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Protein Meal Prep: How to Meal Prep Anything Using the Instant Pot

Protein Meal Prep: How to Meal Prep Anything Using the Instant Pot

Using the instant pot for meal prep

I was a super late convert to the Instant Pot phenomenon. I read review after review but didn’t really buy into the hype until I started reading about how it could cook grains, it could saute, it could make “baked” potatoes, pasta, and even steam veggies.

Light-bulb moment — this could be epic for my meal prepping routine.

I was right.

When meal prepping, I try to make multipurpose foods that I can combine to create multiple cohesive meals. I like variety and I achieve this by adding different sauces and spices to each meal.

This series will tell you how to make a variety of carbs, veggies, proteins and more to mix and match for your meal prepping adventures. You can get really creative to prevent boredom, or just eat them as is. 

I’ll also include a few complete meals and ideas for inspiration.

UPDATE: For the veggies post in this series, click here!

Proteins

Chicken

Chicken is probably the go-to protein of choice for meal preppers, especially for bodybuilders and macro-counters.

Although it has a bland rap, it doesn’t have to taste like watery rubber (ew!).

I am huge on flavour and spice in my cooking. These recipes can be adapted to suit your tastes.

seasoning raw chicken breast
Skinnytaste One and Done
Stainless Steel Instant Pot Steamers
Instant Pot Accessoirises Pack
Ultra 8 Quart Instant Pot
6 Quart Instant Pot
Skinnytaste One and Done
Stainless Steel Instant Pot Steamers
Instant Pot Accessoirises Pack
Ultra 8 Quart Instant Pot
6 Quart Instant Pot
Skinnytaste One and Done
Stainless Steel Instant Pot Steamers
Instant Pot Accessoirises Pack
Ultra 8 Quart Instant Pot
6 Quart Instant Pot

"Roast" Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

"Roast" Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

This is similar to roasted chicken breasts except it is made quickly in the Instant Pot. Great for meal prep.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot, meal prep, roast chicken
Servings: 4
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp of avocado or coconut oil or oil of choice
  • 2-4 large full skinless, boneless chicken breasts (not thin or cutlets)
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • seasonings of choice*

Instructions

  • Set your Instant Pot to saute
  • Season your chicken as desired
  • Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, then remove and set aside
  • Put 1+ cup(s) of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot (check manufacturer suggestions for your pot)
  • Place trivet that comes with your pot into the bottom
  • Place chicken on top of trivet and lock the lid
  • Set Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 6 minutes
  • Perform quick release on pot and then let chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving

Notes

* Seasoning ideas: For Mexican style add 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, cumin and oregano and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Add lime juice to finished chicken.
For Italian style add 1/4 tsp each of any of garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, oregano, parsley and 1/8 tsp basil, rosemary, thyme
For BBQ seasoning add 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, chili powder, and 1/8 tsp each paprika, onion powder
For jerk seasoning add 1/4 tsp thyme, sugar, 1/8 tsp each allspice, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne
For curry seasoning add 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp each coriander, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, cayenne
For taco seasoning add 1/4 tsp chili powder, garlic powder and 1/8 tsp cumin, onion powder paprika and oregano
For smokey southwest seasoning add 1/4 tsp garlic powder and chili powder, and 1/8 tsp onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, cumin
For Vietnamese style seasoning add 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ginger, mint, anise

* Seasoning ideas:

  • For Mexican style  add 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, cumin and oregano and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Add lime juice to finished chicken.
  • For Italian style add 1/4 tsp each of any of garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, oregano, parsley and 1/8 tsp basil, rosemary, thyme 
  • For BBQ seasoning add 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, chili powder, and 1/8 tsp each paprika, onion powder
  • For jerk seasoning add 1/4 tsp thyme, sugar, 1/8 tsp each allspice, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne
  • For curry seasoning add 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp each coriander, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, cayenne
  • For taco seasoning add 1/4 tsp chili powder, garlic powder and 1/8 tsp cumin, onion powder paprika and oregeno
  • For smokey southwest seasoning add 1/4 tsp garlic powder and chili powder, and 1/8 tsp onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, cumin
  • For Vietnamese style seasoning add 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ginger, mint, anise
  • Check out this shawarma seasoning mixture from Closet Cooking

Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

A super convenient and simple way to cook a batch of shredded chicken for salads, sandwiches, soups, and meal prep
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, instant pot, meal prep
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • 2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/3 cup water or chicken broth more or less depending on amount of chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasonings to taste

Instructions

  • Add liquid, chicken and seasonings to pot
  • Lock lid and set to Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes
  • Natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release
  • Shred with forks

Notes

If you want to make a variety of seasoning types, just leave out the seasoning until you shred your chicken. Just separate into portions to season individually as desired. It is best to add the seasonings when the chicken is warm and moist.
shredded chicken salad with fruit

"Rotisserie" Chicken in the Instant Pot

"Rotisserie" Chicken in the Instant Pot

Make rotisserie chicken at home, fast, in your pressure cooker! The best part is that you can season it as desired to fit your meals!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, instant pot, meal prep, rotesserie chicken
Servings: 4
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil or oil of choice
  • 1 small onion quartered
  • 4-5 whole peeled and lightly crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon sliced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasoning mix of choice to taste
  • 1 cup of liquid water or broth

Instructions

  • Spread half of oil over chicken and season with salt and pepper
  • Stuff onion, lemon (if using), and garlic inside chicken
  • Add remaining oil to bottom of Instant Pot and set to saute
  • Sear chicken on all sides for about 4 minutes
  • Remove chicken and set aside, season with desired seasoning mixture
  • Add liquid and trivet to Instant Pot
  • Place chicken on top, breast side up
  • Lock lid and set to Manual High Pressure for 25 minutes
  • Let naturally release pressure
  • Rest chicken 5 minutes before slicing or serving

Note: you may have to add more seasoning mixture to cover your chicken, depending on the size.

rotisserie chicken

Beef

Beef is probably my favourite meal prep protein and it is pretty versatile as well. I just love the richness and flavour of beef!

If I am hankering for a steak, I will not use my Instant Pot but rather a cast iron skillet such as this (affiliate link). However, nothing beats the ease of cooking up a large amount of beef at once to use for salads, wraps, sandwiches, tacos, and rice bowls (or in this case, containers!) 

beef roast chuck shoulder blade

Shredded Beef in the Instant Pot

Shredded Beef in the Instant Pot

Easily adapted to multiple seasoning styles. A fast and convenient way to make a roast for shredded beef to use in sandwiches, tacos, burritos, salads, pizzas, and more. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, instant pot, meal prep, roast beef, shredded beef
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb blade roast or shoulder, or chuck roast
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups of beef broth or water, or use some beer and some broth

Instructions

  • Set Instant Pot to saute and add oil
  • When hot, sear beef on all sides for 3-4 minutes per side
  • Remove beef and saute onions with salt
  • Add liquid and scrape bottom of the pot to remove any stuck on food and to deglaze
  • Season beef as desired (or add seasonings to portions of shredded beef after cooking)*
  • Lock lid and set Instant Pot to Meat/Stew and set to 35 minutes

*See seasoning mix ideas here. Adjust to 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp and 1/8 tsp to cover whole roast. Adjust quantity as needed.

Sliced Meat in the Instant Pot (for pitas, rice bowls, sandwiches , etc.)

Sliced Meat in the Instant Pot (for pitas, rice bowls, sandwiches)​

Roast beef, sliced and ready to be used in gyros, tacos, sandwiches, rice bowls and more.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, easy, high protein, instant pot, meal prep, quick
Servings: 4
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb top sirloin roast
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste if needed
  • 1/3 cup desired seasoning mix
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup broth

Instructions

  • Spread oil over roast and season with minced garlic and desired seasoning mixture (I’ve had really good success with this shawarma seasoning)
  • Put liquid and garlic in Instant Pot and place trivet inside
  • Place roast on top of trivet
  • Lock lid, set to Manual, High Pressure for 30 minutes

For delicious shawarma beef, try this seasoning recipe from one of my favourite food bloggers.

