Feeding picky eaters is hard! Make things easier with these toddler-friendly Instant Pot recipes for picky eaters. Lots of super kid-friendly recipes here, such as pasta, rice, tender shredded chicken, as well as snacks and desserts.
If you’re new here, this blog is chock-full of tips for how to help parents of toddlers overcome picky eating. Make sure you click here to get started with all the resources I have on the website.
If you have a picky eater, you know how challenging it can be to come up with meals for them. Luckily the Instant Pot makes is super easy to make a wide variety of toddler-friendly meals.
(And by the way, if you’re not here to feed toddlers but are just looking for general Instant Pot recipes for picky eaters – you’re definitely welcome to look at the recipes below! They are all recipes that I love and eat as an adult, so they’re not JUST for toddlers.)
Cooking for kids with the Instant Pot
While cooking in the Instant Pot isn’t always faster than stove-top (it sometimes takes about the same amount of time), it is always easier. Being able to dump in the ingredients, push a button, and walk away is a life-saver when you have little kids at home.
This collection of kid-friendly Instant Pot recipes below is filled with meal ideas that many toddlers would actually eat, such as toddler-friendly pastas, simple rice recipes, apple sauce and other snacks, and tender meats.
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What size Instant Pot you need for your family
Deciding which size Instant Pot to get is not hard – no matter which size you choose you will get good use out of it. And I know people who have two or three Instant Pots because they use them so much.
If you are a family of 2 or 3, then you can definitely get away with the 6-quart of the 3-quart one, depending on how much you cook and what you plan on cooking in it. You can cook all these recipes in the mini 3-quart Instant Pot except for the pancake bites, because the mold won’t fit into the small Instant Pot.
The 6-quart will be enough to cook pasta, rice, chicken, oatmeal, etc., for a family of 3-5. But if you have the counter space, then you can’t go wrong with the 8-quart one. That’s what we have, and I loved it even when I was cooking for just my husband and myself.
It is great for making large batches of rice for pot lucks and for large batches of homemade chicken broth and veggie stock.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with any of these. All depends on how big your recipe batches are and whether you like to cook enough to have leftovers. Most recipes out there are written for the 6-quart Instant Pot.
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Will all kids like these Instant Pot recipes?
As a mom of a picky eater, I completely understand that some kids will refuse to eat some of these things. Maybe your kid doesn’t eat pasta. Maybe your kid hates the texture of rice. Just because most toddlers like those things doesn’t mean yours does.
And that’s OKAY. I’ve been there.
If that’s your kid, that’s even more reason to poke around this website and look at all the resources I have, such as reading about feeding therapy for picky eating or about food chaining, which might help your child try new foods.
Just because your kid won’t eat these things today, doesn’t mean that you should never serve them these foods. In fact, you should try to expose them to as many foods as possible. Start with these simple Instant Pot recipes. Your kids might surprise you!
Got other recipes you make in the Instant Pot for your picky kids? Drop a link or describe the recipe in the comments below, I’d love to add them to this list!
Chicken and pork
The Instant Pot is amazing for cooking meats, like chicken and pork, fast without having to keep an eye on it. It comes out tender every time, and texture is to important for picky eaters.
Instant Pot pulled chicken was the FIRST REAL MEAT our son ate. This is because the Instant Pot makes chicken breast so tender that it practically falls apart in your mouth. And the BBQ sauce flavot doesn't hurt either 😉
Toddlers who have issues with textures might love chicken cooked in the Instant Pot. Make this BBQ pulled chicken, then serve it however your family likes it: in sandwiches, over rice, over pasta, in tacos or a quesadilla, or over a baked potato.
This makes great leftovers and freezes well too, so you can have a quick toddler-friendly meal just by reheating any leftovers!
Using the Instant Pot to make tenderloin ensures you'll always have tender, easy-to-chew pork, and the sauce that is sweetened with honey makes this tenderloin even more appealing to little kids.
Here is another Instant Pot chicken breast option if your child prefers a simpler chicken recipe. This one cooks faster and the chicken remains a little firmer. This is good if your child likes biting into food. This chicken recipe is versatile and can be added to pasta, rice, or served alongside any other foods your child likes.
