From freezer to Instant Pot! I am all about easy meals that make dinner time a breeze. During all of the busy and exhausting season of life my freezer has been one of my best friends. At the end of a long day I am looking for delicious meals that do not take much time. And can I be honest? As much as I love a good soup or casserole I like to have a little variety in my freezer meals.
I am sharing with you a few of our family friendly recipes that are also perfect instant pot meals. You can use any electric pressure cooker that you have or even a slow cooker. I have the instructions on each recipe card for both. I have also included instructions to make this right away as flavorful one-pot meals or you can follow the freezer directions to make now and serve later.
Can you cook from frozen in the Instant Pot?
Yes! That is the absolute beauty of these Instant Pot freezer meals. Never again will you be caught at dinner time in a panic because you forget to set something out to thaw. No defrosting is required.
If you are cooking the recipe from freezer to Instant Pot you will first use the saute function for five minutes in order to release some of the liquid from the frozen dish. After you have sauted for five minutes simply hit the “cancel” button and proceed to using the pressure cooker. All of the instructions will be laid out for you in the printable recipe cards so do not worry about remembering all of this.
What do you need for these recipes?
- 6 Quart Instant Pot (if you have the 8-quart model of instant pot that will work well also)
- Gallon freezer bags or any freezer container
- Measure spoons and cups
- Large spoon for mixing
- Good knife for chopping and mincing
- Garlic press (totally optional but I love mine)
Instant Pot Recipes
Each frozen meal can be prepared in the instant pot or can be made as a crock pot meal. The instructions for both are included on the recipe card. I resisted purchasing an Instant Pot for the longest time so many of my instant pot recipes were originally developed for my slow cooker.
I have since come to my senses and seen the beauty and wonder that is the Instant Pot. It did take one of my friends bringing her Instant Pot over to my house and making dinner to prove to me that the house would not blow up before I agreed. I guess I can be pretty set in my ways when it comes to kitchen gadgets.
Sweet Honey Chicken
The first of the delicious recipes that I am going to share with you is a sinfully easy dump and go meal. I love to serve this sweet honey chicken with stir fry veggies and maybe some brown rice. If I am feeling extra fancy I will skip the brown rice and serve Hawaiian rolls instead. So yummy!
For this recipe you will need:
1/2 cup coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
You are literally just going to dump everything except the chicken into the instant pot. Mix everything together, add the chicken, and voila. Dinner!
Cook on High Pressure for seven minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken and return to sauce.
It truly does not get much easier than that. For instructions on how to make this as a freezer meal refer to the printable recipe card included at the bottom of this blog post.
I am a born and raised Southern Lady but if I had to choose another culture’s food to have grown up with it would without a doubt be Italian. I adore Italian food. A good lasagna with some decadent garlic bread is one of my favorite comfort foods. Just don’t tell grandma.
Lasagna is a labor of love however and in this season of life I do not always have time to make the gorgeous layers of a traditional lasagna. Enter the Lazy Lasagna. This is totally cheating, totally not traditional Italian food, but totally delicious.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef or sausage
48 ounces of marinara sauce
20 ounce frozen bag of cheese ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzarella
You can use store bought marinara for this but I like to use my homemade freezer sauce. It is super simple to make and easy to keep on hand because it freezes so well.
This is the only meal that takes a little bit of advance prep because you do need to brown the meat before dumping the rest of the ingredients into the pot.
Once you have browned the meat you will add in the remaining ingredients and give everything a stir so that the ravioli is coated with the sauce. Cook time when you are preparing right away is 5-8 minutes. Once everything has cooked use the quick release and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
This lazy lasagna is a hit in our house. An added bonus is that the ravioli is a bit easier for my young toddler to navigate than a traditional lasagna. It is a savory meal that our entire family can enjoy.
Simple Chicken Street Tacos
I seriously distrust anyone who does not like tacos. Is that even something that is allowed? Tacos should be considered an important food group for everyone.
These simple chicken street tacos take little effort but taste oh so scrumptious. The toppings are totally based on your personal preferences so choose whatever makes your heart ( and taste buds ) happy. For me I love to squeeze a little extra lime juice and add some avocado, fresh tomatoes, and maybe some sour cream. Sometimes I take 1-2 tbsp of cornstarch and thicken up the sauce that the chicken cooked in to make a dressing for the tacos.
2-2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1- 16 ounce jar of salsa (mild or medium depending on your preference)
1 cup of chicken stock
4 tablespoons lime juice
It is almost criminal to even call these instructions. These tacos are the ultimate in dump and go.
