Instant Pot Tinfoil Dinners, AKA Hobo Dinner Packets, are here to save your sanity! Juicy meat, tender vegetables, and a delightful Special Sauce, these packets are quick and easy with minimal cleanup.
Do you love camping in the great outdoors?
I'll admit, as a kid I always thought I did, but technically we didn't really go camping very often. I think I saw movies of people camping and heard stories from my friends, then ultimately decided that I really liked camping.
I had a few bad experiences with Young Women camps as a teenager (oh the drama) and I believe that was the moment when I decided, nope, I'm not a fan.
Call me uptight if you like, but running water, bathrooms without a village of flies, and a comfortable bed in a climate-controlled room is my happy place.
You know what I do love though? Camping food. Rustic, smoky, no fuss camp food that I can eat in the great outdoors, with minimal mess and clean up.
That is precisely what inspired today's recipe: Instant Pot Tin Foil Dinners.
Tin Foil Dinners can look like a lot of different things, but for me, it has always included a beef patty, veggies, and ketchup. Basically a cookout Tin Foil Dinner is dinner wrapped in foil and cooked on a campfire until it's bubbly hot and cooked through.
Can I tell you how delighted I am to bring these dinners inside?
Instant Pot Tinfoil Dinners are bringing back sweet memories of my childhood, minus the smoke, the bugs, and my obsessive fear of ticks around every corner.
Bless you wonderful Instant Pot, you've saved me again.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT TIN FOIL DINNERS
- EASY: Quick to prepare, wrap, and cook. No-fuss food at its finest!
- MINIMAL DISHES: Dinner in a foil packet = juicy packet of flavor and crazy easy cleanup.
- YUMMY: Juicy beef patty topped with your choice of vegetables topped with my new favorite Homemade Special Sauce – might want to make extra of this!
- MAKE AHEAD: The packets can be prepped up to one day in advance and stored in the fridge until dinner time. Easy dinner + easy cleanup = One Happy Mama.
- CUSTOMIZABLE: Everyone is happy because they only put the stuff they like in their packet. I LOVE a happy table!
HOW TO MAKE TIN FOIL DINNERS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Mix your ground meat with seasonings
- Prepare pieces of tin foil and place a burger patty in the center of each; top with vegetables
- To seal the packet, start by folding together the long ends
- Then roll the short ends
- Stack packets inside the pressure cooker
- Once cooked, carefully open, and enjoy straight from the packet
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST INSTANT POT TIN FOIL DINNERS
- This recipe is for 4 packets, but I've made slightly smaller packets and fit 6 in the pot at a time. An 8 quart pressure cooker could likely hold even more.
- You'll want to avoid super lean ground meat because it tends to be dry. I like 85/15, my husband likes 80/20.
- Frozen sliced peppers and onions are perfect for these packets! Look for them in your frozen produce section at the grocery store.
- The sky's the limit when it comes to the vegetables you can use. Aside from my go-to pepper/onion/potato combination, you could do green beans, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
- Make sure to wrap the packet tightly so all of the juices stay inside and cook the packets with the seams facing upwards.
- I adore the Special Sauce recipe below, but any condiments are acceptable here. Ketchup, mustard, ranch, etc.
- These meals can be prepped up to one day ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Keep in mind though, sliced raw potatoes will oxidize and turn a gray color. They are safe to eat, but not very pretty to look at. To avoid this, soak your sliced potatoes in cold water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for 10 minutes before assembling the packets.
- Avoid using Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil since this will slow the cook time. Just use regular foil.
- Add bacon. I'm not a fan of soggy bacon, but when I was a kid my mom always put a couple of slices in the foil packet to add extra flavor. Something to try if you like!
- Eat your meal right from the packet! This means you will have one fork per diner to clean up and that's it!
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE TIN FOIL DINNERS
- Store: Leftovers can be carefully wrapped in the foil and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Do not reheat leftovers in the microwave in the foil packet! Place the leftovers on a plate, discard the foil, and reheat for about a minute in the microwave.
