Why I can't shut up about my Instant Pot (plus 2 easy recipes!)

August 4 | Guest post by Moni
Holy crap, this Instant Pot can be programmed with your cell phone!? Megan-simple and geeky!
Holy crap, this Instant Pot can be programmed with your cell phone!? Megan-simple and geeky!

I tell everyone to get an Instant Pot. I buy them for friends as housewarming or wedding gifts, and I sing their praises to people who probably are sick of hearing about them (until they get one too and then they can't shut up either). At first glance, it seems like it's just an electric pressure cooker… And it is! Which is great even alone.

But [in my Billy Mays voice] that's not all, friends. That's not all…

Because the Instant Pot has several functions (there are 6-in-1 and 7-in-1 versions), you're essentially getting not just a pressure cooker, but a rice cooker, crockpot, saute pan, etc, all in one. Perfect for a small place!

There is a small learning curve if you've never used a pressure cooker before, but once you get the hang of it (lots of videos and instructions online!) you are golden. And the easy cleanup — oh, the easy cleanup. This bitch HATES doing dishes. But this sucker makes it so easy.

Here are two of my favorite recipes that get made every single week in my house. They're Megan Simple (seriously, Megan, get an Instant Pot, girl) [editor's note: adds Instant Pot to wishlist] and super easy cleanup.

The first is a full meal, the second is a way of making chicken that you can eat on its own or use as an ingredient in any old dish you like!

Recipe #1: Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1 lb dry pasta with a cooking time of 10 minutes or more
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce of your choice (homemade is fine, store-bought is fine, you want a standard size jar about a quart or so.)
  • Seasonings to taste — we love us some Italian seasonings.
  • Salt and pepper to taste as well.

Instructions:

Prepare for the easiest prep of your life. Ready?…

  1. Press "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Give it a second until it beeps ready, add a bit of oil if you like. Give that a minute to get hot (it gets hot very fast!), chuck your meat and seasonings in there, and brown away.
  2. When your meat is brown and cooked through, hit the "Cancel" button to stop the sauteeing.
  3. Dump in your box or package of pasta and your jar of sauce. Then, fill the sauce jar to the top with water, and dump that in too. Stir until it's all incorporated. Your noodles should be mostly covered with liquid. If they're peeking out somewhat on top, that's fine. But don't leave any fully uncovered, they may not cook so well.
  4. Close the lid and make sure your vent is set to closed on top. Hit the "Manual" button, then scroll the time down to half of whatever it states as cooking time on your pasta. So if your pasta takes 12 minutes to cook, set it for 6 minutes. If it's an odd number, like 11, pick 5 if you like your noodles more al dente and 6 if you like them more done.
  5. After you scroll to your minute setting, don't touch it again — it will beep to say it's starting, and you're all set!
  6. It will take some time to come to pressure, but when it does, it will start a countdown. When the countdown is up, do a Quick Release on your steam vent. I usually do it with my wooden spoon so I don't get burned.
  7. When the lid unlocks, it's safe to open — stir it up, unplug it, give it a couple minutes to cool and you're set!

Devour that shit and glory in your one pan cleanup.

Recipe #2: Salsa Lime Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts (I use the big ol' Costco ones)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup salsa
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste (about a tsp of salt and ยฝ a tsp of pepper for me)
  • optional spices (I like cumin, paprika, and a bit of taco seasoning)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the tomato sauce, salsa, lime juice, and spices all together in a bowl.
  2. Layer your frozen breasts in the Instant Pot, and pour the mixture over them — making sure to coat the breasts best you can. (I usually pour a bit, then layer two breasts, then pour a bit, then layer another two, then dump the rest.)
  3. Check to make sure the vent is closed and shut the lid.
  4. Hit "Manual" on the Instant Pot, and scroll to 12 minutes. This is the cooking time that works for me. You want to make sure that your chicken is cooked through, so check the temperature with a meat thermometer and look for it to hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it isn't done when you check, just close the lid and set for another couple minutes — it comes back to pressure very quickly.
  5. When it's finished, do a Quick Release on the steam valve and remove the breasts.

Now you have a couple of options:

I like to place the chicken breasts in a baking pan and switch my pot to "Saute." I then let the remaining sauce bubble and cook, stirring it, until it thickens a bit and becomes more sauce-like. I dump some of it on the chicken, top with cheese, and pop the pan under my broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly delicious (check it frequently!) Then serve with rice.

