11 Time-Saving Meals For Nurses To Make After Long Shifts

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Easy meals for nurses after a long shift, do they exist?

There is nothing like coming home after a long 13-hour nursing shift, and then facing the fact you have to make dinner. You may even have a partner, and/or little ones to feed too.

I went with Instant Pot recipes because it is 2022… If you don’t have a pressure cooker yet, do you even cook bro?

In all seriousness though, Instant Pot meals are ESPECIALLY important for nurses IMO.

You can get off of a long shift. Throw the ingredients in the pot, set it, and forget it. It will give you time to go take a shower and unwind instead of standing over a stove for an hour. Then when you’ve decompressed for a bit, dinner is ready to be served! It’s a beautiful thing.

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So if you don’t have one yet, make sure you get one. I will insert an Amazon link to an excellent Instant Pot right here.

Easy meals for nurses that are healthier and nourishing

This is a great collection of not only easy but more importantly, mostly healthy and nourishing meals. We all can throw a frozen pizza in the oven, or get fast food after a long day. But if you are on this website right now, I am assuming you want some real food options that will help you feel good after eating it.


spaghetti easy meals for nurses

This recipe by The Recipe Critic certainly passes my test as easy, nourishing, and fast for nurses after a long shift. There are minimal ingredients that most people have in the house already, and you cook everything in the Instant Pot. No boiling noodles on the stove. This is definitely a recipe that I would print out and keep in your recipe binder for the future when you can’t think of what to cook.

2. Five Ingredient Instant Pot Chili by Confessions of a Fit Foodie

It wouldn’t be an easy meals for nurses blog post without an Instant Pot Chili. And yes, only FIVE ingredients are needed for this recipe. Confessions of a Fit Foodie has super delicious and easy recipes and is one of my favorite food blogs now.

Chili is a great meal idea to toss in the Instant Pot and to have lots of leftovers for days. I personally love to serve my chili over a little handful of Frito chips and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. You can’t go wrong, and everyone in the house is always happy after a chili dinner.

3. Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken by Amy and Jacky Pressure Cook Recipes.com

Who doesn’t love a hearty, rich, Tuscan chicken dinner? If you have never tried it, it will become a regular in your house for sure. This is a super easy recipe and only requires minimal and easy-to-find ingredients. This is a meal that I would personally serve with rice, which I like to buy in microwavable packs for busy nights. This would also go great with those easy, already prepared, bags of caesar salad. It will feel like a meal you slaved over for hours, but most of the work was done in the Instant Pot in minutes.

4. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken by Amy and Jacky Pressure Cook Recipes.com

chicken easy meals for nurses

This is another super easy chicken recipe by Amy and Jacky. Minimal ingredients and bbq are always welcome, in my home at least. This is another meal that I would serve with either rice or macaroni and cheese. A bagged salad would work awesome here too after a long day, and maybe even some toasted garlic bread in the oven. Just because it’s been a long day doesn’t mean you can’t eat good right?

5. Instant Pot Chicken Tacos by The Spruce Eats

Soft tacos are a super popular weeknight dinner in our house. You have your protein, your starch, and your healthy fats all wrapped up into one. No need to make sides if you don’t want to, but the microwave packs of Spanish rice at the grocery store would be a welcome addition for sure. You can also heat up a can of beans real quick on the stove too. This recipe is super fast and easy in the Instant Pot and will get you and/or your loved ones fed in a pinch.

6. Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe by The Spruce Eats

one pot chicken easy meals for nurses

This one is definitely a winner, winner chicken dinner by The Spruce Eats. You have all your veggies, your rice, and your chicken cooked at the same time in the Instant Pot. When it comes to easy meals for nurses this one is hard to beat. I personally like to scramble up some eggs when it’s done cooking and toss them in when the dish has cooled down a bit. This is also a great meal prep meal for your nursing shifts throughout the week.

7. Instant Pot Taco Pasta by Kristine’s Kitchen

This is a super easy meals for nurses recipe by Kristine’s Kitchen. I am new to trying out taco pasta, as it is definitely not something I grew up eating, but my family is hooked. It is a perfect “I don’t know what to make tonight” dinner. Add some cheese and sour cream on top, and it’s hard to stop eating. I like to serve it with a bagged salad with cabbage so I don’t go back for another full bowl, lol.

8. Pressure-Cooker Spicy Beef Vegetable Stew by Taste of Home

Wow. This is a SUPER easy soup recipe by Taste of Home. This recipe is also full of ingredients you likely already have at your house too which is always something I am looking for when I recipe shop. This recipe would be delicious with some warmed-up tortillas, and I also would probably throw some cheese on top because, well, I’m addicted. This is another good one to print out the recipe card and keep in your recipe binder.


It can be kind of difficult to find a simple and easy beef stroganoff Instant Pot recipe, but she did it here in this recipe by Skinny Comfort. While this isn’t the easiest and simplest recipe in this recipe roundup post, it still meets my requirements to make the cut. Minimal ingredients, healthy and nourishing. This is another one to pair with a bagged salad. Can you tell I am a fan of the already made salad section at the grocery store? But really, who wants to chop a bunch of vegetables all week. Especially after a long 13-hour day. But we need our veggies, so try to add them to these meals.


I swear, adults are sleeping on how good sloppy joes are. I used to think of this as strictly a “kid food”, but then I found this recipe. THE CENTSABLE SHOPPIN does a fabulous job here. It is easy, the ingredients are easy to find, and this is sure to fill you up after a long day. You can also easily swap out the meat for ground turkey if you prefer. This is also a great meal prep opportunity for lunch at work. You can easily microwave the meat, bring your bread and a side of your choice. You know, if you are one of the few nurses who has time to eat lunch of course.

11. Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni by Sweet and Savory Meals

This is some serious comfort food by Sweet and Savory Meals. It made my roundup post because it is fast, simple, and sure to fill you up after a long shift. I believe in “everything in moderation”, so if you pair this with a salad or served over some steamed or baked broccoli, this is nourishing. Nurses are notorious for going for fast food after a long day, and this is certainly far healthier than that. So enjoy home-cooked treats like this without guilt.

To conclude our easy meals for nurses ideas

Nursing is a culture that only fellow nurses and other healthcare workers understand. We don’t have time to do a bunch of chopping, stirring multiple pots on the stove, etc. after a long day. Our feet hurt, and we are tired.

It seems like a good time to mention that if you are feeling burnt out on bedside nursing, here is an article we wrote for nurses who are sick of bedside nursing.

So I hope you enjoyed this roundup post of recipes that I feel are very doable after a 13-hour shift. Please comment below on which ones you are going to try and/or have tried.

Jackie Jimenez BSN, RN
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