Skip to main content

Making dog food in your Instant Pot is easy — here’s how

For a variety of reasons, there is a growing community of pet owners who have committed to making homemade dog food instead of feeding their furry family members dry kibble. Whether it’s a food sensitivity, skin allergies, or simply the desire to feed meals with fresh ingredients, you’re in good company if you’ve been thinking about making the switch from kibble to homemade.

Of course, it all begins with having a conversation with your dog’s veterinarian. She can help you determine what type of diet is right for your dog’s breed, age, and weight. If she’s on board and you’re looking for some time-saving tips, we’ve got you covered. This is how you can use your Instant Pot multicooker to make homemade dog food.

dog and human cooking in the kitchen
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Where to find dog food recipes

Making homemade dog food isn’t as easy as sharing the same food you cook for your family with your four-legged friend. Regardless of how much you love your dog, canines have different dietary needs that kibble manufacturers have provided for. Plus, a lot of foods that we eat are toxic to dogs, such as avocado, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners, just to name a few.

For those reasons, make sure to ask your veterinarian for advice about the best recipes and supplements for you to use. If you choose to search online for suggestions, make sure to download recipes from sites like Balance IT, where the content is written and approved by veterinarians who specialize in dietary requirements.

How to adapt for Instant Pot cooking

Once you’ve found a few recipes to try, you’ll need to adapt them to cooking in your Instant Pot. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use less liquid. You need at least 1 cup of broth or water to create the steam necessary to cook the food, but not much more. You can always add more after cooking if the meal is too dry.
  • Don’t fill the Instant Pot more than two-thirds full. Unlike a slow cooker, the Instant Pot needs room to create pressure to cook.
  • Adjust the cooking time. Cooking meat takes only two-thirds the time in an Instant Pot that it does in an oven; vegetables and pasta, like rice, take only about 5 minutes.
  • Look for recipes with ground beef or turkey. That way, you can use the saute mode to cook the meat before adding pasta and/or vegetables.
  • Set the pot to pressure cook (or manual, depending on your model) and cook for between 5 and 7 minutes.
  • Add any nutritional supplements or dietary aids after the food has finished cooking.

Note: You’ll probably have to play around to find the right mix of ingredients and cooking time for each recipe. To make sure you’re not overfeeding your pup, know the calorie count for the entire dish so you can control portion size appropriately.

food in plastic containers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to save for later

Depending on the size of your dog and his recommended daily caloric intake, an Instant Pot full of homemade dog food can last a few days. You’ll want to store it properly to maximize its shelf life. Make sure the food is cool before portioning it into inexpensive plastic containers for storage in the refrigerator. Freeze any food in meal-sized portions that can’t be consumed in three to four days. Health experts say the risk of foodborne illness increases after that amount of time. (And, yes, despite what you may have seen your dog eat from time to time, he is at risk of developing foodborne illness from eating spoiled food.)

Convenience and satisfaction

Without question, making your own dog food is a commitment. There will be days when you don’t feel like running to the store for the right ingredients or putting in the effort to chop the vegetables for later. But cooking for your dog can be a healthier option, especially if you’re concerned about managing his weight, relieving food allergies, or just watching him do a happy dance every time you pick up his dog food bowl.

Plan ahead, buy ingredients on sale, and use equipment like the Instant Pot to lend a helping hand. We all know you shouldn’t feed your dog from the table, but when you cook dog-healthy meals in an Instant Pot, the satisfaction you receive almost feels the same.

Editors' Recommendations

Debbie Clason
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Debbie Clason's work has appeared in Family Life Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Lutheran Witness, Massage Magazine…
Can dogs eat broccoli? Here’s what to know about feeding this cruciferous vegetable to dogs
Find out the details of feeding your dog this green veggie
JRT with broccoli outside

Even though a lot of people have a love-hate relationship with vegetables, there are undeniable benefits to eating these superfoods. Would you be surprised if we told you the same goes for dogs? It's true! Vegetables contain many nutritious vitamins and minerals to keep your pup energized and healthy, but how can you know which veggies are canine-approved? Can dogs eat broccoli?
This cruciferous veggie is versatile and easy to prepare, but there's a lot you need to know before feeding it to your pup as a snack or in homemade dog food. Here are the facts about broccoli for dogs.

Can dogs eat broccoli? Here are the basics about this healthy snack for canines

Read more
6 easy DIY dog treats anyone could make
Making treats at home can help keep your pup healthy
A Poodle mix dog licks their lips and looks up

When it comes to your fur baby, only the best passes the test. You want to make sure you’re feeding your pet the safest, most trustworthy ingredients, and is there anyone you trust more than yourself?
If you’ve ever wondered how to make dog treats, a simple recipe is a great place to start. These DIY dog treats are made from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, so all you’ll need is some dedicated time. Don’t forget to call your four-legged sous-chef for taste testing! She'll be happy to oblige, we're sure. Here are six easy DIY dog treats anyone can make.

What are the most high-value treats for dogs?

Read more
Can dogs eat cashews? Only if you follow these rules
Cashews aren't toxic to dogs, but you may want to think twice before making them a regular treat
A woman treating a small puppy outside

You may crave cashews on the regular. A mild and buttery nut from the tropical evergreen Anacardium occidentale, a tree native to South America, cashews are a great addition to trail mixes, oatmeals, and yogurts, but they also shine as a solo snack. 

You may be tempted to give your dog cashews. Those big, brown eyes and adorably curious personalities are hard to resist. Yet, you know what they say about curiosity and cats. Does it apply to dogs and cashews? Can dogs eat cashews? Are they safe? These are good questions to ask. Some foods, like chocolate, are toxic for dogs. Where do cashews stand? Let's dig in.
Can dogs eat cashews?

Read more