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27 Family-Friendly Instant Pot Dinner Recipes Perfect For Hectic Nights

So much better than pizza.

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As the new school year approaches, you might be dreaming about meal planning and preparing perfectly portioned dinners your whole family devours. In reality, as those late afternoon hours fill with homework, after-school activities, and the occasional full-body tantrum, the best laid supper plans often go awry. That’s why these Instant Pot dinner recipes for school nights are so helpful. They’re filling, easy to make, and best of all, they’re quick.

All you have to do is a bit of simple prep work, then add the ingredients into your magical gadget; you’ll have dinner on the table by the time your kiddos finish an episode or two of their favorite Netflix show.

Just make sure you pay special attention to the recipe instructions, because they may surprise you. For example, because the pot doesn't let off steam, many Instant Pot recipes use less water than you would if you were baking or using the stove. And don't forget to factor in the time it takes for the countertop appliance to heat up (approximately 10-15 minutes). Once you get the hang of it, with its ability to pressure cook, steam, sauté, or even slow cook, the Instant Pot will be your BFF. From Pad Thai to plenty of soups and easy, yummy pastas, read on for the best school night Instant Pot meals you can make before the hanger kicks in.


Instant Pot Pizza Pasta

Can't choose between pizza and pasta? Now you don't have to with this Instant Pot pizza pasta from Family Fresh Meals. Great for nights when you're short on time, this dinner is ready in 15 minutes (including prep time) and is also delicious if you opt to make it vegetarian by leaving out the pepperoni and sausage.


Instant Pot Taco Soup

This Instant Pot taco soup from Foodie Crush combines all the yummy, nutritious ingredients of a taco (think beans, lean ground beef, spicy tomatoes, and onion) with the hardiness of a stew. You can add your favorite toppings like lime, jalapeño, cheese, or sour cream for a meal that's satisfying (and can be frozen for up to two months).


Instant Pot Pulled Pork

This pulled pork recipe from My Baking Addiction tastes like you've been slow roasting it all day, but in the pressure cooker, it only takes 90 minutes. The meat gets marinated in a flavorful blend of vinegar, worcestershire, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper and all you need to complete the meal is buns and maybe some pickles.


Instant Pot Vegetarian Pad Thai

Like takeout without the expense, this Instant Pot vegetarian pad thai from Kitchen Confidante will hit the spot. Even the pickiest eaters will like this dish, which combines classic Thai flavors like fish sauce and lime juice with rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, and more. Plus, it's ready to eat in 20 minutes (less than the time it takes to pickup a to-go order).


Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers

The ground beef cooks right inside the pepper, making this delicious dinner from No. 2 Pencil easy to prep ahead of time. Total cooking and prep time is about 30 minutes which is amazing on evenings that take a chaotic turn.


Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta

Chicken pot pie pasta? Yes, please. This dinner from I Am A Food Blog combines the classic, creamy taste of chicken pot pie (think peas, carrots, chicken, cream, and butter) with bowtie pasta, though you can use any kind of pasta you have on-hand. It takes just 20 minutes to make and is a rich and satisfying meal your whole family will devour.


Instant Pot Ramen Noodles

What's better than a bowl of steaming ramen on a cool fall day? This comforting food from A Steamy Kitchen will fill up the whole family. The recipes calls for spare ribs or pork hock, but if those ingredients aren't readily available to you, you can skip 'em and it will still be delicious and filling.


Instant Pot BBQ Pork Tacos

Smoky and sweet at once, the flavors in these BBQ pork tacos from Mel's Kitchen Cafe can be adjusted easily based on your family's preferences so nothing is too spicy. Super easy to make, especially if you use store-bought tortillas and BBQ sauce, these come together quickly (just don't forget to have root beer on-hand).


Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

A bit lighter than your average mac and cheese, this cauliflower version from Well Plated still uses whole wheat pasta (and your kiddos won't know the difference). It's perfect for nights when you want to throw together a quick vegetarian meal you know everyone will want seconds of.


Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Have a crowd to feed? This Instant Pot white chicken chili from Natasha's Kitchen makes a lot of food, and it's something everyone will love. It combines beans, chicken, onions, tomatoes, ranch dip, and more for a savory, filling meal that will yield lots of easy-to-freeze leftovers.


11.Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs & Spaghetti Squash

You get all of the flavor of spaghetti and meatballs without any of the heaviness, thanks to this recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Spaghetti squash is in-season in early fall, which means it's ideal to make as you get back into the swing of school. The turkey meatballs are a tasty way to get in some protein, too.


Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This hearty meal from A Cozy Kitchen can be made from start to finish in 40 minutes flat. It combines classic Mexican flavors for a satisfying dinner with a kick (you can tone down the chipotle and jalapeño if you or your kids are sensitive to spice). Be sure to freeze the leftovers to get a second (and third and fourth) meal out of this.


Instant Pot Chicken Cheesesteaks

What's better than a cheesesteak sandwich? One that's not made out of "steak" at all, it turns out. Shredded chicken, sautéed peppers and onions on a soft hoagie roll are made even more amazing with the addition of a homemade Provolone cheese sauce in this super simple recipe from On Ty's Plate mixes shredded chicken. (The secret ingredient: Italian seasoning.)


