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
- 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.
Prepare for the easiest prep of your life. Ready?…
- 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.
- When your meat is brown and cooked through, hit the “Cancel” button to stop the sauteeing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- 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 ½ a tsp of pepper for me)
- optional spices (I like cumin, paprika, and a bit of taco seasoning)
- Mix the tomato sauce, salsa, lime juice, and spices all together in a bowl.
- 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.)
- Check to make sure the vent is closed and shut the lid.
- 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.
- 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?