In addition, it has freed up not only space but time as well — there are foods that we can now cook in under half the time of the “old methods,” making this the PERFECT appliance for any busy home!
I honestly think some days if we didn’t have some in-pot recipes to turn to we’d be stuck eating cereal for dinner!
Seriously, no more worrying if I have time to prep a crock pot meal before work, I can now grab amazing cheap instant pot recipes and get dinner together in usually around half an hour or so, even if I do zero prep until the minute I walk in the door after work!
What Is An Instant Pot?
If you don’t know what an instant pot is it’s a fairly new kitchen appliance that is 7 tools in one. You can use an instant pot for all of the following functions: pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, saute pan, yogurt maker, steamer, and warming pot.
We were skeptical about getting an instant pot, at first. New appliances always seem to pop up claiming to replace half of your kitchen.
After listening to our family members rave and reading through some of the 26,000 positive Amazon reviews, we made the jump.
But once we realized how easy it was to just use ONE item for so many different recipes, well let’s just say that we were totally sold.
When you can cook breakfast, make easy and delicious dinners for your family, or even make mouth-watering desserts all with just this one dish? Well, that’s just taking the cooking game to a whole new level!
It’s honestly been life-changing, and we highly recommend you look into getting your own to help simplify your life. The best place to purchase your own instant pot is right on Amazon.
What Can I Use An Instant Pot For?
The more appropriate question might be “what can I not use an instant pot for?”
Since this one appliance replaces so many others, there really isn’t a recipe or an ingredient that you can’t get cooked just right using an instant pot!
But don’t let the term “cooking” limit you. If you can think of other situations where its functions might apply, then feel free to use it! One example that immediately comes to mind is home canning in mason jars.
Another way to get creative is to gasp and get yourself two instant pots.
Why? Because then you can be making two identical pots of the exact same meal, and one can be for dinner tonight plus some leftovers, and the other can be for making batch meal prepping that much more convenient!
(If you don’t know how to meal prep, read this!)
Can I Make Cheap Instant Pot Meals Healthy?
While yes, you do commonly find many cheap instant pot meals full of rich sauces and a lot of calories, it’s totally possible to find and make recipes that are either lighter fare in general, or are modified to save your waist from expanding!
The other great thing about cooking with an instant pot is that, unlike some other cooking methods, the pressure cooking aspect does a great job of NOT stripping vegetables of their flavor and nutrients.
The only thing worse than trying to get kids to eat their veggies is trying to get kids to eat veggies that either taste like nothing or taste gross from overcooking!
Use your instant pot on the weekend to whip up a bunch of healthy, flavorful veggies to use in lunches all week long to make packing your kids a healthy lunch that much easier!
Can I Make Instant Pot Meals When I’m Not Home?
The answer to this one is both yes and no. But lucky for you, the “no” answer won’t be a problem in most cases!
If you’re only going to use the instant pot to make a quick batch of plain white rice, for example, you’ll have that made in about 20 minutes or less (depending on the amount), so while you could turn it on and walk out the door, it’ll be sitting all day long, ready to go and waiting for you.
I wouldn’t want to eat it after it sat for nearly 8 hours. But since it’s so quick to cook up that batch of rice, you don’t even need to worry about the fact that you’ll have to wait to cook it until you get home! Even the
If you’re going to use it for a crock pot recipe, on the other hand, then yes, you 100% can leave it cooking while you’re gone at work exactly the same as if you were using a traditional slow cooker. Just make sure you have an instant pot slow cooker lid on hand for those recipes!
After using the instant pot for a while now, we put together a list of some of our favorite cheap instant pot recipes. As always these recipes are easy to follow and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Beef
Nothing like a good french dip sandwich for lunch or dinner. With the instant pot, the meat will almost fall apart on its own without your help. This is the perfect recipe to try the slow cooker function on your instant pot. #SetItAndForgetIt
One of my all-time favorite meals, especially in the cold winters in upstate NY. We shop at Aldi’s and they sell a beef stew kit for around $7. We simply throw everything into our instant pot and let the magic happen. 30 mins. later we have a hot & hardy dinner ready on the table.
I think anyone who follows us knows by now that we love beef & broccoli – we seriously almost can’t get enough of that meal! But sometimes finding a new way to make it is worth it, like this recipe! When it comes to (under) 5 ingredient instant pot meals, this one always wins in our book!
