Instant Pot Ground Beef: The BEST way to make ground beef in the pressure cooker–perfectly cooked, tender beef EVERY SINGLE TIME! Directions on how to cook beef in Instant Pot from fresh and frozen with troubleshooting tips.
I have a secret weapon that is going to make you a rock-star in your kitchen, without causing you to break a sweat.
The Instant Pot.
I have always been about less is more. I thought as long as I had a good quality slow cooker, food processor, and blender, I really didn’t need any other appliance in my house. Well, except for my coffee pot–that is a MUST!
Enter the Instant Pot into my life, and now from chicken, to stock, to dried beans, the Instant Pot has become a live-saver to getting healthy, real-food meals on the table in NO time. Be sure to check out all my Easy Healthy Instant Pot Recipes.
Perfect Ground Beef in the Instant Pot
Recently a friend asked me how to cook ground beef in the Instant Pot.
My first answer was to hit saute on the Instant Pot and brown it as you would on the stove-top.
But then she asked me if you could cook ground beef from frozen, and well, I had to experiment with that and perfect how you could cook ground beef in the Instant Pot while it was frozen but it still taste good.
Pressure Cooking Fresh Ground Beef
Let’s start with fresh beef. You have 3 options when cooking fresh ground beef in your pressure cooker.
Method One for Cooking Fresh Ground Beef in Instant Pot:
Brown the ground beef in a little bit of oil, using the saute function of your Instant Pot, and cook as you would over the stove. Once the ground beef is cooked throughly–about 6-7 minutes per pound, you can use in any recipe you like Beef Stroganoff or Healthy Hamburger Helper.
A note to this method–it seems silly to get out your pressure cooker if you are just sauteeing your meat (you can do that on the stove), but if you are using it to start another recipe you will finish in your Instant Pot, it is a great method to use!)
Method Two for Cooking Fresh Ground Beef in Instant Pot
You can also “steam” your ground beef and you will be left with perfectly tender cooked beef.
- Pour 1 cup water over the bottom of the pot, and then place in your trivet that came with your instant pot.
- Place 1-2 pounds ground beef on your trivet seal the instant pot closed, with vent closed.
- Set to high pressure and cook for 6 minutes.
- Do a quick release and check temperature with meat thermometer–it should be at least 160 degrees. If it is not, seal again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. *See my notes at end of post to trouble shoot why your meat would need longer to cook.
- Once your meat is cooked, carefully remove from instant pot and break up and use as you would for any ground beef recipe.
- Discard liquid (and fat that drained off beef) from your Instant Pot Base.
Method Three for Cooking Fresh Ground Beef in the Instant Pot
Let’s say you want to make Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef or Chili. You simply place your ingredients for your chili, or sauce into the Instant Pot along with your meat and cook as you would any chili or sauce in your Instant Pot.
Your ground beef will cook perfectly in the sauce or stew. When the cooking process is finished, the meat will need to be broken up but it will have flavored the sauce or stew as it cooked. This is not the time to use high percentage fat ground beef, as the fat will render directly into the sauce. Anything over 80/20 will leave your sauce extremely greasy–I even like to stick to 90/10 if using this application.
Pressure Cooking Frozen Ground Beef
Let’s admit it, you have forgotten to pull your meat out of the freezer to thaw before cooking. And by now I hope you know that thawing at room temperature, is not safe. If not, read up about safely thawing meat.
But what about safely cooking ground beef from frozen in an instant pot?
It works like MAGIC!
Steps to Cooking Frozen Ground Beef in Instant Pot
Step 1: Pour 1 cup water over the bottom of the pot, and then place in your trivet that came with your instant pot.
Step Two: Place 1-2 pounds ground beef on your trivet, and seal the instant pot closed with vent closed.
Step Three: Set to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
Step Four: Do a quick release and check temperature with meat thermometer–it should be at least 165 degrees. If it is not, seal again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. *See my notes at end of post to trouble shoot why your meat would need longer to cook.
Step Five: Once your meat is cooked, carefully remove from instant pot and break up and use as you would for any ground beef recipe.
Step Six: Discard liquid (and fat that drained off beef) from your Instant Pot Base.
Now a few things you may be wondering about Cooking Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot:
- What about the texture of meat being steamed over browned in Instant Pot? HA! I wondered that too. And I was hesitant to try out my test for awhile due to the fear I would be WASTING ground beef. But let me assure you, the texture is amazing on ground beef cooked this way. It is soft, but still firm–it is not mealy, mushy, or watery at all. There is no crispy brown bits in the meat, instead everything is cooked perefectly.
- What about the taste of the meat? Tastes delicious!
- Do you have to use your trivet? YES!! The trivet does 3 things: prevents the meat from getting watery, prevents the meat from scorching, and allows the fat to drain off the meat as it cooks.
- Do you have to add water to bottom of Instant Pot? Yes, that moisture allows the pressure to build up in your instant pot.
Tips and Trouble-Shooting Cooking Ground Beef in the Instant Pot:
- I have tested this recipe out with 1 and 2 pounds ground beef that were frozen in a block (not a tube). If you want to cook meat from a frozen tube, you will need to increase cooking time. I would start with increasing time to 25 minutes.
- I would not recommend cooking more than 3-4 pounds of frozen meat at a time. Doing so, would overcrowd your Instant Pot and therefore would cause it to take forever to reach pressure. Not only is this time consuming, it potentially could be dangerous if you have frozen meat hanging out long waiting to cook.
- To cook 3-4 pounds of meat, increase time by 5 minutes per pound for frozen meat.
- Be sure to completely remove packaging from frozen meat BEFORE cooking–you don’t want any wax, paper, or lining left on the meat before cooking.
- In all my test, it has never taken longer than 11 minutes to reach pressure for this recipe for frozen ground beef in instant pot. The average time was 7 minutes.
Can you cook other types of ground meat in the Instant Pot using this method?
YES! This would work perfectly for any ground meat like pork, chicken, or turkey and the cooking times would remain the same.
If you are a new Instant Pot user, be sure to read my Instant Pot 101, where I walk you through important must knows when using an electric pressure cooker.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Marsala
- Instant Pot Chicken Breasts (FROM FROZEN & FRESH)
- Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Instant Pot Chicken Chili
Ground Meat in Instant Pot
Instant Pot Ground Beef
- 1-2 pounds ground meat
- Cover bottom of pot with 1 cup water. Add in trivet and place frozen or fresh ground meat directly on trivet.
- Put the lid on the Pressure Cooker and turn valve to seal.
- Set to High Pressure for 20 minutes if frozen, 6 minutes if fresh.
- Once finished cooking, do a quick release and then with pot holders, carefully remove trivet from Instant Pot.
- Discard cooking liquid and grease and break up ground beef using a spatula into desired size. Use as desired.
- 7 Minutes to get to pressure
- 20 Minutes to cook
- Release pressue right away
My Must Have Instant Pot Accessories
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