

    cooked chicken drumsticks on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes

    That’s why I am obsessed with this super simple recipe that:

    • Requires only 4 pantry ingredients to season the drumsticks. (Boom!)
    • Can be doubled and a second batch frozen for later to save time. (See our freezing instructions below.)
    • Is gluten-free and dairy-free.
    • Leaves amazing homemade chicken broth in the cooker when you’re done, which you can freeze for later.
    • Everyone in the family enjoys! (This only happens every 30.3 meals, it feels like.)

    Plus, making these chicken drumsticks in the Instant Pot, in particular, results in fall-apart tender and moist chicken on the bone. With a few minutes under the broiler at the end, you’ll have crispy and perfectly seasoned dinner ready to go in no time.

    Ingredients You’ll Need

    So…”what is the secret mix of 4 pantry seasonings you need to bring bland drumsticks to life?” you ask. I’ll tell ya…

    raw chicken drumsticks and seasonings

    We use a blend of seasonings that Polly’s mom (Janny) used regularly to prepare chicken-on-the-bone for her family while growing up. We had a hunch Janny’s salty-savory mix was the right blend for our chicken drumsticks. After several tests by us and our cookbook testing team–who still rave about this recipe–we were right!

    Here is the 4-ingredient seasoning line-up:

    1. Garlic Salt
    2. Onion Salt
    3. Celery Salt
    4. Poultry Seasoning

    Keep these on hand and use the same blend for all cuts of chicken or even pork, too. In addition, you’ll need a little chicken broth in the Instant Pot to help create the steam necessary to build pressure.

    seasoned chicken drumsticks on a cutting board

    How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

    Watch this 1 minute video to see how easy it is to make drumsticks in your electric pressure cooker…

    cooked chicken drumsticks on a serving platter with broccoli

    How to Make This Recipe Into a Freezer Meal

    When you combine the magical powers of the Instant Pot AND freezer cooking, you practically set yourself up for hands-free cooking. That’s because you can dump your frozen meal directly in the Instant Pot and cook it from frozen!

    chicken drumsticks in a freezer bag

    Freeze for Later: Follow step 1. 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.” Follow step 2, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. Follow steps 3 and 4.

    We sound like a broken record, but doubling and freezing a batch is such a wise use of your time! Read more about how to make Instant Pot Freezer Meals here or see all of our Freezer Meal recipes here.

    What to Serve with Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

    Next up is figuring out what to serve with these crispy drumsticks. We recommend going simple and kid-friendly. Try some of these favorites…

    Creamy Mashed Potatoes (in the Instant Pot)

    Oven Roasted Broccoli

    Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

    sweet and savory roasted carrots in a bowl

    Bottom Line: Whether you want a healthy, kid-friendly dinner or a freezer meal on hand for later, we think you’ll love the simplicity of these Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks!

    cooked chicken drumsticks on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes
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    seasoned chicken drumsticks in instant pot

    Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks

    • Author: Thriving Home
    • Prep Time: 5
    • Cook Time: 15
    • Total Time: 20 minutes
    • Yield: 6 servings (2 drumsticks per serving) 1x
    • Category: Chicken
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American
    • Diet: Gluten Free

    Description

    Just 4 pantry seasonings plus a few minutes in the Instant Pot and and under the broiler turns out perfectly seasoned, crispy drumsticks that the whole family will love. Make them fresh or from frozen. 


    Ingredients

    • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1 teaspoon onion salt
    • 1 teaspoon celery salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
    • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or water)

    Instructions

    Make It Now:

    1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, and poultry seasoning. Rub the seasoning all over the drumsticks. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
    2. Transfer the seasoned drumsticks to the Instant Pot and pour in the broth. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done. It should register 165°F internally.)
    3. Position the top oven rack about 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
    4. Use tongs to place the drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet; discard any liquid remaining in the pot (or save it to use as homemade chicken broth later). Broil the chicken until the skin is browned and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

    Freeze for Later: Follow step 1. 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.” Follow step 2, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. Follow steps 3 and 4.

     

    Want More Easy Freezer Meal Recipes?

    Make sure to snag our Top 10 Easy Freezer Meals. You can download this, print it off, and have it for future reference when looking for great freezer meals.

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    How Long Do I Cook Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot? (Fresh or Frozen)

    By Polly Conner

    After testing 100s of recipes for the past 1 1/2 years for our forthcoming cookbook, we have narrowed down the Instant Pot cooking times for all sorts of recipes. Here is a rundown on how long to cook fresh and frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.

