Instant Pot Ground Beef (Frozen and Fresh) is more than a recipe. It is a kitchen hack that comes in handy on busy days and especially when you forgot to thaw your ground beef one day ahead! So stop wondering whether you can cook frozen ground beef… go ahead and cook your hamburger in the Instant Pot for a delish and quick dinner just like our pasta bolognese and black bean pasta. It makes a great meal prep too!
Perfect ground beef in the Instant Pot
One of the most common questions is how to cook ground beef in the Instant Pot.
Cooking ground beef from fresh is easy peasy! Just hit the sauté button
on the Instant Pot and brown your ground meat as you would usually on the stovetop.
But when it comes to making ground beef from frozen, it requires an additional step. One has to first cook the beef to then sauté it with seasoning in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Does it work well? You bet it truly does!
How to thaw ground beef in the pressure cooker:
In order to defrost your ground beef in the Instant Pot, you will have to actually cook it. There is no function to thaw or defrost it without cooking it!
To do so, add water to the pot (about 1 cup for a 6 qt. Instant Pot or 1 ½ cups to an 8 qt. Pot), position the trivet or rack, and then place your frozen ground beef on top of the trivet. Pierce the frozen ground beef with a knife as far it can go to help vent so the inside meat cooks better.
If the frozen ground beef has a flat form, it will take around 20 minutes. But it has a tube or cylinder form like mine, it will take about 25 minutes to reach a safe cooking temp which is 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
After that, you may season and saute your ground beef to add flavor and use it in whatever dish you want to.
Of course, you can make a ground turkey in the Instant Pot instead! In fact, you can cook any type of ground meat such as ground chicken, pork, etc. not only beef.
How long to cook ground beef in the Instant Pot?
It depends on whether the meat is fresh or frozen and also its form/shape.
If the meat is fresh, it takes around 6 minutes (flat form) to 8 minutes (tube form) to cook in the Instant Pot.
But if the beef is frozen, the cooking time will be longer – about 20 (flat form) to 25 minutes (tube form).
In any case, always check the cooked ground beef internal temperature to safely consume it. The meat thermometer must register 165 F (74C).
For more Instant Pot recipes and their cooking times, get the charts and see how to use a pressure cooker.
Pressure cooker ground beef recipes (from fresh)
There are 3 ways on how to cook fresh ground beef in the pressure cooker as you can see below.
Press the saute button and let your Instant Pot or pressure cooker heat for 3-5 minutes. Then add a little bit of oil and then season and brown your ground beef as you would over the stove. It takes about 6-7 minutes per pound to cook.
If you are not making a recipe that would cook faster in the Instant Pot such as a soup or pasta with ground beef, I would rather cook my ground beef on the stovetop using this sautéeing method.
You can also "steam" your ground beef in the Instant Pot, winding up with tender cooked beef.
For that, pour water over the bottom of the pot, and then position it in your trivet.
Place 1-2 pounds of ground beef on your trivet, piece the beef, lock the lid, and turn the valve to sealing.
Set to high pressure and cook for 6 minutes (if the meat is in a flat form) or 8 minutes (if it is in a tube form).
When the cooking time comes to an end, let the pressure release naturally for about 5 minutes and then do a quick release. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer-- it should be 160 to 165 degrees F (71-74 degrees C). If it is not, seal the pot again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Once your meat is cooked, transfer to a place, remove the trivet, and discard the water. Place the cooked meat back into the pot and break it up into small chunks. Use in any ground beef recipes of your liking.
This method requires a cooking liquid such as a sauce, called stewing.
Let's say you want to make a soup or a spaghetti sauce with Ground Beef. You simply add your ingredients to the pot along with a liquid and meat and cook as you would with any sauce or Instant Pot pasta.
Your ground beef will cook perfectly in the sauce, soup, pasta, or stew. I recommend not use high percentage fat ground beef. Anything over 80/20 will leave your sauce or dish extremely greasy.
Pressure cooking frozen ground beef
There are many Instant Pot ground beef recipes out there! But as far as I know, there is only one method to cooking frozen ground beef in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
If you insist on thawing your ground beef first, the traditional way, please read up about safely thawing meat.
But what about safely making an Instant Pot ground beef from frozen? It can save you time for sure!
Steps for Instant Pot Ground Beef (from frozen)
Step 1: Pour 1 cup (for a 6 qt. Pot) or 1 ½ cups (for an 8 qt. Pot) of water over the bottom of the Instant Pot, and then position in your trivet.
Step 2: Place 1-2 pounds of ground beef on the trivet, lock the lid, and seal the valve. Pro-Tip: If possible, freeze your meat in 1 inch thick slabs so that the meat will cook evenly in the instant pot.
