Easy Instant Pot Dog Food Recipe loaded with pup-approved ingredients such as chicken, veggies, apples, and lentils. Treat your furry friend to a healthy, homemade meal!
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Two years ago we got our goldendoodle, Karma, and naturally I wanted her to eat wholesome food, like us. I shared a few times on Instagram how I make dog food in Instant Pot and got so many requests for the recipe, so here it is!
We usually feed her half quality kibble and half homemade dog food. I cook a large pot of it, portion it out, and keep it in the fridge for 5 days or freeze some for later. So easy!
Please note I’m not a veterinarian, this is my personal choice to feed my dog real food. Avoid harmful foods for dogs and watch for stool changes which may be related to ingredients. Introduce new foods gradually, ask your vet how much food your dog needs, keep a close eye on their behavior, and consult your vet if you notice any notable changes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s more convenient vs. the stovetop method: A quick, one-pot, set-and-forget recipe. Perfect for a dog walk while it cooks!
- Your dog will love it: All dogs want to eat “human food”. As per Wikipedia, dry dog food was not invented until the 1930’s, so all pooches naturally are meant to eat real food.
- It’s budget friendly: You can buy the cheapest meat and use up your leftovers, see ideas below.
- Clean out the fridge and pantry: Some vegetables and pantry staples are not too pleasant for our consumption but can go into dog food.
- It’s healthier: Hard to argue real food is better than dog food, a healthy dog equals a happy dog!
Ingredients for Instant Pot Dog Food
Here are the simple, wholesome ingredients for today’s Instant Pot dog food recipe. It’s a “dump what I have” recipe making each batch slightly different.
- Meat: I used chicken drumsticks on sale at $1.99/pound. We will remove the bones after pressure cooking, their large size is perfect for that! Fresh or frozen chicken thighs and chicken breasts are good too.
- Fresh vegetables: I cut a large sweet potato, 2 potatoes, and 2 carrots into large chunks.
- Fruit: A personal touch of frozen apples from our tree adds a burst of natural sweetness dogs love.
- Lentils: Dry red or green lentils add protein and fiber to your dogs diet.
- Frozen vegetables: Chopped spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower bring vital vitamins, antioxidants, and low-calorie goodness to your dog’s meal.
- Seasoning: I added a touch of salt for taste.
- Liquid: Water is needed to cook ingredients evenly, and olive oil adds both flavor and healthy fats.
How to Make Dog Food in Instant Pot
Instant Pot dog food is a cinch to make! Here’s a quick overview of how it’s done, there is a full recipe card below.
- Add fresh ingredients to Instant Pot: In your 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot, toss in sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, apples, lentils, chicken, water, and a pinch of salt.
- Pressure cook: Seal the lid, position the valve to Sealing, and hit the Pressure Cook on High or Manual button for 30 minutes. Once done, let it natural release.
- Remove chicken bones: Open the lid and use tongs to remove bones from the chicken, the meat should practically fall off on its own.
- Add frozen veggies and oil: Toss in frozen greens, drizzle with olive oil, stir, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir and serve: Grab a big metal spoon, give the dog food a good stir, breaking the veggies into pieces until it’s chunky and well mixed. Let it cool, then serve.
Unlike with many other Instant Pot recipes, I stuffed my 6 quart Instant Pot a bit over the Max line and it came to pressure. It’s because there is a lot of space between chicken drumsticks and vegetables for pressure to build up.
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for making homemade dog food your pup will love!
- Buy affordable meat: Buy chicken or any other meat on sale, some stores offer budget-friendly mechanically separated chicken. Avoid meat with too much fat content.
- Let pressure subside on its own: The food will come out more tender, with the meat easily falling off the bone. Any remaining small bones will also be very soft.
- Add oils at the end: This tip helps to preserve their nutrients and qualities and not destroy them during high heat cooking.
- Trim vegetables: You can rinse fresh (old) vegetables but no need to peel them. Just be sure to remove any moldy parts.
- Adjust consistency: Toss in grains like rice, quinoa, barley, or oats to absorb any excess liquid. I even threw in some old unsweetened cereal! If it seems too thick, you can add water or low-sodium bone broth.
- Adding fresh vs. frozen veggies: Most frozen veggies can be added after cooking. Most fresh veggies will have to be cooked, unless it’s spinach or fresh herbs.
What Else Can I Add to Homemade Dog Food?
Offer your pup a mix of nutrients by adding different meats, veggies, and grains into your homemade Instant Pot dog food. It adds a nice touch of variety to their meals!
- Meat: If your budget allows use extra lean ground chicken, ground turkey or ground beef. You can mix in some beef liver or canned sardines packed in water for more protein, iron, and zinc.
- Beans: Instead of lentils use dried red kidney beans, black beans, white beans, chickpeas or any other beans.
- Cereal: If you have stale or old Rice Krispies cereal, you could throw some in. Brown Rice Krispies is even better with its clean list of ingredients, add it at the end after cooking.
- Leftovers: Cooked plain rice, quinoa, pasta or any other grains are great for adding more nutritional value.
- Pumpkin puree: A good source of fiber and good for their digestive health. Make sure to use plain pumpkin puree without any added sugars or spices. Homemade or canned is fine! Add 1-2 cans (14-28 ounces) after cooking.
- Other vegetables: Up to 2-3 cups of red bell peppers, cauliflower, zucchini, or green beans.
- Rice: Swap out lentils and add white or brown rice for an excellent energy boost.
- Eggs: Rich in protein, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Add up to a dozen of Instant Pot hard boiled eggs.
- Healthy fats: Hempseeds, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or fish oil.
What Not to Put in Homemade Dog Food?
Knowing which foods to avoid for your dog is crucial. Here’s a list of some common ingredients to steer clear of, and always research any new additions to your recipe.
- Soy sauce
- Grapes or raisins
Here is a full list of potentially toxic ingredients for dogs. Please note I added just a pinch of salt for taste, you can omit.
How to Store
Store: Portion out how much your dog will eat in airtight containers, I placed about 2 cups in each, let cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Double or triple the recipe for a large dog, if you want to freeze some. I use metal and plastic airtight containers, you can also freeze portions in Ziploc bags.
Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, thaw it in the fridge overnight, and serve it cold or reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
I reheat the dog food in the microwave for 2 minutes, just to make food taste better. I don’t think it matters to the dog though, they’ll enjoy it cold or warm.
The amount of dog food you give your dog depends on their size and daily food intake. My dog, Karma, is 40 pounds, she eats about 2.5 cups of homemade dog food in the evening and 1 cup kibble in the morning.
It won’t fit in any size Instant Pot, so for a double batch you will have to cook it twice.
Instant Pot Dog Food
- 1 large sweet potato cut into large chunks
- 2 large potatoes cut into large chunks
- 2 large carrots cut into large chunks
- 2 cups apples cut into large chunks
- 1 cup red or green lentils dry
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs fresh or frozen
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, broccoli or cauliflower
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- In 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, add sweet potato, potatoes, carrots, apples, lentils, chicken, water and salt.
- Close the lid, set valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual button for 30 minutes. After let pressure subside on its own.
- Open the lid and remove bones from the chicken using tongs. Meat should just fall off the bone.
- Add frozen greens and olive oil, stir, close the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir dog food with large metal spoon, while breaking veggies into pieces, until chunky and combined. Cool and serve.
- Store: Divide food in desired portions between airtight containers, let cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Portion out dog food, leaving some room for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat in a microwave for 2 minutes or feed cold.