Instant Pot Recipes from a Chef's Wife and IP Enthusiast

Instant Pot Chili Cook-Off Champion Recipe

Start to finish cook time: 37 minutes (1 prep, 9 suate + 12 pressurize + 15 high pressure)
Effort Level: Low 
Servings: 4 bowls

My husband would compete in a chili cook off each year and after he won, I decided to challenge him and enter myself the following year... And I won!! Trust me, there was no help from him- competition is fierce in our household. He still won't admit my recipe was better, but the judges and attendees agreed I was the winner. There are few greater feats for a chef's wife, than outlooking them at a dish. The year I won I cooked in a crockpot, this was before the days of Instant Pots, so I have adapted this recipe to be IP friendly. This batch is sized for our household for a couple bowls of chili or chili dogs, but if you were cooking for an event/cook-off or large family then I recommend doubling the recipe (do note this may change pressurization time).

If you want to jump straight to the recipe, no need to keep scrolling it's right below. If you want step-by-step pictures though, I've included those below the recipe. And as my Chef husband says, "Food is love". Enjoy!

Source: Loosely inspired by Hillbilly Housewife.

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb hot sausage
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 3 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 (6 oz) can of Hunts tomato paste
  • 1 (9 oz) can Hunts tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can Hunts petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water

Optional Garnish/Serving Ingredients
    • Shredded cheddar cheese
    • Chopped green onions
    • Mini oyster crackers
    • Sour cream
    • Hot dog in a poppy seed bun (if doing chili dogs)
    • Bread bowl

    1. Set your Instant Pot to high saute for 12 minutes. 
    2. While it's warming, fine chop the onion and bell peppers. Add chopped vegetables and ground beef to pot and cook until beef is brown. Turn off pot and drain excess fat. 
    3. Add seasoning, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans to your meat. Mix until blended.
    4. Add water and scrape the bottom of your pot with a wooden spoon to get any remnants off the bottom of the pot that could cause burning. 
    5. Add tomato sauce and then tomato paste, but DO NOT MIX (to prevent burn notice).
    6. Seal and set to 15 minutes high pressure, making sure the valve is in the sealed position. Allow for 12 minutes to reach pressure. 
    7. Once it's beeped it's done, quick release pressure. 
    8. Mix with a wooden spoon. 
    9. Garnish with shredded cheese, oyster crackers, and or green onions if serving as chili bowl. Or top on hot dogs or fries to make chili dogs or chili fries.

    Fine chop onions, green pepper, and red pepper.
    Set on high saute and add onions, peppers, and ground beef.
    Cook until beef is brown and onions translucent. Turn off
    and drain excess fat.
    Add all seasoning, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and
    undrained diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. Mix.
    Add water and use wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of pot.
    Add tomato sauce and then tomato paste. DON'T STIR.
    Seal and set to 15 minutes high pressure, allow 12 minutes
    to reach pressure.
    Quick release pressure once done and mix.
    Plate to your liking. Bowl of chili can be topped with many
    different garnishes (sour cream, cheese, green onions, and or
    oyster crackers). Or pour on top of a hot dog or french fries.

    Fresh Instant Pot Pink Lemonade

    Start to finish cook time: 21 (8 prep, 6 pressurize + 5 high pressure + 2 post prep) *prepare 2 hours ahead of serving so you can chill in fridge*
    Effort Level: Low - Med 
    Servings: 1/2 pitcher

    There is nothing more summer time than a glass of ice cold fresh lemonade. I personally prefer pink and strawberry lemonades. I will rely on just crystal light for a quick fix, but when you are having a gathering or bbq there is no substitute for the real deal. I recommend doubling the recipe for a full pitcher, depending on the size of your group.

    You can get as creative as you want with fruit to add- sliced lemons, strawberries, raspberries ect. Be sure to make a few hours ahead so you can really let it chill and serve with cups full of ice.

    Do note you will need a lemon zester (looks like a small grater) and net strainer for this recipe. If you want to jump straight to the recipe, no need to keep scrolling it's right below. If you want step-by-step pictures though, I've included those below the recipe. And as my Chef husband says, "Food is love". Enjoy!

    • 5 lemons 
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup water (for syrup base)
    • 4 cups water (for juice)
    • 3/4 cup cranberry fruit juice cocktail
    • 1/8 tsp Crystal Light Liquid Strawberry Lemonade
    • Optional: sliced fruit


    1. Add 3/4 cup of water and 3/4 cup sugar to your Instant Pot.
    2. Using your lemon zester, grate off the outside layer from your lemons (just the shiny parts so the light yellow skin underneath shows). Put the shredded lemon zest in your pot (feel free to zest over your pot to make this easier).
    3. Once all lemons are zested, cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice out of each lemon side into your pot. IMPORTANT squeeze 4 1/2 lemons, the last 1/2 lemon is to slice up and put in your lemonade. 
    4. Mix contents of your pot. Set to 5 minutes high pressure, allow 6 minutes to reach pressure and be sure the vent valve is sealed.
    5. Once done, quick release pressure. 
    6. Using a strainer, strain liquid into a pitcher so that the seeds and zest are filtered out.
    7. Mix with your sugar lemon mix your water, cranberry juice, and crystal light. Add sliced fruits. 
    8. Allow to sit for 1-2 hours in the fridge, until chilled. This will let the flavors bloom.
    9. Serve with lots of ice and enjoy!
    Zest the outsides of your lemons into your pot. 
    Once completed your lemons should look like this, the shiny part
    Cut lemons in half. You will slice just one half of lemon into strips, to add to your
    pitcher for looks/flavor. The remaining halves you will want to squeeze into your pot. 

