Instant Pot

22 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes *Everyone* Can Enjoy

Direct those high-pressure, steamy powers elsewhere—like pantry tomato soup, crack-free cheesecakes, and even homemade cheeses.

by:
January 21, 2020
Photo by JULIA GARTLAND. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS.

While beloved for its ability to take meats from tough-to-tender in no time at all, the Instant Pot can wield its high-pressure magic on so much more. The steamy and stable environment created inside a pressure cooker makes it the perfect tool for homemade fresh cheeses, creamy vegetarian soups, and gooey chocolate cakes alike.

Here are 22 recipes—none for meat nor beans—that are made all the steamier and dreamier from a high-pressure cook.


Best Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes

1. Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

More like Instant Comfort. Sup in crisped croutons or brussels sprouts for the pancetta, or don't—these cheesy, creamy noods will be just fine without.

2. Archana Mundhe's Instant Pot Spicy Lentils

From the author of The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook comes a recipe for comfort food at its best: simple yellow daal topped with a smoky, nutty tadka of generous amounts of ghee and whole spices.

3. Instant Pot Baked Potato

For this baked potato, the baking is optional. A high-pressure steam—in the time it takes to prep your toppings or watch an episode of The Office—yields an ultra-fluffy mash within a thin, crackly skin. (Also, is there anything as cute as a single potato nestled inside a mini Instant Pot?)

4. Instant Pot No-Soak Black Bean Soup (With Allll of The Toppings)

Contributor Ella Quittner never, ever thought she'd see the day where she'd soak—let alone cook—beans. And well, she's still not soaking—this recipe developed specially for the Instant Pot takes dried beans straight to Tender Town with just the push of a button.

5. Ivy Manning's Instant Pot Homemade Ricotta

If you haven't had homemade ricotta, you haven't lived! OK—maybe an exaggeration, but truly, store-bought is never as good, rich, or creamy as homemade. Add milk and lemon to your IP, smash some buttons, and let your inner Little Miss Muffet shine.

6. Archana Mundhe's Instant Pot Paneer in Spinach Sauce

Another from IP Indian cookbook star, Archana, this paneer in spinach sauce recipe is at once rich (from the heavy cream), earthy (roasty cumin seeds), bright (spinach and green chile), and comforting (aromatic rice and paratha, yum).

7. Instant Pot Buttermilk & Leek Mashed Potatoes

We're only at recipe seven, and we're already doubling down on coziness. These mashed potats have tangy buttermilk, frizzled leeks, butter, and butter (yes, twice) tucked into the folds. Just add a weighted blanket for the perfect antidote when feeling blue.

8. Instant Pot Strawberry Jam

IT'S A VERY BERRY MIRACLE! Or, well, it's jam in an instant. Adapt this recipe to every season—grapes in the fall, apples in the winter, rhubarb in the spring, plums in the winter.

9. Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt

Because of my recipe developing and food styling, I often find myself laden with jars of assorted dairy. Making homemade yogurt has been my go-to, actually-enjoyable way of consuming set scraps.

10. Instant Pot Pea & Paneer Curry

Urvashi Pitre says of this traditional and comforting dish: "Once you taste it, you’ll see why: the creamy cheese, the tang of the tomatoes and onions in the sauce, [and] the bright green peas that pepper it [make it] a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds."

11. Instant Pot Bean Salads

Not again! Yes, again—beans—this time in salad form. Think: black beans with melon and feta, white beans with cucumber and sumac, and black beans with mango and chile powder.

12. Ivy Manning's Instant Pot Risotto Primavera

Not only does this risotto not require constant stirring, but it's packed with the sweetness of spring, as well: onion, thyme asparagus, fava beans, spinach, and lemon.

13. Fettuccine Alfredo With Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

Weeknight, veggie, and IP–friendly, this pasta's mushrooms emerge crisp, the squash tender, and the noodles—gasp—perfectly al dente.

14. Sheri Castle's Instant Pot Homemade Cottage Cheese

Take your dairying another step further; homemade cottage cheese is much creamier and finer-textured than store-bought. Spoon onto melon and berries, tuck into a lasagna, or fold into pancakes.

15. Madhur Jaffrey's Instant Pot Buttery Dal

This recipe, from cookbook author and writer Madhur Jaffrey, is "called Dal Makkhani, or Buttery Dal, because of all the white butter that is used to enrich it. You can use as much 'enrichment' as you choose."

16. Instant Pot Indian Tomato Coconut Soup

This pantry soup will delight tomato soup lovers and haters alike, thanks to creamy coconut, floral cilantro, and grounding turmeric.

17. Andrea Nguyen's Vegan "Chicken" Phở

Though vegan, this IP-powered broth from beloved cookbook author and blogger, Andrea Nguyen, sacrifices nothing on the flavor front. Slurp via spongey tofu, chewy noodles, and translucent-thin onions.

18. South Indian Sundal (Chickpea salad)

These spicy chickpeas—pressure-cooked, then roasted—remind community member Asha of balmy nights in Chennai. (Probably due to the rich spice blend of black mustard, curry leaves, green chiles, and coconut.)

19. Instant Pot Tres Leches Bread Pudding

What can be better than bread pudding made with croissants? Bread pudding made in an IP, and drenched in tres leches.

20. Instant Pot Peanut Butter Cheesecake With Chocolate Crust)

Cheesecakes were never part of Jessie Sheehan's regular rotation because they are just too. Darn. Fussy. Requiring water baths and long, low cook times, they always seem to be at risk of cracking. The Instant Pot completely changed that for Jessie.

21. Instant Pot Triple Citrus Cheesecake

In case you missed it the first time: This is another nudge to make a cheesecake in your IP! The moist cooking environment is exactly what the at-risk-of-cracking cheesecake needs.

22. Melissa Clark's Instant Pot Chocolate-Bourbon Lava Cakes

Did you know lava cakes take well to pressure-cooking? Us neither.

What's your favorite weeknight, veggie, and Instant Pot–friendly recipe? Tell us about it in the comments!
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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.

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