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These easy 4-ingredient Instant Pot recipes are super delish

Want to make a home-cooked meal for your family but don’t have a lot of time to get it done? An Instant Pot may be the answer to your prayers. This multifunctional pressure cooker can make anything from roasts to pasta to chicken to desserts, in far less time than most other cooking appliances on the market today. 

In your quest for simple Instant Pot recipes, there’s no shortage of options available. But if you want to keep things really simple, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite Instant Pot recipes that take very little prep and cooking time, each with just four ingredients.

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Instant Pot

What is an Instant Pot, and why do you need one?

An Instant Pot is an electronic pressure cooker with a variety of preset programs that allow the appliance to perform in a variety of ways. It speeds up the cooking process by up to 10 times, using less energy than a traditional oven.

Available in a variety of designs and sizes (usually 6 quart or 8 quart), each Instant Pot has its own unique set of features, some even having WiFi capabilities or air fry functionality. The specific functions of each instant pot vary based on which model you select; however, most will include these basic functions:

  • Slow cooker
  • Pressure cooker
  • Rice cooker
  • Steamer
  • Sauté/browning
  • Yogurt maker
  • Warmer

4 easy Instant Pot meals with 4 ingredients each

Short on time, but still want to make a delicious home-cooked meal? You can make these tasty instant pot meals using only four ingredients.

4-Ingredient Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe

A perfect-for-busy-weeknights pasta, cacio e pepe uses basic pantry staples to create an authentic Italian favorite right in your pressure cooker — and in less than 15 minutes. “Cacio” is the Italian word for cheese; “pepe” means pepper. When you combine them, you get a humble pasta dish dressed with cheese and pepper that’s pure heaven. Your family will love it, and you’ll want to make it again and again.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Spaghetti (bucatini is best, but any spaghetti will work)
  • Salted butter
  • Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Note: Although this recipe can work when cooking the pasta in ordinary water, using low-sodium vegetable broth in place of water will give the pasta even more incredible flavor.

4-Ingredient Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Have a craving for ribs? These Instant Pot ribs will be ready in just 40 minutes using four simple ingredients. Brush on your favorite BBQ sauce, and these juicy, tender ribs will turn out finger-licking good.

A few tips:

  • Select baby back ribs, with uniform thickness and a nice amount of marbling. 
  • While homemade BBQ sauce is always better, it’s perfectly acceptable to use your favorite bottled BBQ sauce. 
  • For added flavor, you can swap in apple cider vinegar in place of water.
  • Adjust cooking timing according to your personal preference: 16 minutes (tender with a bit of chew) to 25 minutes (fall-off-the-bone tender).

Pepperoncini Italian Beef

Searching for a simple Instant Pot recipe that’s packed with flavor? This is it. This pepperoncini Italian beef has just four ingredients but packs a wallop for your tastebuds. It’s so simple to prepare — in just five minutes — and then your Instant Pot takes it from there. Served with a side of roasted vegetables, or on some crusty French bread as a mouthwatering hoagie sandwich, it’s the perfect easy dinner for busy weeknights or football-watching Sunday dinners with the family. 

Just put the ingredients in — beef roast, jarred pepperoncini, dry Italian mix, dry gravy seasoning mix — and out comes a tender, spicy, flavorful Italian beef roast!

Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

Whether you use it as the protein in a savory veggie bowl, as a stuffing for burritos or tacos, as a mix-in for your morning eggs, or as a topping for your salad, this Instant Pot salsa verde chicken is absolutely delectable. It takes five minutes to throw together, and by doubling the recipe you’ll have loads of leftovers for creating dinners and lunches for days.

Here’s all you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 16 oz. store-bought salsa verde
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced or finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

When you put your Instant Pot to use at dinnertime, you can whip together a tasty meal with just four ingredients and practically no time at all. All you need are a few basic ingredients for an “instant” dinner the whole family is going to love.  

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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…
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