- Freeze: I haven't tested this, but it's possible you could prepare several dinners and freeze them for later. If you try this, I would try a cook time of 40 minutes. Leftovers can be frozen in the foil packet or in a freezer-safe sealed container. Let thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as directed above.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS FOR EASY TIN FOIL DINNERS
For Make Ahead Tin Foil Dinners simply prepare your packets and store them in the fridge (in a casserole dish in case they leak) until you're ready to cook them. No need to adjust the cook time.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH TIN FOIL DINNERS
- Rolls, Cornbread, Whole Wheat Crusty Bread, etc.
- Fruit salad, chopped melon, orange slices, etc
- Side salad like this Italian Salad, Poached Pear Spinach Salad, or Potato Salad.
VARIATIONS OF TIN FOIL DINNERS
- Ground beef, pork, chicken, or turkey will all work.
- Sausage Tin Foil Dinner: Swap the ground beef for precooked sliced sausage links or uncooked sausage patties.
- Vegetarian Tin Foil Dinner: Omit the meat completely and add extra vegetables or tofu.
What do you think? Do you see yourself as someone who might enjoy a Tin Foil Dinner indoors every now and again? If the thoughts of it make you cringe, go ahead and make the recipe below and stoke yourself a fire. Either way, tin foil dinner meals are a treasure any day of the week!
If you have your own go-to version of tin foil dinners, leave a comment below! I would love to try all of your variations!
MORE EASY/SHORTCUT INSTANT POT RECIPES I LOVE
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT TIN FOIL DINNERSPrint
Instant Pot Easy Tin Foil Dinners
Easy, quick, and no fuss Instant Pot Tin Foil Dinner packets!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (I like 80/20 or 85/15 for this)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 small russet potatoes, sliced thin (peel before slicing if desired)
- 2 cups sliced peppers and onions (frozen works great)
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
Special Sauce (double if you like a lot of sauce)
- 1 cup yogurt or mayonnaise (or half and half)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup pickle relish
- 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce
- Tear 4 pieces of tin foil (not heavy duty). They need to be approximately 18×12 inch sheets. Lay them out on the cupboard.
- To a medium size bowl, add ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; mix just until combined. Form into four patties. Place one patty in the center of each piece of foil.
- Equally distribute the potatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots on top of each patty. Season vegetables generously with salt and pepper or steak seasoning.
- Bring up the two long sides of foil so edges meet. Make small folds with the foil until it reaches the food. Fold one of the short ends until it meets the food; repeat on the opposite side. You’re basically creating a leak-proof packet so the juices stay inside as it cooks.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot. Place a short trivet inside. Layer foil packets inside. I try to layer two side by side, then top them with the final two. If your packets are too full to do this, just layer them in as well as you can, trying to keep the top side facing up if possible.
- Secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
- While the meat and vegetables cook, prepare the Special Sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Remove packets and gently unfold the edges to open. Check meat to make sure it’s cooked through. If not, refold and return to pot for another five minutes.
For easy cleanup, serve food right in the foil topped with Special Sauce (or whatever sauce you like)
- This recipe is for 4 packets. I’ve fit up to 6 packets in a 6 quart pressure cooker at a time, but I did make the burgers slightly smaller.
- Most grocery stores carry frozen sliced peppers and onions. They work great for these packets.
- Feel free to mix up the vegetables. Green beans, peas, tomatoes, etc. Use what you have on hand!
- The Special Sauce is amazing, but you can also serve it with condiments like ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing, etc.
- These can be prepared up to one day ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to cook. To keep potatoes from oxidizing and turning a gray color, soak the sliced potatoes in cold water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for 10 minutes before assembling the packets.
- Do not use heavy-duty aluminum foil. It will need a longer cook time than regular foil.
Keywords: Camping Food, Easy Instant Pot dinner, Tin Foil Dinner