How to Cook 5 Pounds of Frozen Hamburger Meat in an Instant Pot in 30 Minutes (and what to do with it)

This is, hands down, my favorite Instant Pot trick so far! I will forevermore cook frozen hamburger meat an Instant Pot as it saves loads of time and I don’t have to thaw, babysit, or stir my meat to get it ready to add to dishes. Wait till you see how easy this is!

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How to Cook Frozen Hamburger Meat in an Instant Pot

Step One: Get hamburger meat out of the freezer.

(But whatever you do, don’t plan ahead. No way, no how! Don’t thaw your meat because life is too short to spend time thinking about details like this.)

Step Two: Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pot under the trivet. (Very important detail!)

Step Three: Put chunks of frozen meat onto the metal trivet inside the pot. Stand them up like soldiers so they’ll cook more evenly.

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Step Four: Put the lid on your Instant Pot. Close the venting valve so it will seal.

Step Five: Set the Instant Pot to 30 minutes on high pressure on Manual Mode.

Step Six: Come back when the machine beeps as if to say, “Your hard work is done. I hope you enjoyed your nap.”

Step Seven: Carefully release the pressure and use a meat thermometer to be sure the internal temp is at least 160 degrees.

Step Eight: Transfer the cooked meat to a big bowl and use a sturdy utensil to break it apart. (I have this “Meat Masher” and love it for this job!)

Now you’ve got five pounds of cooked hamburger to use any way you need! See my big list below of great options!

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Note: What to do with the water and grease at the bottom of your Instant Pot?

If I had one complaint about this meat-cooking method, it would be that all the grease drips to the bottom, leaving the meat a bit dry. What can I say? I may be the only one on the planet who wants to keep a little fat in my meat! So I use a ladle to drizzle some of the water/grease back into the meat after I’ve broken it apart.

How to Cook 5 Pounds of Frozen Hamburger in an Instant Pot

Now I’ve got some great recipes and ideas to share for using your cooked hamburger meat!

33 Recipes for your Cooked Hamburger Meat

Divide your cooked meat into 1-pound portions in freezer bags, freeze, then pull them out to use as needed for quick and Simple Meals! Or divide your meat into separate bowls and start building some of these great meals to make your meal time ridiculously easy!

Have you tried cooking frozen hamburger in an Instant Pot? What are your favorite meals that include hamburger meat?

Why I Rarely Make Big Meat and Potato Meals (Plus 9 of My Family’s Favorite Real Food, Real Simple Meals)

My true confessions about meat and potato meals…

You know what I love about mashed potatoes? Eating them. Otherwise, I am so over mashed potatoes. Therefore, I kind of stopped making them.

Why did I stop? It’s not like they’re difficult. My family loves them. They make a filling side dish. They are a real food. And above all, we can stir lots of butter into them. Why wouldn’t I make them more often?

Because, this:

why i don't make big meals

I decided to make mashed potatoes a couple weeks ago since I had pretty much avoided the task since Thanksgiving. The family was thrilled. But making a meal of lamb chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, a veggie, another veggie – well by the time it’s all said and done – I had spent a very long time in the kitchen and had a sink and counter full of dirty dishes. That’s just one meal, people. (Except for the muffin tin and probably like, a spoon.)

I’m convinced that this is why so many people don’t enjoy cooking. Am I right? It takes too long. There are too many steps. There’s too much clean up. You know what? I don’t enjoy it either when it looks and feels like that.

Well, I’m not here to tell you what to do (except for never eat margarine). But as for me and my house, we’re only going to make mashed potatoes for special occasions. Otherwise, we’re going to stick with simple meals that don’t require many steps. Fast (real) foods that don’t dirty many dishes. Real food made easy.

Real Food, Real Simple Meal Ideas

Here, I’ll list a few of our favorite Not-So Meat and Potato Meals:

Instead of mashed potatoes, I’ve been making a lot of baked potatoes recently. I love this because they are so versatile and easy. Here’s a post detailing what I do with leftover baked potatoes.

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‘Fess up. How often do you make mashed potatoes? (The real kind, not from a box. Don’t get me started.)


If you love the idea of keeping your meals simple and good, you will LOVE Simple Meals!!