6 Genius Ways You Can Use Your Instant Pot for Meal Prep

Because it's time to break up with your sad desk lunch habit for good.

We'll never stop searching for ways to overcome the (relentless) challenge of getting a fuss-free dinner on the table every single night. (Sigh.) The Instant Pot can breathe new life into your ability to do this, and in practically no time. We've ranted and raved about how much we love it for making set-it-and-forget-it dishes like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, one-pot soups, stews, and sides, and all our favorite anti-inflammatory recipes. But let's not limit it—the device can do so much more.

Next time you're powering through a Sunday meal prep session, enlist your multi-cooker for help making these delicious dish components. They're super-versatile, so you can mix and match ingredients as you prep lunches and dinners throughout the week: salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, grain bowls, and so on.

The best part about the Instant Pot is that cooking is hands-free, which means you can cook a week's worth of meals and spend some quality time with your couch and a glass of wine simultaneously. Now that we're motivated, here are some ways you can use your Instant Pot to meal prep.

01 of 06

Cooking a Whole Chicken

creamy chicken and mushroom pasta
Caitlin Bensel

Rotisserie chicken is the darling of many meal prep recipes, but I'm sure we can all agree that store-bought versions can be dried out. If you cook a chicken in your Instant Pot, you'll find the results are melt-in-your-mouth tender. It won't have the same crispy exterior as your oven-baked breasts or drumsticks, but for a dish like chicken curry, soup, or this creamy chicken and mushroom pasta, you won't miss that one bit.

02 of 06

Hard-Boiling Eggs

Soba With Charred Scallions and Soft-Cooked Eggs
Greg DuPree

Certainly one of the most versatile (and finicky) foods, hard-boiled eggs are built for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every snack in between. The Instant Pot does an expert job at cooking shelled eggs, plus it can make a large batch of them at once.

03 of 06

Steaming Veggies

Crunchy Broccolini With Lemon and Pecans
Roasted broccolini takes on deliciously crispy charred edges in the oven, while a bunch of raw broccolini makes sure this easy side retains bright freshness. Tossed with a fresh lemon-honey dressing, this is a balanced and original approach to a standard green side dish. It travels well too, so go ahead and sign it up for the next potluck. Get the recipe:Crunchy Broccolini With Lemon and Pecans. Victor Protasio

What vegetables want to get steamy in your Instant Pot? Any you like. From carrots to cauliflower to kabocha squash, the steam setting is the way to go. You can toss in a ton at once (as long as they take about the same amount of time to cook) or steam in sessions. Just make sure not to cook veggies too long and always use the Quick Release valve to avoid a mushy mess.

04 of 06

Hydrating Every Type of Bean

Bean, Spinach, and Quinoa Burritos
Marcus Nilsson

This is one of our favorite lesser-known uses for the Instant Pot. Use the "Bean/Chili" function to cook black beans for burritos, cannellini beans for minestrone soup, and chickpeas for homemade hummus or Greek salad.

05 of 06

Cooking Quinoa (and Every Other Grain)

Roasted Salmon with Crispy Broccoli and Quinoa
Johnny Miller

The Instant Pot will turn out super-fluffy quinoa. We recommend rinsing first, then pressure-cooking on High for five minutes before releasing with the Quick Release valve. Serve in grain bowls, mix into the base for homemade veggie burgers, or alongside salmon. In fact, we recommend outsourcing all grains to the IP: You can cook white or brown rice, steel-cut oats, wheat berries, and more in your multi-cooker.

06 of 06

Making Yogurt

How to Make Homemade Yogurt
Greg DuPree

This one may seem obvious because it's a pre-programmed setting on all Instant Pot models (save for the Lux), but have you ever thought of the money-saving potential of this little button? A tub of Greek yogurt can cost upwards of $10, and considering how easy it is to DIY, adding breakfast to your meal prep to-do list could save you major bucks at the grocery store.

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