How to reheat Instant Pot Freezer Meals. You did the hard work and made your own delicious Instant Pot Freezer Meals, but how do you put that hard work into practice by easily reheating your Instant Pot Freezer Meals inside your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker? Let us show you how!
Instant Pot Freezer Meals
I have had a wonderful love affair with freezer meals in the last 10 years, especially Instant Pot Freezer Meals. I love spending an hour or two making some freezer meals, placing them in the freezer and then when I am too lazy to cook dinner, know that I can just reheat them whenever I please.
Perfect for if you are like us and don’t have a takeaway anywhere near where you live!
If you not tried out our Instant Pot Freezer Meals then we have 2 options:
- Instant Pot Cheap Freezer Meals – Using a pantry raid we made 15 family meals for just $30.
- Instant Pot Curry Freezer Meals – Using a diet model we show you how to make a massive amount of curries in less than an hour. Perfect if you love curry and your partner doesn’t and you want a stash for the freezer.
How To Reheat Instant Pot Freezer Meals
There are many different things to consider when you reheat Instant Pot Freezer Meals including:
Size Matters In The Instant Pot
You can’t expect that reheating 1 small portion of soup to take as long in the Instant Pot compared to a full chicken dinner. When you see people mentioning how they can quickly cook something from frozen in 10 minutes in the Instant Pot, it doesn’t mean it’s the same meal that you are having.
For example, through testing various Instant Pot Freezer Meals we found that:
- A small portion of sauce or soup takes 0 minutes
- A frozen pasta dish cooked directly in the Instant Pot takes 6 minutes
- BUT a frozen pasta dish cooked pot in pot in the Instant Pot takes 26 minutes
- A frozen whole chicken cooked with vegetables takes 30 minutes
- A frozen vegetable curry cooked directly in the Instant Pot takes 2 minutes
- BUT a frozen vegetable curry cooked pot in pot in the Instant Pot takes 20 minutes
It all comes down to size.
If you use a tiny silver foil container and have it resting on the steamer shelf in the Instant Pot it will only ever be 0 minutes, even if you have literally just pulled it from the freezer.
BUT if you took a large pasta dish directly from the freezer in a deep glass dish like our Pressure Cooker Chicken Parmesan Pasta that we showed you yesterday, then you MUST expect it to take 26 minutes to heat up.
Thawed or Frozen?
This brings me to the next important Instant Pot Freezer Meals discussion and that is whether to thaw it out first or just cook it from frozen.
Personally, unless I am reheating a small sauce, I prefer to thaw it out first. Our tradition in the Milner household is to get the food we plan to eat the next day, out of the freezer before bedtime. I go and have a look in our big chest freezer and see what I am in the mood for, then that becomes tomorrows lunch and dinner.
By the time we come to eat the food for lunch or dinner the next day, it is nearly always thawed out or is just slightly frozen and so much quicker to cook.
When you are just reheating and there is no frozen food involved you will find you can reheat in the Instant Pot so much faster.
Not All Containers Are Equal
You must respect the Instant Pot and understand that not every container works with the it. I always have this in mind prior to freezer meal prep. That is because I want freezer meals that I can grab from the freezer and then reheat. I don’t want to have to transfer it from one container to another just for the sake of reheating it.
Make sure the container you plan to use to reheat in the Instant Pot is safe. There is a lot of discussion on the internet about whether Pryex is allowed or not. They say not to use it, but everyone I know (including myself) uses it to cook pot in pot (PIP) in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.
I recommend that you look at what you use right now with the oven and what you use in the oven that fits in the Instant Pot. For example, I have some favourite Pyrex dishes, but they were way too big for the pressure cooker, so instead I bought some new ones that fitted in with the shape of the Instant Pot.
I have a mixture of glass bottom plastic top containers that I use for reheating in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Then I remove the plastic top before reheating and then it keeps you safe. Whatever you do don’t reheat with plastic in the Instant Pot as it is always a health and safety risk.
Here are a few of them that are very similar on Amazon:
- Homenative 5 Pack
- Razab Homegoods 24 Piece
- Homenative 13 Piece
- Elacra 6 Piece 28oz
- GlassLock 5 Piece Round
I recommend glass as the best container for reheating in the Instant Pot. You can easily transfer them from the Instant Pot to the dinner table and you can clean them after use and they are perfect for another batch of Instant Pot Freezer Meals.
