The First 4 Things You Should Cook in Your Instant Pot… in Order!

The first 4 Instant Pot Recipes you need to make! Understand your appliance, build confidence, become an Instant Pot Master!

What are the first instant pot recipes you should make? If you’re new to electric pressure cooking, the success (or failure) of those first recipes could make you or break you. Don’t worry! Chef Alli is here to help. I’ve got the first 4 recipes that you should make in your Instant Pot, IN ORDER, to help you get familiar with your machine, take those first baby steps towards success, and build confidence to be an Electric Pressure Cookin’ Superstar! #instantpot #instantpotbeginner #firstthingtocookinaninstantpot #firstinstantpotrecipes

Your First Instant Pot Recipes: Pass or Fail?

I’ve discovered that the reason most people purchase an Instant Pot (or any brand of electric pressure cooker) is because they long to enjoy a big ole pot roast with all the fixin’s… just like Grandma made. So, they jump out there and try to cook that roast first thing, only to be disappointed with the outcome… their roast turns out like a rubber ball!The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot! If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll get a successful start with these four recipes... IN ORDER!

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Sadly, because this disappointment causes total disillusionment with their Instant Pot, they quit; their electric pressure cooker gains a spot in the Small Appliance Cemetery down in the basement, never to be heard from or seen again. This is such a tragedy, and one that can be completely avoided by following a different and easier path.

The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot

Below are the first 4 things you should create in your IP. Preparing them in the order that’s laid out helps ensure your success because each one of them builds on the previous and the more you conquer, the more confidence you’ll gain! And, along the way, you’ll get to experience some delicious foods that will help make you want to continue using and learning about this awesome small appliance workhorse….the Instant Pot.

Recipe #1. Water!

The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot! If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll get a successful start with these four recipes... IN ORDER!

Cooking water in your Instant Pot as soon as you get it out of the box is a must…..for two reasons:

  • It lets you quickly learn and experience just how your pot works, exactly.
  • If you burn water (as opposed to dinner), it’s no biggie!

How to Cook Water in Your Instant Pot:

Place a couple of cups of water into your IP and lock the lid into place. As it’s coming up to pressure, check your valve to see if it’s set to the SEALING position. As your pot works to pressurize, watch the stem in the back (near the valve); this stem will extend up above the surface of the pot a bit once your pot is pressurized.

Also, try to unlock the lid of your IP. You will find that the lid won’t turn once your pot is fully pressurized. You’ll really learn to appreciate this safety feature! Lastly, perform a quick release to remove all the pressure from your pot. Doing these few steps as your first IP experience helps you to feel more confident as you cook with your pot moving forward.

Recipe #2. Easy Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs

The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot! If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll get a successful start with these four recipes... IN ORDER!

This first real recipe in your Instant Pot is going to amaze you. You will love how quickly and easily hard-boiled eggs cook in your instant pot! I use this recipe to prep healthy snacks for the week, or to knock out an entire potluck dish in just a few minutes!

Printable Recipe for Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs:

Easy Instant Pot Hard-boiled Eggs

Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword hard-boiled eggs, instant pot, instant pot for beginners
Author Chef Alli


  • 1 Cup water
  • 12-24 eggs up to 2/3 full in Instant Pot


  1. Place one cup of water into the IP; add the trivet to the pot. Place the eggs onto the trivet (as many as you’d like...just don’t fill the IP more than 2/3 full.)
  2. Lock the IP lid into place, then use the Manual button to choose High Pressure for 6 minutes, bringing the IP to full pressure.
  3. When the timer sounds, perform a Quick Release to remove all the pressure from the pot.
  4. Immediately pour the contents of the IP into a large bowl of ice water for 2-3 minutes.
  5. After 2-3 minutes, letting the eggs chill a bit, crack the shells of the eggs on the counter, then re-submerge each one beneath the cold water in the bowl, gently and easily removing all the shells from each egg.

Recipe Notes

Hard-boiled eggs will keep in a bowl in the fridge (I put paper towels between each layer) for up to 5 days.

Your hard-boiled eggs will taste great in these delicious recipes:

Sarah Jane’s Spicy Deviled Eggs – Sarah Jane’s spicy jalapeno mustard gives these eggs just the kick in the pants they’ve needed.

Over-Loaded Deviled Eggs – Make your deviled eggs heavenly with bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and sour cream… need I say more?

Recipe #3. No-Peel Homemade Applesauce

The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot! If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll get a successful start with these four recipes... IN ORDER!

Getting the hang of it now? Let’s try applesauce! If you have an immersion blender or food processor, you don’t even need to peel your apples before pressure cooking them! Just process until smooth and enjoy the added nutrition.

Printable Recipe for Instant Pot Applesauce:

Awesome Instant Pot Applesauce

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword applesauce, instant pot, instant pot for beginners
Author Chef Alli


  • 8 apples quartered and seeds removed (I like to use a blend of Granny Smith and Jonathon and I leave my peelings on)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup granulated sugar or sub apple juice or cider for the water and reduce amount of sugar used
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Place water into pressure cooker pot, then add cinnamon, sugar, and apples. Lock lid into place and choose 5 minutes on high pressure.
  2. When timer goes off, use a quick release to release all steam from chamber.
  3. Remove lid and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor works great too. Or, if you don’t have either of those tools, peel your apples before cooking them and you can use a potato masher on your cooked apples – works great if there’s no peelings involved!)
  4. When applesauce has cooled, stir in vanilla.

Recipe #4. Mac and Cheese with Browned Kielbasa Bites

The First 4 Recipes for Your Instant Pot! If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll get a successful start with these four recipes... IN ORDER!

