These family friendly Instant Pot meals are a complete dinner hero on a busy weeknight! Pop a few healthy ingredients in and a pressure cooker meal will feed your hungry kids in a pinch. Even picky eaters will love these Instant Pot dinner recipes.
Were you one of the hoards of people who picked up an Instant Pot during Amazon’s Black Friday madness last fall? I got such a good deal on mine, I couldn’t resist testing it out. I’m always looking for ways to get dinner to the table a little bit faster. I’ve been playing around with it on and off for the last several months with mixed success. I’m always surprised when I hear about people who are still too scared to even turn theirs on!
A couple weeks ago we tried out another new Instant Pot recipe and it was such an enormous hit, I figured it was time to finally share our very favorite family friendly Instant Pot meals with you. Don’t miss the list of the 8 pressure cooker recipes below, but let’s start with the winning one first!
Handyman Tim and I both love Thai and Chinese food, but Indian food is something we’ve been a little shy to dig into. The spices are just so much more intense than what we normally use and it feels like a shock to the system. This recipe for butter chicken and jasmine rice caught my eye and just sounded like something fun and different to add to our rotation.
It couldn’t have been an easier dish to prepare. Most of the ingredients get dumped into the Instant Pot, give it a quick stir and then nestle the chicken into the sauce. You remove the cooked chicken before pureeing the cooked sauce to give it a nice silky smooth texture before adding butter and a little more seasoning. We served it over jasmine rice with a side of toasted naan bread wedges.
Little Pea loved it so much she declared she wanted it for her birthday dinner. Tim gave it two thumbs up and said to keep it on our meal rotation for sure.
This family friendly Instant Pot recipe is the perfect introduction to Indian flavors.
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1.5 inch piece of ginger chopped
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1tsp salt
- 1/2 stick of butter cut into cubes
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 c chopped cilantro
- Place all ingredients from tomatoes to cumin powder into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Sprinkle the 2 pounds of chicken with salt and nestle in the sauce, making sure to submerge as much as possible.
- Close the Instant Pot and set for 14 minutes. I used the meat setting. Let the IP release pressure naturally.
- Carefully remove the cooked chicken from the sauce and store on a plate. Cut into bite sized chunks, resist shredding it.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients remaining in the pot until smooth. Turn on the saute function and stir in the butter, cream, cilantro and additional garam masala.
- This recipe makes a large quantity of sauce. Before returning the cut chicken to the pot, use a ladle to remove about half of the sauce for freezing for future use. Heat the chicken through in the remaining sauce and serve on top of cooked jasmine rice.
One thing I did notice about the recipe is that even though it was all sealed up inside the Instant Pot, I could still really smell the fragrant sauce filling the kitchen. We actually purchased our home years ago from an Indian family who had obviously cooked their native cuisine frequently in the home. It took a long time to air out the window treatments after we moved in. We had to paint the entire place and replace the microwave and fridge that had both taken on a strong yellow color from the cooking residues.
I would have been much more nervous about attempting this fragrant recipe if it weren’t for the fantastic Airwasher that Venta sent me to review a few months ago. We’ve tried it out in a few areas of the house, but I’ve found that it is most useful near our kitchen to help keep cooking odors under control and our home smelling sweet and fresh.
The Venta Airwasher uses German engineering to cycle air through the machine with a quiet fan. The water reservoir pulls the dust and odor out before returning the fresh air back into the room. It doesn’t work like a humidifier, you don’t see steam or spray coming from the machine at all. Despite the fact that it has water inside, I didn’t hesitate to put it on the bookshelf that separates our kitchen from our living room.
For especially fragrant scenarios like our Indian dish experience, you can even add the Venta essential oil aromatherapy drops inside the Venta Airwasher and it will work like an essential oil diffuser but so much better. Since our Venta can run for 24 hours before needing a water refill, the fragrance is distributed slowly over time so it isn’t over powering to your space.
You can read more about how Venta helps with home allergies and minimizing dust on their web site here.
If you’re looking for more Instant Pot recipes, check out our top favorites right here:
Top 8 Favorite Family Friendly Instant Pot Meals:
- Barbacoa Beef: serve over rice with chunky corn salsa.
- Beef, tomato, and acini de pepe soup: we made this one weekly all winter long. SO yummy!
- Mongolian Beef: a family favorite when I’m craving take-out. Technically a slow-cooker recipe but can be easily tweaked for the Instant Pot.
- Homemade chicken soup from scratch: NO boxed stocks, uses a real deal whole chicken. I made this when the Peanut had the flu under doctor’s orders to make her REAL chicken soup.
- Hard boiled eggs: The texture of the hard boiled eggs from the IP is just amazing. Light and fluffy and perfect.
- Hamburger soup: Another winter favorite, I love how you can use the saute feature on the IP and then get the soup finished more quickly than on the stove top.
- Lemon butter chicken: This is on my menu plan soon! Looks so yummy, I love all things lemon this time of year.
- The Butter Chicken mentioned above! I can’t wait to make it again!
Thanks to Venta for sending me a sample of the Venta Airwasher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If you’d like to check out more about Venta, you can see their amazing Airwashers here.