How to Cook Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot

Tasty Tuesday
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Okay. So, this is less of a recipe but a food experiment I tried and I’m excited how well it worked out. So, I wanted to share it with you!


My best friend PCS’s (military move) last week and she was gracious enough to give me her pantry items since the movers wouldn’t pack it. Found in the mix was a box of Hamburger helper that was close to its expiration date. So, I decided we better use it up soon.

I also, recently got an Instant Pot which I’ve been having a blast with trying new recipes in. So far, they have all been successful and the kids are loving all of these homemade meals!

I decided, I wanted to try making this Hamburger Helper dish in the Instant Pot. I know, I know…it can’t really get much easier than Hamburger Helper! But, it CAN! I know you can relate on wanting to make meal time as effortless as possible!

Here is how I did it:


  • 1 box of Hamburger Helper and the box’s required ingredients
  • 1 Instant Pot (or pressure cooker)


  • First, you need to brown the meat. I know it says “hamburger” but, I always substitute for ground turkey.
    • To brown frozen meat in the Instant Pot:
      • Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan
      • Insert the cooking tray/trivet
      • Place the frozen meat on the cooking tray/trivet
      • Close the lid and use the Pressure Cook setting for 25 minutes
        • It will start automatically once it is pressurized
        • Once the timer goes of, Quick Release and then use a food thermometer to ensure its cooked to 165 degrees (if it isn’t, try it for about 5 minutes longer)
      • Once the meat is cooked, carefully remove the trivet and meat.
      • Drain the water out of the pot and replace it into the Instant Pot
      • Use a fork (or I have a cool cooing tool from Pampered Chef that works great for browning meat) to break up the meat as it will remain in the same shape it was when you placed it in the pot (took me a while to get used to this)
  • Place the cooked meat back into the Instant Pot
  • Add the remaining ingredients as instructed on the Hamburger Helper Box (usually pasta, sauce packet, milk, maybe butter)
  • Since pasta takes about 4 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker, that is the setting I used to cook my Hamburger Helper (with the Pressure cook setting)
  • After the 4 minutes was up, I did a Quick Release (because I’m not patient to let it release naturally) It was still pretty liquid so I took the lid off and just let it sit and thicken on its own for a few minutes.

This seems pretty detailed. But, once you are used to the Instant Pot, it felt extremely easy!

The advantages to using the Instant Pot for Hamburger Helper:

  1. There’s only one dirty pot to clean
  2. I don’t have to stand by the hot stove top to brown the meat and keep stirring occasionally
  3. I don’t have to worry about it boiling over, burning or getting stuck to the bottom of the pan (Yes, sadly I have had all of these happen when I made Hamburger Helper in the past!)
  4. It’s like a crock pot in that, it can keep the food warm and will start a timer as soon as the cooking is done so you know how long it’s been sitting out before you put leftovers away

Do you have an Instant Pot?

What is your favorite recipe?

Do you want to see more Instant Pot recipes like this?

Let me know, and I’ll share what I’ve been cooking in it lately!

With Aloha,



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15 thoughts on “How to Cook Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot

  1. I love the Instant Pot! My favorite thing to make in it is salsa verde chicken. I just toss frozen chicken breast and a jar of salsa verde in the pot and set it for 25 minutes. Once it’s done I shred it and serve it with rice and guacamole. It is delicious! I’d love to see more recipes for the Instant Pot, I am always looking for new ways to use it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 25 minutes for frozen. It shreds easier if you do the natural release for 10 minutes after that, but sometimes I forget that step and it’s still good!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I just bought it on Black Friday. So, I’m still a newbie. But, I’ve used it several times a week since I got it! I love it! I’ve always been a crockpot girl bc I like the idea of dumping stuff in and just letting it do the work. The IP does that and so much quicker! And, there is a slow cooker function so it can be a crockpot too! I did that for our Chili the other night 😉


  2. i am making pasta roni in it. I slow cooked boneless pork chops all day, I took meet out and then measured the juice and subtracted that from the box ingredients. I am new at this and I was looking for the conversion from stove to instant pot. any ways I threw it all in together used 1 cup of half and half, 1 cup of meat juice, 2 tablespoons of butter, stirred it and put it on beans/chili, and reduced the time to 5 min…….it has 2 min to go……I let you know what happens -oh and a can of peas, drained…….

    Liked by 1 person

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