    Once squeezed, your lemons should look like this. 
    Add 3/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Stir. Set to High
    pressure for 5 minutes, allowing 6 minutes to reach pressure.
    Once completed, quick release steam.
    Strain liquid into your pitcher through mesh strainer, so seeds
    and zest don't make it into your pitcher. Add to your pitcher
    the 4 cups of water,  3/4 cup of cranberry juice, and 1/8
    tsp Crystal Light Liquid Strawberry Lemonade mix. Add any
    sliced fruit into pitcher, store in fridge for 1-2 hours.
    Serve in chilled glasses with lots of ice and straw. Enjoy!

    Instant Pot Kielbasa Kraut Dump Dinner

    Start to finish cook time: 43 minutes (8 prep + 7 saute + 21 pressurize + 7 high pressure + QR)
    Effort Level: Low
    Servings: 13

    I'm of no German decent, but living in the Chicago area you learn to love good German food! It's a staple of Chef's home cooking, so it got me thinking if stove top versions are easy just imagine how the Instant Pot versions would be... And I was right! This is a true dump dinner, low effort and tastes just like stove top! 
    If you want to jump straight to the recipe, no need to keep scrolling it's right below. If you want step-by-step pictures though, I've included those below the recipe. And as my Chef husband says, "Food is love". Enjoy!

    • 2 packages Kielbasa, quartered 
    • 3 cups Sauerkraut
    • 6 small-medium sized russet potatoes, skinned and squared
    • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into strips
    • 3/4 head cabbage, sliced into squares 
    • 1/2 cup water (optional you can do 1/4 water and 1/4 kraut juice)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper

    1. Quarter Kielbasa, basically cut in half and then cut half in half (this will create quarters or little triangles).
    2. Slice onions into strips.
    3. Turn Instant Pot to high saute for 12 minutes (likely won't use all this time you should only need 7 mins, but set to this so it doesn't turn off on you). Add olive oil, onions, and sausage. Stir frequently to prevent burning, cook until until onions are translucent and sausage is a bit browned. 
    4. While it's cooking- remove skins of potatoes, cut into small squares. Slice onion into strips. Remove core of cabbage and slice into squares. You need about 2/3 to 3/4 the cabbage so keep the dark green discard some of the white green.
    5. Turn off saute. Add water (or water kraut juice mix) and scrape with wooden spoon, to remove any burnt areas to avoid the burn notice (there shouldn't be any burnt but in case there is). Add potatoes and mix with Kielbasa. Add seasoning over potatoes and meat, mix. Top with cabbage and kraut. Important, this is going to be very close to the max line! Push down and be sure not to go over max line. If you are over max, take out a few potato and cabbage chunks until you are under.
    6. Seal and set to 7 on high pressure, allow for 21 minutes to pressurize. Be sure the steamer vent is in the sealed position.
    7. Once beef beeps it's done, quick release pressure. There is going to be a bit of excess liquid on the bottom, using mitts tilt and pour out a bit of excess without pouring out contents (I use spoon to guard contents).
    8. Serve using a slotted spoon and enjoy, this one is just that easy!

    Slice kielbasa into half circles. Add 2 tbsp oil. 
    Slice onion and add to pot, set to 12 on high and cook for
    about 7 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir Frequently.
    Turn off. Pour water/krout juice mix, if there is any burnt
    anything on bottom use wooden spoon to remove (you shouldn't
    have though). 
    Remove core of cabbage. Chop into squares. You are going
    to keep all the green and some of the almost white.
    Discard about 1/4-1/3 of the really white hard stuff seen above.
    Peel potatoes and chop into squares.
    Measure out 3 cups of kraut.
    Add potatoes and seasoning. Mix.
    Add cabbage and then kraut, making sure to stay
    under the max line. Set to 7 mins, allow for 21 mins
    to build pressure. Quick release after.
    Drain excess fluid. Serve using a slotted spoon and enjoy!

    Instant Pot Salted Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce

    Start to finish cook time: 40 minutes (9 prep + 15 yogurt function + 6 prep + 10 oven)
    Effort Level: Medium - High
    Servings: 8 pretzels

    Carbs are my favorite, especially bagels and pretzels! This pretzel recipe is relatively easy compared to bagels and such an easy snack to pull out of the freezer!