Instant Pot Pasta With Chickpeas

Chickpeas add a dose of fiber and protein to this easy, satisfying pasta by Meatloaf and Melodrama, and best of all, it's totally ready in just 20 minutes. You can add parmesan cheese for a salty kick, or leave it as is for a filling, vegan meal.


Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is my order at my local Indian restaurant, but I never thought to try to replicate it at home. In Simply Delicious Food's recipe, the chicken is cooked in a savory mix of garam masala, paprika, cardamom and coriander (by the way, coriander is the same thing as cilantro which completely blew my mind). This dinner goes well with rice or heated naan bread.


Instant Pot Herbal Chicken Soup

Keeping your family's immune systems healthy is going to be a top priority this fall, and what better way to get them a boost than to this healing chicken noodle soup from Wholefully? The prep on this recipe is only 15 minutes, but it does have to cook for almost three hours, so you may want to prep this on a weekend and reheat on a school night. It's loaded with healthy ingredients like goji berries, ginger, and apple cider vinegar.


Instant Pot Enchilada Casserole

Enchiladas are so tasty, but making them can be so labor-intensive (it's all that tortilla rolling). This yummy enchilada casserole from DIY Candy has all the flavor of the original dish, just in a more deconstructed form. You can make this with either chicken or beef, depending on what you're in the mood for.


Instant Pot Chicken & Potatoes With Green Beans

Winner, winner — this chicken dinner from Simply Lakita couldn't be easier to prepare (even the sides are included!). Plus, there's a secret kid-friendly ingredient that's known for magically making vegetables palatable: ranch dressing powder. If they didn't like green beans before, this meal might just change their minds.


Jamaican Style Beef Stew


There's beef stew, and then there's this Jamaican beef stew from Ayesha Curry. Thanks to curry powder and Jerk seasoning, it has way more flavor than the average bowl of meat and potatoes — and with the added ginger, this meal will warm the whole family right up. Ideal for those cool autumn nights (and freezing winter ones, too).


Instant Pot Vegan Chili

Whether someone in your family is a vegan or you’re just looking for a hearty dinner that everyone will enjoy, this instant pot vegan chili from A Cozy Kitchen will be a hit. It’s made using quinoa, three types of beans, and spicy tomatoes, and you can top with whatever sounds good. Plus this recipe requires just five minutes of prep, and 15 minutes to cook.


Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta With Vodka Sauce

This instant pot shrimp pasta with vodka sauce from A Spicy Perspective takes just four minutes to get perfectly al dente, plus a few more minutes to get the sauce and the shrimp cooked. The result? A creamy, tasty pasta that still offers some protein thanks to the shrimp. This will become a family favorite.


Instant Pot Thai Curry Noodles

For days when you need to get something comforting, warm, and filling on the table quickly, these instant pot Thai curry noodles from Averie Cooks are so satisfying. The rice noodles are cooked in coconut milk and a blend of fragrant spices, and as an added bonus, this meal is both vegan and gluten-free.


Instant Pot Green Pork Chili

This yummy pork chili recipe from A Beautiful Plate proves that chili doesn’t always need to include a ton of beans.It’s brimming with fresh flavors like cilantro, scallions, tomatillos, cumin and more, and the pork is hearty and satisfying. Just note that the ingredients will need to simmer for three to four hours, so you may want to prep a big batch on a Sunday to serve on a weeknight


Instant Pot Vegan Risotto

This creamy risotto dish from Brooklyn Supper is topped with crispy mushroom and toasted garlic for a savoury umami flavor. You’ll end up with a bright, vegan dish that still gets plenty of rich flavor thanks to nutritional yeast, olive oil, and of course tons of garlic. You can serve this as a side or as a main dish the whole family can enjoy.


Instant Pot Ground Beef Tacos

This recipe from Damn Delicious is amazing if you need a quick dinner and only have frozen ground beef, because the meat can go straight into the instant pot even if it’s not thawed. While the beef and spices cook for 20 minutes, you can quickly warm the tortillas and cut up some lettuce, tomatoes, or whatever your favorite taco toppings are for a full, crowd-pleasing meal that comes together in a half hour or less.


Instant Pot Bacon Avocado Breakfast Casserole

There’s something so comforting and fun about breakfast for dinner, and this instant pot bacon avocado breakfast casserole from Fit Slow Cooker Queen is a healthy way to do it.The recipe is low-carb, keto, and even Whole 30-friendly (if you skip the cheese), plus it just tastes really good. Just note that if you are making this in an instant pot as opposed to a slow cooker, you’ll need to half the recipe and cook it in an oven-safe pot inside the pressure cooker, which the tutorial explains how to do.


Instant Pot Dill Pickle Chicken

Yep, you can cook a whole chicken in your instant pot in under an hour. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals gives the chicken a juicy, vinegary tang because it cooks in pickle juice instead of water (don’t knock it ‘til you try it). Serve with your favorite veggies or rice, and if you only have chicken thighs, that will work too.