Pork

I feel like pork is a totally underused protein when it comes to meal prep. This is unfortunate because it can be used for so many cuisines! 
Some of my favourite flavours of pork include Korean-style, carnitas, BBQ pulled pork, and souvlaki/Greek.

I pair these with veggies and sauces that marry well with the chosen cuisine. For example:

  • sesame green beans or garlic broccoli and rice to go with Korean seasoned pork
  • black bean and corn salad, and avocados with lime for carnitas
  • sweet potato and brussel sprouts with BBQ pulled pork
  • cucumber tomato salad, tzatziki and lemon garlic rice for souvlaki

Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin

pork loin plate with veggies

Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin

Moist and delicious and made quickly in the Instant Pot
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Resting time5 mins
Total Time18 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy, high protein, instant pot, meal prep, pork
Servings: 4
Calories: 324kcal
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • 2 pork tenderloins 2-4lbs
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • desired seasoning mix
  • 1 cup broth
  • Can add other liquid seasonings such as balsamic vinegar Worcestershire sauce, honey, sriracha or whatever will match well with your seasonings

Instructions

  • Rub tenderloins with garlic, salt and pepper and desired seasonings
  • Add liquids to the bottom of the Instant Pot
  • Place tenderloins inside and lock lid
  • Set to Manual, High Pressure for 8 minutes
  • Perform quick release and allow meat to rest 5 minutes before slicing or serving

Instant Pot Roast Pork

instant pot pulled pork, shredded pork roast

Instant Pot Roast Pork

Easily adjust to create carnitas, bbq pulled pork, Korean pork, or Mexican / southwest seasoned pork. Perfect for meal prep bowls, tacos and more.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, high protein, instant pot, meal prep, pork
Servings: 8
Calories: 526kcal
Author: Rach

Ingredients

  • 1 pork shoulder roast around 4-5lbs
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoning mix of choice (jerk seasoning is amazing here so is Mexican, BBQ, or smokey southwest
  • 1 1/2 cups broth or beer and broth combined

Instructions

  • Rub roast with oil and then seasoning
  • Set Instant Pot to Saute and sear meat on all sides
  • Add liquid, lock lid
  • Set Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 45 minutes
  • Quick release, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then shred

Variations:

  • For Carnitas, follow the instructions here Instant Pot Carnitas
  • For BBQ, add BBQ seasoning and then add BBQ sauce when shredding meat
  • For Mexican or Southwest, add lime juice and cilantro when shredding meat
  • For Korean, add Korean style seasoning mix, then add homemade or store bought Korean BBQ sauce when shredding meat

Ground Meat

Cheap and convenient, ground beef, pork, turkey and chicken are excellent meal prep proteins. Especially if you are on a budget or trying to gain muscle mass and need to eat a lot of expensive protein.

I like to combine beef and pork and turkey to save even more money (ground pork is much cheaper than beef) and calories (ground turkey is extremely lean).

ground beef raw

Ground Meat Cooked from Frozen in the Instant Pot

  •  1 cup water
  •  1-2 lbs frozen ground meat
  1.  Place water in bottom of pot along with the trivet
  2. Place ground meat on top of trivet and lock lid
  3. Set to Manual, High Pressure for 20 minutes
  4. Quick release pressure when time is up
  5. Break up meat and season with mixture as desired

Ground Meat Cooked from Fresh in the Instant Pot

  •  1 cup water
  • 1-2 lbs fresh ground meat
  1.  Place water in bottom of pot along with trivet
  2. Place ground meat on top of trivet and lock lid
  3. Set to Manual, High Pressure for 6 minutes
  4. Quick release pressure when time is up
  5. Break up meat and season with mixture as desired

Taco Meat in the Instant Pot

  •  2/3 cup broth
  • 1-2 lbs ground meat
  •  1/4 cup taco seasoning mix
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  1.  Place all ingredients into Instant Pot
  2. Lock lid and set to Manual High Pressure
  3. Set to 20 minutes if meat is frozen and 6 minutes if using fresh

Use taco meat to make rice bowls, stuffed potatoes, taco salads and other preparations easily suitable for meal prep!