    Instant Pot

    Make sure to sign up for our email list to receive updates about our forthcoming cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker!

    Fine tuning the perfect cooking times for chicken breasts in the Instant Pot was not easy. There is SO much misinformation out there. We found ourselves overcooking chicken breasts like it was our job. Using our meat thermometers as our guide, we were able to narrow down how long to cook chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and we’re excited to share with you our findings.

    A few important reminders about cooking chicken breasts 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 1/2 cups of liquid.
    • Because chicken breast is so easy to overcook, we always use the quick release method. Quick release is when you turn the pressure release valve to “open” or “venting” (depending on IP model) at the completion of the cooking cycle. This forces the steam to release from the Instant Pot quickly.
    • Do not stack chicken when cooking in the Instant Pot. It will cook unevenly. This is especially true for frozen chicken. Try to spread it out evenly along the bottom as much as you can.
    • Use a meat thermometer like the one we recommend here to determine doneness. All poultry must cook to the safe temperature of 165°F internally (or no more pink inside). But, you don’t want to cook it longer than that and get dried out.
    • If cooking chicken from frozen, make sure to read our post about how to prepare and cook freezer meals in the Instant Pot. Seriously, don’t skip it.
    • If you have more questions about the Instant Pot, swing by and browse Instant Pot 101.
    Chicken Breast Sandwich

    Cooking Chicken Breasts From Fresh in the Instant Pot

    Cooking times are based on 1-2 pounds of medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

    We found that chicken breast is at a safe cooking temperature (165°F) after about 7 minutes using a quick release method. We always use the manual function (as opposed to the poultry function). If the chicken breast is a bit on the larger size, add another minute or two. If it’s on the smaller size, subtract a minute.

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    chicken parmesan sliders sandwiches

    Instant Pot Chicken Breast

    • Author: Polly
    • Cook Time: 7 minutes
    • Total Time: 7 minutes
    • Yield: 2 1x
    • Category: Chicken
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    How to cook fresh and frozen chicken in the Instant Pot


    Ingredients

    1 pound, medium boneless skinless chicken breasts

    1 cup chicken stock


    Instructions

    1. Place chicken and stock inside the Instant Pot. 
    2. Lock and seal the lid.
    3. Using the manual function, cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)

    Freeze For Later: Place chicken and stock into gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) 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 Frozen: Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen chicken for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Using the manual setting, cook for 15-20 minutes at high pressure with a quick release.

    Cooking Chicken Breasts from Frozen in the Instant Pot

    Cooking times are based on 1-2 pounds of frozen medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

    We found frozen chicken breasts are at a safe cooking temperature (165°F) at 15-20 minutes using a quick release method. We always use the manual function (as opposed to the poultry function). When cooking food from frozen in the Instant Pot, we recommend starting at the shorter end of the time range and then adding more minutes if it’s not done.

    The only variation to this cooking time is when chicken is in a soup. We found that because it takes so much longer for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, the chicken takes LESS time to cook. Likely 5-6 minutes. It feels a bit counter intuitive since there is more in the pot when cooking a soup recipe but we consistently found that chicken was done quicker this way.

    Freezer meal in front of an Instant Pot

    Free Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart

    If you’d like a handy, printable chart of other cooking times for the Instant Pot, we’ve got you covered.

    You can download a printable version of our Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart here

    Printable Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart

    Instant Pot Recipes

    Need some recipe ideas to get you started? Swing by and check out our Instant Pot recipes in our recipe index.

    Or Try these Instant Pot Chicken recipes:

    Instant Pot Beef Stew {Freezer Meal}

    By Rachel Tiemeyer

    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 stew in white bowl with napkin

    *Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Here’s our full disclosure.

    Instant Pot Beef Stew turns out melty-in-your-mouth delicious. Mmmm…the red wine, stock, soy sauce, and tomato paste work together to create a velvety sauce/broth that is full of complexity. While the meat pressure cooks, it tenderizes and soaks up all that sauce flavor.

    bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

    Now, don’t confuse this Beef Stew, a classic comfort food, with an unhealthy choice, though. Thanks to grass-fed stew meat (or chopped grass-fed chuck roast from our favorite meat source) and all the vegetables included–onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, and peas–you’ll churn out a pretty darn nutritious and satiating one-pot-wonder. Serve with your favorite crusty bread and dinner is served!

    bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

    Instant Pot Beef Stew leftovers can be reheated in the Instant Pot, stove, or microwave, but you may need to add a little extra broth to thin it out again. I think it tastes even better the next day!

