Quick Instant Pot Dinners for Busy Nights

Short on time? Choose one of these 25+ Quick Instant Pot Dinners and get a flavorful, home-cooked meal on the table in under 30 minutes. 

Collage image of Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup, Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken, and Instant Pot Egg Roll Bowls in the 25 Instant Pot Quick Meals post by Pressure Cooking Today

Life seems to speed up in the fall! Whether you’re coming home from a long day at work or squeezing in dinner between practice and bedtime. Your electric pressure cooker can be your best friend when you’re short on time and need to get dinner on the table.

These quick dinners will work in the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Mealthy MultiPot, and any other brand of electric pressure cooker!

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Time-Saving Tips for Making Dinner in a Pressure Cooker

Planning ahead makes a really big difference in being able to pull off a quick dinner. It helps you when time is tight and ensures you have what you need on hand and ready to go.

Know When to Skip Steps

If you’re in a rush, there are certain steps you can skip in the cooking process, like browning the meat before cooking. Keep in mind that this can affect the flavor of the finished dish. I wouldn’t recommend it for meals where the browning is a significant part of the flavor. However, for meals that have a significant amount of seasoning, this can be a time saver!

Sometimes having the meal finished is good enough.

Pot-in-Pot (PIP) method for making rice in your Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot

Cook Pot in Pot

Do you know how to use the pot in pot method in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot? It’s a great time saver because you can cook the main dish and side dish at the same time in the same cooking pot!

I love this trick for basics like making the pasta sauce at the same time as the pasta. (See my How to Cook Pasta Sauce in the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker post for a full explanation.)

I also love to cook white rice pot-in-pot with pretty much any diced chicken recipe. (Check out how we do it in our Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice post!)

Pressure Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup ingredients in the Instant Pot

Choose Quick Cooking Ingredients

Even though pressure cookers cook hotter and faster than stovetops, they can only do so much. For quick meals, you’ll need to use quick-cooking ingredients like chicken, white rice, and pasta. 

Diced or sliced meats will cook more quickly than whole cuts of meat. For example, thinly sliced chuck roast cooks in 12 minutes at high pressure, while a whole chuck roast takes 75 to 90 minutes at high pressure.

Also keep in mind that cold ingredients or recipes with large amounts of liquid like soups will take longer to reach pressure.

Dice chicken into bite-size pieces and freeze flat to use in your pressure cooker/instant pot

General Cooking Tips to Save Time in the Kitchen

Prep the Night Before

I know, I know, skip this step if it’s 5:30 and you need dinner now

However, if you’re planning in advance of a busy week, remember that doing things ahead of time like dicing the chicken and onions, measuring spices, and even having the Instant Pot assembled and on the counter will help cooking go smoothly at dinner.

It might keep me up a few minutes later, but I’m always kicking myself the next day if I skip it.

(See more of my Instant Pot time-saving tricks here.)

Dice enough veggies for two different meals and refrigerate one for later

Keep Common Ingredients on Hand

If there are certain meals your family asks for over and over, make sure you keep a good supply of the ingredients on hand. For example, in the winter my family asks for the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup several times a month, so I make sure to keep a box or two of the Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice on hand all the time.

(I always try to restock when I use the second-to-last box in the pantry. That way, I have a cushion if I forget and don’t have to run to the store when the meal’s halfway prepared.)

For perishable ingredients, like carrots, onions, and celery, I like to buy a little more than what I need so I can chop and freeze the leftovers. 

What tips do you have for making dinners quick? Let me know in the comments!

 


25+ Quick Instant Pot Dinners

When you need to get dinner on the table FAST, use one of these easy and quick pressure cooker / Instant Pot dinner recipes.

(Listed in order of total time in the kitchen.)

1

Pressure Cooker Chinese Lemon Chicken

Active Time 3 minutes Total Time 13 minutes

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Chinese Lemon Chicken cooks up quick and features tender pieces of chicken in a sweet lemon sauce, seasoned with just a hint of ginger, garlic, and red pepper.

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2

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Egg Roll Bowls

Active Time 2 minutes Total Time 15 minutes

All the flavor of an egg roll in an easy-to-make, easy-to-serve bowl. Since the cabbage and carrots come preshredded, you can have a tasty, low-carb meal on the table in under 30 minutes!

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3

Pressure Cooker Chicken Lazone

Active Time 3 minutes Total Time 20 minutes

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Chicken Lazone features seasoned chicken strips fried in butter, pressure cooked until tender, served over pasta in a rich cream sauce. Get this decadent meal on your table in under 30 minutes!

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4

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice

Active Time 4 minutes Total Time 14 minutes

This Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli recipe features bite-size pieces of chicken and crisp-tender broccoli, smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and served over fluffy white rice. You'll have this family favorite on your table in UNDER 30 minutes!

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5

The Best Pressure Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

Active Time 1 minute Total Time 16 minutes

This delicious Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup has a 1-minute pressure cook time and a creamy texture with bites of broccoli and carrots!

