5 Awesome, Family-Friendly Instant Pot Dinner Recipes for Fall
Has preparing a wholesome dinner for the family ever been easier than it is with the Instant Pot? We don’t think so, and apparently we’re not the only ones; on the last Amazon Prime Day, the 6 Quart Instant Pot sold out in 19 hours, which included a 4-hour technical glitch that halted sales.
While pressure cookers have been around forever, this set-and-forget device makes cooking so easy that anyone can do it. The best part is that most Instant Pot meals can be prepped and cooked in under an hour, which means that we can all sit down at the table together at a reasonable time. It’s even better if you prepare the ingredients the night before.
To be honest, in the summer, our Instant Pot only comes out on rare occasions, like when we make hard boiled eggs for egg salad, or the occasional batch of cilantro lime rice. For the most part, we want light, fresh foods like salads, grilled chicken, and avocado toast. But, fall is a different story; fall is when the Instant Pot really shines. Dishes like soups, casseroles, and fall-apart chicken all lend themselves well to the high heat pressure cooking cycle that tenderizes as it cooks. That’s why we decided to write this blog with five of our favorite fall Instant Pot recipes. Try them out, and don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken Sliders – Serves 8 (2 sliders each)
4 – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (About 3 lbs)
Pinch of salt
1/2 Cup – Unsalted chicken broth
¼ Cup – Sour cream
1 – Ranch dip packet
1 – 8oz block cream cheese cut into 1” cubes
2 Cups – Shredded cheddar cheese
2 TBSP – Franks Red Hot
1 Cup – Crumbled bacon (Cheat: I used ½ cup bacon bits because I was in a time crunch, but it worked well)
¼ Cup – Chives (Optional)
2 Packs – Slider buns
- Place chicken on the steaming rack in the Instant Pot.
- Pour unsalted chicken broth over chicken. The chicken should be sitting above the broth on the steaming rack. You don’t want boiled chicken, you want it to steam in the broth.
- Lightly salt the chicken breasts (You can use broth with salt added and skip this step, but it can be too salty when combined with the ranch packet).
- Set the instant pot to manual pressure cook and set the timer for 12 minutes.
- When the pressure-cooking cycle is done, turn the Instant Pot off and wait 10 minutes before manually releasing the left-over pressure.
- Move the chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. The more shredded, the better, as it allows the chicken to pack in more flavor.
- Put the instant pot on warm.
- Remove half of the liquid from the instant pot, remove the steaming rack, and return the shredded chicken to the instant pot.
- Stir in the bacon, sour cream, ranch dip packets, cream cheese, ½ the chives, and red hot until completely mixed and melted.
- Spoon a generous amount on a slider bun and top with a sprinkle of chives.
Ryan’s Healthier Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup (Serves 8-10)
1 TBSP – Vegetable oil
1 lb – Loose turkey sausage (I use Honeysuckle White Italian Turkey Sausage and remove from the casing, but any loose sausage will work.)
1 – Medium onion chopped
3 – Large green bell peppers
1 – 6oz can of tomato paste
1 – 28oz can of petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 – 16oz can of tomato sauce
1 Cup – Brown rice
4 Cups – Beef stock (This will produce a soup with the consistency of Jambalaya. If you like it “soupier”, use 6 cups.)
1 tsp – Salt
1 TBSP – Paprika
1 TBSP – Dried marjoram
1 tsp – Ham soup base (I use L.B. Jameson’s Ham Soup Base)
1 tsp – Crushed red pepper (Optional)
- Add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and turn to saute.
- When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they soften and start to turn translucent (about 3 minutes).
- Add the turkey sausage and cook for another 5 minutes, breaking up the turkey with a spatula as it cooks. The sausage doesn’t have to cook through; just cook it enough so that you can break it up into small crumbles.
- Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn off the Instant pot and add the remaining ingredients.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to soup/stock mode. Set the timer for 32 minutes.
- When the time is up, wait 10 minutes and carefully do a manual release of the remaining pressure. There will still be a lot of steam that needs to release, so use a wooden spoon to turn the pressure knob.
20 Minute Instant Pot Meatball Stroganoff (Serves 8)
1 – bag (24-28 oz) frozen party meatballs (I suggest Cooked Perfect Homestyle Meatballs or Trader Joes Party Sized Mini Meatballs)
2 – 12oz cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 Cups – Beef stock
1 Cup – Sour cream
1 TBSP – Worcestershire
1 tsp – Salt
- Put all ingredients except the sour cream into the Instant Pot and close the lid.
- Set the pressure to manual, and the time to 10 minutes.
