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!
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.
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!
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.
Now I’ve got some great recipes and ideas to share for using 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!
- 20-Minute Taco Soup
- Beefy Enchilada Bake
- Calico Beans
- Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Cheeseburger Soup
- Cheeseburger Zucchini Boats
- Cheesy Beef and Rice
- Cheesy Salsa Enchiladas
- Chili Mac
- Simple Crock Pot Taco Pasta
- Crustless Pizza
- Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip
- Hamburger Sauerkraut Dip
- Italian Pasta Bake
- Lasagna Casserole
- Meat and Cheese Burritos
- Pizza Boats
- Pizza Casserole
- Pizza Pockets
- Pizza Soup
- Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Dip
- Simple Spanish Rice Bowls
- Skillet Taco Pasta
- Sloppy Cornbread Muffins
- Sloppy Joes
- Spanish Rice
- Taco Corn Fritters
- Taco Potatoes
- Taco Quesadillas
- Taco Rice Dinner
- Taco Salad
Have you tried cooking frozen hamburger in an Instant Pot? What are your favorite meals that include hamburger meat?
…now I am considering an instant pot just for this alone…:)
Ha! It is so worth it. SO MUCH TIME SAVED!
Erin Campbell says
My Instant Pot is my fav appliance!! Can’t wait to try this one!
I have done this with chicken breasts. I don’t know why I haven’t tried it with hamburger. I always shred my chicken with my mixer. I wonder it that would work for this?
Oh wow, good idea! I would imagine it should work!
Wow, that looks convenient!
P.S. This is probably really bad but I don’t drain the grease off of ground beef ever!
It’s definitely not bad, unless there’s so much grease is drippy!! I never drain it off either. :)
Yeah! We “diabolical” Instant Pot fanatics are so happy for you Laura, 8-) I have 2lb packages and find that it can take 80 minutes pressure time plus pressure build uptime and release time. I love the smell, I love the tenderness, and I love the taste!
I’m able to fit three, 2 lb packages in the pot.
I’m so, so happy because of your “stand up” suggestion Laura, 8-) Thank you!! I can now fit 4, 2lb packages in and have so much cooked hamburger to work with. I don’t even add the rack. Some of the hamburger will be quite brown but it’s yummy.
Sharon Follis says
When you say, “under the trivet”, do you mean directly in the pot and then you place the interior bowl in the water? I didn’t know you could do that. I make my ground beef in the IP, but add the water into the pot with the meat.
My Instant Pot came with a metal “rack” type trivet that lifts the food up off the main cooking pot about a 1/2 inch. I put my water into the cooking pot, then the trivet (rack) down into the pot with the water with the frozen meat sitting on the metal rack. Does that make sense? Sorry if I’m not wording it well. I’m new to the Instant Pot with all its pieces!
Can’t you skip the trivet and have the water and ground beef together? Then drain off whatever is needed to make it the desired dryness? Or would cooking with the water be bad?
I’ve never tried it that way, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!
Do you have any cooking estimates for smaller amounts, like 3 lbs?
I’d still go with the same amount of time I think, just to be sure it gets cooked through and through. :)
Thank you. I just purchased the meat masher. I had no idea those existed!
If your hamburger meat was already thawed how much would you adjust the time?
I’d probably cook thawed meat at hi pressure for 18 minutes. Just a good guess! :)
I tried it with 5lbs frozen meat with trivet on the bottom. 1st 30 min. Meat was thawed, 2nd 30 min. Lightly browned on the outside (drained the grease at this time). 3rd 30 min. (1.5hrs later) mostly browned meat. Browning 5lbs. hamburger this way is faster than the microwave & the crockpot, but you have to babysit the entire process. Will go back to the crockpot.
How strange! It works for me in 30 minutes every single time! Ugh!
Is yours a 5lb frozen block? or is it smaller 1 or 2 lbs blocks? That would make a difference.
Love this! I break mine up wits my Kitchen Aid mixer…so easy. Thank u!
I would love the convenience of cooking 5 meals’ worth of meat at one time! I’m wondering if you actually mean hamburger or could I use ground chuck or ground round? Thanks:)
Any ground meat would work!
I also used this method with ground venison. Our family eats half venison half beef for our ground beef recipes.
So my insta pot didnt come with a meat trivet I got the Lux series. Is this possible something that is no longer needed in the new models or should I try to order a meat trivet?
Bethany Lotulelei says
I have cooked hamburger meat in the Instant Pot without the trivet, and it works just fine. So you should be good to go!
-Bethany (Laura’s assistant)
This should have a recipe card it is such a great idea! I had to handwrite the directions. So worth trying it! Thanks for sharing.