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17 Instant Pot Classic Midwest Dinners

by Kristen

Here in the Midwest, comfort food is king!¬† ¬†We love our casseroles or “hot dish,” soups, meatloaves, chilies, and affordable food that can comfort us on cold, dark winter days.¬† Many classic meals in the midwest were developed out of necessity when families tried to stretch their meats and vegetables as far as possible.¬† ¬†Cooking dinner in your Instant Pot will save you time and dishes and liberate you from your kitchen while dinner cooks.¬† Here are my favorite Midwest dinners made in the Instant Pot!

What States Make up the Midwest? 

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Can any of these recipes be made in the slow cooker?

Most Instant Pot recipes can be amended to cook in your slow cooker.  You may have to do some sauteing on the stove when you prep these recipes.

I will do my best to explain what region each recipe is from.   Please click on each link to view each recipe.

Ham Balls


Ham balls are a delicacy in Iowa.  Almost every family has its version, and you can usually find multiple versions of this sweet and savory dish in any old church cookbook.  This recipe is made with leftover ham, ground pork, and graham crackers cooked in a sweet sauce.

Cinnamon Roll Chili 

Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas

In Parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas ( and, come to find out, Oklahoma), A bowl of chili served with a cinnamon roll on the side was a classic cafeteria lunch in school cafeterias.  Cinnamon Roll and chili is a sweet and savory combination that is worth a try!

Hot Beef Sundaes

Iowa,  Minnesota

The hot beef sundae from the Iowa State Fair cattle tent is one of the most popular food items at the fair.  It turns out that multiple states throughout the midwest serve hot beef sundaes at their state fairs.  This one-pot meal is popular with kids and is a bowl of comfort!

Large Batch Pork Chop Sandwiches 


In my dad’s hometown in western Illinois, the town serves grilled bbq pork chop sandwiches on the 4th of July.¬† ¬†In Iowa, there are more pigs than people.¬† These Large Batch Pork Chop Sandwiches are a simple way to serve your kids the ultimate midwest sandwich!

Bavarian Pork Loin and Sauerkraut


Many Germans settled in the midwest.  Every September, folks like to serve pork with Sauerkraut.   Many Pork and sauerkraut dinners are popular here, and you will even sometimes find Sauerkraut on pizza!

Beef and Barley Soup 


Beef and Barley soup originated in Scotland and was brought over to Michigan by Scottish settlers.



Every year at Oktoberfest, you find bratwurst inspired by German sausage.

Wild Rice Soup 


Did you know that wild rice is native to Minnesota?¬† Wild rice differs from the white or brown rice you buy at the store.¬† It is a grain native to the Americas.¬† ¬†If you travel to Minnesota, don’t forget to buy local wild rice to bring home.¬† You can make a wild rice “hot dish” or this classic creamy wild rice soup!

Loose Meat Sandwiches 

Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri

Maid-Rite Sandwiches originated in Muscatine, Iowa, and have become a comfort food all across the midwest.  A loose meat sandwich is different from a sloppy joe.  Instead of a tomato sauce, the meat is cooked in various spices.

Cincinnati Chili 


Cincinnati Chili is a unique dish.  It is cinnamon chili served over spaghetti.  There are over 100 restaurants in the Cincinnati area that serve it.  You should try it if you ever visit!

Swedish Meatballs

Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota

Many Scandinavians and Norwegians immigrated to Northern Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the 19th century.¬† Swedish meatballs are a classic dish often served in those areas.¬† Don’t forget to get a jar of lingonberries to go with them!

Macaroni and Cheese


Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the United States!   If you visit, come home with some local cheese and make a piping hot bowl of macaroni and cheese!

Tatertot Hot Dish 

Housewives in the midwest learned to make “hot dishes” or “casseroles” during hard times to stretch meat and vegetables as much as possible.¬† Then casseroles became a sought-after comfort food even during the good times.¬† Tater tot casserole is a culinary delight in the Midwest, with almost every flavor imaginable!

Instant Pot Meatloaf 

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas are a classic dinner here in the midwest and are the perfect thing to make for dinner on a cold night!

Italian beef Sandwiches 


Growing up in Chicagoland, we often served Chicago-Style roast beef sandwiches at family parties.   Portillos is a favorite restaurant to get Italian Beef, but my family loved a hole-in-the-wall place in Braidwood where we got ours.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole 

There’s nothing like a chicken casserole made with a can of condensed creamy chicken soup!¬† Now you can make it all in one pot!

Bison Stew 

South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnestoa 

Bison meals are prevalent in this region.  Although they are trying to increase the bison population, there is some regulated hunting.   Bison is low in fat and super flavorful!

Did you try any of these Midwest classic dinner recipes?  I would love to hear how they turned out for you!  Please comment below this blog post or tag me on social media and let me know how they turned out for you!  You can find me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Do you have a Midwest meal that I didn’t list here?¬† I would love to hear about it!

You should also check out the following:

20 Slow Cooker Casseroles 

15 Slow Cooker Dinners under $10.00



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