How to cook from Frozen in your Instant Pot { + printable cook time cheat sheet}

Cooking from frozen is a reality in your Instant Pot!

But… there are a few tips and tricks to success, and here are my best tips for how to cook from frozen in your Instant Pot … without the fails! 

How to cook from frozen in your instant pot

One of the big weeknight wins that the Instant Pot has is that it can cook that dinner you forgot to defrost, in no time.

Ok, it’s not Instant, but it’s certainly faster and much more hands off than other methods. I will also preface by saying that it is ALWAYS my preference to cook thawed foods, but sometimes you just forget and have some chicken breasts, or stew meat in the freezer and just need that dinna!

I have been playing around with my Instant Pot and cooking from frozen and this post lays out my tips and tricks for how to cook from frozen in your Instant Pot.

Be mindful of the size and shape of your food when you freeze it.

For example, cut racks of ribs into 3 piece chunks. A whole rack won’t fit in your instant pot frozen solid. Same with thinks like Pork Shoulder. I often cut them into 4 chunks to ensure even cooking. Also easier to shred this way.

Same goes for things like chicken breasts. Don’t freeze the whole package in one big block. If you can freeze them (or buy them frozen) as individual breasts, that is best.

How to cook from frozen in your instant pot 4

Plan for the time to “pressure up” to increase 

The frozen pieces will make things colder, longer and cause the pot to take longer to create steam, and thus pressure.

Bargain for at least 10 extra minutes for the pot to come to pressure when using frozen meats. Sometimes up to 40 extra minutes, depending on what you are making.

Don’t pressure cook big frozen blocks like a roast. 

This just doesn’t cook evenly enough to be worth it – in my opinion. This goes for any big chunk of meat.  Let the big blocks of meat thaw before cooking. I am not saying don’t put a big block of stew meat in. Do that! As it thaws it will fall apart and cook more evenly!

How to cook from frozen in your instant pot 3

Try and have your meat covered in liquid.

If you have a pile of chicken breasts cooking, and half are in liquid and half are above the liquid, the ones in the liquid are going to cook much faster than the top ones. For more even cooking, try to cover the meat in your cooking liquid.

Most of the time, you will need to adjust the cook time (just a bit) for frozen meats. 

I have created you a printable cheat sheet for some foods that are commonly cooked from frozen in the Instant Pot!

Get your printable PDF version HERE.

How to cook from frozen in your instant pot


One of the best features of your Instant Pot is it’s ability to cook that dinner you forgot to take out, and still eat before 9 pm! Now, with these tips, you can avoid a few cooking from frozen fails… because I have sure had a few! 

So, there you have it, my best tips and tricks for how to cook from frozen in your Instant Pot!

Ready to get started with some Instant Pot Freezer Meals – start with these Weeknight Ribs!

Or, check out the whole Freezer Friendly recipe section of the blog!

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  1. Well, put a dinner size chunk of brisket I previously butchered, rationing big meats, so have about 1.25lbs of frozen meat in pot cooking. Saw I could before and needed to get things moving. Now I am worried as ever bit of food counts nowadays.

    Especially when we’ve stockpiled so as only to need to have croyovaced meat delivered, sanitized, butchered, and stored. Plenty of sides etc. Please goodness don’t make one huge grocery order. It’s a major hassle if you take extra steps unpacking, and other “germaphobic” processes I do, lol.

    Anyways, back to the meat. I picked a longer/thinner piece. About 2″ max at any part around and about as long as pot, InstantPot Ultra 6qt. How much longer?

  2. When cooking frozen ground beef do you need to put water in? Also would cooking ground pork/ Italian sausage be the same?

  3. Thank you so much for this! I have a meatball recipe I usually pressure cook for 10 minutes and then naturally release 5 minutes. I want to try freezing the meatballs and then cooking straight from frozen – do you think your recommended timing of 15 minutes with 10 minutes of NPR would work or would it be closer to my usual timing for the recipe?

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