I know you’ve heard people talking about the Instant Pot by now, since this must have kitchen tool has become a true force to be reckoned with. But just because you’ve heard the rumblings of how great the Instant Pot can be, maybe you’re still feeling a bit left in the dark. Let’s stop that now and get you whipping up new meals- in less time- today!
Sooo… What Is An Instant Pot?
In the simplest terms, an Instant Pot is the brand name for a programmable pressure cooker. Of course this kitchen staple has been around for some time now, but with the advancements in technology, the Instant Pot is taking the pressure cooker game digital.
But even better than before, an Instant Pot does the work of 7 gadgets in one, drastically increasing the amount of free space in your kitchen, making life easier all together. With an Instant Pot you get an electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, warmer and sauté pan all in one. But that’s only 6, right? Believe it or not… the seventh addition to this wonder machine is a yogurt maker- and who doesn’t want that, right?
Tips, Tricks & Techniques
- Freeze Bags in the SHAPE of a Container Bowl
When you don’t want to buy extra containers just to freeze your cooked foods in, simply use the “mold and freeze” trick to fit the shape of your Instant Pot. When you’re ready to cook or thaw, pop it right into the bowl, perfectly fitting every time.
- From Frozen to Cooked in a Flash
One of the biggest benefits of the Instant Pot is being able to cook straight from a frozen state, without having to wait for it to thaw! With the Instant Pot, your family will be enjoying dinner together, faster than ever!
- CHOOSE MANUAL
Above all other choices always opt for the manual button. Of course, there is a plethora of amazing options, but with the manual button, it gives us the power to control the cooking process accurately every time. And as a bonus, most times the recipes found online- like ours found here (link to Instant Pot Recipes)- are developed with this option in mind.
- Releasing the Instant Pot Pressure
Two of the most common ways to release pressure in an Instant Pot are the Quick Release (QR) & Natural Release (NR) buttons. With QR, it quickly releases the inner pressure, which is ideal for foods that are sensitive to overcooking, such as seafood. However, with the NR method, it allows the pressure to be released slowly. We recommend this way when there is a high volume of liquid or high starch content.
- A Cup of Liquid
While Instant Pot recommends using 1.5 cups of liquid, we suggest using only 1 cup of TOTAL LIQUID to pressure-cook your meat. By adding more water, you run the chance of diluting the flavor. However, this is not true for foods that absorb a lot of liquid, such as beans and grains. For these, we recommend following the recipes listed in the manuals.
Ideal Foods to Cook
Technique: Place chicken thighs or breasts into the Instant Pot and add one cup of cooking sauce or liquid. Manually set the timer to 10 minutes for thighs or 14 minutes for breasts and QR when the cooking is complete. Once cooked, you can continue serving as desired.
Technique: Add beans and 3 cups of water per 1 cup of dry or soaked beans. Manually set time using the following guidelines and choose QR for when the cooking is finished.
• Black beans – soaked: 5 min; not soaked: 8 min
• Kidney beans – soaked: 5 min; not soaked: 22 min
• Pinto beans – soaked: 4 min; not soaked: 22 min
• Chickpeas – soaked: 10 min; not soaked: 30 min
Technique: Pour 1/2-cup of water into the Instant Pot and add greens, but be cautious to not fill higher than the fill line. Manually set the time for 3 minutes and QR once it is finished.
Technique: Cut spaghetti squash in half and discard the seeds. Add 1-cup water and then place one squash noodle side down on the steamer rack and place the second on top of it. Manually set the cook time for 5 minutes and QR when squash is done cooking. Be extra careful when handling after cooking, because the spaghetti squash tends to hold a lot of heat after the cooking process.