From ground beef to a whole chicken, here’s everything you need to know on how to cook meat in an Instant Pot.
Cooking in an Instant Pot provides fast and consistent results for such a huge variety of recipes and cooking styles that you’ll wonder how you lived without it before. It uses pressure cooking under different settings and temperatures to achieve amazing results and fast cooking times.
But that doesn’t mean that everything is always easy breezy with the Instant Pot. Lots of beginners make mistakes, especially where meat and poultry are concerned
So, to make sure you get it right the first time, here’s your guide on how to cook meat in an Instant Pot.
From ground beef to ribs to chicken, here’s everything you need to know when it comes to cooking meat and poultry in your pressure cooker.
1. Ground Beef
You can always use the Sauté function to brown and cook your ground/minced meats, but that defeats the hands-off quicker cooking for which the Instant Pot is best known.
So, alternatively, you can use the Pressure/Manual setting and cook 1 to 2 pounds of ground meat as follows:
- Place your trivet or steaming basket into the inner pot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Place your ground meat on the trivet/in the steamer basket.
- Cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Use quick pressure release method.
Cooking Frozen Meat in the Instant Pot
The great thing about the Instant Pot is that you can do the exact same thing with frozen meat by allowing a couple of extra minutes of cooking time. So to cook ground beef/turkey/pork from frozen, use the exact same steps above but for 20 minutes this time.
2. Pot Roast
Is there anything better than a succulent serving of pot roast? This Sunday dinner classic is totally possible to make in the Instant Pot. But you need some quick tips and tricks to ensure you’re getting the same amazing results as more traditional oven roasting.
First you have to consider how you divide the beef. Do you cook the cut whole or do you cut it into chunks? This is essential to set the right cooking time for your Instant Pot.
- For a whole roast: Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes per pound of meat.
- For small chunks: Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes per pound of meat.
Also, don’t forget to add at least 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water. You absolutely must add water so that the Instant Pot can create the steam it uses to pressure cook the meat. Tip: You can also use stock for some extra flavor.
And for really great results? Take whatever seasoning or rub you usually use and use the Sauté function of the Instant Pot to sear the meat before switching to the Manual/Pressure mode for further cooking.
3. Roast Chicken
To cook a whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds) in the Instant Pot, follow these steps:
- Season the chicken to your taste.
- Place your trivet into the inner pot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Place the seasoned whole chicken on the trivet.
- Seal the lid of your Instant Pot.
- Cook for 8 minutes per pound of chicken at high pressure.
- Use a natural pressure release method for around 10-15 minutes.
- Allow quick pressure release thereafter.
Don’t have time to defrost a whole chicken? Cook it from frozen in the Instant Pot using the same steps above but cooking for 45 minutes instead.
4. Chicken Breasts
It’s so handy to have a few cooked chicken breasts sitting in the fridge ready to be added to a salad or a sandwich at a moment’s notice.
Cooking chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is easy with these simple steps:
- Add 1 1/2 cups of liquid to the inner pot (water or stock).
- Cook for 8 minutes at high pressure.
- Use a quick pressure release.
To do the same with frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes.
5. Diced Meat
Normally, it can take hours to cook a stew to the point where diced meat tastes soft and flavorful rather than dry and chewy. Luckily, the Instant Pot cuts down the cooking time to just 20 minutes for one pound of diced meat!
To cook diced meat in the Instant Pot:
- Season your meat as you normally would.
- Heat a little oil using the Sauté function and sear the meat.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc.).
- Cook for 20 minutes (per pound of meat) at high pressure for large chunks and 15 minutes (per pound of meat) for small chunks.
- Use a quick pressure release method.
6. Pork Ribs
If ribs are a regular order for you from the local takeout, you’ll be glad to know you can save some cash by recreating the dish with this delicious cut of meat using the Instant Pot.
To cook pork ribs in the Instant Pot:
- Season the ribs to your taste.
- Place your trivet in the inner pot and add 1 cup of water.
- Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- Use a natural pressure release right to the end.
- Coat the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and finish them in a low oven for 15-20 minutes.
7. Pulled Pork
Pulled pork sandwiches are no longer confined to meals out when you’ve got the Instant Pot sitting on your kitchen counter. It’s so simple to do and you’ll get delicious, consistent results.
To make pulled pork (using pork shoulder meat) in the Instant Pot:
- Cut the meat into consistently sized, large chunks and season to your taste.
- Use the Sauté function with a little oil to brown the meat.
- Turn the Instant Pot off before placing the trivet in the inner pot.
- Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid.
- Place the pork on the trivet (you can also use the steamer basket here).
- Cook at high pressure for around 15 minutes per pound of pork.
So there you have it! Seven ways you can use the Instant Pot to cook meat and poultry (fresh or frozen) to perfection in the pressure cooker.
What’s your favorite cut of meat and how fast will you be trying it in the Instant Pot?
I just got an instant pot duo, it is a pressure cooker plus air fryer, electric. First time ever using a pressure cooker. I need info on how to use the pot, and recipes, please. One would think, that a pot of this type would have come with a user manual, and at least, one recipe. Please help! Open too any suggestions and all recipes.
Pauline Valley says
How can I get my instant pot duo 7-qt to come up to a high temp fast when using Saute’ function
Rick Lane says
When cooking pork ribs or whole chicken with basket and 1 cup water will the steam release button be closed?
This is the most useful post for instapot cooking that I’ve come across yet!
Jason Brooks says
Thanks for the tips. I Just Got an instant pot. Anything new can cause anxiety. Tips like these help the new comer. Appreciate it. Milan
I Sk google and your web came up on what I asked for. How do you cook corned beef brisket how long u told me 20 min /lb. Larger cut and 15 for sm cut. But what about how long for
tender what happens id yooou over cook can you.
Erica Hoffman says
Hi, this looks helpful, thanks! Would I do a manual or natural release for a pot roast?
Hi Erica, pot roast is best if you do a natural pressure release.
This is very useful we just got our instpot n are lost on how and how much and how long this is very jelpful
Alexandra C Coates says
How long to cook cornbeef 4.36 lbs. In an instant pot?
BARBARA HOYT says
I UNDERSTAND THE REQUIRED COOKING, BUT IT DOESNT TELL ME WHAT SETTINGS TO USE. CAN YOU TELL ME HOW OR WHERE I FIND THESE INSTRUCTIONS?
The times are for pressure cooking on high.
Shelly E Allen says
I got my Instant pot but I’m wondering what kind of pots or bowls do I get to go inside. I’ve just got the pot. No paper work at all
Buy accessories kit from Amazon…includes many tools.
Jayne Chandler says
I’m new to instant pot cooking, but would love to learn, first, meats. You’ve explained roasts, ground meat and pulled pork. I want to sear and cook pork chops (no bone) frozen or defrosted. Is it just the per pound or does the cut make a difference. Do I treat chops like small roasts? Is it possible to sear before pressure cooking frozen chops?