Are you looking for great recipes to cook up in your new Instant Pot or on the fence about whether to splurge on one? Try these vegan Instant Pot recipes and get answers to the most common questions.
Before we get to the vegan Instant Pot recipes, I wanted to address some of the most common questions I’m hearing about the Instant Pot.
What to Know About the Instant Pot
What you do need to know about the Instant Pot is that there’s a small learning curve when you first unbox it, but hang in there! The first time I used mine, I turned it on and literally ran and hid, in case it exploded.
Spoiler: it has never exploded.
You should also keep in mind that—just as a pasta recipe doesn’t include the time it takes water to boil—many Instant Pot recipes do not include the time that it will take the pot to come to pressure in the total cooking time. How long it takes can vary quite a bit, and you’ll be better able to estimate that as you get to know your pot.
If you have a question that’s not addressed below, feel free to drop a comment – I’ll answer it and possibly add it to this post, to make it even more comprehensive.
Should You buy an Instant Pot?
Y’all, I have seen a lot of people considering Instant Pots lately. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can share my own family’s experiences with our Instant Pot and hopefully help you decide whether it’s right for you.
The tl;dr version:
We use our Instant Pot almost every day. I love it, and I think that you will, too.
The longer version:
An Instant Pot is a multi-pot. It works as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, and a yogurt maker. It also has a sauté function, so you can do many recipes in just the one pot.
If you cook at home a lot or are wanting to start cooking at home, an Instant Pot makes life a lot easier. We mainly use ours to make whole grains, soups, stews, and yogurt. If you’re looking for some of the vegan Instant Pot recipes my family loves, skip down to the next section!
What I love about my Instant Pot is that it cooks food quickly, and I don’t have to be there while that happens. On busy weeknights, I’ll often make rice in the Instant Pot, tofu in the air fryer, and serve it up with kale salad or a sautéed green veggie on the side.
What’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a pressure cooker?
This was a question a friend asked on Facebook after I shared this post, and it’s a great one!
A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook food super fast. An Instant Pot has a pressure cooking function, which is why you sometimes see Instant Pot and pressure cooker used interchangeably.
The Instant Pot isn’t just a pressure cooker, though. It’s a “multipot.” In addition to pressure cooking, it has sauté, slow cook, and yogurt functions. So you can use your IP as a pressure cooker, but you can also use it for other things.
What size Instant Pot do I need?
According to Instant Pot, here’s how the sizes work:
- 3 Quart: 2-3 people
- 6 Quart: 4-6 people
- 8 Quart: 6+ people
My family of three has the 6 Quart pot, and it is perfect for us, since I like to cook enough for leftovers. My sister and her husband use the 3 Quart and love it. Any recipe should work in any pot as long as you’re not adding ingredients that come up above the fill line, which is marked inside the pot.
Natural Release vs. Quick Release
The other thing that is a bit confusing for new Instant Pot users is a natural release vs. quick release. Recipes should always specify one or the other.
A natural release means that you let the pot’s pressure come down naturally. The lid is ready to open when the little silver pressure indicator drops back down. Sometimes, a recipe will tell you to do a natural release for 10-15 minutes, then do a quick release.
A quick release means that as soon as the food is done cooking, you should release the pressure valve. To release it, just flip the valve toward you, being careful to not hold your hand over the top of the lid – that steam that comes out is HOT!
No matter what kind of release you do, you don’t want to open the lid while the pot is at pressure. The cool thing about the Instant Pot is that it auto-locks when it comes to pressure, unlocking only when the pressure is fully released. Never force your lid open – it should turn smoothly and easily.
The best way to get the hang of an Instant Pot is to jump in and start using it. The vegan Instant Pot recipes below are all great places to start. I also highly recommend picking up a copy of Jill Nussinow’s book, Vegan Under Pressure. Her recipes are solid, and I still refer to her cooking charts for beans, grains, and veggies – it is much more accurate than the chart that comes with the pot itself.
Vegan Instant Pot Recipes
Ready to give your Instant Pot a workout? These are some of my family’s favorite vegan Instant Pot recipes.
We make this chili recipe at least once a week all fall and winter long. If tofu isn’t your jam, you can omit it and replace it with another can of beans of your choice. My son has been really into adding black eyed peas to this recipe, and I am on board!
2. Soy Yogurt
Y’all, when I bought my Instant Pot, I was sure I’d never make yogurt in it, and here I am, making yogurt in it all the time! I love my homemade yogurt, because it’s not sweetened, like store-bought, and it’s much cheaper. Just start a batch before bed, and wake up to fresh, homemade yogurt!
We are on a real chicken-style seitan kick right now, and what better way to use it than in a veggie-packed Instant Pot stew? This is a hearty, one-bowl meal that’s getting rave reviews from adults and kids in my life!
I still love making my decadent, Baked Mac and Cheese, but on busy evenings, this recipe is a lifesaver. It’s my son’s favorite “special” meal. We serve it up with sauteed broccoli and – surprise! – air fryer tofu alongside.
OK, so maybe my son doesn’t love curry anything (YET!), but when I love making this soup for my husband and me to eat on chilly evenings, if our kid had an early supper. We like adding frozen veggie dumplings to the pot along with everything else in step 2, to mix things up!
This is an Instant Pot stew recipe that my whole family can get behind! It’s packed with all of the most crowd-pleasing stuff: potatoes, carrots, and beefless tips. Serve it up on its own or over rice for an easy, one-bowl meal.
7. Sushi Rice
I rolled the dice and made this soup for my family, and they loved it! Amy’s recipe is super easy to make. It calls for dried chickpeas, but I have also made this using a can of cooked chickpeas, and it still came out wonderfully.
I swear by this syrup during cold and flu season. Any time I get wind that something is going around, I start taking 1-2 tablespoons per day and give my son 1 tablespoon per day, as well. We prefer it diluted in a glass of water. If you do get sick, this is great to have in the fridge for whipping up a super soothing Ginger Hot Toddy.
This is an Instant Pot breakfast recipe that I wrote for Care2. Throw everything into the pot when you wake up, and your oats will be ready by the time you’re done getting showered and dressed. You can sweeten them with maple syrup or with applesauce – your choice!