It’s a slow cooker! It’s a rice cooker! It’s a steamer…no wait, it’s an instant pot.
If you haven’t heard, this 7-in-1 kitchen appliance* can multitask, functioning as an electric pressure cooker, saute/browning pan, warmer, and yogurt maker. Yes, you can make yogurt in the instant pot. And it's taking over the world by a storm (in fact, it's the most requested item on Amazon).
As much time, money, and space as the thing already saves you, there are always a few instant pot tips and hacks to make the most of the full wonderfulness of this kitchen sorcery.
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- Recommended resources
- Know how to convert your favorite recipes for the instant pot
- Use this cheat sheet for instant pot cooking times
- Use the pot-in-pot method to cook multiple items at once
- Get acquainted with saute mode
- Combine the instant pot with another mealtime saver
- Use the instant pot in place of an oven or microwave
- Maximize those buttons
- Up your kitchen ante with the right instant pot accessories
- Use this cleaning hack to get rid of odor and stains in your instant pot
- Your instant pot can keep baby healthy
- The instant pot isn’t only for cooking
- It can make you super popular among friends and family
- Our favorite instant pot*
- The best-selling instant pot steamer basket* that's stackable and perfect for pot in pot cooking
- You're going to want a few sets of these* so the flavors of your cooking don't mix in unappetizing ways
Know how to convert your favorite recipes for the instant pot
You should already know, by your basic knowledge of the instant pot, that cooking in a pressure cooker is definitely not the same as traditional stovetop or oven.
One example, is how milk and high heat don’t do well together. If your recipe does call for some dairy products, add them AFTER your meal is cooked and the appliance depressurized. This will prevent your meal from getting burnt and ruined. (via My Crazy Good Life)
Use this cheat sheet for instant pot cooking times
Foods don’t all cook the same in the pot. To avoid the confusion of keeping track of the individual cook times of every ingredient, use this handy electric pressure cooker time chart. Stick in a sheet protector* and tape to the cupboard just above your beloved instant pot for easy reference. (via One Good Thing by Jillee)
Use the pot-in-pot method to cook multiple items at once
You don’t necessarily need to use a pot for this, but any oven-safe glass container* or even this stackable stainless steel steamer basket* will do. The idea is to keep foods you don’t want mixing together separated yet still cooked in one go.
Pro tip: Cut down your cooking time, literally. If you’re worried about the different cook times of your food items with the pot-in-pot method, cut the foods that take longer to cook into smaller pieces. You should also place these foods on the bottom, and quicker cooking foods on top for the best use of heat. (via Once a Month Meals)
Get acquainted with saute mode
The pressure cooker function can already cut your cooking time in half, but it still takes 10-20 minutes for the pressure to build up before your instant pot can do its speedy cooking thing.
One workaround is to set to saute mode and throw in some foods that could use sautéing. Use the time to prepare the rest of your ingredients, toss in, then switch to pressure cooking, since the heat builds up faster this way. (via The Krazy Coupon Lady)
Combine the instant pot with another mealtime saver
Hot and cold unite with the instant pot and freezer cooking. Good news is that you don’t need to thaw foods and can throw them directly into the instant pot.
Very important: DO NOT freeze your foods glass containers. The temperature change could cause them to crack!
Instead, the best way to freeze your foods is to pour them into freezer bags* that sit in round containers so they’ll freeze in the same shape as your cooker. That way you can dump the contents straight from the bag into your instant pot, making transport a cinch.
Pro tips: Saute for 5 minutes to release liquid from your frozen food since you’ll need it for pressure cooking. Also, set your frozen food on the trivet that came with your instant pot, rather than have it directly on the bottom of the pot, as that will allow for heat to circulate and cook your food faster. (via Once a Month Meals)
Use the instant pot in place of an oven or microwave
The instant pot can help you declutter and retire some of your other higher energy-consuming appliances. For the “oven” setting, reduce cooking time by ⅓.
You can also reheat food without the radiation, yay! For the “microwave” setting, use the slow cook or keep warm features. (via Traditional Cooking School)
Maximize those buttons
I hope you’ve taken advantage of the nifty button for yogurt in the instant pot. It’s actually not as intimidating to make yogurt as you think.
And hack that same yogurt button to make instant pot bread too, including:
- Banana bread
- and more
Up your kitchen ante with the right instant pot accessories
You have so much potential with your instant pot, which is exponentially increased with a few additional accessories. Like having another inner pot* to swap out if your primary one’s in the wash or if you’re cooking multiple items and don’t want to wash the whole thing.
Find out which are the must have instant pot tools that’ll make cooking and cleaning so much easier, and super simple ones you can DIY (like this nifty trick) to save a little money.
Use this cleaning hack to get rid of odor and stains in your instant pot
Depending on how much you’ve been using your instant pot, you may have noticed some…smells. Clear it out with a simple recipe of cut lemons, baking soda, and water. Stench be gone! (via My Crazy Good Life)
Your instant pot can keep baby healthy
Since we’re on the subject of cleaning, the pot is perfect for sterilizing your precious little one’s bottles, pacifiers, and other bacteria-breeding possessions. A quick video if you needed a demo. (via Indigo Nili)
The instant pot isn’t only for cooking
Be creative! You can literally make ANYTHING in the instant pot, like these unique instant pot recipes, including:
- Lotions and soaps
- Healing salve
- and more
It can make you super popular among friends and family
You can be that family that everyone looks forward to getting something awesome from every holiday season or special occasion with these unique and creative homemade gifts in the instant pot.
Note: A reader wanted to point out to be careful of what you can and cannot do safely in an instant pot. Canning (like for preserving foods) should be avoided, but luckily the jam recipe that is included is for a safe version.
With these great instant pot tips and hacks, your instant pot will get great mileage as you make the most of this kitchen whiz-ardry...get it, because you'll be a cooking whiz after knowing these tricks...
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