25 Cheap Instant Pot Meals: Eat Well on a Budget

Cheap pressure cooker recipes

If you haven’t discovered the wonders of the Instant Pot yet, you’re missing out!

I bought one over a year ago and it took me a few months to build confidence to use it regularly.

What seemed like an intimidating appliance has now become one of my favorite tools for fast + exceptional foods!

Sure, you might feel like you’re cheating on your Crockpot at first


And it’s true that I’ve used my slow cooker a little less since I got hooked on the speed of the instant cooker.

Slow cook mealsstill serve purpose in my life, but I’m grateful to have options!

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Benefits of the Instant Pot

If you haven’t made the jump to the pressure cooker yet, you might be wondering what’s so good about them, anyway


I remembered the old days of pressure cooking that practically turned food into boiled porridge if you weren’t careful.

But today’s digital method is much more accurate and produces infused foods with so much flavor, in… An instant (almost).

Just a few of the

things that make the Instant Pot a wonderful machine:

  • it produces the most tender cuts of meat (no boiled porridge!)
  • Drastically reduces cooking time (compared to stove/oven/slow cooker
  • )

  • Reduces reliance on microwaves (healthier method)
  • You can use the

  • Sauté for meals from a pot with cleaning a pot (quickly pre-seal the meats, then switch to the pressure cooking function to finish. Easy!)

Read below:

15 Best Winter Soup Recipes

Instant Pot Green Bean Recipe with

Bacon • Pizza Roll Ups- Air Fryer Version

Freezer to Oven Meals for Summer •


Chicken Sausage

Sausage Dinner

What kind of Instant Pot do you need?

The main thing to consider is the size of your family. For our family of 6, I opted for an 8-quart Instant Pot.

However, the average family can probably easily get by with the 6-quart version.

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Although I use and trust the Instant Pot brand, I have also heard very favorable reviews about the Ninja Foodi pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Favorite Foods (Cheap)

Here are some of the best frugal Instant Pot meals I’ve found that are easy to make. You’ll

want to include them in your meal rotation and save time in the kitchen!

1| Instant

Ham and White Bean Soup

<img src="" alt="Ham and White Bean Soup"


We’ve made this white bean IP recipe over and over again this fall and winter. It is a soup full of flavor and almost like vegetable soup with ham and beans.

The best part: this recipe does NOT require you to soak the dried beans ahead of time! Don’t stress when you forget to do this the night before (as I always do).

We use

leftover ham from Christmas dinners, but using the ham bone would be even better if you want to try it!

2| Instant Pot Hamburger Soup

cheap hamburger soup recipe


we started buying 1/2 meat and filling our freezer instead of buying it by the pound, ground beef is a very inexpensive staple in our home!

Tip: Vegetables like carrots and celery can be chopped and frozen ahead of time to make dinners like these even faster.


Instant pot stuffed pepper soup

Instant pot stuffed pepper soup

I’m thinking this would be a great way to use our abundance of summer vegetable garden peppers.

Doesn’t it look delicious?

4| Turkey and chili

sweet potato chili with ground turkey and sweet potatoes

Healthy and suitable for children; A delicious twist on classic chili. I also love the idea of serving it over rice.

5| Creamy tomato basil


easy tomato soup with diced tomatoes


was thrilled to see that this recipe uses diced tomatoes, because it’s one of my pantry essentials that I always stock up on when it’s on sale.

6| Creamy chicken noodle


Chicken noodle soup meal

A hearty comfort meal in a bowl, one of our family’s favorite foods


You can also substitute chicken for turkey. Turkey and noodles is the perfect way to use the rest of your leftover Thanksgiving!

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7| Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches

cheap instant BBQ chicken

Instant pot BBQ chicken would be great served in our honey wheat buns!

8| Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice

frugal ground beef and rice dinner

This recipe lasts 30 minutes or less and is simply a bowl of cheesy kindness. It’s a hearty meal on its own or you can also serve it on tortilla chips.

9| Ham

with vegetables

ham and vegetarian food

Precooked ham is a dish that saves time and money along with tasty root vegetables.

10| Fried

chicken rice

instant pot chicken fried rice

Fried rice was one of the first dishes I learned how to make as a newlywed on a tight grocery budget! Making at the Instant Pot puts dinner on the table quickly.

11| Chicken gnocchi soup (Olive Garden imitator)

instant pot chicken gnocchi soup

This creamy restaurant-inspired dish can be made at home for a fraction of the restaurant’s price.


Broccoli cheddar soup

<img src="" alt="broccoli cheddar soup recipe"


One of my sons orders broccoli cheese soup almost weekly. This version uses simple ingredients including my favorite Better than Buillion and matchstick carrots that make the prep work so easy.


Beef Stroganoff

simple beef stroganoffBeef stroganoff

is a classic family meal and goes well with almost any vegetarian salad or even a side dish.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup-Low Cost Instant FoodMinestrone Soup

is one of my all-time favorites! Butternut squash puts a nice spin on the classic, and another great way to use extra garden vegetables.

15| Stuffed


stuffed peppers

When cooking stuffed peppers in the Instant Pot, there is no need to brown the meat ahead of time. One of our favorites!


Chicken stew

Simple chicken stew

A hearty stew with minimal fuss. We almost always have a stash of frozen chicken from Butcherbox for meals like these.


Potato cheese soup <img src="×1024.jpg" alt="potato cheese soup with

garnish” />

You can’t go wrong with potato soup in all its melted cheese goodness


If you cook batches of bacon ahead of time and freeze, you can take out small amounts at a time for recipes like these and save even more time.

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18| Italian

sausage and shells

Italian sausage and shell dinner

There are so many layers of flavor in this beautiful dish, and it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish!

19| Egg Roll in a Bowl

instant pot egg roll recipe

Cabbage is a well-known frugal staple, and this idea is just brilliant! The egg roll chips are also very fun and unique.

20| Philly

Cheese Steak Meatballs

philly Cheese Steak meatballs

I love making meatball sandwiches when we need a quick dinner; It’s simple and satisfying.

21| Chicken Rice <

img src=”×2048-1.jpg” alt=”chicken with rice in digital pressure cooker” />

Seasoned rice, vegetables and chicken make a hot and tasty dinner in a bowl.

22| Vegetable Chow Mein

<img src="×1024.jpg" alt="veggie

chow mein” />If you

really want to save money or eat more plant-based foods, choose a few meatless meals per week like this vegetable chow mein, an instant meal you can prepare in 15 minutes.

23| Black Bean Pasta

pasta with black beans, cheese and vegetables


beans are a great source of protein. Garnish this pasta with some fresh vegetables to get a complete and colorful dish.

24| Vegetarian


vegetarian chile sin carne

We’re big fans of chili in our house, and this meatless version includes my favorite seasoning (chipotle powder) AND cocoa powder for a rich flavor that you have to try for yourself.

25| Tilapia

with vegetables

fish with steamed vegetables in instant pot

Who doesn’t love a dinner that takes 5 minutes to cook? Flaky fish and fresh steamed vegetables create a healthy one-pot treat.

With an Instant Pot, cheap meals don’t have to be boring!

I hope this list inspires you to dust off that Instant Pot you got for Christmas and put it to work! It’s really worth the learning curve.

You can eat right and feed your family satisfying food, and these low-cost instant food ideas prove how easy it can be.


may also be interested in:

Cheap lunches that kids love

20 quick dinners (barely needing a recipe)

The BEST instant pot green beans

Rosemary pork chops with apples, in the instant pot •

Our favorite dinners from freezer to slow cooker

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