When I was growing up, my mom would send me to school with the best sack lunches, complete with a loving note tucked in. Now my oldest daughter is still in preschool, so I fortunately haven't had to start packing lunches yet, but I can tell you, when the time comes, there's no way I'll be living up to my mom's stellar example. Between juggling work, kids, and life in general, the idea of packing lunches daily seems rather overwhelming. If you're in the same boat, fret not, there are some awesome school lunch Instant Pot recipes out there that will make the task at hand infinitely easier.
Thanks to the Instant Pot, gone are the days of having to cut the crust off peanut butter and jelly sammies, or rely on deli meats to provide some protein. This appliance can really elevate what you're slipping into your kid's (insulated) lunch box. I even have a friend who does a "meal share" with one of her neighbors — they each make an Instant Pot recipe and give each other half. That way, their children's lunches get more variety. With a smart strategy like that, maybe packing lunches doesn't have to be that bad.
So, without further ado, here are eight super easy, super tasty dishes that your kids will love pulling out at the lunch table. (Note: You'll want to make sure your kiddo has a good insulated lunch box to keep the some of these hot.)
1Instant Pot Korean Beef
This savory Korean beef recipe from Cookies and Cups can be made in bulk and then used in a bunch different ways for school lunches throughout the week. Think: beef bowls with rice, beef tacos, and even beef sliders. All you have to do is throw in an easy fruit, like an apple or banana, to make it a well-balanced meal.
2Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
I love this easy Instant Pot chicken burrito bowl recipe from Number 2 Pencil, because it packs a ton of great flavors into one easy-to-pack bowl. With a total cook time of just 17 minutes, it's quick and you get quite a few lunches out of it (that is, if you don't steal some for yourself!)
3Golden Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
You know a recipe is good when it tastes even better the next day. This golden Instant Pot chicken and rice recipe from Well Plated makes great leftover food, which means it's perfect for school lunches too. Plus, it features lots of veggies, like carrots, bell peppers and peas, so you can feel good that you're giving your kid a healthy lunch option.
4Instant Pot Smoky Honey Cilantro Chicken
This simple Instant Pot smoky honey cilantro chicken recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe is as versatile as it is flavorful. It makes sensational shredded chicken that you can use on tacos, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more. It's one school lunch staple your kids will ask for again and again.
5Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Tortellini
This hearty Instant Pot sausage tortellini recipe from Meatloaf and Melodrama is "picky eater approved." It features an awesome creamy tomato sauce that even kids who don't like tomato sauce will love. If you pack this pasta dish for school lunch, you can count on your kiddo staying full until dinner.
6Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
This Instant Pot beef stroganoff recipe from Well Plated isn't just tasty, it's healthy too. It doesn't use any canned soups, and instead calls for things like whole milk Greek yogurt and fresh cremini mushrooms. With a prep time of just 10 minutes, you can whip up this delicious school lunch for your little scholar in the same amount of time it would take to crank out some peanut butter and jellies. That's #winning!!
7Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese will always be a favorite kids' lunch item, but this buffalo mac and cheese Instant Pot recipe from Meatloaf and Melodrama really is next level. It's creamy, cheesy, and thanks to the buffalo sauce, a little spicy. The only problem is, you might have to make extra because every kid at the lunch table is going to want some.
8Mediterranean Three Bean Quinoa Salad
This protein-and-veggie- packed Mediterranean Three Bean Quinoa Salad Instant Pot recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod is so healthy, easy and good you'll want to make it every week. I love the idea of serving it with a hard-boiled egg to round out the school lunch meal.