5 Instant Pot Recipes to Make Over and Over Again

I was late to the Instant Pot craze, and I never thought anything could replace my beloved slow cooker. But the magic and speed of pressure cooking has really won me over! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and experimented on my own a bit, and everything has generally come out pretty good. When it comes to recipes that I’d want to make again, though, only five have made the cut so far. Here they are, in no particular order.

Note: I use the 8-qt Instant Pot Duo Plus, but I think all of these recipes would work in the 6-qt size Instant Pot or other similar pressure cookers.

Instant Pot Perfect Brown Rice Pilaf
This is my new favorite way to cook brown rice. It comes out nutty and flavorful, with just the right texture, and goes well with just about any entree.

Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala
This curry tastes complex but is truly no-fuss. I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which changes the pressure cooking time to 8 minutes. I also prefer to stir in the spinach at the end, rather than pressure cooking it as the recipe directs.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This rivals the brown rice pilaf as the recipe I’ve made the most. It’s super easy, infinitely customizable, and smoky-spicy-delicious.

Instant Pot Korean Ground Beef
One of the fun things about this recipe is that it employs the pot-in-pot method, where the rice cooks in a separate bowl at the same time as the beef. The beef is really yummy on its own, but also makes a great taco filling.

Easy Pressure Cooker Pork Chile Verde
Just wow! Besides being both easy and delicious, this recipe is fascinating because it does not call for any liquids up front. The onions, chiles, tomatillos and pork release enough moisture to attain pressure in the cooking process, and provide ample sauce. So much sauce, even, that I think I will try using 5 lbs of pork next time rather than the 4 in the recipe.

Pictured: Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-a-Meal Bowl, Pyrex Salad Bowl 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Gold Wreath 043 Oval Casserole

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Lemon and Herbs

Cornish game hens are a great way to make a special meal out of what is essentially just ordinary chicken. There’s something festive about having your own tiny roast bird on your plate; it’s one of my favorite things to make for Christmas dinner.

Brining in buttermilk overnight helps make the hens extra tender and juicy, and also makes the roasting process more forgiving — it’s hard to go wrong! The only problem I’ve ever run into is overcrowding in the oven. I once tried to roast 12 hens at once (two sheet pans with six hens each, on two oven racks) for a big family gathering, and while they tasted great they never got the deep golden color that makes the dish so appealing.

Adapted from Kitchen Confidante’s Buttermilk Brined Cornish Hens.

Serves 4-8 (1 hen per person, or half for a more modest portion size)

Ingredients

4 Cornish game hens, rinsed and patted dry
6 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried thyme
juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, cut in quarters
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
paprika (sweet)

In a large bowl or pot, combine the buttermilk, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, thyme and lemon juice. Place the hens in the brine, making sure they are mostly submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and adjust a rack to the lower-middle position.

Remove the hens from the brine and pat dry. Place a lemon quarter, garlic clove and rosemary sprig in each cavity. Truss the hens with cooking twine (I did a variation of the technique in this video; give yourself at least 2 feet of twine to work with for each hen).

Place the hens on a rack in a roasting pan or sheet pan. Rub the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Roast until the hens are a deep golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, about 1 hour.

Pictured: Corning Ware White A-21-B-N Open Roaster

Roasted Chicken and Leeks

I’m the type of person who sometimes finds herself with too many leeks. Or kumquats. Or avocados. Or eggs. Mostly it’s because I have no concept of quantity when I’m ordering my Imperfect Produce delivery online. So a good portion of my cooking starts with “What am I going to do with all this x?” And when it’s a vegetable, roasting is usually involved.

Roasting leeks and chicken together makes for an especially easy dish because there’s minimal prep and minimal clean-up required. Pair it with some rice and a salad, and dinner is served!

Serves 6-8

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Ingredients

2 large leeks (about 1 1/2 lbs), sliced in 1/4-inch rounds

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

4 lbs chicken drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)

2 bay leaves

2 tsp dried thyme

olive oil

salt

pepper

paprika (sweet)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large roasting pan or sheet pan, combine leeks, onion and bay leaves. Sprinkle with 1 tsp thyme plus salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and toss until everything is coated.

Arrange the chicken on top of the leek mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp thyme plus salt, pepper and paprika. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the chicken.

Bake until chicken is golden and internal temperature is at least 165 degrees (for this recipe I prefer it closer to 180 degrees), about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Spread the leek mixture around evenly, then turn on the broiler and move a rack up about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil the leeks a few minutes until slightly browned (even charred in spots).

Serve chicken topped with the leek mixture. Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.

Pictured: Corning Ware White A-21-B-N Open Roaster

7 Layer Chicken Chili and Cornbread Dip

A few years ago I came across a Food Network recipe for an eight-layer chicken chili dip and whipped it up for a Super Bowl party. It was fantastic, but so much work! It required a ton of chopping and prepping, and that got me thinking of ways to cut corners without sacrificing taste. For example, instead of dicing tomatoes, why not use pico de gallo salsa?