A good beef stroganoff recipe that you can use as one of your healthy instant pot dump recipes is always worth a printed copy for your cookbook! This is a meal that’s affordable, (mostly) healthy, full of flavor, and never goes out of style!
Chili is one of those foods that can fit in just about anywhere — a cold winter’s night, a tailgate party, or even a dish to pass at a family gathering!
The recipe only calls for “meat sauce,” but by making this with ground beef in the sauce you’ll have a satisfying dish too popular to leave any leftovers!
A 3-part meal, made in one pot but not in casserole form? Sign me up!
Meatloaf and potatoes are such a classic, filling, and affordable meal, but the effort it takes sometimes makes it hard to fit in on a weeknight. Maximizing the use of your instant pot by stacking foil packs is genius!
Pot roast is one of those recipes that really does need the slow cooking time, so getting the same great flavor in just an hour in your instant pot is an amazing time saver! You could get this recipe prepped the night before (or in the morning before work), and just drop the insert into the instant pot when you get home for dinner in no time!
Cheap Instant Pot Chicken Recipes – Chicken & Turkey
Life Made Sweeter never disappoints with food recipes. This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is colorful and flavorful as ever. This is one of those perfect meal-prepping recipes that you can have leftovers throughout the week.
Ever walk into your supermarket and smell the fresh rotisserie chicken at the checkout lines? It’s a healthy and delicious meal you work into a ton of different recipes. The best part is you can start cooking it right at home in your instant pot in under 40 mins!
Tacos are a regular in our house, literally every Tuesday. It’s nice to change things up every once and in a while and try a new recipe. We found these crispy chicken carnitas to be absolutely divine. Totally adding this to our regular monthly meals.
For healthy fast instant pot recipes, this one is pretty high. It’s full of flavor, protein, and veggies, and it’s super easy to make! Nuts are a great source of protein and a great way to add some new flavors to your week!
Make it for sandwiches (per the recipe) or just make it to eat straight or with noodles. But whatever you do, make it soon — it’s delicious!
Move over, Olive Garden! If there was ever a recipe that made it 100% worth it to buy yourself an instant pot, it would be this one. Replace the taste of restaurant perfection, every night, but without the huge cost!
It’s a little bit of Taco Tuesday, a little bit healthy, and a whole lot of delicious! This just proves that when it comes to taco instant pot recipes, ground beef doesn’t always have to be your star player!
In just about the same time as it takes to order Chinese takeout, you can make it at home! When you have healthy, fast instant pot recipes like this one, it just doesn’t make sense to waste your money on takeout anymore!
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t love some good chicken alfredo, so now is the chance to have this recipe made in one dish, for a quick clean-up and tastier dinners during the week!
Ah, chicken wings. Can’t live without them, but we COULD totally live without the crazy cost of ordering them from a pizza place. Finally, an affordable solution! Imagine the cost savings for having homemade chicken wings at your next tailgate party, instead of ordering them!
Here’s a fun twist on a classic recipe, that’s both an instant pot dump recipe and a sure-to-be-a-big-hit recipe!
Everyone loves making Asian recipes, but the time it takes to make it in a traditional wok can sometimes be prohibitive. By tossing this together and making it in an instant pot, you’ll be enjoying it in no time!
Whether you’re making this for dinner tonight or for scrumptious lunches for the week, this is the kind of recipe you’ll keep making over and over, both for how easy and for how fast it is!
I love chicken parm, but I hate how long it takes to make it! To be able to make it in the instant pot in about half an hour is such a dream!
Chicken thighs are a great, affordable cut to use for family dinners, to try to stretch your dollars! With a simple recipe like this as your go-to, you can mix and match with just about any side dish for an easy, complete, and healthy dinner in minutes!
Lo mein is one of those meals that’s bordering on comfort food for many people! Lucky for us, it’s easier to make than ever in this easy instant pot recipe!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Pork
Most often, pork ribs are a little cheaper so that’s why we put this recipe here, despite the recipe indicating you can use either pork ribs or beef.
I love that this recipe gives us a way to bring some summer to our winters, by letting us enjoy some good BBQ flavor without having to try to grill in the snow!
