Pressure Cooker Recipes For The Whole Family

Pressure Cooker Recipes For The Whole Family

Have you jumped on the pressure cooker bandwagon yet?

Or are you resisting purchasing yet another kitchen appliance that would cramp your (already cluttered) countertop?

Look no further – I've done the legwork for you.

Let's look at:

Here's a sneak peak at 3 great recipes you can do with your pressure cooker:

Dish Price per serving Prep time Number of servings
Pressure cooker pasta $2 30 min 4-6
Pressure cooker chicken thigh Less than $2 40 min 4-5
Easy pressure cooker pho $2-$3 45 min 5-6

Pressure cooker vs slow cooker

Full disclaimer: I own both.

But that's why I’m the perfect candidate to tell you about the pros and cons of each.

I've owned a slow cooker since getting married and it's always been an essential in our home.

When my husband and I both worked outside the home, it was the perfect tool to help make dinner times stress-free and quick. I prepared all my ingredients the night before, then put it all in the slow cooker in the morning before heading to work. By the time I got home, dinner was ready. It was an easy, cheaper alternative to eating out all the time.

So after being a satisfied slow cooker owner for so long, I wondered if a pressure cooker could even add value to my life...

I had no idea how much I needed a pressure cooker until I had one.

What is a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is a sort of multi-functional cooker. The functions may vary depending on the model you purchase, but most come with the following functionality:

  • pressure cooker (adjustable to the type of food you're making),
  • slow cooker,
  • saute/browning,
  • rice cooker,
  • canning, and
  • yogurt maker (Instant Pot).

After reading this pretty extensive list, are you not already convinced this kitchen appliance is worth the splurge?

The best part is that these days, you can purchase a pressure cooker for a very reasonable price. I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first, I need to tell you that once I got a pressure cooker, I began to rely on it far more than my slow cooker. In fact, it's become obsolete, overtaken by my pressure cooker's slow cooker option.

Ideal for the time-starved family

The slow cooker was a great option before I had kids and had more free time to prep and meal plan.

Once I had kids, I was flying by the seat of my pants when it came to making dinner. I would be lucky if I got to think about dinner a couple hours before mealtime, let alone the morning of.

The great thing about a pressure cooker is that all you need is an hour tops to prep and cook your meal.

Most meals from pasta to chili take 20 minutes or less to pressure cook. Large roasts, which used to take me hours in the oven now take up to an hour max in the pressure cooker.

Slow cookers definitely can’t do that.

The taste test

I find food tastes much better in a pressure cooker. My slow cooker often turned my meats and veggies too mushy for my tastes, even on the lowest setting. But the pressure cooker cooks food to just the right consistency, which can be tailored to whatever tastes you prefer.

I also love the saute/searing option it offers. I often start my roasts that way, and the drippings from the roast result in a lovely gravy to top the meal off.

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How to buy a pressure cooker

Have I convinced you yet? Are pressure cookers slowly winning your heart over?

I hope so – your future meals will thank you.

For busy parents, there are few things more desirable than stress-free meal planning.

What options to look for

When searching for a pressure cooker, think about the size that will best suit your family.

For smaller families, a 6 qt might be sufficient as it will feed 6 people while an 8 quart will feed a family of 8.

Also, look for a pressure cooker that has at least 2 pressure settings. High pressure will be used for things like meats and legumes, while a low pressure setting will be used for fish, eggs, veggies and pasta.

Finally, look for a reputable brand with a good warranty, ideally lasting for two years. The first things to go are usually parts of the lid such as the sealing gasket.

There are many different brands to consider when thinking of buying a pressure cooker, so it can be a bit overwhelming. Instant Pot is probably the most well-known brand of electric pressure cooker.

Buy from a reputable business such as Amazon, Costco, or Walmart. This will help make the return/exchange process seamless if there are any issues.


Most electric pressure cookers can be purchased today for less than $100.

Personally, I have the Power Pressure XL, which I purchased from Costco for around $100 over a year ago. The Instant Pot brand is often on sale for just around the $100 mark for a 6 qt version, but it retails for $159.

I would not go for anything in the $50 range or less. The lower in price you go, the less options they come with. You'll likely use this pressure cooker for years to come, so aim to spend around $100 for a higher quality model.

