I Bought an Instant Pot - Now What?
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
Two years ago I started seeing ads for the Instant Pot and was intrigued about the claims; shorter cooking times and sumptuous tender meats. On an impulse I bought one for myself, but since I was working 10 hours a day, as much as I wanted to use this magic pot, it remained in its box. Shortly after retiring and having moved my Instant Pot to my new home, I thought it was time I investigated how to use it.
An Instant Pot is essentially a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker and more in a single pot. An Instant Pot has tons of versatile functions, but primarily it works as an electric pressure cooker. Moisture in the pot reaches a high temperature quickly in the airtight pot and builds up steam. The steam builds pressure within the pot and enables the food to cook at a faster rate. This however is not your mother's pressure cooker; old fashioned pressure cookers could be unpredictable and often dangerous. Because the Instant pot is electric, the pot will activate, cook the programmed amount of time, with the appropriate heat and then automatically turn off when done. Its main benefits are the ability to set it and forget it, the shorter cooking times, and the best feature, to produce tasty and tender dishes. Cuts of meat like bottom round roast can be fork tender in 1 hour versus cooking all day on the stove top. Just right brown rice, a favorite of ours, is ready in less than 30 minutes and never has to be minded while cooking. Another advantage is that you can saute any of your ingredients before pressure cooking right in the pot and then the saute feature can be turned back on, after pressure cooking, to thicken a sauce. It also has a warming feature, if you need to get other things ready before dinner.
Below are links to some of my favorite recipes using the Instant Pot. I use the pot about 2-3 times per week and usually make a big batch of brown rice to store in the refrigerator for use in other meals during the week (just takes a minute or two to reheat in the microwave). Unlike some of my other kitchen gadgets, the Instant Pot has a home on my kitchen counter. It has made our dinner menus much more varied and being able to utilize cheaper cuts of meat is such a plus. The Instant Pot is also easy to clean - follow the directions on your pot and I use Cameo Stainless steel cleaner to keep my pot insert like brand new. Have an Instant Pot that is still in the box? Try one of these taste tested recipes - you won't regret it!