How to Cook Frozen Meat in an Instant Pot…..Really!

How to cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot....Really!

If you’re not already in love with your Instant Pot, there’s something you need to know that may just help: cooking meat……from rock-solid frozen! So is it SAFE to cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot? Absolutely!

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Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We? 🙂

If you’re like me and often forget to defrost the meat you’re planning to cook for dinner, you should be thrilled to learn that an Instant Pot TOTALLY remedies that situation….awesome news, right????

Why staying out of the TEMPERATURE DANGER ZONE is uber important.

  • Cooking frozen meat in a Instant Pot is a very safe and speedy method. Much safer than using a crock pot, the stove top, or the oven, none of which should actually be used for cooking frozen meats. 
  • This is because a slow cooker, the stove top, and the oven gradually increase in temperature which puts frozen meat into what’s called the “temperature danger zone”. The temperature danger zone is between 40 degrees F. – 140 degrees F., right where bacteria loves to grow. 
  • Instead, opt for safely pressure cooking frozen meat in your Instant Pot! Because of the quick transfer of heat when we are pressure cooking, the heat inside the Instant Pot quickly moves right past the temperature danger zone. 
How tosafely cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot,

Below are 6 best practices I’ve found helpful when cooking meat from frozen in my Instant Pot: 

Know up front that cooking frozen meat IS going to take a bit longer than cooking thawed meat in your Instant Pot.

  • This seems obvious, right? Well, as a reminder, frozen meats will take 50% longer to cook than thawed.
  • As an example, a thawed roast should be cooked under pressure for 15-20 minutes per lb., while a frozen roast should be cooked under pressure for 22-30 minutes per lb. (Always followed by a nice, long natural release!)
  • And even with the increase in time for cooking meat from the frozen state in the Instant Pot, it’s a heck of a lot quicker than conventional cooking methods.

Always add more liquid when pressure cooking frozen meat in your Instant Pot.

  • The frozen meat should be nearly submerged in the cooking liquid. This is to be certain that the hot liquids inside the Instant Pot provide a very quick transfer of the heat as it moves into the protein fibers of the meat, keeping the meat in a safe temperature zone.

Realize it is going to take longer than normal for your Instant Pot to fully pressurize before it can begin cooking the frozen meat.

  • The contents inside the Instant Pot are ice cold, and there’s also more cooking liquid needed, as explained above. The cooking liquid inside the Instant Pot has to come up to boiling before it can begin to circulate and create the steam that makes the pot pressurize.

Still opt for broth as your cooking liquid.

  • I cook frozen meats on a regular basis, always using broth instead of water to add extra flavor. this works great for pressure cooking ground beef, ground sausage, boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cubed beef, and roasts. 
  • If you add any spices you’d like to cook with to enhances flavors, add them before pressurizing really enhances them due to cooking under pressure.

Don’t try to cook HUGE cuts of frozen meat in your Instant Pot.

  • I recommend never cooking a hunk of frozen meat that is bigger than 3 lbs. (which is an average size of most any beef or pork roast any way) if you are using the standard 6-quart size of Instant Pot.
  • If you have a larger Instant Pot (say the 8-qt., 10-qt.or 12-qt.) you can cook cuts of frozen beef and pork that are larger in size. 
  • However, if the hunk of frozen meat that you are aiming to cook in the Instant is really large, you will probably notice that it hasn’t cooked as evenly as it should, creating an eating experience that is less than desirable. 
  • I don’t know about you, but I want to eat meat that tastes GOOD!

Frozen or not, never ever forget to utilize the natural pressure release once you’ve cooked any meat in your Instant Pot.

  • Every single time you cook any animal protein (or vegetable protein, for that matter, such as dried beans) be very sure to utilize a FULL NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE, never a QUICK RELEASE.
  • The natural pressure release provides the meat time to rest and relax the protein fibers that are strained during the pressure cooking time.
  • Allowing for the time of a Natural Pressure Release will ensure the meat is fork-tender and juicy like we all desire. Nobody wants to eat chewy, rubbery meat! 

We love hearing from our readers and followers, so leave us a comment if you’d like.  If you don’t hear back from us shortly, know that we may not have seen your comment.  Feel free to reach out to us by email:  ChefAlli@ChefAlli.com.

Let’s Get You Pressure Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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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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