So for this year’s Super Bowl I’ve made the dip again, but with my own tweaks. I’ve swapped out ingredients for things that are easier to chop or don’t require chopping at all. And I’ve scaled up the recipe a bit to fit in a basic salad/mixing bowl. I’m pretty happy with the result! It’s still a little time consuming, but definitely easier than the original, and pretty tasty.

The dip is best served with a big spoon, so that you can scoop all the way through the layers, transfer to a plate and eat with tortilla chips.

Serves 16

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (roughly 1 whole chicken)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 cups)
zest of 2 limes plus about 1/4 cup juice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 heaping cups crumbled cornbread (about half a batch of cornbread from the Jiffy boxed mix)
1 16 oz container pico de gallo salsa, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and cayenne, then add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest and juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the corn and green onions.

In a straight-sided salad or mixing bowl, layer the dip in the following order: cornbread (tamped down gently), pico de gallo (use a slotted spoon so that you leave behind as much liquid as possible), black beans, cheese, cilantro-lime sour cream, chicken chili, corn and green onion mixture.

Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pictured: Fire King Sunbeam Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-322 Square Cake Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Assorted Pyrex Round and Cinderella Mixing Bowls

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)

Braised Cardamom Chicken

One of my favorite cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries — our family loves Indian food, and every single thing we have tried from the book has been pretty fantastic. I should note that the recipes aren’t all “curries” in the traditional Americanized sense, meaning they don’t all have heavy sauces. There’s a terrific array of rice dishes, for example.

One dish we have made again and again is Iyer’s Cardamom-Scented Chicken with Ginger and Garlic. And while it’s great as is, we have also branched out and used the same spices in other ways. Here I’ve adapted the recipe for an oven-braised version.

This recipe requires a trip to an Indian grocery store — if you have one nearby, it’s well worth a visit. You’ll find a ton of good quality spices in large quantities, usually at much lower prices than other stores, and a lot of them (cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, etc.) cross over into other types of cooking. And you’ll find stuff that’s hard to get anywhere else. (You can also shop online from a store like Kalustyan’s — I have not tried it, but it was recommended by The Kitchn.)

In particular, you’ll need some whole red chiles (spice level: medium to hot) and green cardamom pods:

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Cardamom pods are sometimes used whole, but for this recipe you open up the pods and extract the black seeds. Your reward for a few minutes of work is seeds that are much more pungent and aromatic, and they are one of the main flavors of the dish.

The recipe also calls for ghee, a type of clarified butter that you can buy from an Indian grocery or make yourself. Making ghee is super easy: Alton Brown has a recipe here on the Food Network website.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tsp whole cardamom seeds
6 whole Indian red chiles
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp canola oil
8 chicken drumsticks or mix of drumsticks and bone-in thighs, skins removed
1 tbsp ghee
3 bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Grind the cardamom seeds with three of the chiles (a coffee grinder works best if you have one strictly for spices; otherwise you’ll need to start with ground cardamom, chop up the chiles yourself and grind with a mortar and pestle). Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt and oil and stir to form a paste. Rub the chicken with the paste and marinate for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven-safe skillet over low heat, melt the ghee. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and remaining chiles. Top with the chicken and onions. Move the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken braises in its own juices and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees and is almost falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Top with cilantro and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-10-B Skillet, Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish

Chicken, Sausage and Rice Gumbo with Collard Greens

I hesitate to call this dish gumbo because the term is so loaded with a specific food culture. My version is probably not “authentic” — but it’s delicious and hey, I can make gumbo however I want! I think of it sort of as a gumbo soup — hearty but not too thick in the broth department, full of Cajun flavors and with rice and greens mixed right in.

The spice level here is medium to hot — to me that’s zesty but not mouth-on-fire hot. You could cut the red pepper flakes to go milder, or add cayenne to go hotter. Also, if you prefer a thicker stew, you could double the butter and flour.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 10-oz bags cleaned and cut collard greens
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp ground gumbo file
salt to taste

In a large dutch oven, saute the sausage over medium heat until browned and the fat begins to render. Remove the sausage and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Lower the heat slightly, add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a whisk until incorporated. Continue stirring constantly and cook until caramel in color, about 15-20 minutes (actual time can vary quite a bit; let the roux get as dark as you want, being careful not to burn).

Add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery and garlic and stir until coated in the roux. Add the diced tomatoes and deglaze, scraping up and stirring in the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth, thyme, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred or chop into small pieces, set aside.

Add the collard greens and stir until wilted. Cover and simmer until the greens are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the gumbo file, sausage, chicken, rice and salt and simmer for a minute, then serve.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Wildflower P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fresh Cut P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fruit Basket P-43-B Petite Pan