Basic Brunches: Instant Pot Obsession

Instant Pot. The one kitchen device to rule them all. And while that’s partially true you won’t see my cast iron or stand mixer collecting dust.

Everyone has been FREAKING OUT about the Instant Pot. A 7-in-1 pressure cooker that does it all. Yogurt, stews, rice, meat, soup, etc. I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and while I do love it, there are some things to know. Below you will find some helpful tips, as well as some of my favorite recipes.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  1. The manual sucks. Use it to do the water test, then throw it in your junk drawer because it will not help you navigate the IP. Your best friend, in the beginning, will be YouTube. Below are two YouTubers that I’ve found to be the most helpful.
  2. Start off slow with something like hard boiled eggs. A pretty standard formula is 5-5-5 which mean 5 mins on manual, 5 mins NPR (natural pressure release), 5 mins ice bath. No need to stand over the pot on boiling water wondering if they are done or not.
  3. Everything you will cook will need some kind of liquid.
  4. Cook times and total cook times are NOT the same. You will see things like “Salmon in under 4 mins in the Instant Pot” but that is not being fully honest. The cook time on the salmon might be 4 minutes, but it takes time for the IP to come up to pressure. On average you’re looking at 10-20 mins for the IP to reach pressure, remember, at the end of the day it’s a pressure cooker. Once it reaches pressure the cook time will kick in, you’ll know it’s at the cook time because that’s when the timer you set on the pot will appear on the screen and start counting down, once the cook time is complete the IP will beep some obnoxious amount of times (I think it’s 8) and then will switch to natural pressure release.
  5. There are two types of pressure release. Natural and Quick. Natural pressure release means that once the cook time ends it will automatically start releasing pressure. This can take about 10-15 minutes before fully released. You’ll know when it’s done because this little silver bar by the sealing/venting knob will go down. Only when the bar is down can you open the lid. Quick release is one you do yourself. You switch the sealing knob to venting and stand back because a lot of steam is gonna rush out very quickly.
  6. You Instant Pot will eventually smell. It’s a pretty common issue and there isn’t really anything you can do to prevent it but there are things you can do to make it better. It’s recommended to deep clean your IP once a month. I would also take the sealing ring off and throw it in the dishwasher maybe not every time you use the IP but like when you use it to make a big meal. Yes, the seal is dishwasher safe (top rack) as well as the stainless steel bowl.
  7. Cooking spray. Spray some Pam in the bowl for everything, especially if you’re using the saute function. EVEN IF THE RECIPE CALLS FOR OIL YOU SPRAY THE POT TOO! I can’t stress that enough. I used the IP to saute things a couple times and you get a lot that sticks to the bottom, even if you threw in oil or butter. But once I started using cooking spray and then started cooking the change was remarkable. It will be a cleaning time saver.

FAVORITE RECIPIES

So there are somethings I love to cook in the IP more than others. Mostly because in the IP they become a set it and forget it dish. The less time I have to spend in the kitchen the better.

  1. Rice. It’s pretty simple but depending on the rice you’re making the time can change. I do a standard 1-2 ratio (rice to water) and just hit the rice button. And done. Seriously, that’s it. When it beeps I do a QR, open the lid and fluff the rice. I recommend taking the rice out immediately and putting it into a serving dish because it will begin to stick to the pot.
  2. Potatoes. Again, you plop them in the pot, usually in a steamer basket, set it and forget it. No longer are the days where I stand over a pot of boiling water forking my potatoes into doneness. My all-time favorite way to make potatoes is crispy smashed potatoes, they come out perfectly “boiled” for the smashing then you add some butter and pop them under the broiler. You can also do mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, I’ve even seen a recipe for herb roasted potatoes.
  3. Soup. I love soup, and I actually love making soup. Didn’t realize that until I started trying. My favorite IP soup is also my favorite Olive Garden soup, Zuppa Toscana. Now I can make my own Olive Garden “endless” soup, salad and breadsticks at home. Another classic is Chicken Noodle.
  4. SOURDOUGH BREAD! Yes, there is a stupidly easy way to make your own sourdough bread in the IP. I’ve made it once before and I’m currently making some right now as I write this blog. 4 ingredients and 6 hours and you got yourself some delicious crusty fresh bread to munch on. Yes, 6 hours is a lot of time, but 4 of those hours the bread it proofing in the IP. I recently found this IP bread blog post and I’m eyeing that rosemary loaf.
  5. Chicken. I’ll be linking a recipe for a faux-tissere chicken below, but I just wanted to make a section completely dedicated to the fact that you can cook FROZEN chicken breast in the IP in a matter of 12 minutes. That is all.
  6. Meals on meals on meals. This one is just gonna be a collection of the meals I’ve made thus far that I would 100% make again.
    1. Beef Stew
    2. Faux-tissere Chicken (Yes an entire chicken in the IP)
    3. Cajun Pasta
    4. Beef Gyros
      • I like this recipe but the writer is a little all over the place with the actual ingredients, here’s what you need to know:
        • The easiest meat to use is pre-cut stir-fry beef
        • You will need red onions both in the IP and raw as a topping (if you like them raw).
        • You will need garlic both in the IP and in the Tzatziki sauce.

And there you have it, folks. My complete IP guide. Some additional advice is to get on Pinterest and find things to cook. There are recipes all over there specifically for the IP as well as cheat sheets for making your favorite dishes. Please share with me your favorite dishes, I’m always looking for new things to make. I have a shrimp “fried” rice in my back pocket I just haven’t made it yet.

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