Cheesy Butternut Squash Alfredo & 11 Other Quick Instant Pot Dinners

Bookmark these for when you meant to start dinner an hour ago.

January 23, 2019

I'm not going to beat around the bush. It was, like, nine degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week in New York City. No amount of scarves, long underwear, tights beneath long underwear, double socks, or ear muffs could've prepared me for the walk to the grocery store around 4 p.m. By the time I returned to my apartment (at around 4:15 p.m.), I was pretty sure my cheeks and nose would never thaw.

Enter: a cozy, burbling dinner. One that tastes like it's been cooking allllll day long, but that totally hasn't. For this, I turn to my Instant Pot: an electric multicooker capable of producing low-and-slow flavor (you know, the Maillard reaction, and all that...) in a flash.

Such is my key to surviving frigid winter weeknights. Below is an excellent line-up of 12 weeknight Instant Pot stalwarts, each just as delicious and satisfying as the next. (And a whole lot cozier than yet another pair of socks.)

12 Instant Pot Recipes for Quick Weeknight Dinners

According to 10 out of 10 scientists, an extra-creamy, extra-cheesy bowl of fettuccine Alfredo full of butternut squash and crispy mushrooms is the only known antidote to winter weeknights.

A delicately flavored, comforting soup that can be all yours in under half an hour. And then a second bowl, five minutes after that.

Believe me, I was as surprised as can be that the Instant Pot cooks pasta to a perfect al dente. (Just as soon as I processed this new information, I began using my multicooker to make the cheesiest, baconiest mac and cheese.)

This spicy, fragrant kimchi stew couldn't be more perfect (or more efficient) for combatting the blustery-evening blues.

What would happen if Marcella Hazan had an Instant Pot? This meaty, tomatoey ragu (a riff on her famous Bolognese, plus a few—likely blasphemous—twists) is my attempt at an answer. Don't forget to shower it with Parmesan!

This dish's name—butter chicken—contains all of the critically important details. Please save me a bowl.

Meltingly tender shredded pork in under an hour sounds too good to be true, but trust me on this one. Wrap it in charred tortillas and top it with salsa verde, or drape it over a warm grain bowl. It'd even make a salad cozy.

Chicken thighs braised in red wine, served over buttery noodles. Sign me up—like, way up.

Meet the softest short ribs you'll ever eat. I think you're gonna get along swimmingly.

This ultra-silky tomato soup is at once warming, comforting, and spicy. Aka, a triple threat.

For the heartiest, most deliciously broth-y Italian soup, look no further. Do not skip the crusty bread, for sopping.

Delightfully rich and creamy, bright in color, and subtly earthy from the cumin seeds, this palak paneer comes together in a flash. Weeknight chill, be gone!

Plus, a Bonus Recipe for Dessert

I mean, do I really need to sell you on chocolate lava cakes? Yeah, that's what I thought...

What's your go-to weeknight meal for comfort in a flash? Let us know in the comments.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner.

1 Comment

Urvashi P. January 24, 2019
Thank you so much for sharing my Tom Kha, the kimchi jiggae, as well as the Tomato coconut soup! I can't wait to try some of the other recipes you've showcased as well.