Step 3: Set to high pressure and cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on if your frozen meat is flat or comes in a tube form. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick release.
Step 4: Check the temperature with a meat thermometer. It should reach 165 degrees F (74 C). If it is not, seal the pot again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Step 5: Once the meat is cooked, remove the trivet and discard the liquid. Break the meat up into small chunks.
Step 6: Season and sauté the meat with a little bit of oil. Use it in many dishes such as hamburger helper, ground beef tacos, lasagne, and more.
FAQ’S on Instant Pot Ground Beef
1. Do you have to use your trivet?
Yes! The trivet does 3 things:
It prevents the meat from getting watery or soggy,
Helps the ground beef to not scorch
It allows the fat to drain off the meat as it cooks and both being easily separated.
2. Do you have to add water to the bottom of the Instant Pot?
Yes, that moisture allows the pressure to build up in your instant pot and keeps the meat moist.
3. Can you cook other types of ground meat in the Instant Pot?
Yes! This would work well for any ground meat like pork, chicken, or turkey. The cooking times would remain the same!
Cooking meat in a frozen tube form will take more time than in a flat form, around 5 minutes more.
Do NOT cook more than 3 pounds of frozen meat at a time because it may overcrowd the Instant Pot, taking longer to build pressure.
To cook more than 2 pounds of meat at once, increase the time by 5 minutes per pound of frozen meat.
Be sure to remove packaging from frozen meat BEFORE cooking; otherwise, you will have melted plastic in your pot.
It takes around 5-10 minutes to reach pressure for our frozen ground beef recipe. I cooked 2 pounds of beef at once! This 5-ingredient recipe is keto, gluten-free, and dairy-free!
Store Instant Pot ground beef in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months! It is one of those easy freezer meals that come in quite handy.
More Ground Beef Recipes
- Dirty Rice
- Potato roulade with ground beef
- Baked kibbeh
- Beef chilaquiles
- Spaghetti with meat sauce
- Beef empanadas
- Brazilian hot dog
- X-Tudo Burger
- Egg stuffed meatloaf
- Ground beef stroganoff
PIN & ENJOY!
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Instant Pot Ground Beef (Frozen or Fresh)
- Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- Water 1 cup (for a 6 qt. pot) or 1 ½ cups (for an 8 qt. pot)
- 2 pounds ground beef fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 oz taco seasoning or another seasoning blend of your choice (around 4 tablespoon per 1 oz)
- ⅔ cup broth beef or vegetable (for a saucy meat dish, use ¾ to 1 cup broth or more instead)
- 3 tablespoon lime juice or red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- green onion chopped (optional)
- Pour water over the bottom of the pot and then position your trivet. Place 1-2 pounds of ground beef on your trivet, piece the beef, lock the lid and turn the valve to sealing.
- Set to high pressure and set the time as follows: For FRESH ground beef, cook for 6 minutes (if the meat is in a flat form) or 8 minutes (if it is in a tube form). For FROZEN ground beef, cook for 20 minutes (if the meat is in a flat form) or 25 minutes (if it is in a tube form)
- When the cooking time comes to an end, let the pressure release naturally for about 5 minutes and then do a quick release. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer-- it should be 160 to 165 degrees F (71-74 degrees C). If it is not, seal the pot again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Once your meat is cooked, transfer it to a place, remove the trivet and discard the water. Place the cooked meat back into the pot and break it up into small chunks.
- Press the sauté button and let the pot heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the oil and then the seasoning and brown the meat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the broth and let evaporate for 2 minutes. Mix in the lime juice and use it in many dishes such as hamburger helper, ground beef tacos, lasagne, and more.
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Michelle | Sift & Simmer says
Love all the tips for making ground beef in the IP! And from frozen too! Such a game changer 🙂
Josiah - DIY Thrill says
This Instant Pot ground beef is such a smart way to save time when cooking!
Ohh another great tip, never tried defrosting ground beef on pressure cookers. Tacos for the win
Denise Browning says
Yes it is a great way to defrost ground beef in the Instant Pot and cook it at the same time.
This turned out so much better than I expected. I had a jar of homemade taco seasoning and some frozen beef from Butcher Box. Voila! Will definitely be making this all summer.
Denise Browning says
Hi Melissa! I am so glad you enjoyed this simple ground beef in the instant pot. I make it every time I will use ground beef in a recipe. The good thing is I don't have to worry about thawing my ground beef a day ahead. Happy summer!
Lee Ann says
I would love to get recipe for homemade taco seasoning! Will you share?
Denise Browning says
Sure, Lee Ann! Here is our keto taco seasoning recipe: https://www.easyanddelish.com/keto-taco-seasoning/