Recipe Review

These 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Sides Practically Make Themselves

updated Sep 9, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

Potluck invitations peak in June, what with graduation parties, end-of-school celebrations, and casual backyard get-togethers before it gets too hot. Recently, I found myself with three last-minute invites that left me scrambling for something to bring and share. I immediately reached for my Instant Pot for help.

Whether you want to make a quick pasta salad or a berry upside-down cake, these five (five-ingredient) recipes are ready for fast cooking and easy sharing.

5 Snapshot Recipes for Instant Pot Potluck Sides

  • The potluck plan: These recipes were developed to serve eight to 10 (perfect for sharing), and made in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
  • The ingredients: Each of these side dish recipes calls for just five ingredients, all of which can be found at any grocery store.
  • The Instant Pot: We’ve used both a 6-quart Duo and 6-quart Max to make these recipes. You don’t need any other special equipment. For the baked beans and Mexican rice, your Instant Pot can double as a carrier and warming dish for sharing.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Use the sauté function to heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 small chopped white onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Add 2 cups long-grain rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups of water, 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin; stir to combine.

Lock the lid in place and use the manual setting to cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure, fluff with a fork, and serve. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

Empty 1 (16-ounce) box macaroni elbows into the Instant Pot and cover with 3 cups water. Lock the lid in place and use the manual setting to cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, reserve 1/4 cup of the juices from 1 (15-ounce jar) giardiniera vegetables, then drain off the rest. Roughly chop the vegetables. Place in a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream, the reserved pickle liquid, and 1 bunch sliced green onions.

Quick release the noodles and drain if needed. Rinse the noodles under cool water and drain well. Add to the bowl and toss to combine. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Use the sauté function to cook and crisp 6 slices chopped bacon. Add 1 small chopped white onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Add 1 pound rinsed and sorted dried pinto beans and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups water, 1 cup BBQ sauce, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, and stir to combine.

Lock the lid in place and use the manual setting to cook on HIGH for 20 minutes. Naturally release the pressure completely, stir to combine, and serve.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot, add a steamer basket, and arrange 2 pounds quartered small red potatoes in the basket. Lock the lid in place and use the manual setting to cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. Quick release the pressure and remove the steamer basket.

Transfer the hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Add 8 ounces sour cream, 1 (1.7-ounce) package ranch dressing seasoning, and 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish; toss to coat. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with sliced scallions if desired.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Instant Pot Berry Upside-Down Cake

Coat a 6 to 7-inch round, 3-inch high cake pan with cooking spray. Arrange 6 ounces fresh raspberries in the pan. Whisk 1 (15-ounce) box yellow cake mix, 1 cup water, 2 large eggs, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter together until smooth. Pour over berries. Cover the pan tightly with a sheet of greased aluminum foil (greased-side down). Place a trivet into a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot and add 3 cups water. Use a foil sling to lower the cake pan onto the trivet.

Lock the lid on and cook for 50 minutes under HIGH pressure. Quickly release the pressure. Gently remove the cake pan, uncover, and let cool 15 minutes. Run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the cake. Invert the cake onto a plate and serve with more berries and whipped cream or powdered sugar.