When you think about summer cooking, chances are that grilling and cool, light dishes like salads come to mind. And while I love a good grill-out and an easy no-cook dish, I treasure my Instant Pot in the summer.
Pressure cooking is often associated with one-pot meals like soups and stews—dishes that don’t exactly pair well with hot weather. But the Instant Pot can do so much more, and saves me from heating up my apartment by turning on the stove or (gasp!) the oven. It also shrinks longer cook times and is largely hands-off, opening up some dishes I’d normally skip in the summer, like pulled pork or dried beans.
When the temperatures rise, I make all of my grains, beans, steamed veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and more in the device—even a few desserts. It helps with stress-free meal prep and keeps my kitchen nice and cool.
My Favorite Summer Meal Prep Ideas With the Instant Pot
Try making these dishes in your Instant Pot that are great for low-key summertime meal prep:
- Dried beans: Cooking beans from dried is always far superior than canned. Plus, it’s cheaper! They normally take hours to cook on the stove or in the oven, but the Instant Pot takes under an hour and won’t heat up your kitchen. Store extra for meal prep, using the beans as a side dish, salad ingredient, taco or burrito filling, and more.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Steaming in the Instant Pot yields easy-to-peel eggs that are great for snacking or breakfast, adding to salads, making deviled eggs, or pickling. Unpeeled, they’ll keep for several days in the fridge.
- Grains: Summer is salad season for me, and I love to mix up the ingredients to keep things interesting. Grains like rice, farro, and wheat berries are a great way to add some texture and make a salad more filling. I make them in the pressure cooker, which shrinks the cook time and gives the stove a break.
- Potatoes: Potato salad is a classic summer side dish, and the Instant Pot does an excellent job of perfectly steaming potatoes. You can also use the cooked potatoes for breakfast hash, mashed potatoes, and more.
My Favorite Pressure Cooker Recipes for Summer
Use your pressure cooker to make these dishes that are great for summer entertaining:
- Pulled Pork or Chicken: For classic BBQ fare without the barbecue, make pulled chicken or pulled pork in your Instant Pot. The pressure cooker keeps the cook time short while still yielding tender meat. You can also keep the shredded meat warm in the pot during a family meal or potluck.
- Ribs: You heard me, ribs! The Instant Pot makes great baby back ribs. After cooking them in the pot until tender, coat them in rub or slather them in sauce and briefly finish them on the grill or under the broiler.
- Cheesecake: While I can never get enough ice cream, sometimes I want a more substantial dessert in the summer—but there’s no way I’m running my oven for an hour to make a cake. This is when I make a cheesecake in the Instant Pot. They steam perfectly in the pot, making them much easier than baking in a water bath, and cheesecake can be made ahead of time and stuck in the fridge. Top with your favorite summer fruit.
Bonus: You can also use the Instant Pot as a water bath canner for pint and half-pint jars. Set the rack in the pot and use the saute setting to get the water bath boiling. (For pressure canning, only use Instant Pots with a pressure canning feature.)