If you’re a busy working person who doesn’t want to spend major $$$ buying breakfast and lunch every single day, meal prep is a godsend. If you’re a very busy person who doesn’t want to spend major time on meal prep, you need to invest in an Instant Pot. Because big-batch Instant Pot recipes are a godsend for meal prep.
Basically a slow cooker, pressure cooker and rice cooker in one, the Instant Pot ($100 at Amazon) more than pulls its weight and earns its keep as part of your arsenal of kitchen tools. The slow-cook and rice-cook settings are useful, but it’s the pressure-cook setting that sets the Instant Pot apart, because it cooks things in a fraction of the time they’d take on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.
You want pulled pork in less than an hour? The Instant Pot can do that. Quinoa in a minute? Yep, it can do that, too!
All this is great news for anyone who appreciates meal prep but doesn’t want to spend every Sunday afternoon from now until eternity stuck in the kitchen for hours. Instead of roasting, steaming and sautéing food for the week ahead, you can make your Instant Pot do the bulk of the meal prep work.
The following big-batch recipes cover all your meal-prep basics—grains, greens, healthy proteins, grab-and-go breakfasts and a few one-and-done soups and stews. Pick one to make each week, or choose a few and piece your meals together as you go.
Hawaiian Kalua Pork
Shredded pork has just enough fat that it stays tender in the fridge for a few days, making it the perfect candidate for topping midweek salads and grain bowls.
Since the Instant Pot cooks chicken breasts faster than your oven would, the meat will come out moister and more flavorful.
Roasted Garlic Marinara
A container of marinara in the fridge can turn pretty much anything into a meal. Heat some sauce and cook an egg in it, then serve it over pasta or just dip some cheesy bread right into the bowl.
Breakfast meal prep can make it so much easier to get out of the door in the a.m., but don’t limit yourself to overnight oats. Make a batch of this cooked oatmeal, then reheat a serving each morning.
Broccoli with Garlic
Steamed broccoli gets a bad rap, but I love the way it soaks up sauces or dressings in hot lunches and packed salads.
Rice is a great base for any quick lunch or dinner, but brown rice (which is healthier than white, because it contains the nutrients from the whole grain) takes forever in a rice cooker. Get there faster with this easy Instant Pot recipe.
Use the sauté setting on your Instant Pot for Brussels sprouts that are the perfect balance of crispy, bitter and sweet.
Once you have a few roasted sweet potatoes ready to go, you can choose sweet or savory toppings to turn them into brekafast, lunch or dinner.
You can switch up the veggies in this easy Instant Pot frittata so that things don’t get boring.
Keeping a batch of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge at all times means you always have a quick snack option or a no-cook protein topper for salads or toast. In the Instant Pot, they come out perfectly every time.
Roasted potatoes are an ultimate comfort, but it can be a pain to turn on the oven and wait an hour for them. Make a big batch in your Instant Pot, then serve them with whatever meat and veggies you like for the rest of the week.
Black Bean Soup
For a grab-and-go lunch option that requires zero thought, make a big batch of this black bean soup. Avocado topping optional but recommended.
If you prefer buying dried chickpeas over canned, you can cook them so much quicker in an Instant Pot. They’re cheaper this way, too.
If you’re anything like me, you make quinoa pretty much every week during meal prep. It’s super versatile and doesn’t dry out in the fridge like some other grains.
Instant Pot chili offers the perfect mix of convenience and comfort, and it’s relatively inexpensive to make. Cook a big batch in your Instant Pot, and you’ll have enough leftovers for a week of lunches.
A version of this story was originally published in August 2018.