    Here’s a smart idea. While you have all the ingredients out, go ahead and prep one Instant Pot Beef Stew for tonight and one for another night or to pass along to someone in need. Freezing instructions are included in this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe, like all our freezer-friendly meals. You can store it in the freezer for 3-6 months and then–magically!–cook this stew directly from frozen in the Instant Pot later. Check out these tips for cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot.

    bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin
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    bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

    Instant Pot Beef Stew

    • Author: Rachel
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 47 minutes
    • Total Time: 57 minutes
    • Yield: 6 servings 1x
    • Category: Beef
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    Comforting and delicious Beef Stew comes together quickly in the Instant Pot. The beef and vegetables melt into the velvety sauce making this meal worthy of guests or a weeknight dinner.


    Ingredients

    • 12 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 12 cups sliced carrots
    • 12 cups sliced celery stalks
    • salt and ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
    • Pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)*
    • 1/2 cup red wine (recommended: Pinot Noir)
    • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce*
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • About 1 1/22 pounds stew meat (preferably grass-fed and organic)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/23 cups)
    • 1 cup frozen peas

    Instructions

    1. Turn on the Saute function. Heat the oil until shimmering. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 7 minutes. Season lightly with the salt and pepper, to taste, as they cook. Add in the thyme and red pepper, too. Stir in the garlic the last 30-60 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    2. Stir in the wine, broth, tomato paste, and soy sauce until smooth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the Saute function. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
    3. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and nestle into the cooker. Stir in the bay leaf and potatoes. (Do not add the peas yet.)
    4. 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.
    5. Discard bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

    Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1 and 2. Let the sauce cool and then add to a one gallon freezer bag or pressure cooker-shaped container with lid. 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. Follow Steps 4-5. (The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.)

    COOKING NOTES:

    *To make this recipe Gluten-Free: 

    • Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari soy sauce in place of the soy sauce.
    • Do not add the flour at the beginning of the recipe. Instead, thicken the stew by using arrowroot powder right after Step 4 (before Step 5). To do so, in a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons arrowroot with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir this into the stew. (It will thicken up shortly.) Then, follow Step 5. 

    Instant Pot Tomato Soup

    By Polly Conner

    This freezer-friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup has it all. Since it is a great freezer meal, I’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

    Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

    I am all about taking killer recipes and translating them to work in the Instant Pot. Tomato soup is a recipe that the Instant Pot was made for. It comes together incredibly fast and only uses a few dishes.

    When I shared about making this large batch Instant Pot Tomato Soup on our Instagram Stories a few days ago, I didn’t realize what a fan favorite it’d be. 

    “I’m legit scratching down notes during these instastories!”

    [email protected] 

    “This is by far my favorite recipe in your cookbook!”

    [email protected]

    As a former tomato soup hater, I give this recipe credit for my conversion. My dear friends and loved ones, you’ll never go back to eating Tomato Soup from a can again. 

    Instant Pot tomato soup in a white bowl

    Freezing and Storing Instant Pot Tomato Soup

    Now here is the beauty of making a large batch of tomato soup in the Instant Pot: It only gets better after freezing. (At least, in my opinion). I took the leftovers from this batch and froze a few in individual portions and then the rest in a large portion. Now I have a few for quick lunches for myself and another for dinner down the road. Just use one of our three safe ways to thaw food and you’ll be set. 

    Frozen tomato soup in bag and in jars in the freezer

    I’m super excited to get this freezer friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup recipe in your hands. And in my belly. Because I have a jar of it thawing out in the fridge as I type this. Yum!

    How to Make Tomato Soup in the Instant Pot

    Note: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries. Here is how to make the Tomato Bisque on the stove.

    While the exact recipe is below, we wanted to make sure you knew about our Printable Instant Pot cooking times chart. It’s an amazing, well-tested resource that you must have if you own an Instant Pot.

    OK, on to the recipe!

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    Instant Pot tomato soup in a white bowl

    Instant Pot Tomato Soup (Freezer Meal)

    • Author: Polly
    • Prep Time: 5 minutes
    • Cook Time: 7 minutes
    • Total Time: 12 minutes
    • Yield: 10 1x
    • Category: Soup
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    This large batch freezer friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup has been a huge win in my house over and over again. You won’t even consider touching canned tomato soup again.