- When done cooking, turn off the Instant Pot. After 5 minutes, do a manual release of the remaining pressure.
- Stir in the sour cream until it is incorporated into the sauce.
- Serve over buttered noodles, rice, or with crusty bread.
Hearty Instant Pot Cowboy Beans (Serves 8-10 as a meal)
1 ½ lbs – Ground beef (85% lean)
1 lb – Bacon chopped in ½” pieces
1 lb – Kielbasa cut into ½” circles
1 – Large onion diced
1 – 16 oz can of baked beans
1 – 16 oz can of red kidney beans
1 – 16 oz Can of pinto beans
2 Cups – Water
½ Cup – Ketchup
½ Cup – Apple cider vinegar
½ Cup – BBQ sauce (Smoky sauces work best for this recipe)
1 TBSP – Tomato paste
1 TBSP – Dijon Mustard
1 TBSP – Worcestershire
1 TBSP – Molasses
1 TBSP – Sriracha (Optional for a little spice)
1 TBSP – Chili powder
1 TBSP – Smoked paprika
1 tsp – Garlic powder
1 tsp – Salt
1 tsp – Black pepper
¼ cup – Brown sugar *Added at the end
- Put the Instant Pot on saute and add the ground beef.
- Continue to brown, stirring and breaking it up as it cooks.
- When the ground beef is finished, drain it, remove to a separate bowl, and wipe out your Instant Pot.
- Add the chopped bacon to the Instant Pot and cook until most of the fat has rendered and it reaches your desired crispiness.
- Remove the bacon to a paper towel to soak up the excess grease.
- Dump out the bacon grease from the instant pot, leaving about 1 TBSP
- Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes until they begin to soften and turn translucent.
- Add the garlic and kielbasa and cook for 1 more minute
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, scraping the pan as you go so that the paste doesn’t burn.
- Add the water and vinegar and stir the tomato paste into it
- Turn off the Instant Pot. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot, and then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set the pressure to manual with an 8 minute cook time.
- At the end of the pressure cook cycle, turn off the Instant Pot and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.
- Release the remaining pressure manually (be careful, there will still be lots of steam)
- Stir in the brown sugar and serve.
Light Instant Pot Orange Chicken (Serves 6)
2 lb – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp – Salt
1/2 tsp – Black pepper
2 TBSP – Vegetable oil
1 Cup – Orange juice
¼ Cup – Sugar
3 TBSP – Honey
2 TBSP – Soy sauce
1 TBSP – Rice vinegar
2 Cloves – Minced garlic
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tsp – Sesame oil
1 tsp – Tomato paste
1 tsp – Grated ginger
Pinch of Cayenne pepper (Optional)
1 tsp – Sriracha (Optional)
1 TBSP – Corn starch
1 TBSP – Water
¼ Cup – Chopped green onions
1 TBSP – Sesame seeds
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute and add the oil
- While the oil is heating, lightly salt and pepper the chicken
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken in batches and brown until lightly golden. Remove the batch with a slotted spoon to a plate with a paper towel on it, and add the next batch.
- After all of the chicken is cooked, turn the instant pot off and add all of the chicken back.
- In a bowl, whisk together orange juice, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, orange zest, sesame oil, tomato paste, cayenne pepper, and Sriracha (if using).
- Pour the mixture over the chicken.
- Set the instant pot to manual pressure, and set the timer to 8 minutes.
- When the pressure cycle is finished, turn off the instant pot, and wait 2 minutes before manually releasing the pressure and taking the lid off.
- Turn the Instant Pot on to warming mode.
- Whisk together corn starch and water and add it to the instant pot, stirring for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Serve over brown rice (bonus recipe below)
*Note: The original base recipe that we used for the Orange Chicken above (which can be found here: https://mommyshomecooking.com/easy-instant-pot-orange-chicken/) called for coating the chicken in corn starch before frying. However, when we tried this, we found that the corn starch coating came off during the cooking cycle and made our sauce opaque and lumpy. So, we left the corn starch coating out of this recipe. If you want traditional Orange Chicken that is coated in flour and corn starch and fried, then we would recommend not using the Instant Pot, and instead cooking it in a wok or frying pan. On the plus side, this recipe is a little lighter since there is less oil and starch.
Instant Pot Brown Rice
2 Cups – Brown rice
2 ½ Cups – water
2 tsp – vegetable oil (Helps prevent sticking)
Salt to taste
- Put all ingredients into the Instant Pot
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual Pressure, and set the timer to 22 minutes
- At the end of the cycle, turn the Instant Pot off, wait 3 minutes and do a manual pressure release.