Whether you’re working from home, have a kid with the sniffles, or are otherwise trying to get ahead on meal planning, the Instant Pot can be your kitchen savior. Here are some of our favorite comfort food recipes for the electric pressure cooker. (If you haven’t yet cooked chicken noodle soup all in one pot, welcome to the delights of the IP!)
This classic pasta recipe is a prime example of why the Instant Pot is the star of the one-pot cooking fan club. It also offers further testimony as to how any dish that starts with frying bacon and ends with everything simmering together in the same pot culminates in a dish with the dense, savory flavor fundamental to many of our favorite comfort food classics.
Take traditional chicken noodle soup, swap out the noodles for hominy and traditional Mexican flavors like cumin, oregano, jalapeño and tomatillo, and you’ve got this outrageously good chicken posole. Finished with lime, cilantro and avocado, it’s just the thing for defeating colds, sitting on the porch, or an easy weeknight dinner—and it freezes well.
Braising usually takes hours, but a good electric pressure cooker can make short work of food that tastes just as good. This chicken dish is ready in about an hour. The key to its wonderfulness? A pressure-cooked bath in lemon juice, white wine, and shallots, plus a buttery basil sauce you pour on top.
Chicken isn’t the only thing the Instant Pot does right by. Because it breaks down proteins so well and so fast, it’s ideal for something like Sloppy Joes, which are a satisfying, comforting mish-mash of beef, tomato, chili and spicy flavors. (If you’re feeling adventurous, re-use the beef base in nachos later in the week!)
Seeing this golden soup in the freezer is enough to make you do the happy dance. How beautiful is it? Smooth and creamy, cashew-carrot soup draws on the flavors of traditional Indian cuisine. Leave out that crème fraîche (which you should also do if you’re freezing it), and it’s vegan. Fresh tarragon and a bevy of toasted chopped almonds are optional garnishes, but you’ll want them to be mandatory.
Even children tend to go wild for this smoky, meaty, kidney bean-based chili. (Dial down the two tablespoons of chili powder if you don’t want to hear howls of “Too spicy!”) It freezes well, it’s just as good on nachos as it is in a bowl, and it takes kindly to toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro and scallions.
Yes, you could spend all afternoon making ratatouille, with your favorite French chanteuse on the hi-fi. Or you could make a shortcut version that, we’d argue, is equally delicious. This one drizzles over dreamy, creamy polenta, which you make on the stovetop. Garnish with basil, serve to a crowd, and tell no one that it was an easier version of the classic.
Cooks who love Indian food or their Instant Pots know that electric pressure cookers have long been popular in India itself. (Famous, octogenarian Indian authors such as Madhur Jaffrey even have their own Instant Pot cookbooks!) Butter chicken is one of those classic dishes that is an absolute triumph in the IP. It’s ready in less than an hour, quicker than delivery would arrive.
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about modern pressure cookers is that you can turn out a dish like this one for family or friends and they’ll assume you labored over it for hours. Not so: Braised root vegetables and chicken can be ready in just about an hour. We love that there are seven full vegetables in here. (Talk about getting your RDA!) With thyme and demi-glace in the mix, it’s as traditionally French as it gets… except that it’s faster! Bon appétit.
Our most popular Instant Pot recipe is the quintessence of comfort food. Electric pressure cookers are simply godsends for making chicken soup from scratch. Whether you’re plopping a whole, butchered bird into water with onions and carrots or searing some juicy skin-on chicken thighs in the pot before adding H20, you end up with a broth that’s wholly infused with chicken-y, schmaltzy goodness. This recipe, sparkling with fresh thyme and lemon juice, is our go-to. (If you want to freeze it, we suggest you do so before adding the pasta, which may turn mushy when reheated.)