Instant Pot

19 Healthy-ish Instant Pot Recipes That You'll Actually Want to Eat

These dishes both look good and feel good.

January 26, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

In our eyes, healthy eating is not defined by recipes that are “low-calorie,” “low-carb,” “sugar-free,” or any other phrase intended to make you think you need to deprive yourself of delicious food and in with delicious meals that make your mind and body happy.

Our Healthy-Ish Instant Pot Recipes

1. Instant Pot Beans

Beans are jam-packed with protein and are, naturally, a seamless substitute for meat in so many recipes (burritos! chili! burgers!). But they’re also great to have on hand for sprinkling over salads or simply eating straight out of the pot by the spoonful.

2. Melissa Hartwig's Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

Bonus: if you’re following the Whole30 eating plan, this recipe offers compliant ingredient suggestions.

3. Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup

Normally, a rich and hearty stew such as this one would take hours to cook on the stovetop or in a slow-cooker but in an Instant Pot, it comes together in just 30 minutes.

4. Crispy Brussels Sprouts With Garlic-Chile Butter in a Multi-Cooker

The Instant Pot multi-cooker isn’t just for making main courses. It also makes speedy work of side dishes, which is especially handy on Thanksgiving when you’re otherwise short on stove and oven space.

5. Ivy Manning's Instant Pot Risotto Primavera

Some home cooks (myself included) enjoy the slow, meditative process of stirring risotto in a figure-8 formation for 30 minutes. Others, understandably, just don’t have the patience. If you fall into the latter camp, that’s where the Instant Pot comes in. This spring-forward risotto minimizes hands-on work…and the result is as luxurious and creamy as ever.

6. Crispy Shrimp With Lemony, Brothy Beans & Greens in a Multi-Cooker

“The best part about these creamy, dreamy, super brothy beans is the lemon. Thick slices are pressure cooked with the beans, infusing all their citrusy goodness into the cooking liquid, while still retaining their shape, becoming tart and jammy (pith, peel and all!),” writes recipe developer Asha Loupy. “Even better, the lemon flavor becomes concentrated, creating slumpy, sunshine-powered slices that are the perfect foil for the richness of the beans.”

7. Instant Pot Polenta

In my next life, I plan to live in the south and eat polenta for every meal of every day. In the meantime, I’ll avoid having it splatter all over my stovetop and take advantage of the Instant Pot to cook it.

8. Archana Mundhe's Instant Pot Butter Chicken

The Instant Pot combines the best of hands-off cooking with speed, which means it’s the perfect appliance to use when you want to get a cozy meal like butter chicken on the table fast. And the pressure cooking functionality concentrates the robust flavors of chile powder, dried fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and turmeric.

9. The Perfect Instant Pot Soy Chicken

Skip the roasting pan and cook this super flavorful whole chicken straight in the Instant Pot. Skeptical? Don’t be. Our readers voted and declared this recipe their favorite cozy slow-cooker meal.

10. Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt

Up for a fun cooking project? Try making homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot. The perk, aside from endless bragging rights, is that you get to control the amount of sugar added, so that the sweetness is totally customized to your palette.

11. Instant Pot Indian Tomato Coconut Soup

In the time that it takes to open a can of soup and heat it up, you can make a nourishing batch of tomato soup. Did I mention that it’s totally vegan? Yeah, it is.

12. Ivy Manning's Ligurian Fish Soup

From bouillabaisse to cioppino, there are so many delicious, brothy tomato soups to dig your spoon into. But this recipe is special because it’s specifically designed to be cooked in the Instant Pot. In addition to convenient, quick-cooking, this multi-cooker also traps in the fishy aroma so your kitchen won’t smell like mussels and clams for days.

13. Instant Pot Palak Paneer

“I call this dish Mommy’s Helper because it is a surefire way to get nutrient-rich spinach into kids without a complaint. The flash-cooking method helps preserve the vitamins, flavor, and rich color of the spinach. Cumin seeds add a subtle earthiness, and the creamy texture of cashews is the perfect replacement for traditional heavy cream, as it seamlessly balances the pureed sauce,” writes recipe developer Archana Mundhe.

14. Melissa Hartwig's Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore With Zucchini Noodles

Another Whole30-friendly recipe for the win! This Instant Pot version of chicken cacciatore doesn’t contain any wine and calls for zucchini noodles instead of the more traditional pasta or rice that is usually served with the chicken. The fattiness of the chicken thighs and rich tomato base delivers major flavor in every bite.

15. Instant Pot Cauliflower

You can cook an entire head of cauliflower in an Instant Pot; to bring the typically bland vegetable to life, sprinkle it with our ​​Magic Spice Blend (a combination of brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, celery seeds, and cayenne pepper).

16. Instant Pot Bone Broth

The perfect snow day activity is making a big batch of broth while someone else does the shoveling. Bone broth is touted for its immune-boosting properties, may support joint health, and protein-rich properties.

17. Instant Pot Spicy Lentils

“My favorite way to end a meal at a dhaba is with an order of daal fry. Simple yellow daal with a smoky, nutty tadka of generous amounts of ghee and whole spices served with jeera rice is comfort food at its best,” writes recipe developer Archana Mundhe.

18. Instant Pot Pork Shoulder Carnitas Tacos With Pineapple Salsa

The Instant Pot makes quick work of breaking down a huge cut of boneless pork shoulder into flavorful, fork-tender meat. It does in just 50 minutes what takes a slow-cooker to accomplish in eight hours.

19. Instant Pot Strawberry Jam

Make this three-ingredient jam using an entire quart of fresh strawberries, then smear it all over whole-wheat muffins, scones, and toast.

What’s your favorite nourishing meal to cook in the Instant Pot? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Former Food52 Staff Editor