14 seriously delicious Southern meals you can make quickly in an Instant Pot

Ryan Shepard, Dena Rayess
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No other kitchen appliance has caught our attention in recent history quite like the Instant Pot — so why not try it out on some of our Southern favorites? Spoiler alert: The results are, of course, delicious.  

When the Instant Pot first came out I was skeptical. It promised to be a game-changing appliance that was a both a slow and pressure cooker while also having what seemed to be a thousand other functions. In addition to lacking in counter space, I truly wasn’t in the mood to be disappointed yet again with a product that promised the make my life easier and failed to deliver.

But I was utterly wrong about the Instant Pot and it has become my go-to kitchen tool to whip up flavorful, delicious recipes in no time. Here are 14 classic Southern meals to prove it.

Instant Pot Shrimp and Grits

This recipe’s secret is the nifty technique of cooking the grits in a bowl atop the gravy, which eliminates the need to stand and whisk for 45 minutes and gets the grits infused with the aromas of the savory gravy below. Better yet, this recipe is essentially a one pot meal, so you can enjoy your warm, cozy dish without a looming mountain of dishes in the sink.  

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Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder

No knives are required for this crazy easy barbecue pork recipe — after simply seasoning the meat and combining everything in the pot, you’ve got ultra-tender pork that basically shreds itself. Hold onto the braising liquid to add to just about anything for a meaty, smoky punch of flavor; stir it into grits or mashed potatoes, or cook it down into a lip-smacking sauce.  

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Instant Pot Collard Greens

Sitting over the stove for hours to make collard greens will be a distant memory when using an Instant Pot — using pressure in a moist environment creates quick and perfectly tender greens in just 20 minutes. Don’t forget to add rendered bacon fat; it’ll bring smoky richness that will compliment the sweet brown sugar and the tangy vinegar. 

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Instant Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip is a surefire crowd-pleaser, but you’ll be sure to blow people’s minds when you tell them you assembled the entire dish in 15 minutes. Traditionally, the dip is made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, but using the pressure cooker function of an Instant Pot only requires five minutes of cook time.

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Instant Pot Jambalaya

Jambalaya cooked in the Instant Pot is the best way to enjoy this hearty dish on a busy weeknight or to feed a crowd on game day. Tasso adds just the right amount of smoke and spice, but if you can’t find it near you, opt for smoked ham.

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Instant Pot Braised Kale with Onion and Jalapeños

Using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to cook greens makes them taste like they’ve been simmering for hours, but 15 to 20 minutes is all you need. This recipe works just as well on the stove top; just simmer the whole thing until the greens are tender.

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Instant Pot Grillades and Grits

Grillades and grits is a classic New Orleans brunch dish that involves braising medallions of beef in a rich stew of peppers and red wine. The creamy grits are the perfect foil to the savory braised grillades, capturing the essence of both breakfast and lunch in the same bite. You can always make a traditional braise on the stove top, but an Instant Pot will shave hours off the cooking time of this dish. As soon as you close the lid on the Instant Pot, start the grits; the two should be ready at the same time.

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Instant Pot Applesauce

At first thought, making applesauce doesn’t seem like the most fun use of an Instant Pot, and to that I would say, try making this applesauce and prepare to change your mind. This recipe relies on a combination of sweet and tart apples to blow away any applesauce you’ll ever find in a jar. This applesauce also makes a tasty accompaniment to pork, duck, pancakes and French toast.

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Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is typically made with a finer cut of meat, such as beef tenderloin or sirloin. Since we’re using the Instant Pot as a time-saver, you’ll want to find a cut that won’t toughen in a moist cooking environment. This means looking toward the working cuts of the steer, like stew meat, chuck or short ribs.

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Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Many Instant Pot recipes call for cooking the chicken on the bone and then pulling the meat off the bone. Instead, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are less likely to dry out to save both time and an additional step. Do not substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

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Instant Pot Huevos Rancheros

True huevos rancheros can be time-consuming because of the time necessary to develop the deep flavors in a sauce that’s meant to simmer for at least 2 hours. With an Instant Pot, you can cut the cooking time significantly by using the pot’s pressure cooker functionality. Traditionally, the eggs in huevos rancheros are poached in the finished sauce, and you can do the same using the Instant Pot.

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Instant Pot Oatmeal with Dried Fruit

Steel-cut oats carry a notoriously long cooking time; however, using an Instant Pot chops the active cooking time down to just six minutes under high pressure. This recipe illustrates the most basic liquid-to-oats ratio, using simply water and oats, but you can substitute some of the water with milk or almond milk for more richness or flavor.

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Instant Pot Pork Green Chili

Where a red chili might have more of a robust, smoky flavor, green chili packs a bright, acidic punch from the tomatillos and is livened up even more by the addition of fresh cilantro. Using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker will cut the cook time significantly, making this a perfect weeknight meal.

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Virginia Willis’ Instant Pot Turkey and Black Bean Chili

This recipe by Virginia Willis takes a beloved classic and gives creates it fast and better than the original. Showcasing flavors like cumin, chili powder and coriander — one bite of this and you might never make chili the old fashioned way again.