Instant Pot Meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground meat
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp desired seasoning mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of broth
  1.  Mix all ingredients together except broth and form into 2 inch meatballs
  2. Set Instant Pot to saute and brown meatballs
  3. Remove meatballs and add broth to pot, scraping the bottom to remove anything stuck on from the searing process
  4. Lock lid and set Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes
  5. Let the pot naturally release for 10 minutes, then manual release

Variations: 

  • Use 1 large (28oz) can of crushed or diced tomatoes in place of broth and use Italian seasoning mix to make meatballs in marinara. Serve on sauteed zucchini or zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, pasta or in a roll for a meatball sub.
  •  Use 1/4 cup of soy sauce in place of an equal amount of broth, add an extra clove of garlic, 2 tbs brown sugar, and fresh ginger to cooking liquid. Season meat with Korean seasoning mix. Serve on rice with sesame green beans.

Eggs

A cheap and healthy source of protein, eggs help add variety to your meal prep routine. 

“Boiled” eggs are easily cooked in the Instant Pot with no guessing for time when you use the programming. I prefer to use the low pressure function so that the whites remain a nice texture that I prefer over a more rubbery texture I find the high pressure function achieves (just like over-boiling).

There are also recipes for egg bakes such as crustless quiches you can make in the Instant Pot. However, I have not tried these as I prefer to use my oven and make a large casserole dish size that I can cut up for several days worth of breakfasts and I also love the way the egg crisps up on the sides in the oven. I will include some links for egg bakes in the Instant Pot in case they pique your interest!

eggs in shell for instant pot

"Boiled" Eggs in the Instant Pot

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  1.  Put water inside Instant Pot
  2. Add trivet and place eggs on top
  3. Set Instant Pot to Manual, Low Pressure
  4.  Set time anywhere from 4 to 14 minutes for eggs that are runny yolks to hard yolks
  5.  Quick release as soon as time as up and immerse eggs in cold water

Boiled eggs have so many uses in meal prep. Tuck them into a container in their shells for a snack along with some raw veggies and nuts, top salads with them or, as I did below, use them to make a delicious chef’s salad meal prep!

They are also good in any Korean style meal prep along with some kimchi! 

I use an egg slicer to make cutting the eggs uniform and quick.

chef salad meal prep

Other Egg Recipes in the Instant Pot

How do you use your Instant Pot?

Do you use your Instant Pot for meal prep? Do you have any tried and true recipes or tips to share? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

Look no further for all of your PROTEIN MEAL PREP needs! Use your INSTANT POT to quickly and efficiently prep all of your protein for meals. Recipes, instructions, meal ideas, seasoning recipes, serving tips and MORE! #instantpot #pressurecooker #mealprep #instantpotmealprep #macros #protein #healthy #fitness
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Stephanie
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Stephanie

You’re making me hungry just reading this! I could use some simple meals for myself and my husband!

Yolanda
Guest

These are really great tips. I don’t have an insta pot (yet), but I really want one! I just wonder if that means I should get rid of my slow cooker. What do you think?!

rebecca
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rebecca

I LOVE my Instant Pot and use it daily. It’s just part of my meal routine and I use it more than any appliance now. Love it!

Jennifer Morrison
Guest

These look so amazing!!! Thank You for these recipes! I really need to jump in and get started with my instant pot!

Leslie
Guest

I love my instant pot, it has truly saved me a few times dinner wise haha. I’m pinning this because now that I work from home I needed this!

Nataly
Guest

Wow! This is amazing. So many ideas. I am also a recent Instapot fan.

You had me at “Carnitas”. 😍

Thank se for sharing.

candy
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candy

I just received an instant pot as a gift so this is a great idea for meal prepping.

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