Rice is often a preferred food for many picky toddlers and picky kids. Luckily, the Instant Pot makes perfect rice every time. I've NEVER went back to my rice cooker after making rice in the Instant Pot.
Here are a few toddler-friendly rice recipes to make in the Instant Pot once your child is willing to eat more than plain white rice.
This rice pilaf has the texture similar to plain white rice, but it is actually loaded with vegetables: finely grated carrots and finely diced onions. This is a great recipe to try introduce different flavors and ingredients to picky toddlers because there are no large chunks of unidentifiable ingredients.
Skip the raisins if you don't think your kiddo will like them.
Here is a great fried rice option if your child doesn't mind seeing bits of vegetables in their food. In fact, if they like rice, giving picky kids fried rice might be a great way to introduce the idea of vegetables in their dinner - even if you might have to move all the veggie bits to the side and they might go uneaten at first! Consistent exposure is important in getting kids to accept new foods.
This recipe combines two of the most common foods that picky eaters eat: chicken and rice all in one dish.
If your child likes broccoli, or you're trying to expose them to broccoli and other greens, this is a good recipe to try if your child likes rice. By serving a new or un-preferred food together with a preferred food, your child is more likely to give the new or un-preferred food a try. It doesn't magically work all the time, but consistent exposure to those foods will help your child accept those foods eventually!
Pasta and mac and cheese recipes
Many toddlers love pasta - whether it's plain noodles, saucy pasta, or mac n cheese. Here are some toddler-friendly Instant Pot pasta recipes, including an amazing gluten-free pasta option.
If your kids or someone in your family can't eat gluten, you can still make toddler-friendly pasta in the Instant Pot! Read this recipe thoroughly for tips for how to adjust this recipe for any gluten-free pasta, the layering technique, and how to add extra veggies to this dish!
Tuna is one of the most kid-friendly protein sources - a lot of picky eaters like tuna better than meat because it has a different texture. This Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole couldn't be easier and tastes amazing. It is one of our favorites.
Spaghetti and Meatballs are a kid classic. This recipe for picky eaters cooks the spaghetti, meatballs, and the pasta sauce all at once, making this officially the easiest spaghetti and meatballs recipe ever because it doesn't need any babysitting.
Denise from Easy and Delish has some of the most delicious comfort food recipes out there, so you should definitely try making her Instant Pot Bolognese recipe. She adds peas, which are a great way to introduce a little green and a little vegetables to your picky toddler, if they don't already eat peas.
Denish has a new cookbook called the "The Complete 5-ingredient Cookbook" and it is AMAZING. Definitely get it if you are in a recipe rut and need lots of quick and easy family-friendly recipes. Get it here.
Have you ever made mac and cheese in the Instant Pot?? It's pretty fantastic and super easy. This kid-friendly Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe might just become everyone's favorite!
Breakfast and snack recipes
The Instant Pot is also great for effortless breakfasts, such as oatmeal or pancake bites. Plus you can make homemade applesauce!
If your child eats oatmeal, here is a tasty treat for them: Oatmeal with Chocolate. If your child doesn't like oatmeal (yet), then perhaps adding some chocolate to it might change their mind. This recipe uses rolled oats, which have a pretty toddler-friendly texture.
This is another Instant Pot oats recipe to try if your kids like oatmeal. This recipe uses steel cut oats, which are less processed than rolled or instant oats and provide more nutrition.
Whether your kid likes pancakes or not, presenting foods in different forms is one of the ways to expand a picky eater's food options and show them that food can come in all shapes and colors. These pancake bites make for a great breakfast or snack for the whole family.
Here are the molds we use to make pancake bites at home
If your kids like eggs, these little egg bites are just the right size for their hands and are not intimidating for picky eaters to pick up and take a bite on their own.
Applesauce is a go-to snack in our house. Make your own in the Instant Pot and add some color and flavor with strawberries!
Store your homemade applesauce in reusable pouches for easy snacking and so they don't get exposed to air like they would in containers. These are the pouches we've been using for years and they are awesome..
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