5 Quick Weeknight Instant Pot Dinners

5 Quick Weeknight Instant Pot Dinners

As the kids head back to school, and our weeknight schedules begin to fill up. It is a great time to share my 5 quick Weeknight Instant Pot Dinners. 

Let’s face it we all have busy schedules and fixing a dinner at the end of a busy day can be such a chore. My 5 Quick Weeknight Instant Pot Dinners will make dinner prep super easy. You guys might remember my post from Memorial Day about my Instant Pot Rainy Day BBQ Chicken. I have to say, I am really loving my new Instant Pot, especially for quick meal prep, because it gives the illusion of a meal that takes a lot of prep and has been cooking all day long. *I was compensated for this post. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.I will be the first person to tell you that I am not really a big crock pot cooker. Which might sound funny considering that I am totally writing about Instant Pot meals, but the difference to me is very simple. In my opinion, crock pot meals tend to get very mushy and somewhat over cooked, because the idea is to cook the meal on low heat all day long so it will be ready when you get home. Honestly the only thing I ever used my crock pot for was bourbon meatballs, chili and chicken with dumplings. Yeah, that was pretty much it, until it blew up over a year ago during a chili cook off on a low and slow setting and cracked the ceramic liner, sadly never to be replaced. One of my best tips that I have learned so far in cooking with Instant Pot is to pre-sauté everything in the pot. It helps to preheat the unit and makes the actual preheat cook time much quicker. For most recipes you want to pre-brown your meat and vegetables to give them some flavor and this can all be done right here in the same pot. This has been a real time saver for me and it puts a nice browning seer on meat, unlike a crock pot.

1. Chicken & Quinoa Soup

So this is kind of like if a hearty chicken noodle soup and a healthy chicken and quinoa dish had a baby. It has all the flavor and goodness of a mama’s homemade chicken noodle soup but the added bonus of no noodles, just one of those amazing super foods, quinoa. In all honesty, I think it tastes a lot like chicken and wild rice, because the quinoa gives it a nice little bite or crunch, the same way wild rice does.

Keep in mind the the polish sausage is optional, but if you choose to add it in it gives you a gumbo vibe, in fact you can probably add in some shrimp too and top it with a dash of old bay. This dish lends itself to dressing it up so many ways, but it really comes together quickly and can be a staple to your weekly grocery list.  

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5 from 6 votes

Chicken, Barley & Quinoa Soup

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken, Soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Natural Release 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 People
Author Jennifer Gainer


  • Instant Pot 3 Qt. Mini ( can be doubled for a larger 6 Qt. Pot)


  • 1 lb Chicken Breast
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 bag Frozen Mirepoix
  • 1 8 oz fresh Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Tbs Herbs De Provence
  • 3 Tbs Knorr Chicken Bouillon
  • 16 oz organic Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 8 oz Polish Sausage sliced (optional)
  • 3 oz fresh thyme
  • 3 oz fresh chives


  • Place InstaPot on Saute'. Add olive oil and mirepoix mix sauté for 5 mins.
  • Cut Chicken into 1" chunks coat with Herbs De Provence. Add to pot and brown. Repeat for Sausage (optional) 
  • Add mushrooms, broth, Quinoa, and Knorr Chicken Bouillon to pot and stir. 
  • Place lid on pot and set to high pressure cook for 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and decompress before opening, garnish with thyme and chives, serve with crusty bread 

2. Southern Style BBQ Chicken Tacos 

Y’all this is one of my favorites, I could eat these every week or every day. It is a fun southern style twist on Taco Tuesday by making them with BBQ. Just make up your batch of pulled chicken BBQ in the InstaPot and dress your tacos with goat cheese, fried pickles and onion straws. Drizzle a little extra BBQ sauce on top and your are good to go. 

I am telling you these are so good you are going to thank me for this one. It reminds me a little bit of our Cowboy Nachos that we like to make with leftover brisket or pulled pork and we use baked beans instead of refried beans. I do like to mix things up in the kitchen and get creative sometimes. 