    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
    • 2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
    • 6 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Salt and ground black pepper
    • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or stock (sub: chicken stock)
    • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid and all
    • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup half and half, or more to taste
    • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

    Instructions

    1. Turn on Saute function and heat the oil. Saute the onion and carrots until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper while they cook. Add the garlic the last 30-60 seconds of cook time. Press Cancel.
    2. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. Season lightly with more salt and pepper and stir until combined. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
    3. Seal and lock the lid. Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure and then quick release the pressure.
    4. Either transfer the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot and puree until very smooth. (Note: Please be careful during this step! Don’t fill the blender entirely full. Cover the lid with a towel and hold securely while blending, so the lid doesn’t pop off.) Carefully, return the soup to the pot.
    5. Stir in the butter and half and half until butter is melted. Taste and then season the soup with salt and pepper to your preference.
    6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

    Notes

    Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. 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 Frozen: Note: 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. Follow Steps 3-6, except cook for 12-15 minutes with a quick release.

    Looking for more large meals? Here are 20 Easy Meal Ideas for a Large Group

    meals for a crowd

    The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

    By Rachel Tiemeyer

    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.

    Why is this the very best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup, you ask?

    For starters, you’ll slurp up the very best healthy, vegetable-based foods that are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and more PLUS enjoy incredible taste in one bowl. I have a hard time stopping eating this soup…but, hey, that’s not a bad problem to have when it’s this good for you! I love that it’s filling and will satisfy even the meat-lover in your life. (I’m looking at you, hubs).

    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    You’ll begin building flavor with the classic combination of sautéed onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, which you’ll season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The red pepper adds a hint of heat in the background that helps to clear the sinuses. (At the end, you’ll stir in kale, which melts into the soup adding the nutritional powerhouse of greens but not adversely affecting the taste.)

    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    Then, you’ll throw in vegetable broth (I prefer organic) and fire-roasted tomatoes into the Instant Pot. Fire-roasted tomatoes are my go-to type in soups, because they have a notably more complex flavor than just regular ole diced tomatoes. They add in Vitamin C, fiber, and are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (poor eyesight as you get older). Whoop-whoop!

    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    Heartiness and fiber comes from the black beans and barley in this vegetable soup. At the store, look for pearl barley, which is one of the cheapest whole grains you can find. I found it in the bulk bin in the health food section. The barley holds its texture well in the soup, which surprised me the first time I tested this. It’s does much better than pasta or orzo, which can get mushy pretty quickly. I am officially a pearl barley fan.

    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    Lastly, bay leaves and the coveted Parmesan rind (the outside edge of a Parmesan wedge) take this brothy soup to new horizons. Vegans can omit the optional Parmesan rind, but it sure adds depth to the soup that’s hard to replicate. Just ask the cheese counter to cut you off a piece of rind, if you don’t want to invest in a wedge. Mine was less than $2.

    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    Time to fill your pot and get cooking the BEST Instant Pot vegetable soup, in my humble opinion. Bonus: you can freeze this soup in small quantities after it’s done to warm up for quick, healthy lunches in the future, too.

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    The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    • Author: Thriving Home
    • Prep Time: 5 minutes
    • Cook Time: 19 minutes
    • Total Time: 24 minutes
    • Yield: 68 servings 1x
    • Category: Soup
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    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.


    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 34 celery ribs, sliced
    • 34 medium carrots, sliced
    • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    • Pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 quart (32 ounces) all-natural vegetable broth (sub: chicken broth)
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced fire-roasted tomatoes
    • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • ⅓ cup pearl barley (sub: 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
    • 12 bay leaves
    • 1 (2-3 inch) Parmesan rind*
    • 23 cups chopped kale, packed (sub: chopped baby spinach)
    • Optional Toppings: grated Parmesan cheese*, fresh chopped parsley

    *omit if making a Dairy-Free version


    Instructions

    1. Turn on the Saute function and heat the oil. Saute the onions, celery, and carrots, stirring frequently, until the vegetables softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste, as they cook. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes the last 30-60 seconds.
    2. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, barley, bay, and Parm rind, and stir to combine.(Option 1 freezing instructions begin here.) 
    3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release when done. Remove the bay leaves and Parm rind (or leave the rind to add more flavor as it sits, if you want). 
    4. Stir in the kale and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes, until softened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts, to taste. 
    5. Serve warm in individual bowls, and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley as desired.

    Freeze For Later:

    Method 1 (Before Cooking): Follow Steps 1-2. 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. Follow Steps 4-5.

    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. 

    How to Make Instant Pot Freezer Meals

    By Polly Conner

    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. 