Family-pleasing pressure cooker recipes

Now that you’ve gotten yourself a pressure cooker, it’s time to test out some crowd-pleasing recipes – especially if your crowd includes picky eaters.

I have 2 of them in my home and they’ve personally approved the following recipes.

Pressure cooker pasta ($2 per serving)

One pot meals are all the rage right now, due to it’s time-saving, dirty-dish-eliminating traits. Combine that with a pressure cooker, and you have a super quick time-saving meal.

If you have some extra time, you can make the pasta sauce from scratch, otherwise use a jar of pasta sauce.

This makes enough pasta to last our family for two meals.

Here’s our family favourite:


  • Ground Beef or Italian Sausage (whichever is on sale)
  • Jar of pasta sauce
  • Diced up celery and carrots
  • Spaghetti noodles


  1. Start with sauteing your meat in the pressure cooker. If the meat is lean, put a few drops of olive oil.
  2. After the meat has browned, add the veggies and a jar of pasta sauce. Also add an additional jar and a half of water.
  3. Stir in pasta noodles and push it down under the liquid.
  4. Put lid on top and ensure pressure valve is closed.
  5. Manually choose the pressure cook time for half the amount of minutes it says to boil the pasta noodles.
  6. When the cook time is finished, release the valve and stir your one-pot pasta meal.
  7. I serve our pasta with parmesan cheese and garlic bread for an extra hearty meal.

Pressure cooker pasta recipe prepPressure cooker pasta recipe

Pressure cooker chicken thigh recipe (less than $2 per serving)

My kids are crazy about chicken, especially when made in the pressure cooker. We love chicken on the bone as it comes out so tender and melts in the mouth.

Here’s our favourite chicken and potatoes recipe:


  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 5 large potatoes, cut into fourths
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano, thyme and basil each
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Season chicken on both sides with the garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add a bit olive oil to the pressure cooker and brown the chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pressure cooker and put on plate.
  4. Add water and gently scrape off browned bits.
  5. Put trivet into the pressure cooker and place chicken back on top of trivet.
  6. Add potatoes on top of chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Put lid on top and ensure pressure valve is closed.
  8. Manually choose the pressure cook time for 10 minutes.
  9. When the cook time is finished, release the valve and serve with vegetable side dishes.

Pressure cooker chicken thigh recipe prep

Pressure cooker chicken thigh recipe

Easy Pho ($2-$3 per serving)

My family likes this different take on chicken noodle soup. The spices are more fragrant, yet the taste of chicken and noodles is still as comforting as the original.

Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find in your regular supermarket, but most gourmet or Asian supermarkets will sell them.

Once you have all the ingredients, you'll be able to make pho for many meals to come saving you more money in the long run.


  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 4 servings of rice noodles
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds and coriander seeds each
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups of water


  1. Heat a tablespoon and a half of olive oil in the pressure cooker under saute mode. Add in halved onions and slices of ginger to brown. Cook without charring for 5 minutes.
  2. Add cilantro, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds to pot and stir for one minute.
  3. Add the chicken, carrots, water, sugar, and fish sauce.
  4. Put lid on top and ensure pressure valve is closed.
  5. Manually choose the pressure cook time for 15 minutes.
  6. When the cook time is finished, release the valve, take out the chicken and set aside.
  7. Prepare a large pot with mesh strainer on top and pour broth through strainer into pot.
  8. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar if needed.
  9. Cook noodles according to package and then separate between 4-5 dishes.
  10. Shred chicken from bones and add to each bowl, then pour broth on top. Add bean sprouts and fresh thai basil if desired.

Pressure cooker pho recipe prepPressure cooker pho recipe

So, have I convinced you to invest in a pressure cooker?

If you’re a minimalist, perhaps you’re worried about space.

How did I make space in my kitchen for the pressure cooker? Well, I have since donated my slow cooker since I no longer needed it, thanks to my pressure cooker.

You could most likely sell your slow cooker for a few dollars on Craigslist or Kijiji and put it towards an pressure cooker.

This is an investment that will pay you back in stress-free mealtimes for years to come.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Marpy's picture

Nice informative article. I may even get a pressure cooker! ;-)

March 12, 2019 @ 6:43 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Glad you enjoyed the article, Marpy!

March 14, 2019 @ 3:38 pm

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