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6

Pressure Cooker Chicken Shawarma

Active Time 10 minutes Total Time 20 minutes

This Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma made with spices you probably already have in your cupboard. A Middle Eastern meal, tender chunks of seasoned chicken thighs are served on lettuce leaves with Tzatziki sauce.

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7

Pressure Cooker Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Active Time 4 minutes Total Time 19 minutes

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta is a fusion of Tex-Mex and Italian. It’s a quick, one pot meal, perfect for a busy weeknight

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8

Pressure Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

Active Time 6 minutes Total Time 31 minutes

I’ve adapted one of my 30-minute meals, the Instant Pot Shredded Barbecue Chicken recipe from my cookbook, The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. I often use this chicken for both sandwiches and salads—it’s one I often keep on hand.

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9

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker American Chop Suey (aka Beefaroni)

Active Time 4 minutes Total Time 21 minutes

American Chop Suey is a classic comfort food made with macaroni, ground beef, onions, and bell peppers—then loaded with mozzarella and crisped until golden brown. Makes a big batch to feed a crowd and ready in under 30 minutes.

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10

Pressure Cooker Bow Tie Pasta

Active Time 5 minutes Total Time 25 minutes

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Bow Tie Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal—quick, easy and delicious! The pasta cooks in the sauce so you only have one pot to clean up. 

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11

Pressure Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole

Active Time 4 minutes Total Time 24 minutes

This Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole has all the flavors of stuffed green peppers BUT it's much easier to make in this Instant Pot casserole.

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12

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Active Time 3 minutes Total Time 25 minutes

Make this quick, easy to make Instant Pot dinner that tastes like one of your family's favorite Asian carry-out meals! This Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken features tender, bite-size chunks of chicken in a sweet, sticky sauce.

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13

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

Active Time 9 minutes Total Time 25 minutes

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Thai Chicken Thighs are fork-tender boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a Thai peanut sauce—cooked and on your table in under 30 minutes!

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14

Pressure Cooker Chicken Taco Filling

Active Time 15 minutes Total Time 28 minutes

This chicken taco filling is so versatile! It's great for taco salads, enchiladas, burritos, and more! And it's SO convenient for busy nights—you don't even have to remember thaw the frozen chicken!

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15

Pressure Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Active Time 3 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

If you love BBQ chicken and Hawaiian chicken teriyaki, you'll love this easy-to-make Pressure Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. A mash up of flavors with tender chunks of chicken and sweet pineapple in a tangy barbecue sauce.

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16

Pressure Cooker Kalua Chicken

Active Time 12 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

This tender, juicy, flavorful Pressure Cooker Kalua Chicken made with chicken thighs in a great alternative to Kalua Pork. You can have this easy pressure cooker meal on the table in 30 minutes. 

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17

Pressure Cooker Pork Tenderloin Marsala and Penne Pasta

Active Time 5 minutes Total Time 45 minutes

This Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin Marsala is a quick and easy dinner that's also gluten free.

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18

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Active Time 5 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

Pressure cooker chicken and wild rice soup is a cream-based soup loaded with chicken, long grain and wild rice, carrots, onion, and celery. A quick-cooking, hearty soup recipe you'll want to make again and again!

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19

Pressure Cooker Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

Active Time 6 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

This Pressure Cooker Pepperoni Pizza Pasta is a perfect family meal. It’s a 30 minute meal with an irresistible golden, cheesy top. It cooks up even quicker when you brown it in your Ninja Foodi or with your Mealthy Crisp Lid!

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20

Pressure Cooker Artichoke Chicken

Active Time 5 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

Artichoke chicken is a quick, easy, Instant Pot chicken dinner recipe. Smoked paprika gives this Pressure Cooker Artichoke Chicken tons of flavor as well as a pretty color—plus, you can make it with what you have on hand in your pantry!

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21

Pressure Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Active Time 12 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

This dish features tender, thin-sliced beef and broccoli in a rich sauce that is salty and sweet, with just a little heat from the red pepper flakes. It's better than take-out and comes together in about 30 minutes!

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22

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef

Active Time 12 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

A pressure cooker version of PF Changs popular mongolian beef recipe. This Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Mongolian Beef is made with thinly sliced flank steak, then cooked in a lightly sweet, garlic ginger sauce until tender. Plus, it's ready in about 30 minutes!

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23

Pressure Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Active Time 5 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken is a classic restaurant favorite that is easy to make at home. You'll love the combination of tender chicken thighs and a creamy, buttery tomato sauce—and it's ready in about 30 minutes! 

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24

Pressure Cooker Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo

Active Time 6 minutes Total Time 25 minutes

This Olive Garden recipe is packed with a TON of veggie goodness! Dreamy, creamy fettuccine alfredo—ready in under 30 minutes!

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25

Easy French Dip Sandwiches

Active Time 10 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

French Dip Sandwiches don't get much easier than this! Just toss the meat ingredients into the cooking pot and walk away while dinner makes itself. These Easy French Dip Sandwiches work great in the Instant Pot or any brand of electric pressure cooker.

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