The exquisite anticipation of the most magical day of the year can make Christmas Eve feel like the longest night of your life. The little ones will be bouncing off the walls as they wait for Santa, desperate to keep their eyes open when you tuck them into bed as they hope for just a glimpse of the man in the red suit. All that waiting and distracting can make cooking dinner feel like even more of a chore than usual, so here are Instant Pot recipes you can make on Christmas Eve to make the whole evening more bearable.
I don't mean to sound down on Christmas Eve. The day before Santa comes can be a blast, but trying to get small children to be patient and calm while they wait for presents isn't easy or relaxing for parents. You're probably going to have to be all hands on deck to keep everybody entertained on December 24, warning them that the Elf on the Shelf can still report to Santa up until Christmas Day at least once an hour to get them to behave, so no one will judge you if you don't feel like you have time to cook a really involved dinner. That's why your Instant Pot will be your copartner in crime for the day, easing at least one worry as you try to wrangle the little monsters.
Let your Instant Pot do the work for you with one of these festive recipes I tracked down, and know that I'm rooting for you as you try to get the kids to sleep in time for you to have at least one spiked eggnog before you have to wrap presents. (And don't forget that the Instant Pot can make Christmas morning a lot easier, too.)
1. Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Pasta
Eating fish on Christmas Eve is traditional for many Catholic families who participate in the Feast of the Seven Fishes, though no one is quite sure where the tradition comes from (as Eataly points out). If you're trying to stick with the food choices of your forefathers, make this Instant Pot lemon garlic parmesan shrimp from 365 Days of Crockpot. The sharp flavors and airy pasta make for a filling but light meal that won't leave you overstuffed when it's time to break out Santa's cookies.
2. Vegan Instant Pot Mushroom Soup
3. Instant Pot Beef Stew
Christmas Eve is a cozy holiday for many, spent at home by a warm fire, so a comforting bowl of Instant Pot beef stew would only make the night better. Courtesy of Well Plated, this recipe provides a one-stop meal that will leave your family feeling full and ready for Santa.
4. Honey Balsamic Instant Pot Salmon
This honey balsamic salmon recipe from The Spicy Apron is ready in just ten minutes total, and the honey balsamic glaze will give the salmon an extra kick. Plus, it fits in with the fish-feasting theme.
5. Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
6. Instant Pot Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
This light and airy Instant Pot chicken fettuccine alfredo (courtesy of Foodie Crush) would make an excellent precursor to the pounds of Christmas cookies the kids will leave out for "Santa."
7. Instant Pot Fish Stew
Sticking with the fish theme? Try this delectable stew from Bowl of Delicious. It's got fresh bass, red pepper, and lemon juice for a flavorful and filling meal.
8. Pasta Fagioli with Cranberry Beans and Kale
For all my vegan Christmas Eve celebrators out there, behold this pasta fagioli with cranberry beans and kale. The taste is refreshing and not too heavy, and making it in the Instant Pot cuts the cooking time in half (according to Susan from Fat Free Vegan).
9. Instant Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Baked potatoes can be super filling as it is, so eating them as a soup just makes having a potato as your main course more socially acceptable. Settle into the Christmas spirit with this Instant Pot loaded baked potato soup from Princess Pinky Girl.
10. Instant Pot Ham With Apple Cider And Brown Sugar
Ham is more traditional for Christmas day rather than Christmas Eve, but there's no reason you can't start the celebration early. Using Foodie Eat's recipe for Instant Pot ham with apple cider and brown sugar gives you a fully cooked ham in just 20 minutes, saving you valuable time as you rush to get the kids in bed so you can play Santa for the night.
11. Pressure Cooker Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie
The smallest touches can make a meal feel festive for the holidays, and the addition of the colorful cranberry spread to this pressure cooker cranberry pecan baked brie totally turns this recipe from Pressure Cooker Today into a holiday classic.
12. Instant Pot Golden Oreo Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Santa shouldn't be the only one to enjoy cookies on Christmas Eve, so make this this Oreo cheesecake from Monday Is Meatloaf to give your family an extra treat. Pro tip: add red or green food coloring to the ganache frosting to make it super festive.
13. Steamed Shrimp And Asparagus In The Instant Pot
My family always has shrimp in some form for Christmas Eve, and I'll definitely be suggesting we whip out our Instant Pot to make this steamed shrimp and asparagus recipe from Lemon Lavender Love this year, mostly because it only cooks in two minutes and no one wants to have to wait for dinner.
14. Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
I love that these Instant Pot baked potatoes from Sidetracked Sarah can be a fun side dish or a full entree once you load it up with toppings.
15. Winter White Instant Pot Hot Chocolate
Have you ever seen such a festive cup of cocoa? I love the idea of drinking a cup of Awe Filled Homemaker's "Winter White" Instant Pot hot chocolate while reading The Night Before Christmas.
16. Delicious New Orleans Instant Pot Gumbo
A traditional gumbo is a great way to include fish in your Christmas Eve dinner without the menu feeling too forced. Courtesy of Paint The Kitchen Red, this delicious New Orleans Instant Pot gumbo is filling, packed with the flavors of Louisiana, and the recipe makes enough to serve 10, so it's the perfect choice if you're feeding a crowd.
17. Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin
Mel’s Kitchen Cafe shares a sweet balsamic glazed pork loin recipe you can cook in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. Even though you can cook this recipe in either appliance, she recommends the Instant Pot for a juicier, more tender outcome. Shred up the pork when finished, drizzle the sweet balsamic glaze over, and serve immediately.
18. Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
You can’t go wrong with a soup dish during the holidays, especially if it actually gets cold in your area. This flavorful Instant Pot split pea soup recipe is not only very affordable, but also comprised of classic vegetables you’re probably already using in your other holiday recipes like onions, carrots, and garlic. Budget Bytes says adding cubed ham is an option if you feel the need to add meat to this otherwise vegetarian recipe.
19. Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Meatloaf and Melodrama shares this Instant Pot spaghetti and meat sauce recipe that only takes 30 minutes to make. For a little extra flavor, you can saute the meat with Italian seasoning before layering the spaghetti and adding the tomato sauce. Since you’re using a pressure cooker, you’ll only have one pot to wash and don’t have to boil the noodles separately.
20. Instant Pot Eggnog Cheesecake
If dessert becomes an afterthought because you’re bombarded with main courses to prepare, try a quick recipe that won’t take up any valuable oven space. Channel all of the classic Christmas-time flavors with this Instant Pot eggnog cheesecake also created by Meatloaf and Melodrama. It’s made of a ginger-snap crust and topped off with whipped eggnog.
21. Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
There may be a picky eater or two at your Christmas dinner table who won’t want anything to do with some of the more flavorful dishes you just spent your day making. This Instant Pot cauliflower mac and cheese recipe from Well Plated is bound to satiate their taste buds. The best part is, little ones probably won’t even notice that they’re eating vegetables.
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