Your first instant pot recipe for dinner is, naturally, going to be some cheesy, creamy, pasta comfort food! What’s the best thing about making pasta in the IP? It only takes 5 minutes and you don’t have to drain the pasta after it’s cooked! Simply stir the remaining ingredients into the cooked pasta and it’s ready to eat.

Printable Recipe for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Browned Kielbasa Bites:

Instant Pot Little Smokie Mac and Cheese

What could make a belly more happy than a big warm serving of cheesy, creamy, mac and cheese?? This Instant Pot Little Smokie Mac and Cheese thrills my family to no end and I'm a happy camper because it only takes 5 minutes to cook in my electric pressure cooker! #InstantPot #MacaroniAndCheese #SpeedyMeal #LittleSmokies

Course Kid Friendly, Main Course
Keyword cheesy, easy, electric pressure cooker, instant pot, kielbasa sausage, macaroni, Pasta, speedy meal
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 3 cups rotini pasta, or your favorite pasta of choice
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (or any cheddar cheese you prefer)
  • 1 can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup, 10 3/4 oz. (or substitute 10 oz. cubed Velveeta cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 lb. Little Smokie all-beef sausages, browned off in a bit of oil first (may also substitute slices of kielbasa sausage that have been browned off a bit)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • your favorite bbq sauce, for drizzling over the top of each serving, if desired


Instant Pot Cooking Method

  1. Place the broth into the Instant Pot; use the saute setting to get the broth boiling, then stir in the pasta. Lock the Instant Pot lid into place. Using the manual button, choose High Pressure for 5 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure.

  2. When the timer sounds, use a quick release to remove all pressure from the Instant Pot. Carefully remove the lid and give the pasta a quick stir; you will notice that the pasta has absorbed all the broth (or nearly all of it), so therer's no need to drain it.

  3. Add the beaten egg to the sour cream, then stir this mixture into the hot pasta. Add the cheddar cheese soup, shredded cheddar cheese, spicy brown mustard and the evaporated milk, mixing to combine all the ingredients together. To serve, place the mac and cheese into serving bowls; drizzle with your favorite bbq sauce, if desired, and enjoy.

Slow Cooker Cooking Method

  1. Combine macaroni and chicken broth in a large pot; bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Do not drain water from macaroni! Stir in the cheese, soup, and sour cream/egg mixture, and spicy brown mustard; combine well, then fold in kielbasa; season macaroni and cheese to taste with salt and pepper.  Place macaroni into a pre-heated slow cooker and  cook on low for 2-3 hours, until the pasta has absorbed most of the extra liquid the pasta is tender. To serve, place the mac and cheese into serving bowls; drizzle with your favorite bbq sauce, if desired, and enjoy.

Recipe Notes 

Congratulations… You Did It!

You finished your first Instant Pot recipes, and I hope they were a smashing success. Now that you’ve built up some confidence, (you’ve even successfully made dinner…FAST!) it’s time to come back to that roast. Remember, it’s the same pot, the same techniques, and just as easy. All you have to do is prep it, put it in, lock the lid, and patiently wait for dinner to be done (and delicious)!

Your First “Pot Roast” Recipe for the Instant Pot

Easy Instant Pot Beef Pot Roast

This is an easy two-ingredient pot roast, designed to make your Instant Pot do all the work! You'll love how easily and quickly this roast comes together and gives you perfectly tender beef for any dish your heart desires.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot, pot roast


  • 1 chuck roast approx. 3 lbs.
  • 16 oz jar sliced pepperoncini peppers with juices
  • salt and pepper


  1. Season roast well with salt and pepper. Using the saute setting on the IP, add a bit of olive oil; when the oil is hot, add the roast, browning it off on all sides. Pour the jar of pepperoncini and their juices over the roast. Lock the IP lid into place. 

  2. Use the manual button to choose the high pressure setting for 75 minutes, bringing the IP to full pressure.

  3. When the timer sounds, use a natural release, slowly letting the pressure in the IP come down on it's own. Open the IP and check the roast - the beef should be very fork-tender; remove the beef from the cooking liquid in the IP to a cutting board. From here, the sky is the limit!

Recipe Notes

Yes, this roast still takes 75 minutes in the Instant Pot... but it's not 4-5 hours like a slow cooker pot roast!

Once you’ve made that delicious pot roast, it’s time to really start enjoying the fruits of your labor! A beef roast can go a long way in these delicious dinners:

Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo
Loaded Skillet Fries with Beef and Bacon
Roast Beef Wellington Packets

Helpful Resources for your Electric Pressure Cooking Journey:

What to Do When Your Instant Pot Won’t Pressurize

Download my FREE Instant Pot/Electric Pressure Cooker Troubleshooting Guide. It’s a simple 6-Step Checklist of the most common pressure cooker problems you’ll face. Click below to get this FREE PRINTABLE in your inbox!

Instant Pot Won't Pressurize? Print a FREE troubleshooting guide now and get dinner done!

Download Free Guide

Download the guide, then read about each step in more detail here: The Top 6 Reasons Your Instant Pot Won’t Pressurize… and What To Do About It 

Free Printable Quick Cooking Chart

As you start using your Instant Pot more and more you’ll begin to understand how the timing and pressure release works. You’ll get to a point where you only need to know a few important things to cook food fast. Timing. Type of release. And a few basic prep instructions. That’s where my Quick Cooking Chart will come in super handy! This full-color PDF has basic Instant Pot tips for 14 common foods. Just print it, tape it inside your cabinet door, and you’ll be well on your way to Instant Pot Pro!

This FREE Printable Cooking Chart makes quick work of 14 common Instant Pot foods and will ensure Instant success for any new Electric Pressure Cooker user!

Other Instant Pot Info You Will Find Helpful:


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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli


Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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