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Make 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes with These Free Recipes and Shopping List

I’m so excited to tell you about my newest thing: Instant Pot freezer meals!!  They’re made just like my crockpot freezer meals – without any cooking ahead of time – simply combine the ingredients raw, freeze them for up to three months, and then cook them in your Instant Pot. Super easy.

I made seven Instant Pot freezer meals last month and then cooked them over the past few weeks.  It only took me 70 minutes to prep the meals and clean-up my kitchen – woot!  (That works out to only seven minutes per meal.)  I’m new to the Instant Pot, so cooking them was a little bit tricky, but I’m sharing everything that I learned below (including my free recipes and shopping list).


Are you an avid Instant Pot user or a total newbie?  People have been asking me to adapt my crockpot recipes for the Instant Pot for the past year, so I’m excited to finally have some answers for them.

Here are the original recipes that I used:

  1. Steak Italiano (Yum!)
  2. Spiced Butternut Squash Soup from my cookbook eBooks and shared for free below
  3. Turkey Bolognese Sauce adapted from Cook Eat Paleo
  4. Beef and Sweet Potato Chili (SO GOOD)
  5. Southwestern Shredded Pork adapted from Plaid and Paleo
  6. Stuffed Pepper Soup with Cauliflower Rice adapted from Maria Makes
  7. Paleo Sesame Short Ribs adapted from Gutsy by Nature

Basically, I picked seven of our favorite Whole30 crockpot recipes and adapted them for the Instant Pot.  Some of them turned out perfectly the first time I made them and others took two or three tries to cook perfectly (!!!), but I kept making and remaking them until I got it right.

CLICK HERE FOR MY FREE PRINTABLE RECIPES AND SHOPPING LIST. NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Make 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes with These Free Recipes and Shopping List

Here’s what I used to make the meals:

  • Ingredients.  I spent a total of $63.54 on groceries ($10.59/meal with six servings).  I thought that was a great deal because all of the recipes were healthy.
  • An Instant Pot.  I own the 6-Quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot and so far I like it a lot. For these meals, I used the “sauté” and “pressure cook” (manual) buttons, so you should be able to make them in whatever model of Instant Pot you own.
  • 64oz Freezer Containers.  I wanted to freeze my meals in circles so they could pop into the Instant Pot frozen. After doing some research online, I found that 64oz (half gallon) was the perfect size to fit in a 6-quart Instant Pot.  I bought an 8-pack of these 64oz freezer containers on Amazon and I love them.  They’re re-usable, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and perfect for the freezer (good for up to -40 degrees!).
  • A Grease Pencil to Label the Containers.  I typically label my crockpot freezer meals with a Sharpie marker or fancy sticker label (like the type in my freezer cookbooks), but I didn’t think they would work on plastic containers.  After doing some research online, I bought these Sharpie pencils from Amazon, and they’re fantastic.  I labeled my meals with the name of the recipe and cooking instructions and my writing didn’t smudge at all in the freezer.  Heck, it didn’t even come off in the dishwasher!  (It easily removes with a tissue though.)  The only negative was that I had to look at my messy handwriting instead of a pretty label.

Make 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes with These Free Recipes and Shopping List

My general cooking method:

  1. Freeze for up to three months.
  2. When ready to cook, place the frozen container in water for a couple of minutes so it’s easy to pop out of the container.
  3. Dump the container into the Instant Pot and sauté for 5 minutes to create some liquid.
  4. Pressure cook for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Natural release. (I think this makes the meat more tender than a quick release.)

Simple, right?!
Make 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes with These Free Recipes and Shopping List

Here’s what I learned about Instant Pot Freezer Meals:

  • Container size is limited.  I’m used to making crockpot freezer meals in gallon-sized freezer bags and 64oz containers are only half that size.  Luckily, space was only an issue with two of the meals that I made.  For those meals, I added the ingredients that would take time to prep (like veggies, measured sauces and spices, and meat) and saved ingredients that could be stored in my pantry and quickly added the day of cooking (like canned tomato sauce).
  • Liquid is a must! Fresh meat and vegetables release a lot of liquid when cooking, so I don’t add a lot of liquid to my crockpot freezer meals.  (For example, my super popular Cool Ranch Chicken Tacos are made with only oil, vinegar, and spices.)  HOWEVER, Instant Pots require liquid to achieve pressure and cook the food.  (Typically, at least a cup of liquid is needed.)  Finding the right amount of liquid to achieve pressure but not dilute the flavor of the meal was a balancing act that took me several tries to master.  All of the recipes above should turn out perfectly as-written and I’m working on adapting some of our other favorites for future freezer prep sessions.
  • How to layer ingredients in the freezer containers.  When I make crockpot freezer meals I layer vegetables at the bottom, sauces and spices in the middle (so they don’t get left in the bag), and meat at the top (so it’s the first ingredient dumped into the crockpot).  Instant Pot meals works differently though because if the meat is at the bottom of the pot without any liquid it burns. (Don’t ask how many times I had to scrub burned food from the bottom of my Instant Pot with a steel wool pad. Grrr.) I think the best way to layer Instant Pot freezer meals is to put the meat at the bottom of the container (so you can smush it down and conserve space), veggies and spices in the middle, and sauce at the top so it’s dumped into the Instant Pot first.
  • Instant Pot meals take longer to cook than people say they do.  People love to brag about cooking chicken in eight minutes in an Instant Pot, but they never mention the time it takes to reach pressure before cooking or release pressure after cooking.  I tried cooking my Instant Pot freezer meals at 5pm and we had to wait FOREVER for them to finish cooking.  Gosh, we were so hungry and my daughter almost missed her Tae Kwon Do class one night!  I finally figured out that 3pm was a good time and would get started right after my daughter got home from preschool.  I think allotting two hours to cook these meals is perfect because if they finish cooking early they can sit on “warm” until they’re ready to eat – just like my crockpot dinners do.
  • There’s a learning curve. Crockpot freezer meals are the easiest thing ever.  Seriously.  They’re fool-proof.  It’s been much more difficult to master my Instant Pot. I burned meals, bought meats that were too fatty, didn’t add enough liquid, etc…..and was very frustrated at times.  A lot of trial and error went into making these seven freezer Instant Pot recipes so hopefully your experience will be much smoother than mine.

By the way, if you ever have an Instant Pot flop that burns and doesn’t reach pressure, you can just open the lid, press the “sauté” button and finish cooking the meal that way.  It’s the same thing as boiling it on the stovetop.

Make 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes with These Free Recipes and Shopping List

Now that I’m more comfortable with my Instant Pot, I’m excited to use it on nights that I forget to put something in my crockpot. It also makes a great lunch and I want to create a “cheat sheet” for adapting all of the crockpot freezer recipes in my cookbooks.

DON'T FORGET TO CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE WHOLE30 FREEZER INSTANT POT RECIPES THAT I MADE IN THIS POST AND A FULL SHOPPING LIST.

These meals were so yummy.  Enjoy, Friends!

Whole30 Compliant Beef and Sweet Potato Chili Recipe

Crockpot Steak Italiano Marinara

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them.  I’d love to hear your advice about Instant Pot recipes too.  Please leave a comment below.  XOXO, Kelly 

34 Comments

  • A says:

    Appreciate all the work you do to bring us great recipes!!

  • Hilary says:

    Yes, I also appreciate all the hard work, it is so generous of you. I made sure to use your affiliate link when I purchased my Instant Pot WHICH I JUST GOT YESTERDAY!!! So the timing of this post is too perfect!

    One post I would love to see is a plan that uses pressure cooking for weeknight meals, but also has slow cooked meals for the weekends, because I love the anticipation of eating a meal I’ve enjoyed smelling as it cooked all day.

    Thanks again for these posts. I’ve tried literally for decades to be better about planning and preparing and I just get confused and overwhelmed and end up going to the drive through instead.

  • […] from New Leaf Wellness put together a list of 7 Whole30 Instant Pot Freezer Meals in 70 Minutes. Her free download includes 7 printable recipes and a printable shopping […]

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks so much for these recipes! I am so excited to try all of them.
    When you say pressure cook for so many minutes…. would this be the Manual
    setting on High if using the Instant Pot??? Thanks!