This is a delicious twist on what could be a standard, plain Jane pork chop recipe! Try mixing this into your weekly meal plan for a nice change!
Pork tenderloin is a great cut of meat if you have the time to cook it, so the option of making a great meal in the instant pot with this cut is amazing!
Here’s a fun, summery twist on a pulled pork recipe! Why wait for warmer weather or a special occasion, just put this recipe at the top of your list and enjoy!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Sausage & Meatballs
Another perfect instant pot recipe to bring to any party as an appetizer. These meatballs are absolutely incredible! We also make meatball subs from time to time and this recipe is perfect. The cook time on these healthy meatballs is around 10 mins. in the instant pot. #TimeSaver
Another incredible meatball recipe that can be done quickly right in your instant pot. Unlike the sweet teriyaki meatballs above this recipe from What Great Grandma Ate is all about spicing it up. If your family likes things a little spicier this is a great recipe to try.
I love that this recipe is simple enough for an everyday dinner, but just “fancy” enough by using tortellini to feel like it’s worthy of a special occasion.
You could definitely opt to replace the sausage with shrimp for a slightly more “exotic” or “fancy” twist on this recipe!
Serve these over spaghetti noodles for a dinner no one can say no to, or serve them alone with toothpicks for a 5-star appetizer!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Side Dishes & Soups
You can never go wrong with Mac & Cheese for dinner. Not the healthiest option, but sure to please your entire family. It’s always a great side dish to have with any tailgating or cookout party.
One of the staples in our family is rice. We have rice a few times a week, whether it is with chicken, chili, or just a side we enjoy having perfectly cooked rice with our meals. This instant pot recipe makes rice easier than ever to make.
A fun, flavorful twist on the classic (and sometimes boring) plain white rice. Try adding this as a side to pair with the chicken carnitas higher on this list for a tasty dinner!
What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to customize it to your liking! Add some chicken and noodles to make it a little more hearty, add bacon and potatoes to combine soup flavors, or tweak it to be more like a cheddar/cream sauce for a totally unique dish of your own making!
Baked ziti in less than 10 minutes? Oh my goodness, yes, please! Add some browned ground meat to this recipe to make it an entire meal, or leave it as-is for a delicious side dish.
No one likes slaving over a stove for hours to make a delicious soup, but with your instant pot, you don’t have to! This one is a wintertime favorite around here!
Here’s another one of those recipes that you NEED to add to your collection, first to save money on takeout and second because it’s just plain delicious!
This is one of the best instant pot recipes for eating healthy, and fast. It’s packed full of great nutrition and it’s ready in about 20 minutes! That’s a serious mom win!
Most everyone knows that it usually takes a good hour to make some solid, tasty baked potatoes. How does 20-30 minutes sound?!
What use would your instant pot be if you couldn’t make a (mostly) healthy side dish to go with your amazing dinners?
Who doesn’t love some fresh, perfectly cooked sweet corn? With this easy instant pot recipe, you’ll be enjoying this sweet treat in no time!
Here’s another recipe that’s perfect for both parties and a midnight snack. Just make sure you’re not out of chips for dipping before you make it!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Breakfasts
We cannot be the only family that is obsessed with breakfast. We regularly have breakfast for dinner at least once a week, it is so cheap! With just a few ingredients this instant pot egg bake is perfect for a cheap dinner on the go during the busy week.
Finally, a way to have delicious French toast without the whole standing over a stove forever thing! This recipe calls for cinnamon bread, to make it even more amazing!
This recipe is in the breakfast section because we all know where deviled eggs start – as hard-boiled eggs! This recipe pulls double duty as both a great recipe for serving up a party appetizer or for simply making some quick hard-boiled eggs for a healthy instant pot breakfast!
Cheap Instant Pot Recipes – Desserts
You’ve spent all this time working on all these delicious instant pot dinner recipes, isn’t it time to relax? Whether for a birthday cake or just because, it cooks in just a few minutes so you’ve got no excuses to not have a homemade Angel Food cake for your next party!
Scratch brownies are ALWAYS tastier than homemade. If you don’t believe me, it’s because you’ve never tried this before!
Cheesecake is one of those recipes that either scares people or they’re pros at it. I’m not sure which one I am, but with a recipe in my pocket like this, I might just become a pro! Yum!