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5 from 4 votes

Southern Style BBQ Chicken Tacos

Servings 3 4
Calories 196kcal


  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 sweet onion chopped, (Vidalia onion)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 Tbs Foxx Bros BBQ Spice Rub
  • 2 Bottles Foxx Bros BBQ Sauce
  • 1 Bag Misson Mini Flour Street Tortillas
  • 1 Box Farm Rich Frozen Fried Pickles (perfect in ninja air fryer)
  • 1 4 oz Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 Can French's Fried Onion Straws


  • Set your Instant Pot to Sauté, Add olive and chopped onions, sweat until translucent about 10 minutes.
  • Coat chicken breast with spice rub and add to Instant Pot on top of onions. Top with 1 cup of sauce. 
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and set to high-pressure cook for 18 minutes. 
  • Place Fried pickles on a baking sheet in oven for 10-15 minutes
  • Allow Instant Pot to cool and decompress before opening. Remove chicken and shred meat, in a shallow pan coat all meat with remaining sauce, you may need to open the additional bottle at this point.  
  • Load Tortillas with pulled chicken, top with a crumbled slice of goat cheese, extra BBQ Sauce, Fried pickles and Onion Straws. Meal suggestions: serve with a side salad & ranch, refried beans or Texas caviar and chips. 

3. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe’s 

Okay so this is the exact recipe you may have seen from my Back to School Reunion Dinner. We served this with tater tots, side salad and sheet cake to make a nostalgic lunchroom style dinner. The idea again was to fuse together childhood favorites into a more elegant version of the sandwich. So we made a Sloppy Joe base with a richer more beef based sauce and added in peppers, onions, mushrooms and topped it with cheese. It was a super big hit with our guests and everyone said that their kids would love it, so here’s the recipe:

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5 from 3 votes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe's

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Natural Release 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 265kcal
Author Jennifer


  • Instant Pot 3 Qt. Mini ( can be doubled for a larger 6 Qt. Pot)


  • 1 lb. Ground Sirloin
  • 1 Onion, small sweet, (Vidalia onion) minced
  • 1/4 cup Garlic minced
  • 1 Bell Pepper green or red, chopped
  • 1 8 oz Mushrooms fresh, sliced
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Lea & Perrin Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 can Beef Consomme' Soup
  • 1 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 package Bakery Buns
  • 1 package Slice Provolone cheese


  • Turn Instant Pot on to Saute', add olive oil, onions, garlic and peppers. Saute' until onion are translucent. 
  • Add ground sirloin to brown slightly 
  • Add mushrooms, soup mix, cornstarch, and brown sugar. Stir then pour beef consume over mix.
  • Place lid on pot and set to high pressure cook for 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and decompress before opening. Serving on toasted buns topped with cheese and favorite sides like tots or side salad. 

4. Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

The other great part about this recipe is that it made so much it can be made into two meals.  I am pretty sure no family of four can eat 12 sloppy joe’s in one night, so let’s make it into something else for later in the week, like stuffed peppers.

Take the other half of the left over meat mixture and stir in 1 egg, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs. Mix together and stuff into 4-6 peppers, depending on the number of members in your family. Top with provolone cheese and heat in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve up with a side of rosemary roasted potatoes or on a bed of spaghetti with you favorite sauce and you got another ready to go that week. 

5. Seafood Paella 

I think this recipe rounds out the top five nicely. It provides a more elegant dinner option in case you end up having family or guests, but it is still a quick easy to make recipe for a week night. Plus, if you are lucky, you might just have a few left overs that could pair nicely as a side with the Italian Stuff Bell Pepper recipe above. 


Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Seafood Paelle

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Natural Pressure Release 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Calories 357kcal


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Roma Heirloom Tomatoes diced
  • 2 Cups rice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp saffron
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled, deveined
  • 1/2 lb scallops
  • 15 mussels optional
  • 1/2 lb calamari rings optional, cleaned and sliced in rings
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives garnish
  • 1 tbsp Knorrs Chicken Bouillon
  • 4 cups white wine


  • Set your insta pot to sauté, add olive oil, peppers, garlic and onions until translucent. 
  • Next add paprika, red pepper flakes, bullion, rice tomatoes and saffron.  Cover with chicken stock. 
  • Set insta pot to rice cook for 15 minutes.
  • In separate large steamer pot add mussels tomatoes and white wine. Cover on high heat for 3 minutes.
  • Add in Calamari rings to steamer pot.  Cover for additional 3 minutes.
  • Finally add in the scallops and shrimp to steamer pot, top with Old Bay and cover for additional 3 minutes.
  • At this point your rice and seafood should all be done. Serve up rice and ladle seafood mix over the top, Garish with fresh herbs. Do not serve any unopened clams or mussels.

Also if you decide to make this dinner a quick and easy date night dinner or to invite guest over, I would love to suggest one of my all time favorite wines to pair with it,  Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. This is a great tasting crisp wine that really goes nicely with this particular meal.  It is also readily available at most grocery stores for a modest price.

