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There are few better feelings than waking up on a workday morning—after snoozing the alarm once, maybe twice—and realizing that lunch is sitting in the fridge, totally ready to go. But in order to make that happen, you need to plan ahead and set aside some time to actually, you know, prep that lunch. If your weekends and evenings are packed, this can be a little bit of a challenge. Thankfully, the Instant Pot can make easy lunch recipes even easier.
Because it has several settings—slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer (and more)—the Instant Pot can cook almost anything, from hard-boiled eggs to chocolate cake. But one of the things it’s best for is hearty soups, stews and chilis. These things tend to have longer cooking times, and using the pressure-cooker setting on your Instant Pot means they’ll be ready that much quicker.
I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold out, I’m often craving these kinds of hearty-but-healthy midday meals. The easy, Instant Pot lunch recipes below range from a comforting loaded baked potato soup to a lighter chicken lettuce wrap option. They’re all great for fall, and many take advantage of seasonal ingredients and flavors. Best of all, though, your Instant Pot will basically cook them for you.
One-Pot Teriyaki Rice with Chicken and Broccoli
This easy, hearty “fried” rice will definitely satisfy your midday carb cravings, and with plenty of protein and veggies to boot.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is great for days when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Frankly, I can’t think of a day when it wouldn’t be great.
Cool Ranch Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Crisp lettuce wraps topped with avocado and ranch are always in season, if you ask me. These are also Whole30-compliant, if that’s something you’re looking for.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Never brought potato soup for lunch before? You’ve been missing out. (And knowing you can make it in your Instant Pot with next to no effort should make it all the more delicious.)
Instant Pot Chili
Chili deserves a spot on every meal prep lunch list, and this classic chili recipe is made even more delicious when you think about how easy it is to cook in your Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
Speaking of Instant Pot chili: This meatless version has beans, sweet potatoes, veggies and plenty of seasoning.
Black Eyed Pea, Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili
And, because I really love chili, here’s a third option for you. This easy, Instant Pot vegan chili is super tasty and a little unexpected, made with black eyed peas and butternut squash.
Kung Pao Chicken
Why would you ever step out for takeout, when you can just pack your own takeout-inspired lunch? And with a little help from your Instant Pot, this easy Kung Pao chicken recipe gets even easier.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
A hearty piece of baguette is all you need to pack alongside this easy veggie-packed beef stew.
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Is chicken tikka masala your go-to order at an Indian restaurant? Yeah, mine too. It can take a while to make a convincing version on the stovetop, but an Instant Pot cuts that time way down and really melds the flavors of spices, tomato, cream and chicken.
Instant Pot Mexican Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
This hearty, flavor-packed Instant Pot sweet potato recipe is made with tons of nutritious ingredients, like chicken, avocado and fresh herbs. Oh, and it’s totally delicious.
A version of this story was originally published in September 2018.