Meal Planning and Must-have Essentials When Cooking With Your Instant Pot.

Hi there everyone!~ If you are new here to Home Pressure Cooking, Welcome! Today we are going to talk about meal planning and must-have essentials when cooking with your Instant Pot. A lot of what we are recommending came with our own experience and we also went to my group and Facebook page and posed the question to our readers there. We have a lot of tips and must-have essentials. I don’t mean accessories, I mean pantry and refrigerator must-haves at all times.

 We are a family of 4, although one-off to college we still cook just the same amount. We always make sure my younger son and husband can have seconds. Most of the time the 6 Qt. is perfect. A lot of times there are still leftovers as well. However, if you are a family of 5,6, or more, you may find the 8 Qt. to be a better fit for your family. They now even make a 3 Qt. for sides. So perhaps a 6 and 3 Qt. may suit you well.

If you are looking for must-have accessories you can check that out HERE when you are finished.

Better than Bouillon

Seemed Better than Bouillon to be a popular vote. Compared to broths in the box these are remarkably more reasonable and price and you have a wide variety of choices. I know for certain Walmart and Costco carry these, and included above is a link to Amazon. Veggies on hand are always a must. Whether it is you are making a soup or roast you will always want to add these to the pot. Always keep in mind these go in last. They literally only take less than 5 minutes to cook. Various boxed kinds of pasta are great as well. You can throw them in a soup or stew or make an entire pasta dinner in your pot. Don’t forget to add rice to your list. I love Uncle Ben’s. It is perfect every time. You can add a little pork, carrots, and celery to it and you feel like you just had the best Chinese pork fried rice ever!


What a lot of newbies don’t realize is that you need more spice and seasoning when you are cooking in the pressure cooker. Because the process is quicker and you are retaining more moisture in the sealed unit, what you would typically use is not nearly enough. I see this often, where gals say my meat was bland, the chicken tasted blah, and there is no flavor in my meal. Spice it up. You also need a jar of chopped/minced garlic on hand always. Don’t forget to add basil and rosemary to the list.

Always have a variety of jarred sauces on hand. I don’t know how many times in a pinch I have taken out a jarred sauce and box of pasta and thrown it all in the pot. Added peppers and cheese and had a meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.

To doctor up your sauce that is where your minced garlic, basil, and rosemary will come in handy. I also love to use canned crushed tomatoes and season them up in the pot. I always have a cheap bottle of red or white wine on hand to add to some of my meals. It really adds a lot of flavor to the sauce.  Add a few frozen meatballs, or make your own and you have a homemade sauce in a jiffy.

Boxed Cake Mixes

Our last recommendation would be boxed cake mixes. I usually leave mine plain on top or add a delicious pie filling. Martha White mixes and jiffy boxes are also a must-have on hand. If you are a frosting type of gal, pick up a few of those too. Making a boxed cake in the Instant Pot is truly a game-changer. For one, no need to heat up the oven. For two, I think they turn out amazingly delicious and so moist. Duncan Hines is my all-time favorite. I have used them all and always go back to Duncan. There is a difference.

We hope you found some of these basic tips helpful to get you started.

Meal planning and must-have essentials when cooking with your Instant Pot

A few more tips from my readers:

Janet says ” Chicken broth, rice, grape seed oil if I saute, it doesn’t smoke as much as olive or vegetable oil”.
Debbie says “Better than Bouillon bases, usual chicken, beef, veg, ham,&just tried lobster! Less storage space than broths can mix as you wish, lower sodium, etc… Always try using a diluted broth or full depending on recipes. I use no plain water hardly anymore. It’s good flavors that make a diff”!
Donna says “Yellowcake mix”. 

You get the gist! We all have a tip or two to add. If you are looking for basic tips and guide, check that out HERE

You can also find 30 meals to get you started HERE

Pin it, save it, print it!

Meal planning and must have essentials when cooking with your Instant Pot

We have included a weekly meal planner for you and a basic essential sheet. With the holidays coming we think this would make a lovely gift to someone who is new to the pot. Help get them started and not be so intimated to open up that box. These are great to add to a binder and take out weekly to plan your meals. You can always reference back and star which ones were your family favorites.

We recommend printing on card stock. You can even print original and simply run off copies on a copy machine if you don’t want to use too much ink in your printer. I’m always thinking and planning.

Meal planner weekly schedule and must-haves print here Meal planning and must have essentials when cooking with your Instant PotDiscover Delicious

Looking for more beginner-friendly recipes? Click here!

Main Dish Ideas for Dinner!

Check out our Teriyaki Glazed Meatballs in the Air Fryer or our Low Carb Meatzza.

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