Or, just take that chicken and use it as an ingredient in tacos, burritos, salads, nachos, whatever you like! Shred it, slice it — use your chicken imagination.

There are TONS of pressure cooker and Instant Pot specific recipes online, entire groups and forums devoted to recipes — the world is your oyster. Try it! You won't look back! Embrace the gadget.

Who else here has a/lives by/swears by/loves their Instant Pot? What are your favorite Instant Pot recipes?

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  1. I have a confession to make. Though I'm an avid home cook (and even a former restaurant owner), I have never used any kind of pressure cooker or instant pot. In fact, I'm actually afraid of them! I just imagine the thing exploding in my face or all over my kitchen. Please help put my fears to rest, because I am so curious about this instant pot!

    4 agree
    • I bought an instant pot about a month ago at a friends' urging (plus it was on super-sale). I didn't try it until yesterday because of fear/intimidation. I wish that I had tried it sooner! I watched several videos to get up the courage, and also read the instruction manual. It really is easy, and you'd have to work hard to mess it up/cause explosion. I think what eased the fear was knowing that it does little melodies both when you lock and unlock it. It's like it's cheering you on or making sure you know that you've twisted it to open.

      I am a non-chef and have fibromyalgia – so the fact that I can get perfectly cooked quinoa in 7 minutes with minimal cleanup? HEAVEN. The only stressful moment was when I realized I didn't set aside some space to put the lid once I opened it up – but that was an easy fix after the initial "OH CRAP." ๐Ÿ™‚

      3 agree
    • I completely get this – I was dead set against a stovetop pressure cooker for the same reason for years! My mother also contributed to my fear by telling explosion tales, lol. The pot locks really securely, and it has several safety functions to keep it from going too high in pressure. The pressure release valve can be a little freaky the first time you do a quick release, but after the first time you'll be a pro. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2 agree
    • Our pressure cooker exploded all over our faces and our kitchen. We're good on that.

    • Instant Pot doesn't get to the high-high pressures like for canning, so it shouldn't explode as long as you keep bubbly, frothy things from hitting the pressure valve inside the lid. Also, to sweeten the deal? I can make beans from dry in 50 minutes. 50 MINUTES! And brown rice in 20. Also, you can use it to make yogurt, and any of those "set it forget it" slow cooker recipes you see all over Facebook.

  2. I've too have been intimidated by pressure cookers. I remember being a child warned away from the kitchen when my grandmother used hers because it might explode. I hear the new ones are much much safer.

    I've been trying to switch to brown rice, but haven't consistently because of the time involved on the stove top. I have also been wanting to switch from canned (BPA & high sodium anyone?) to dried beans but often forget to soak them. Can you use this to cook them without soaking first?

    1 agrees
    • You don't have to actually soak them overnight if you have an hour or so, you can quick soak them–you boil them first, then soak.

      2 agree
    • You absolutely can! Brown rice is significantly faster in the IP, and beans can be cooked from dry with no problems. You can find great time tables online for how long to do each, but I find myself experimenting with those types of things and using the online times as a guideline. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1 agrees
    • Yes, it takes about half an hour, depending on the bean type. Luckily, you get a booklet with the pot that lists cooking times.

    • I have the 7-in-1, as that was what was on sale when I bought it, but it looks like the main difference between the two is that the 7-in-1 model has a yogurt-making function that isn't on the 6-in-1 model. There's also a wider size range available for the 7-in-1. If you don't care about making your own yogurt or making 8 quarts of food, you're probably fine to go with the 6-in-1.

    • I have a 7 in 1, but I bought friends a 6 in 1 and we have had similar experiences. I think if you know you'd like to try making your own yogurt, the 7 in 1 is worth it, but otherwise, you can be fine with the 6 in 1. All the recipes will work exactly the same, they have the same buttons and functionality.

  3. I just bought an Instant Pot a few weeks ago (there was a great Amazon Prime Day deal), and I love it, too! So far, I've used it to cook rice, beans, pot roast, ratatouille, pulled pork, and probably some more things that I've forgotten about. The controls are a little tricky at first, but once you figure out how to set it, it's pretty easy. This is the first pressure cooker I've ever used, as I was always intimidated by them, too, but it's a whole lot safer than the old stovetop ones.

    The recipes above both look fantastic. I will definitely have to try them!

