Instant Pot Freezer Appetizers Boot Camp

It's been a few months since I published a free freezer meal boot camp…and, there's never a better time of the year to talk about quick & easy appetizers. After all, who hasn't been in a pinch and needed a last-minute appetizer for a holiday party? And now that the chaos of Journey to Clean 2018 has calmed down, I feel like I've neglected my little FMBC Series. This post answers both issues – welcome to Instant Pot Freezer Appetizers Boot Camp!

Instant Pot Freezer Meal Appetizer Boot Camp.

Affiliate links used in this post. Click here for more information.

You guys know that saying I'm obsessed with my Instant Pot is an understatement. I use it almost daily. If you're not familiar with the biggest craze in the kitchen lately, it is a…

  • pressure cooker
  • slow cooker
  • steamer
  • yogurt maker
  • saute pot
  • rice cooker
  • warmer
instant pot on a counter.

If you're new to my boot camp series, you'll quickly learn that this isn't my first rodeo with Instant Pot freezer meal cooking. I've now made over 100 different freezer meal recipes for the Instant Pot…many of which are available with full instructions and printables on this blog! If you guys missed my previous Freezer Meal Boot Camp posts, you can catch up below…

instant pot on a counter.

Let's move on to the recipes in this post. Today, we'll be prepping 5 different appetizers for the freezer: Root Beer Little Smokies, Creamy Fiesta Dip, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Zesty Meatballs, and Sloppy Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders!

Step 1: Prep your supplies.

This is the key to making this process as easy as possible. You don’t need a ton of supplies for this (besides your Instant Pot, obviously). The main purchase I’d urge you to make is a set of storage containers that fit into your Instant Pot. That way, you can freeze your appetizers in the containers, thaw them just enough to pop them out of the container, and drop the frozen meal in the Instant Pot to prep (this way, it will fit in the pot without thawing)!

This set from the Dollar Tree is perfect. I couldn’t find these in store, but they are available on the website for shipping to your home or local store. I only bought one set of 24, but you might want to go on and buy 2 sets if you're planning on doing more than one boot camp. If you choose to buy just one, you can set gallon freezer bags in the containers to kind of shape your meals to fit in the pot while freezing them…I’ll show more on that later! And, if you’re an Amazon shopper that would rather put that Prime membership to good use, this is a similar set.

If you choose to buy only one set, gallon freezer bags are essential. I would also make sure I had my bag/container labels printed (scroll down for those printables) and cut…be ready to label those as soon as you finish making the meals (before they go in the freezer). I recommend sticking the labels on with packing tape, so make sure there’s a roll of that handy.

I also recommend having a big freezer clean-out for a week or two before I make these to make sure I had enough room for everything.

Summary: Make sure you have:

  1. Instant Pot-shaped containers (1 set is plenty for this boot camp, but 2 if you're planning on freezer cooking often)
  2. Labels (scroll down for printables)
  3. Packing Tape
  4. Gallon Freezer Bags (at least 1 box if you don’t purchase 2 sets of containers)
  5. Freezer space

You might also need…

  1. An extra Instant Pot inner pot insert (so you can still prep dinners even when your other pot is dirty/in the fridge storing something else).
  2. An inner pot lid (helps you use your inner pot as storage after dinner!)
  3. An extra Instant Pot sealing ring (food flavors can really soak into the silicone sealing ring that’s tucked in your lid of your pot. I have two rings…one for savory foods and one for sweet. That way, my sweet foods don’t end up tasting funky!)
  4. A small pot for Pot In Pot cooking (see more on that in the notes section below)…I use a cake pan that is the same size as this one and it works great!

Step 2: Make your grocery run.

As always, I've got you covered on the grocery list!

top of the appetizer freezer meal boot camp grocery list.

You can get access to this grocery list (and the rest of this boot camp in one convenient pack) in the printable collection, a password-protected area of my blog that's only available to newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for the newsletter (with absolutely no charge) here or through the sign-up form below!

