Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

8 easy, healthy Instant Pot recipes anyone can make

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to make a meal but microwave cooking is not your thing, you may be ready for an Instant Pot. A multifunctional pressure cooker, an Instant Pot can cook everything from oatmeal to roasts to soups to desserts, and everything in between, and in far less time than just about any other cooking appliance.

Different from a slow cooker, which cooks food at lower heat for longer periods of time, an Instant Pot has multiple cooking functions, including pressure cooking, which is used to cook food at a higher heat for a shorter period of time.

A few facts about Instant Pots

There are many benefits to cooking in an Instant Pot: 

  • Minimal effort: You toss in the ingredients and your Instant Pot does all the work.
  • Fewer dirty dishes: No prep dishes required; everything goes directly into the Instant Pot.
  • Time management: Complete meals are ready in a matter of minutes. 
  • Healthy cooking: The Instant Pot’s shorter cooking times may contribute to greater preservation of food’s vitamins and minerals compared with other cooking methods.
  • Great for meal prep, too: Instant Pots can make many meal prep staples quickly and easily, making your cooking for the week that much easier. You can safely cook meat, even if it’s frozen. Use it to make a week’s worth of shredded chicken for tacos, wraps, salads, and rice bowls, to make hard-boiled eggs for salads or snacking, and to make steel-cut oats or cooked beans from dry to ready!

Ingredients to avoid using in the Instant Pot

  • Breaded foods and bread: Even if you use a rack, the steam cooking method used in Instant Pots will make the breading soggy.
  • Delicate cuts of meat
  • Cookies
  • Thickeners

bowl of chili with cheese and onion toppings

8 easy and healthy Instant Pot recipes

Turkey Chili

Few things are as satisfying and comforting as chili. Swapping out ground beef for ground turkey makes a healthier version of chili that you can enjoy guilt-free. One of the best parts about this recipe is that leftovers can freeze for up to three months, allowing you to have a bowl of chili whenever the craving strikes you.

Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce

The trick with this recipe is to place the salmon on a rack above a cup of water inside your Instant Pot without letting the salmon touch the water. Add a few slices of lemon for added flavor, and cook on high pressure for just three minutes. Once ready, add the lemon-dill sauce and a side salad, and dinner is ready. 

Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas

Boneless chicken thighs are richer in flavor than chicken breasts, and they blend beautifully into the mild tomato-based curry, which has coconut milk and layers of spice. Serve with garlic naan and a side of basmati rice (or cauliflower rice if you’re trying to lower your carbs).

Instant Pot Chicken Marsala Soup

If you like mushrooms, you’ll love this soup-ified version of chicken marsala. Pro tip: Warm up some crusty bread and use it to sop up all the broth.

Golden Turmeric Lentil Soup

A super quick and easy vegan soup, this goes from prep to table in about 20 minutes flat. Not only is this soup low in calories, but the lentils are jam-packed with nutrients, including calcium, iron, and potassium. They’re a great source of protein too. What’s even better is that the turmeric in the recipe can help boost your immune system, along with having a host of other health benefits.

Shrimp and Broccoli

This could very well be the absolute fastest meal you could ever make in your Instant Pot. It actually cooks for zero minutes, meaning that it merely needs to come to pressure and it’s done! Healthy, tasty, and super fast, this recipe will be your go-to for even the busiest weeknight dinner. 

Vegan Tacos with Smoky Lentils and Rice

Looking for a new idea for Meat-Free Monday? The meat-free filling — brown rice, lentils, and spices — is great in tacos and rice bowls. You’ll love the smoky taste of the lentils mixed with the crispy crunch of the vegetable topping.

Cashew Chicken

Make a healthier, fresher take on a classic Asian recipe! Great for weeknight dinners, this cashew chicken dish is ready to serve in under 45 minutes. Soy sauce, garlic, and ginger create a simple sauce that packs a wallop of flavor. It’s so much better than takeout. 

Have no time to cook but still want to give your family a healthy, home-cooked meal? It’s your Instant Pot to the rescue. With a few fresh ingredients and a new recipe or two, you’ll have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes. 

Editors' Recommendations

Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
Costco shoppers share their best ideas for quick and easy meals
You'll love these secret dinner ideas from Costco experts
Costco rotisserie chicken

We all want a tasty, easy dinner to make for ourselves and our family on weeknights. With activities, homework, bringing work home, and the general lack of time most of us have in the evenings, finding something that's both a value and fills us up is key. If you are a Costco member, you know just how much access to good food there is in that store. It's hard to walk out of there without at least five or six food items (not to mention a new book, some pillowcases, and a comedy-sized package of batteries).

Redditor Level-Swim-1984 posted this question on the subreddit r/Costco (which I never knew existed and am now obsessed with): "What’s a quick food item to eat at home?" adding, "Besides the chicken bake and hot dogs, what items...are [a] good value and tasty to have a quick dinner at home?" There's nothing like polling fellow Costco members to get pointed in the right direction for this week's meal prep.

Read more
Start off 2023 right: 8 low-cal dinner recipes that are actually tasty
If losing weight is on your 2023 resolution list, then try these healthy dinner recipes
Family preparing a meal together

We all overindulge a bit during the holidays. Between the baking, the parties, and the cocktails, the average American puts on about 5 pounds during the holiday season. Although it’s a bit of a cliche, the new year can give you a clean slate and an opportunity for big and small changes. 

If you’re trying to drop a few pounds in 2023, you’re not alone. Eating healthier and losing weight are always on the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions. But going from sugar cookies and eggnog to a diet of celery and lettuce is way too drastic a jump for most people. That’s why we think you’re going to love our assortment of yummy, healthy, low-calorie meals that are super tasty — and easy to make.

Read more
These easy recipes will give you the traditional Christmas dinner you crave
The best tried-and-true holiday recipes for a traditional Christmas dinner
Group of people gathered for the Christmas holiday

The holiday season is a magical time, but it also gets pretty hectic. Between shopping, wrapping, baking, and going to parties, some of the most beloved traditions can get lost in the shuffle. Trying new ways to decorate your home for the holidays or experimenting with trendy Christmas recipes is always fun, but there’s something so comforting about returning to some classic Christmas dishes.

If you’re hosting this year's holiday celebration and looking for some fresh ideas for dinner, why not look to the past? We’ve compiled some of our favorite traditional Christmas dinner ideas to make this your most merry and bright gathering ever.

Read more