    2 agree
  4. I'm so glad I'm spreading the Instant Pot love! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also suggest anyone who gets one and gets intimidated (like I did) to not be afraid to watch all the video tutorials they have. Even the super slow obvious type ones where you go, ugh, I get it already! In the end, watching them really does help!

  5. Hi, i saw that you have also a zojirushi rice cooker..
    So I was wondering if you think that in the instant pot you can make a rice of the same level ?

    Thanks! I am thinking about buying a zojirushi 3cup to cooking only for me. But it is very expensive above all else for European people and I am not so sure with the size 3cup because I think that you will have to renounce to cooking a lot of recipe also for only one person.

    • The capacity of the Instant Pot is a lot higher, in my opinion, than most of the Zojirushi rice cookers. You can make quite a lot in it. As much as I love them and think they're amazing, rice made in the pressure cooker to me tastes the same. Plus, the Instant Pot has a specific rice cooker function, so it can work in exactly the same way as a rice cooker. My father is Persian, and we're very picky about our rice, but I think it comes out wonderfully in the Instant Pot!

      2 agree
    • I registered for a zojirushi rice maker for my wedding, and then got the Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day. I am now trying to sell my rice maker, it takes so much longer for so many styles of rice, and I have not been able to nail down a steel cut oats recipe in it (which was part of why i bought a rice maker). With the Instant pot, the rice comes out great and much faster, and oats are a total of 13 minutes.

      The one benefit i can see to having both is if you want to make a meal in the instant pot with rice as a side.

  6. How does this fair as a crockpot? I wanted to get one for my brother as my mom bought him one and his then-girlfriend promptly ruined it. Mostly, I'm interested in the "set it and forget it" sort of feature where he can toss ingredients in before work while he still has the energy and come home to a fully cooked dinner.

    1 agrees
    • I've been able to make all my slow cooker recipes in it. Only difference is the pot is metal instead of ceramic like my slow cooker, so sometimes I have to soak it before washing (not a big deal, just a difference).

  7. This sounds like a fantastic kitchen gadget to have (even if the pasta recipe is so not for Italians!! Sorry, we are fussy about our pasta lol) and I'll check if it is at all available in Europe! I've been thinking about a slow cooker but it's really not a thing here, and I'm afraid anyway i wouldn't use it too often since i only cook for one (+ leftovers).
    Does it really work both as slow cooker and pressure cooker? I'm impressed because they're like opposites…
    This would be really fantastic for winter comfort foods…
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I'm almost convinced, but because I have space issues in my tiny kitchen I'm hesitant to add yet another gadget. Can the IP be used as a slow cooker also? Then I could get rid of my huge crock pot! I do love coming home to crock pot dinners and not having to do a darn thing when I walk in the door ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, and it has high and low slow cooker settings. I got it to replace my rice cooker and slow cooker–great decision!

  9. Tempting! Very tempting. I wanted to get a Thermomix but at $1800 ( yeah $1800 – that's not a typo ) even my gadget-loving heart was seizing. Maybe this would help scratch that itch.

  10. So is a pressure cooker ALSO able to work as a pressure canner? I'm in the market for a canner, but could be convinced to invest in a multipurpose pot since canning is sort of a once a year activity.

  11. I love mine so much! @nomnompaleo has some really good recipes and her kalua pig recipe is super yummy.

    Dadcooksdinner.com also has great recipes for the instant pot.

    If anyone is interested in buying one and wants to save some cash, wait for when amazon has one of their deals. Nomnompaleo usually posts on Facebook when they go on sale.

    1 agrees
  12. Has anybody had any truck with models that aren't the official Instant Pot ones? I really like the idea of them but ยฃ120 is a lot of money to put into one (admittedly very useful) item :/ Alternatively I make this a long term goal and fudge along without a slow cooker for a while!

    • I did a lot of research before I bought and I ended up getting the Elite Bistro brand, 8 qt. It lacks the slow cooker function but it affords me extra volume for cooking large batches. I've heard a lot of IP owners say the slow cook function doesn't work too well and/or they don't even need to use it since it cooks so fast. Anyway I hit it on a great Labor Day sale for $80 US. SO shop around…there are lots of comparable ones with very similar reviews and features, and prices fluctuate between $70-150 US. Currently Costco's website has the Cuisinart (the other brand I considered) for $69.99 and of course Costco will let you return things forever.

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