Months ago – was it this summer? – someone shared an Amazon deal on their Facebook page about this little creation called The Instant Pot.
I had never heard of it. The comments were aglow with praise for this magical pot. I chimed in with a few questions about why this deal should be scooped up and why – in amazing two days prime shipping time – the Instant Pot should be sitting on my counter changing my life too. I was on the fence when my phone alerted me that a text had arrived.
I was on Facebook. My neighbor was texting me from her house directly beside my own house. “Get the Instant Pot,” her text read. “You won’t regret it. In fact, this is such a great deal that I am tempted to buy a second one because we use ours that much.” First, I laughed. Because it’s funny and surprising to get a text about a conversation on Facebook. Second, I strongly weighed her opinion. She has seven kids. I have six. We both homeschool. We both cook a lot of food for our families. We both cook a lot of food for our friends. We both appreciate time saving ideas.
And so – having never before heard or seen an Instant Pot, I ordered one and it appeared at my doorstep. It was a GOOD deal, guys. (Seriously. I am never not grateful for the novelty and convenience of delivery. For all of my “I want to live like Laura Ingalls Wilder” I sure do appreciate purchases landing on my front step through no effort of my own other than a literal two second click. Modern miracles, I tell you.)
I am not getting any sponsorship for this post. I paid regular and real money for my Instant Pot. I just for real love it. It’s not just the time that the pot saves me, although that’s nice. It’s really the effort that the Instant Pot saves me that keeps me happy. I use it so often that the Instant Pot has a regular, out in the open, spot on my counter. (I keep three major kitchen tools on the counter – Instant Pot, Kitchen Aid and Ninja.) Which, now that I list those, I realize my Instant Pot is missing something the other two appliances have. A name. I forgot to name it. (I’ll be taking suggestions for a name now, thanks.)
The Instant Pot is a tad overwhelming at first, I think. The direction booklet exists and it is not unhelpful, but – for a brain like mine – it felt a little confusing. Plus, people and recipes would say – “cook rice in seven minutes”. And that’s true. But only kind of. The rice does cook in seven minutes, but it takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to get pressurized before the seven minutes begins and then there is a certain amount of time for the pressure to be released and that is not included in the seven minutes. So if you are counting on your dinner being served at an exact time, I find the timing to be a little trial and error. But it really doesn’t take long to figure those details out. And my kids are pretty forgiving about the trial and error timing situations. Which is why I generally don’t use an untried Instant Pot recipe for dinner guests the first time.
There are a bazillion and eighteen Instant Pot Pinterest posts and recipes and directions. I don’t want to reinvent the system here. But I do want a gathering place for me – and people like me – where the basics that I use a lot can be stored. I’m going to share what I regularly use and then add to this list as time passes and I earn even more regular dishes in my repertoire.
The booklet that accompanies your Instant Pot will tell you how to finish any recipe using one of three choices for releasing the steam. That part is pretty easy in the directions. And the Instant Pot comes with a small wire rack that fits right in there that I use for several things, such as when I hard boil eggs or bake potatoes.
I still haven’t actually used half of these settings, but here’s what the front of mine looks like. Apparently, there are several sizes of Instant Pot.
Some Fun Recipes I’ve Tried With Success
Chicken Tikka Masala. This was a new experience for me and I loved it. The kids liked it and we’ll definitely do it again. Also – if you’re local and you want to try it, I’ll let you borrow some spices from my cabinet. That was a little extra pricey to buy a bunch of exotic spices I have never used before.
My Favorite Uses of the Instant Pot
These are ways I use the Instant Pot pretty much weekly. (I keep hardboiled eggs in the fridge almost always so they are definitely in the rotation.)
Basic Chicken. This is SO easy and handy, quite possibly reason enough to buy an Instant Pot. A lot of our recipes call for shredded chicken. It can be stretched far on a budget and feed a lot when mixed in a casserole or a soup or a taco. Previously I would either boil the chicken on the stovetop, steaming up our vent-less kitchen and taking a decent amount of time and creating pretty bland chicken or I would bake the chicken, heating up the kitchen and also requiring a large amount of time and often drying out the chicken.
Here’s what I do now: One pound of chicken. Cover the chicken in chicken broth (or water – it doesn’t really matter). Turn the Instant Pot on to 12 minutes on the meat/stew setting. Use the quick release method. Voila! No work, no hot kitchen, short time. (And then shred it in your Kitchen Aid. Easy-peasy, you guys.)
Hard Boiled Eggs. Place the little wire rack in the Instant Pot. Place your eggs on top of it – I do anywhere from 6 to 12. Pour in one cup of water. Set the timer on manual for 7 minutes. Use the quick release button. (And they peel perfectly. Even the darling eggs from our four chickens outside of our house.)
Potatoes. Use this to create baked potatoes or to bake your potatoes so you can make mashed potatoes or home fries or whatever else you want with soft potatoes. Place the wire rack in the Instant Pot. Put the potatoes on top. (I’ve filled it totally full and I’ve also done just a few.) Pour in one cup of water. Set the Instant Pot on manual for 10 minutes. Use the slow release option.
Tomatoes – Soup or Pasta Sauce. So so simple. I’ve done this process dozens of times now. I remove the center part of the tomato. Sometimes I slice them in half, sometimes I leave them whole. It matters not to Instant Pot. Put all those tomatoes in. Cram it as full or use a six tomatoes. Add in what you like – garlic, onions (also whole), oregano and basil and thyme. Set the Instant Pot at manual for 15 minutes. Choose the natural release method. Use an immersion blender when it’s all finished and you have simple, delicious tomato soup or pasta base or a sauce great for adding to veggie soup or chili. So many options. I frequently use this when I have tomatoes that are too ripe. Then we’ll usually eat a helping of the soup and then I immediately freeze the rest for future meals.
There’s obviously loads more that the Instant Pot is good for. I’d love to hear your recipes and favorites and then, when I have the chance, I’ll try them out and add them to this list in the future.