10 Easy Instant Pot Dinner Recipes for Beginners - Real Food Whole Life

10 Easy Instant Pot Dinner Recipes for Beginners

November 13, 2020 (Updated on July 8, 2021)

collage of soups in bowls with ingredients in instant pots and post title on pink background

If you’re looking for easy weeknight dinner recipes using the instant pot, you’re in the right place! We all know what it’s like to try something new in the kitchen and these 10 instant pot dinner recipes are the perfect place to start learning how to cook delicious pressure cooker meals.

instant pot cooking is such a time saver

It’s no secret that I love easy slow cooker recipes, but when I’m extra pressed for time I turn to my instant pot to get dinner done fast.

Pressure cookers are such time (and sanity) savers on busy weeks. I find myself leaning on them more and more these days.

Each recipe only needs a few minutes of hands-on prep time. Then simply add your real food ingredients to the pot, set to pressure cook, and let it do the work for you.

The convenience of crock pot cooking, with the added perk of a quicker cook time. What’s not to love about that?

simple recipes that are easy to make

I know how intimidating it can feel to use a new appliance for the first time.

If you’ve been thinking about getting an instant pot (or already have one and are scared to take it out of the box) – start with just one easy recipe. It’s the best way to learn how to use your pressure cooker, get over your fears, and (most importantly) get cooking!

To get you inspired, I gathered some of my favorite beginner-friendly instant pot dinner recipes for you here. They’re all light on prep steps and big on flavor. The ingredients are easy to find and you’ll fall in love with how much this will simplify home cooking for you.

These easy recipes will help you learn how to cook everything – including eggs, veggies, chicken, soups, main dishes and more. Your confidence will grow in the kitchen as you cook through each recipe. And before you know it, you’ll be a total instant pot pro.

All of these recipes are:

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Soy free
  • Refined sugar free

I’ve included some paleo friendly, whole 30 friendly, or vegetarian options too. Each recipe has simple adaptations and tips waiting for you, like ingredient swaps and making these meals kid-friendly.

I hope you’ll make these delicious dinner recipes soon!

If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

5-Ingredient Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili is simple to prepare, totally nourishing, and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients: sweet potatoes, black beans, salsa, vegetable stock, cumin, smoked paprika and salt

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This homemade chicken soup can be made using an Instant Pot or slow cooker, depending on what you prefer! Either way, it comes out comforting, healthy, and so delicious. It is packed full of veggies and shredded chicken with a warming turmeric broth.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), chicken stock, carrot, celery, onion, turmeric, olive oil and seasonings

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One-Minute Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs is the simplest, best method to achieve perfect hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, every time.

Ingredients: eggs and water.

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This 5-Ingredient Enchilada Chicken is one of my favorite easy instant pot dinner recipes (perfect for beginners!)

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), tomato sauce, water, onions, cumin, olive oil, garlic powder and salt

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Golden Glow Red Lentil Soup is an easy one-pot meal that’s bursting with nourishment. Simple to make in the Instant Pot, Crockpot, or stovetop, you’re going to love this gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian recipe.

Ingredients: red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, onion, lime juice, garlic, ginger, turmeric and other spices

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The easiest, most delicious, crazy simple recipe, 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Stuffed Potatoes is your new go-to for weeknight cooking.Everything cooks at once, so dinner’s done in minutes! Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, paleo, and Whole30 friendly.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), salsa, Russet potatoes and salt.

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Light, healthy, and bursting with flavor, Instant Pot + Crockpot Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder makes for an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), baby potatoes, celery, cauliflower, onion, chicken stock, coconut milk, lemon juice, turmeric and other seasonings

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Full of fresh summer flavors and ready in a matter of minutes, Instant Pot Peach Chicken & Basil is just the thing for a healthy, simple dinner any night of the week.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), peaches, chicken stock, olive oil, onion, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh basil and salt.

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Super fresh and packed with flavor, Instant Pot Loaded Mexican Chicken Soup in a one-pot dinner you’ll want to make again and again. A gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 recipe.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), tomato sauce, zucchini, chicken stock, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, onion, garlic powder, cumin, mild chili powder, olive oil and salt.

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Instant Pot Chicken, Apples & Cabbage is a super simple one-pot meal that’s packed with flavor, but with little prep or fuss. A gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 recipe. Also includes slow cooker and stovetop instructions!

Ingredients: chicken, onion, apples, cabbage, garlic powder, apple cider, apple cider vinegar and other seasonings

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collage of soups in bowls with ingredients in instant pots and post title on pink background
5 from 2 votes

10 Instant Pot Dinner Recipes for Beginners, Plus Mexican Chicken Soup

Yield 4 -6
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 57 mins
Total Time 1 hr 2 mins

Super fresh and packed with flavor, this Instant Pot loaded Mexican Chicken Soup is a one-pot dinner that you’ll want to make again and again. Plus 10 more Instant Pot dinner recipes ideas, perfect for those learning how to cook delicious pressure cooker meals.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 small zucchinis sliced in half the long way, then sliced into 1-inch half moons
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 3 cups baby spinach or baby kale
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 limes juiced
  • Optional toppings: chopped cilantro chopped scallions, sliced avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce


  • Add the olive oil to an electric pressure cooker. Turn to saute, add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder, stirring to combine.
  • Add the chicken, tomato sauce, zucchini, remaining 1 ¾ teaspoon salt, and chicken stock, stirring to combine.
  • Secure the lid, select the manual setting, and set it to high pressure for 15 minutes. Your instant pot may take anywhere from 25-35+ minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.
  • When the pressure cooker timer is done, quick release the pressure.
  • Remove the chicken, chop or shred into bite sized pieces and add back to the pot. Stir in the spinach or kale, cherry tomatoes, and lime juice. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Top with any toppings you like and serve.


Want to make this recipe in the Crockpot? Check out this variation.
Make it vegetarian by swapping 2 (15-oz) cans drained and rinsed chickpeas for the chicken and vegetable stock for chicken stock
Skip the chili powder if you prefer to avoid spicy.
Double the spinach or kale for an extra boost of goodness.
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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