I also find that because glass bottom containers are well known for freezer meals, they tend to be cheaper to buy and have more variety.
You can also use ceramic too. But getting a ceramic dish of the right size for the Instant Pot can be hard work unless you are using ramekins.
Or silver foil containers are also a fantastic choice. We use them for small portion sizes as they freeze well and don’t take long to reheat. BUT they are not as good on the environment and are not going to last you as long as your glass containers.
Pot In Pot Container Or Straight In The Inner Pot?
This is the biggest debate of them all. Should you cook it in the plastic container or just throw everything into the main inner pot.
Many prefer the throw everything in method because it is much quicker. This is because a big pot in pot container is not getting as much touch from the Instant Pot and is protected more from the pressure, meaning that it will often take 3 times as long to reheat. But it is still quicker to reheat from frozen in the Instant Pot than it is in the oven.
Well if you got a frozen glass container out of the freezer and tried to take the frozen contents out, it would drive you crazy and you would have to thaw it out a LOT just to get them out.
However, from a time point of view cooking directly in the Instant Pot Inner Pot is so much faster.
If you want to cook directly from frozen then I suggest you do so with the frozen zip loc bag method instead. This is because you can easily open a zip loc and get its contents out without it having to be thawed.
Or you allow your frozen glass bottom container the chance to thaw a bit before emptying the contents into the Instant Pot.
I never have enough glass bottom containers and end up using zip loc bags as a back up plan. When I do, I know with these zip loc bags that it is quicker for me to cook from frozen.
The Pressure Cooker Thawing Myth
The internet is full of wrong information when it comes to thawing in the Instant Pot as it cooks. You will read in many Instant Pot recipes that the time is longer to pressure with frozen food and that by the time it hits pressure the food will be thoroughly thawed.
This rule only applies if you have a very small amount of food to thaw or that you are NOT following pot in pot cooking.
Otherwise please make sure you add ¼ of the cooking time to the dish to take into account, time to thaw before cooking. For example, if you’re cooking a beef roast from frozen instead of cooking it for 45 minutes defrosted, cook it for 60 minutes from frozen.
Why Not Just Reheat In The Oven?
I follow this method when I have a LOT of food to reheat. If I am making a big casserole, I will precook it in the Instant Pot and then when I reheat it from frozen, I will do so in the oven. Or if you have frozen food to reheat and it’s a main meal and 2 sides, you could do the main in the Instant Pot and then the sides in the oven.
For reheating an Instant Pot Freezer Meal in the oven, the same ¼ rule applies. Cook it for 1 hour compared to 45 minutes in the oven if it was thawed.
How To Reheat Freezer Meals In The Instant Pot
Here are quick instructions for reheating freezer meals in the Instant Pot. Starting with how to reheat freezer meals using pot in pot glass bottom containers:
- Remove your frozen freezer meal from the freezer and remove the plastic lid container.
- Add a cup of cold water to the bottom of the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Add the steamer shelf to your Instant Pot and place your glass container over it.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on manual pressure for the desired time to defrost your food
- When the Instant Pot beeps manually release pressure and remove the lid.
- Place a knife through the centre of the dish to make sure it is thoroughly defrosted in the middle. Hold the knife up in your hand and check to see if it is piping hot.
- Give it a stir and then serve.
Or alternatively by reheating directly in the Instant Pot inner pot:
- Remove the frozen freezer meal from the freezer and remove it from its container directly into the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Pour a cup of cold water over the food to kick start the thawing process.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and add ¼ extra cooking time than you would if it was thawed.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to sealing and cook on manual pressure.
- When it beeps, remove the lid and stir the food to make sure it is well mixed and heated through.
Buy Your Cheap Freezer Meals Bundle Today!
I recommend that you give our Instant Pot Cheap Freezer Meals a go. They are JUST $12.00 and you get to watch over my shoulder as I show you how to make 15+ family freezer meals from a cheap grocery shop, along with pantry staples for under $30. Then once you have prepped them, you can follow our methods in this blog post for reheating them. Though it also includes step by step instructions for reheating each dish as an added bonus.