    Freezer Meal and Instant Pot

    To make this easy to digest, we’ve chosen to break it down into two parts:

    1. How to Prepare Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

    2. How to Cook Freezer Meals in the Instant Pot

    How to Make Instant Pot Freezer Meals

    Tips on How to Prepare Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

    • Find the right recipes. Most recipes that can be made in the slow cooker will work great in the Instant Pot. The difference is, the 6 quart Instant Pot needs at least 1 cup of liquid for the contraption to work. If you have a freezer meal recipe that doesn’t have 1 cup of liquid, we recommend adding water or stock to the Instant Pot before cooking it.
    • Freeze your 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!
    • If possible, don’t stack your meat when freezing. We have learned this the hard way. Because the Instant Pot cooks so fast, if meat (especially fast cooking boneless chicken) is stacked, it’s really hard for it all to cook evenly. The outside gets WAY done and the instant remains pink as a pig. (Is that a phrase? It is now.)
    • Large cuts of meat should be cut into small pieces. We’re talking pork shoulders and beef roasts. Kind of that same concept above but in order for meat to cook evenly, 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 breast and thighs seem to do fine as they are.

    Freezer meal in front of an Instant Pot

    How to Cook Freezer Meals in the Instant Pot

    • Sauté the meal 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 there 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.
    • Allow extra time to come to pressure. 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.
    • Add extra time to cooking (sometimes). I wish there is a one size fits all pattern to freezer meal cooking times in the Instant Pot this but the trend 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.

    Our Freezer Meal Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart will come out on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

    Ready to get started? Swing by and browse all of our Instant Pot recipes in our recipe index. Also, make sure to sign up for our email list so you’ll be alerted when our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker: 75+ Freezer Meals for Slow Cooker and Electric Pressure Cooker releases.

    “Cheeseburger” Instant Pot Pasta

    By Polly Conner

    Cheeseburger Instant Pot Pasta is an easy, one pot meal is full of flavor and sure to please little ones and grow ups alike.

    pasta in a bowl

    Around my house any kind of spaghetti dish is sure to be a hit. If it involves some kind of pasta and some kind of red sauce, I can pretty much guarantee there will be full bellies by the end of dinner. It’s not a risky, controversial food like chicken or cheese my three year old can’t identify. Cue food negotiations.

    This Instant Pot Cheeseburger pasta is the perfect, simple pasta dish to please your crowd on a week night. While its’ name may conjure up images of a greasy drive-through paper bag, in reality, it’s a dish you can feel good about serving to your family. It’s made with whole wheat pasta, and the ground beef can easily be subbed out for ground turkey, and it would be every bit as tasty. There are even some sneaky veggies in there that may go undetected, but add to the big flavor.

    Like all the most exciting Instant Pot recipes all your work is done right there in the pot. I still can’t get over the thrill and ease of it all.

    Begin by setting your Instant Pot to saute on medium. As it heats up, dice up some onion and green pepper.

    Next throw your veggies into the pot with a pound of ground beef and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, and cook until beef is cooked through and veggies are tender. Drain any excess grease.

    Next you dump your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and a box of uncooked rotini into the Instant Pot, and give it all a good stir to combine.

    Instant Pot Pasta

    Seal on your lid, and and set to pressure cook for a mere 4 minutes and BOOM, perfectly cooked pasta absolutely bursting with rich, tomato flavor.

    Instant Pot Pasta

    Now it’s time to put the “cheese” in Cheeseburger Pasta. Add a little (or a lot) of shredded cheddar and mix until gloriously melty.

    And just like that you’ve pulled together a easy, toddler-approved pasta dish that you can feel good about serving to your crew.

    Here’s the proof…

    Print

    bowl of cheeseburger pasta

    “Cheeseburger” Instant Pot Pasta

    • Author: Alyssa
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Total Time: 39 minutes
    • Yield: serves 8 1x
    • Category: Pasta
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    This “Cheeseburger” pasta is super simple to pull together on a weeknight, but is flavorful and filling enough to please a crowd.


    Ingredients

    • 1 box whole wheat rotini
    • 1.25 pounds ground beef or turkey
    • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup onion, diced
    • 1 cup green pepper, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Instructions

    1. Set Instant Pot to saute on medium and add ground beef or turkey, diced onion, diced green pepper, and garlic. Cook until meat is browned, and vegetable are tender. Drain off any excess grease.
    2. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper, and uncooked rotini. Mix together until combined.
    3. Seal Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 4 minutes.
    4. Do quick release and stir in the cheddar cheese. Top with extra sprinkle of cheddar cheese if desired.