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

PIN ME for later and be sure to follow us on Pinterest at Jen @ JENRON DESIGNS 

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  1. The Wooly Farmhouse

    Thank you for this post it comes at the perfect time for back to school. I know I am going to need these soon with all the after school activities we have.

  2. This post is just in time. My boyfriend and I have been struggling trying to figure out what we can cook for dinner during the week. We normally eat out a lot and it has to stop. I can’t wait to share these recipes with my family.

  3. I have an InstaPot that I only use for chicken and eggs. With school starting, these recipes are exactly what I need. Thanks!

  4. Home at Mimi’s

    Such a great selection of dinners for the Instapot, you seem to have one in each type of category too.

  5. The Delightful Farmhouse

    Oh I am so excited to give these a whirl. You have a the best recipes and I love that they come together so quickly with on hand ingredients. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

  6. Yay, I am so glad they will come in handy Tracy 🙂

  7. I am just happy to share, I know how when things get busy cooking can fall by the way side, and we turn to take out meals. These are so quick and easy there is no need.

  8. Well I know how Ollie likes his variety, lol I am the exact same way 😉

  9. Michelle

    I only invested in a crock pot about a year ago – and love it! But….now I’m seeing all these wonderful things that you can do with an instant pot and am thinking it’s time to invest again!! I had no idea of the versatility of them and these recipes are just delicious – that soup with quinoa would be an absolute winner here! I think I need to buy myself a belated birthday present !

  10. Awesome recipes Jen! I can’t wait to try your tacos! So many yummy ingredients you put in them. Fried pickles!!! Yes!!!! Have an awesome day!

  11. Vu Ha

    I have a InstaPot and I usually use it for beef and chicken. After reading this post, I knew more ways to cook.

  12. Awesome! I haven’t worked up the courage to try the instapot yet but your recipes look fantastic!

  13. These recipes are awesome. I like to eat well but not spend hours in the kitchen. So thanks a lot for the ideas.

  14. Yummy!! I’ve been thinking of an instapot and these dishes look awesome. I may have to invest in one.

  15. Farmhouse Fixer Upper

    To my friend of many talents I am really loving this post, you are saving me so much time this week!

  16. I’ve been looking for nice recipes that could save me time during the week days. I will definitely check this out

  17. These all sound so delicious! I love my InstaPot! It comes in so hand once the crazy schedules begin with the start of the school season. My daughter is in sports so I rarely have the time to actually cook a meal. This thing has been a life-saver on so many occasions!

  18. I do not have an instant pot but I can make pretty much all of these in my regular pressure cooker. Thanks for the ideas.

  19. Brie

    These dishes look delicious. I was thinking about getting the instapot. You deff make me want to purchase one.

  20. Yummy – I’m vegetarian but there are definitely easy ways to modify these recipes to suit me! Paella is my ultimate favourite thing – Battling huge cravings for that right now!! Also love that you don’t forget to include the wine at the end hehe Thanks for sharing!

  21. You have some amazing ideas here. I will be trying some out soon. I love a good slow cooked meal in the winter. Thanks for adding the recipes in as well.

  22. This all looks delish! I need an instant pot asap!

  23. gail

    The IP is the best thing ever. We take it out multiple times per week to make something. Great recipes!

  24. 5 stars
    Yummy! Thank for you this, I’ve been neglecting my Instapot the last few months. I was really into cooking EVERYTHING possible in it when I first got it, but I’ve honestly forgotten how easy is it. I’m so many that soup!

  25. I wouldn’t have thought that you could make so many dishes using an instant pot. I need to get one to make these dishes.

  26. Diva? Oh Yeah

    Such a perfect post right now, I just got the kids off to school this week and I can get my house back in order. These will make the week night recipes so quick and easy, I just love my new InstaPot, so glad you talked me into one. Maybe we will make the chicken soup tonight since it is all rainy here! It looks delicious!

  27. sunshine and daisies

    I have to say I love my Instapot so much I got it for Christmas and it is a total lifesaver. I love when I find the goldmine of recipes like this we multiples for one week, it makes life so much easier.

  28. They look so good! I couldnt believe it was so easy to make them. Now I wanna head to my kitchen and cook

  29. Ashley N. Rice

    Your soup recipes looks delicious! I have some veggie sausage and chick’n shreds in my freezer; I may try to make a vegetarian version soon! Thank you for the inspiration.

  30. These dinner ideas are indeed easy and amazing. I just love these Instapot dinner ideas. Much obliged for sharing this post.

  31. These supper thoughts are surely simple and stunning. I simply love these Instapot supper thoughts. Thankful for sharing this post.

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