Add all of the ingredients to your Instant Pot bowl. Stir everything around so that the chicken is coated and the seasonings are mixed together. Cook at High Pressure for 7 minutes or until the chicken is done. Shred chickenServe chicken warm with tortillas and all of your favorite taco toppings.
Freezer Meal Tips
There are a few things that you can do when you are making these recipes as freezer meals that will make a super easy process even more simple. If you can believe it!
One for now one for later
When you are making your grocery list buy double of the ingredients that you will need in order to make the recipe. In other words, make sure that you have enough food to make the recipe twice.
While you are preparing dinner put one recipe into the Instant Pot for dinner tonight and put the other into a gallon-sized freezer bag to freeze for dinner on a future night. Doing this one for now one for later method does not take any additional time and you will be so glad that you did.
Arranging your freezer food
There are two ways that you can approach freezing your Instant Pot freezer meals.
One way is to freeze the meal into a shape that will easily fit into the Instant Pot when it is frozen. I have done this in the past and while it does work in theory I have found that it is not the best practice for me. One reason is because it takes up so much extra space in my freezer. Another is because freezing in a bowl or round shape usually means I have one large lump of meat that does not cook as evenly.
I prefer to lay my bags in a single layer when I freeze them. In my time making freezer meals I have found that both methods take almost zero thaw time. I saw almost because if my frozen food is in the shape of a round bowl I still need to defrost it just enough to be able to remove it from the bag or container. If my frozen food is flat in a bag I only need to defrost it just enough so that the frozen food will fit into my programmable pressure cooker.
There are tons of strategies you can use here but these are the two that I have used the most frequently and what I have found to work best for me.
Avoiding Freezer Burn
You biggest enemy when it comes to freezer cooking is oxygen. Air is a great way to have freezer burn on your precious freezer meals. No one wants that.
Remove as much air as you possibly can before you seal your bag or container and transfer it to the freezer. If you have any components of your meal that need to be cooked ahead of freezing then always make sure those food items have cooled completely before you freeze. Not only is that better for food safety but putting hot food into a closed container will lock in all the steam and moisture which means more air inside your container and that means a higher chance of freezer burn.
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more or less to taste)
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- In the Instant Pot bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except the chicken. Mix together well.
- Add the chicken and stir around to coat the chicken with the sauce.
- Cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Shred or dice the chicken and return to sauce
- Serve warm with mixed vegetables
Freezer Meal Instructions
1. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and then transfer to a gallon zip bag or freezer container
2. Add the chicken and seal your container. Remove as much air as possible before freezing
3. When you are ready to cook take the frozen meal and add it directly to the Instant Pot. Saute for 5 minutes to release some of the liquid
4. Cook on High Pressure for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
5. Shred or dice the chicken and return to the sauce
6. Serve warm with mixed vegetables
2-3 hours on low
From frozen: Thaw overnight in the fridge and then cook for 2-3 hours on low
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground beef or sausage
- 48 ounces of marinara sauce
- 20 ounce frozen bag of cheese ravioli
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
Add oil, garlic, and beef or sausage to the instant pot.
Saute for 5 to 8 minutes or until the meat is cooked through
Turn off saute mode
Add marinara sauce and ravioli to the bowl and stir everything so that the ravioli is coated with sauce
Cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top and put the lid bak on. Allow the cheese to melt
For Freezer Meal:
Saute the oil, garlic, and meat until the meat is cooked through
Allow to cool
Add the marinara sauce, ravioli, and cooked meat to a freezer bag or another freezer container. Put the shredded mozzarella cheese in a separate bag/container.
When you are ready to cook do not thaw.
Add frozen meal to the Instant Pot and saute for 5 minutes to release some of the juices
Cook on High Pressure for 10-15 minutes
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and allow the cheese to melt before serving
- 2-2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1- 16 ounce jar of salsa (mild or medium depending on your preference)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- Add all of the ingredients to your Instant Pot bowl
- Stir everything around so that the chicken is coated and the seasonings are mixed together
- Cook at High Pressure for 7 minutes or until the chicken is done
- Shred chicken
- Serve chicken warm with tortillas and all of your favorite taco toppings
1. Place all of the ingredients into a gallon freezer bag or another freezer container
2. Remove as much of the air as possible before transferring to the freezer.
When you are ready to cook:
1. Put frozen meal into the Instant Pot
2. Saute for 5 minutes to release the juices
3. Cook at High Pressure for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is done
4. Shred the chicken
5. Serve chicken warm with tortillas and all of your favorite taco toppings
Cook on low for 2-3 hours
From frozen- Thaw in fridge overnight and then cook on low for 2-3 hours