    About the Author

    Alyssa and family from Always Overdressed Alyssa is a former English teacher turned stay-at-home mama to a three year old little wildflower named Lucy, and one year old, Jacob, with fire-engine red hair. She married her high school sweetheart and still thinks he’s dreamy. She likes to write about, talk about, make, and most importantly eat delicious, nourishing food. You can follow her journey at alwaysoverdressedbyalyssa.com where she passionately writes about her faith, family and parenting, mama style, and, of course, food.

    Instant Pot Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

    By Polly Conner

    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!

    Steel cut oatmeal in a blue bowl

    Thanks to this Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe, my Instant Pot horizons have been expanded. I’m not the only one who liked it. My husband is on record for saying, “You can make that anytime you want to.” Which in husband language is saying, “I really liked that recipe.”

    Steel Cut Oatmeal in a blue bowl

    OK, lets talk steel cut oats for a minute, shall we? What are these little morsels?

    Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats

    Steel-cut oats come from the same plant as rolled oats. The difference is how they are processed. Steel-cut oats are never cooked and start from the whole grain that is then passed through slender blades that cut the oat kernel into thin slices. Keeping them in this form helps them retain more fiber and protein.

    Conversely, rolled or quick oats are steamed and then rolled out flat. Flattening the oat out helps it to cook faster on your stove.

    Steel cut oatmeal with blueberries on top

    So, in conclusion, to pack a little more healthy punch into your breakfast, opt for the steel cut oats. What I love about this recipe is that the modifications are endless. If you start with a base of plain steel cut oats, you can add any ingredient that your heart desires to have in your oatmeal.

    A few ideas of toppings for your Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal:

    • Maple syrup or honey
    • Chopped nuts like pecans, almonds, or walnuts
    • Fresh fruit like blueberries, strawberries, apples, or bananas
    • Dried fruit
    • Peanut butter or almond butter
    • Dark chocolate chips
    Close up image of instant pot steel cut oatmeal with blueberries
    Print

    Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal

    • Author: Polly
    • Prep Time: 3 minutes
    • Cook Time: 22 minutes
    • Total Time: 25 minutes
    • Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings 1x
    • Category: Breakfast
    • Method: Instant Pot
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

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


    Ingredients

    • 23 Tablespoons butter (sub: ghee or coconut oil)
    • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
    • 4 1/2 cups water (or milk)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar (can easily cut this half and add more at the end)
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

    Instructions

    Make It Now:

    1. Select the sauté function on the Instant Pot and melt the butter. Add the oats and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the water and salt and give it a stir. Make sure all the oats are submerged in the liquid.
    3. Lock and seal the lid. Cancel the sauté function and set the cooking time for 12 minutes at high pressure. After cooking, let the oats naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Move the pressure release valve to venting to release any remaining steam.
    4. When you open the pot you’ll notice there is excess liquid. Give it a stir to incorporate. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
    5. Serve warm. Top with any additional toppings you might want (i.e. milk, fresh fruit, more sugar or cinnamon, etc.).

     

    Freeze For Later:

    After the oatmeal has fully cooked and cooled slightly, portion it out into jumbo muffin tins (or smaller tins will work). Place in the freezer until frozen solid (about an hour). Pop the individual portions out into a gallon-sized freezer bag and seal tightly.

    Prepare From Frozen:

    Place one frozen serving of oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl. Add about 1/3 cup milk and microwave in 45-second intervals, stirring between each, until warmed through. Add more milk to reach desired consistency.


    Notes

    To Make in the Slow Cooker: Add 6 cups of liquid (instead of 4 1/2) and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    Hand holding a bowl of instant pot steel cut oatmeal

    Make sure to check out our other breakfast ideas in our recipe index!

    Instant Pot 101

    By Polly Conner

    In an effort to answer the increasing amount of questions we are getting about Instant Pots, we thought we’d create a resource page. Hope this can help answer some of those burning questions about the Instant Pot!

    A great resource page for Instant Pot beginners! This post answers basic questions you may be asking about the newest craze, The Instant Pot.

    Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

    Home cooks are loving the ease and versatility of the Instant Pot. Any appliance that allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your people is a win in our book. We especially love that the Instant Pot can cook freezer meals straight from frozen! This means if you forget to thaw your meal out the night before, no sweat! Pop it in the Instant Pot, set the machine and walk away.

    Read more