    Now one thing I've learned about making most breaded products from scratch (bagels, pretzels, bread) is that the time frame you can enjoy fresh is limited. After a few days I've noticed these tend to not taste as yummy and fresh, so I want to specify how to store these Pretzels. They are best consumed fresh, so if you are making as an appetizer do the day of right before event. If you have leftovers, perhaps you are eating more for single servings, freeze leftovers in a fully closed Ziploc immediately after cooling. They can be reheated for 45 seconds in the microwave and seriously taste near identical to how they did fresh!! I've started making these and doing freeze all batches, now instead of buying those boxed frozen pretzels I have these more fresh tasty homemade ones in the freezer on hand. It's so easy and good!

    Do note, you need an Instant Pot with the Yogurt feature for this recipe. If you want to jump straight to the recipe, no need to keep scrolling it's right below. If you want step-by-step pictures though, I've included those below the recipe. And as my Chef husband says, "Food is love". Enjoy!

    Adapted from

    Pretzel Ingredients
    • 1 pkg active yeast
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 3/4 tsp salt (for pretzel ingredients)
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 tbsp melted butter (for dough)
    • 1 tbsp melted butter (to be brushed on pretzels after baking)
    • 1 egg white, scrambled raw
    • Coarse sea salt
    • 5 cups water
    • 1/3 cup baking soda
    • 1 tbsp salt (for water bath)

    Cheese Dip Ingredients
    • 20 oz box of Velveeta Mini Cheese Blocks, Original Cheese, 5 ct (1 block for max 4 pretzels, 2 blocks for full batch pretzels)
    • 5-8 tsp milk (per bar block of Velveeta)

    1. Add warm water, yeast, and sugar into a bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, it should form little algae like bubbles showing it's activating. Be sure water isn't hot or cold, you want warm to the touch. 
    2. After 5 minutes add the melted butter, salt, and flour to the bowl. Hand mix for 3-5 minutes until fully mixed and form a ball. Dough should not be super sticky. 
    3. Take a sheet of parchment paper and place dough ball on top of this, placing inside of your Instant Pot. Select the Yogurt normal function and set for 15 minutes (if it won't let you set for 15 set for 30 and take out at 15). Cover with a pot top, not the normal IP top.
    4. Set your oven to 425 and allow to preheat. In a large pot, start boiling the water and baking soda bath (be sure to add 1 tbsp salt to bath). 
    5. After 15 minutes, remove the dough ball from your IP. Knead a few times and separate into 8 parts.  Roll each into a long rope, then make a "U" shape and twist bringing the rope back down to make a pretzel shape (see pictures). Do this for all 8 pretzels. 
    6. Using a slotted spoon, gently place each pretzel one at a time in the boiling soda water. Allow the pretzel to boil for 30 seconds before removing and transferring to a parchment paper on a baking sheet.
    7.  In a small bowl, scramble an egg white. Brush each pretzel with mixed egg white wash using a brush and sprinkle pretzels with coarse sea salt after that.
    8. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Once out, brush with melted butter. 
    9. Combine Velveeta and 5 tsps milk in a small pot on stove on LOW. Mix frequently until cheese is melted and mixed with milk. This cheese will thicken once removed from heat, so you can keep adding tsp of milk until it's not too thick. Put into dipping bowls and serve with your pretzels.
    **Pretzels are best consumed fresh. Freeze leftovers in a fully closed Ziploc immediately after cooling, they can be reheated for 45 seconds in the microwave and seriously taste near identical to how they did fresh***
    Add water, yeast, and sugar into a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes,
    at which point will look like little floating bubbles.
    Add melted butter, salt, and flour to the bowl. Need until
    fully blended and cohesive.
    Place on parchment paper in IP and set to Yogurt for 15
    minutes (if your pot won't let you set that low, set to 30 and
    remove at 15).
    Meanwhile start your water, salt, and soda bath on stove.
    You will want it to reach a full boil.
    Remove dough from IP and divide into 8 balls.
    Roll each ball into long rope.
    Make rope into a U and cross.
    Twist down until you have formed a pretzel shape. Be sure
    to push ends so they are fully attached to bottom. The fatter
    the rope the thicker the pretzel once cooked, the thinner the
    rope the larger thinner the pretzel once cooked.
    Add pretzel to boiling bath and boil for 30 seconds. They
    will fizzle and rise. Using slotted spoon remove.
    Set on parchment paper.
    Brush with egg white and sprinkle generously with sea salt.
    Bake for 10 minutes on 425.
    While pretzels are baking combine milk and velveeta on
    low heat in a pot. Start with 5 tsp milk, and add additional
    tsps if needed so consistency is semi loose (it will thicken
    a lot once removed from heat so you don't want super
    thick will still on stove).
    Once pretzels come out, brush with melted butter.
    Pour cheese into dipping containers and plate your pretzels for serving.
    If freezing instead, place in ziplock and freeze.