There were 300,000 Instant Pots sold during Amazon Prime Day last year.
It has been one of the top 5 items sold on Amazon for the past 3 years. And I can’t wait to share how the Instant Pot made my mom cooking life and why you want to join the craze this year. This episode is for those of you who don’t have one yet or who have one and aren’t sure why you would. I want you to get it out of the box and start using it ASAP to make cooking for your family easier. And I suspect it will be part of the upcoming Prime Day last year where you could pick one up for just $59!
(Note: Amazon & Once a Month Meals links are affiliate links.)
WHY DO YOU WANT AN INSTANT POT?
- It cooks fast! Like really fast! In most cases about 30% faster than stovetop, grill or oven.
- More vitamins because there are less water and less time for them to dissolve into the water.
- Because it cooks at such high temps, it kills bacteria when cooking (we’ll get into this later)
- It’s multi-function and replaces other kitchen devices: steamer, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker AND pressure cooker.
- There are tons of “one-pot” recipes where you brown using the saute feature then add other ingredients (less cleaning up and fewer dishes to clean.)
- Great for small kitchens where you don’t have a lot of storage space for large pots, crock pots, rice cookers, etc.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- When you put the lid on and seal it, an airtight chamber is formed.
- As heat is applied, pressure builds up in the chamber and pushes up the pin of the float valve in the lid to lock the lid.
- The pin serves as a lid lock until the pressure is released, either naturally or quickly and will NOT turn until pressure released. It is electronically sealed so never fear…This is not your Grandma’s pressure cooker. There is no fear of scalding your face by opening it too soon.
- Back to the heated, airtight chamber…because you add a little liquid (a must) steam stars to form.
- Trapping the steam increases the pressure, (here is the super cool part) increasing the pressure increases the temperature that water boils from 212 to 250. Stovetop boiling water will NEVER be hotter than 212 because then it just turns into steam. But Because the boiling water temperature is higher in the IP, it cooks food faster.
- And with this higher temperature point of 250, you can cook food from frozen without the risk of bacteria forming. You cannot slow cook frozen chicken because bacteria will start to multiply quicker than the food will come to a safe temperature.
BEST FOODS TO COOK IN YOUR INSTANT POT
- Anything you would braise, simmer or boil
- Soups, stews, stocks
- Dried beans (which you can do relatively quickly without the need to soak)
- Grains (rice, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa) especially great if you avoid brown rice or steel-cut oats because of their long cooking time.
- Dense vegetables (Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Beets, etc)
- Dense, Tough Cuts of Meat (Chuck Roast, Pork Shoulder)
There are many meal planning sites out there for any sort of diet plan you’re on…ketogenic, vegan, vegetarian, low card, Weight Watchers. I recommend doing a Pinterest search for some Instant Pot recipes that fit you and your family’s eating style.
NOT SO GOOD FOODS FOR YOUR INSTANT POT
- Noodles can get a little gummy if they cook too long. And the quick pressure release will get foamy at release valve causing it to clog.
- Dairy heavy recipes or soups don’t work because of the high heat. Milk tends to separate and curdle which can make it unappetizing.
- Foods that are traditionally crispy or fried. You cannot use your instant pot as a deep fryer!!!!!
CAN I CONVERT MY FAVORITE SLOW COOKER RECIPES?
- If you have some slow cooker or conventional over favorites that you think might work well in the IP, Hip Pressure Cooker has created a recipe converter to help you figure out how long your recipe will need in the Instant Pot.
- General rule…if it takes 4 hours on high in the slow cooker or 7 hours on low, it is going to take around 25-30 minutes in the Instant Pot
INSTANT POT LINGO
So if I’ve piqued your interest but you still aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger because researching some recipes, here is some Instant Pot Lingo you should know when you check out the recipes:
- NPR – Natural Pressure Release let the pin fall on its own
- QPR—Quick Pressure Release turn valve to let steam out
- PIP—Pot in Pot (Great for items that may stick, multiple items at once chicken and rice), meals you don’t want sitting directly on heat) Meatloaf, and Cheesecake.
HOW CAN IT SAVE ME TIME COOKING?
- Be aware when a recipe says 10 minutes or 20 minutes, it will also include some time to bring the pot up to pressure (which can vary based on the temperature of the water, height about sea level, etc). Also, you need to figure in time for the pressure release which is super important for things like roasts which you want to “rest” and natural pressure release.
- Steel Cut Oats: 10 mins, IP; Stovetop, 30 mins
- 3 lb Chuck Roast; 60-80 mins, IP; Slow Cooker, 9-11 hours on low, 4-7 on high; 2 ¼-1/2, oven
- Beans: 22-24 mins (unsoaked) or 7-10 (soaked), IP; soak overnight or at least a quick soak for stovetop, cook 1-3 hours.
HOW CAN IT SAVE ME MONEY?
- You can buy long cook items rather than paying the upcharge for par-cooked things like rice, oatmeal, etc.
- You can buy tougher, cheaper cuts of meat that take longer to cook because you can cook them faster now…weeknight pot roast
- For the vegetarians or bean eaters out there, think of it this way…5 cans of organic canned beans cost you around $6 or $1.20 per can or more. A pound of dried beans costs around $2.50 and will yield that same as 5 cans. For a savings of around $3.50. Which may not sound like a lot but if you eat 5 cans of beans a week x 52 weeks that’s a savings of over $180 a year…just on BEANS!
- And if you’ve been listening for a while, you know my affinity for freezer cooking. You can put together meals that would rival the frozen pre-made meals for a fraction of the cost. And places like Once a Month meals have entire freezer cooking menus dedicated to prepping IP meals. And again, because the IP cooks so hot, you can cook your pre-prepped frozen meals with needing to defrost them. Perfect for the quick weeknight dinners when you can’t figure out what to cook and you don’t want to get take out.
- As I mentioned, Once a Month Meals has tons of recipes and freezer cooking meal plans for Instant Pot. You can try a bunch of their recipes for free and you can get a free 5 recipe mini menu to try out.
- One Good Thing by Jillee has an awesome free downloadable guide to IP cooking
- And you can see what I’m cooking in my Instant Pot like the Chipotle copycat Cilantro Lime Rice, a low carb egg roll in a bowl, or even corn on the cob by visiting me on Pinterest.
- 4 C. Frozen Strawberries
- 1 C. Fresh Strawberries
- 5 oz. Simple Syrup
- 4 oz. Light or White Rum
- Lime juiced
- Sliced Strawberries Garnish
- Lime Wheels Garnish
- In a blender, combine frozen and fresh strawberries, simple syrup, rum and lime juicer.
- Blend until completely smooth.
- Pour into glasses and
garnish with fresh berries and lime slices if desired.
New episodes of “Cocktails and Containers” are available every week.
You can find past episodes “Cocktails and Containers” here.