Pressure Cooker Makes Impressive Instant Meals For Busy Families

Three simple recipes to get you started cooking with a pressure cooker

By Mary Campbell, publisher of Macaroni Kid Lodi, Calif. March 1, 2019

I am a master of macaroni and cheese. I make a mean peanut butter and jelly. 

But beyond that, it’s never been a pretty picture in the kitchen for me. 

Until now!

I received a pressure cooker for Christmas and it's been a game-changer in the kitchen for me. I've found the results to be so amazing that I had to share some of my new favorite pressure cooker tricks so that you, too, can impress your family in no time at all! There are several popular brands of pressure cookers but no matter what kind you have, they all work basically the same. (Make sure to follow the directions that come with your pressure cooker when creating these recipes!)

Hard-boiled eggs


  • Pour 1 cup of water in the pot
  • Place steamer rack in the pot
  • Place eggs on the rack
  • Hit “manual” and set the time at 5 minutes
  • Make sure the vent is SEALED or it will not pressurize
  • When time is up, let the pressure cooker decompress for about 5 minutes and then release the pressure
  • Put the eggs immediately into ice water for a few minutes (ice water helps with peeling eggs)

Sweet potatoes


  • Place steamer rack in the pot
  • Add sweet potatoes (I can usually fit 3-4 potatoes depending on size)
  • Hit “manual” and set the time at 20 minutes
  • Make sure the vent is SEALED or it will not pressurize
  • Do a quick release and use tongs to remove the potatoes from the pot

Meal ideas: You can simply mash the sweet potatoes to use as a side dish. Or make them the main attraction by serving an open-face sweet potato with shredded BBQ chicken and all the fixings on top!



  • Add 4 chicken breasts to your pressure cooker with 1 cup of your favorite sauce, salsa, broth, or water
  • Hit "manual" and cook thawed chicken for 20 minutes or frozen chicken for 25 minutes
  • Make sure the vent is SEALED or it will not pressurize
  • When time is up, let it decompress on its own for 10 minutes
  • Remove chicken and shred (I like to use salad scissors for chopping/shredding my chicken)

Meal ideas: Shred BBQ chicken on top of sweet potatoes. Or add teriyaki sauce to your chicken while cooking and serve with sautéed veggies and rice. You can also add taco seasoning to your chicken and shred it to add to tacos.

My pressure cooker has made me much more confident in the kitchen and I hope these simple recipes show you that cooking at home can be fun -- and easy! -- too.

Mary Campbell is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Lodi, Calif.