Quick Instant Pot Dinners for Busy Nights

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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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Pinterest Image 25 Fast Dinners for Busy Nights with Indian Butter Chicken in the background

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.)

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Pinterest Image 25 Fast Dinners for Busy Nights by Pressure Cooking Today

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