Step 3: Prep your labels and containers.

The printables you'll find linked below include the labels and recipe cards for all five of the appetizers you're going to be prepping for the freezer. The cards with the green background are your freezer appetizer labels; you'll put those on your freezer containers as you're prepping your dishes. They contain everything you'll need to know for serve day.

I've found that a lot of my boot campers like to also keep a recipe card if they want to prep the desserts individually at a later date. Those are the cards you'll see in the file linked below that have the pink backgrounds. They're not really necessary for prep day as long as you have this page pulled up, but they're nice to have for later!

screenshot of appetizer freezer meal labels.

Click here to download your freezer labels.

screenshot of appetizer freezer meal recipe cards.

Click here to download your recipe cards.

Step 4: Prep your appetizers.

Now that supplies and containers are all ready, let's start with the actual food prep work! Of course, make sure you're working with clean utensils, containers, and hands before we start this part.

Prep Work:

  • brown 16oz hot sausage and drain
  • brown 1lb ground beef and drain
  • brown, drain, and crumble 8 slices of bacon
  • drain 14oz can of artichoke hearts
  • mince 2 cloves garlic 
two cocktail weenies on a toothpick.

Appetizer 1: Root Beer Little Smokies

In a freezer container, combine:

  • 2 14oz packs little smokies
  • 1 cup apple jelly
  • 2 cups bbq sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
dip in a clear glass baking dish.

Appetizer 2: Creamy Fiesta Dip

In a freezer container, combine:

  • 1lb hot sausage
  • 2 10oz cans Rotel
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
spinach artichoke dip on a tortilla chip.

Appetizer 3: Spinach Artichoke Dip

In a freezer container, combine:

  • 10oz box frozen spinach
  • 14oz can artichokes hearts, drained
  • 1 tsp better than bouillon chicken
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
holding a meatball on a toothpick.

Appetizer 4: Zesty Meatballs

In a freezer container, combine:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 12oz bottle chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2lbs frozen meatballs
slider buns on a cookie sheet in the oven.

Appetizer 5: Sloppy Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

In a freezer container, combine:

  • 1lb ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 8 slices bacon, browned, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

And that's all there is to it! You're stocked on appetizers for the rest of the holiday season with just about an hour of work.


NPR stands for natural pressure release.  That means, instead of immediately releasing the pressure from your Instant Pot after the cooking time is up, give it 5-10 minutes to release on its own. Then, flip the nozzle and release the pressure (careful though…that's pressurized steam coming out!)

QR stands for quick release.  That means you release the pressure and open the pot as soon as the cooking time is over.

So, if you're reading my cooking labels, you'll often see that the directions look like this: “manual, high pressure, 100 minutes, NPR.” That means you'll use the manual setting on your pot to put in 100 minutes yourself, then let the pot have a natural pressure release (I prefer about 5 minutes) after the pot beeps when that 100 minute cycle is over.

Unless otherwise noted, desserts are to be cooked on manual setting, high pressure.

And, one more note: if you've wanted to see what my premium boot camp packs are like but were a little hesitant to buy one, I have a surprise for you! I have a version of this boot camp that's formatted like my premium packs in the printable collection. It's a 14-page file that has all of the lists, printables, and instructions you'll need to prep these desserts! You can access it in the printable collectionsign up here or with the form below for your free password to this content! (If you're a subscriber who needs your password, check your last newsletter…it's at the bottom!)

freezer meal printables spread on a blue background.

This newsletter-exclusive pack is formatted in a very similar way to my Premium Boot Camp packs. These have all of the info and printables you need to make your own set of freezer meals! I have 6 packs currently available (four for the pressure cooker, 2 for the slow cooker) and will be releasing two more packs in the next few weeks. Click here for more info!

Happy prepping, friends!

xo, Leslie; signature at end of the blog post.

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