3-Ingredient Instant Pot Recipes That Fit Any Budget

The Instant Pot — the programmable electric pressure cooker — was one of the most popular gifts over the holidays, and continues to be a hot commodity. I can personally testify to why this kitchen appliance gets so much love: it’s easy to use, breaks tough cuts of meat in no time, and allows me to dump everything in and then forget it until dinner is ready.

There’s definitely a learning curve to learning how to use the Instant Pot, which is why we’ve collected a variety of super easy Instant Pot recipes, all with only three ingredients.

How to get started

You need some liquid in the pot in order for the steam to build pressure. A good rule of thumb is to make sure there’s at least a cup of liquid in the pot before you cook. Make sure the silicone ring is securely seated in the lid, and that the venting knob is turned to the sealing position.

Protect your hand with a towel or oven mitt when turning the venting knob to manually release pressure. Remember that it takes some time for the pot to come to pressure, which generally takes an extra 10 minutes or more depending on how much food is in the pot. So even if you set the pot for 15 minutes, it will likely take 25 minutes in total to cook your meal. Also, letting the pressure release “naturally” means waiting until the pressure valve drops on its own. This can take 10-20 minutes depending on how much food is in the pot. (See also: 12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money)

1. Kalua Pork


  • 3-pound pork shoulder roast

  • 1 T Hawaiian Red Sea Salt

  • 3 strips of bacon


Set the Instant Pot to the saute function and brown the strips of bacon. While the bacon is browning, slice the pork roast in half, and salt the pieces all over with the Hawaiian Red Salt (you can use sea salt as an alternative). Place the pork in the pot and pour ¾ cup of water over the pork. Set the Instant Pot manually to high pressure for 90 minutes. When done cooking, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes before opening the steam vent. Shred with forks and eat with rice and vegetables.

2. Salsa Chicken


  • 1 jar of salsa

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs

  • Salt (optional)


Chicken thighs lend themselves well to pressure cooking as they don’t dry out or become rubbery (they’re also more affordable than chicken breasts). This recipe is so easy and flavorful that I make it about once a week. Put the salsa and chicken into the Instant Pot. Set the pressure cooker to poultry or manually set it to high pressure for 15 minutes. When it’s done, manually release the pressure. Shred the chicken with two forks. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if required (depending on how salty your salsa is). Serve over rice or as a filling for tacos.

3. Bone Broth


  • 2-3 pounds of broth bones

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks


Use bones that have a good amount of cartilage and meat still attached for the best flavor (such as joint and neck bones). For the cleanest broth, it’s best to blanch the bones first in a stockpot, but in the interest of saving time, I rarely do this.

Place broth bones and aromatic vegetables in the Instant Pot. You can use carrots, celery, onions, or none at all if you don’t have any on hand. Fill pot to about ⅔ full. Manually set the Instant Pot to high pressure for two hours (though one hour will be sufficient if you’re in a rush). Release pressure either manually or let it release naturally. Add salt to taste.

4. Mashed Potatoes


  • 3-4 pounds russet potatoes

  • 1 cup whole milk (or to taste)

  • Salted butter (to taste)


Place potatoes in…

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