  • Katie says:

    The links to the actual recipes and ingredient list seem to be broken. I’ve tried both of them and I just get a blank web page with the following url:

    https://app.monstercampaigns.com/c/ah7h7vycjgnihmojly4u/

    I would really like to try the recipes, so I hope this can be fixed!

  • cindy says:

    I wonder…. do you think we could use slow cooker recipes as they are on the slow cooker option? Has anyone tried? I’ve been a bit leery, am just learning my IP.

    • Kelly McNelis says:

      If you want to use the slow cooker I would use the original recipes, not the ones that I adapted in the free printable.

  • Beth says:

    I love your website and am so glad I found it! I have already printed two of your freezer prep session downloads to make. I am not doing whole 30, so could I substitute the coconut aminos with soy sauce? Would the measurement be the same?

  • Cindie says:

    I’m so thankful for all of your recipes! I’m planning meals for easy preparation because I’m having surgery on Wednesday & won’t be allowed to lift anything for about 2 weeks. I don’t want to wait until my husband gets home at 6:30 for dinner prep to begin (I get so hangry lol), so your recipes are the perfect answer for me. Thank you so much!

  • Crystal says:

    Hi Kelly! I heard Santa was bringing me an IP this Christmas 😉 and I was thrilled when I saw you post this! We’ve enjoyed many of your crock pot meals in the past (I think my favorite is the white wine chicken with artichokes… mmm). I actually prepped all the IP meals today from your plan so that I can start using my new gadget immediately. I can’t wait! They all looked / smelled awesome!

    Just a note though, in case no one has mentioned it, the grocery list should have 4 total bell peppers, not 3. My stuffed pepper soup has half the peppers, lol. I’m sure it will still taste great though!

  • Jennifer Johnson says:

    What times would you use if you wanted to do these meals from fresh and not frozen?

    • Jess says:

      My question, too! And would you still saute for five minutes when cooking from fresh? (Cooking one of your recipes from fresh tonight, and it will only be my second time using the IP- still very cautious!)
      As a long time follower of your blog, and now transitioning to the pressure cooker world, I’m so thankful for this post to help me get started. I will watch anxiously for the cheat sheet to adapt some more of your slow cooker recipes in our freezer right now. Thank you, Kelly!

      • Kelly McNelis says:

        I would not saute. I think the cooking times would be the same, but they might be slightly less. If you try them that way, please report back with your results!

    • Marva Petrequin says:

      The time set for the pot is the same. It will just take more time to come to pressure if it is frozen.

  • Marva Petrequin says:

    Your recipes for both the Instant Pot and Slow Cooker are great! To make your pot shiny and brite if something gets burnt/stuck–use Bar Keepers Friend to scrub the pot instead of a steel wool pad. Works very well on Stainless Steel!

  • Maria says:

    Myself and some family members are doing 150 freezer meals tomorrow. Several of us are using Instant Pots. How much cooking time do you recommend for chicken?

    Thanks for this and congratulations on that baby!!!! We have five kids and it’s crazy and fun!

    • Kelly McNelis says:

      I am still not an Instant Pot expert (AT ALL), but I’ve been able to shred chicken after cooking it for 20 minutes. I think the cooking time depends on the recipe and amount of sauce and veggies though.

      I saw the pic of your groceries on Instagram and they look awesome. 150 meals – wow!!!

  • Kate says:

    Hi Kelly! I purchased your cookbook bundle last fall and I am so pumped to see IP versions. I love to see more. I am trying these today and I have a question about your ground meats. It seems in these recipes that you add a raw block of ground meet and let it cook along with the sauce. Does it not get super greasy? I am used to browning my meat and draining before adding to the IP.

  • Ana says:

    hello, I want to ask you if I can make these recipes in a slowcooker, I mean, put all the ingredients in a plastic bag, freeze and then put it on the crokpot? thanks

  • Stan says:

    Hi – your link doesn’t seem to work. Tried different browsers, only opens up a blank page?

  • Pat Leonard says:

    The Southwestern Shredded Pork was absolutely delicious! It’s definitely a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

  • KimW says:

    WOW — so much awesomeness in one post!! thank you so much for posting and doing all the organizational work!!

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