Asking for an Instant Pot? We’ve Got Tips and Recipes!
Go into almost any store during the holiday season and you’ll see small kitchen appliances stacked nearly as high as your head.
Many of those appliances are simply fads to be used once and sold at garage sales. Others change the way you cook.
Instant Pots (aka, multi-cookers or programmable electric pressure cookers) fell into the second category for me. Many owners have an almost fanatical love for the appliance and consider it life changing. I won’t go that far, but will admit there’s good reason for their popularity. Pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, rice cooking and even yogurt making are among the appliance’s many functions.
If your Instant Pot is new to you, take a few minutes to read the instructions and you’ll find using it is simple. With a little experience, it gets even easier. Just push a few buttons and the pot does the rest. Every model works slightly differently, but some basics apply to all of them.
- Be sure that the sealing gasket is soft and flexible.
- Keep the pressure valve free of food particles and debris.
- If using the sauté function to brown meat, cook it in small batches with space between the pieces. This keeps the meat from steaming and gives it a rich caramelized flavor.
- When all ingredients are in the pot, lock the lid and close the pressure valve.
- Choose the appropriate setting for your recipe.
- The recipe timing starts after the pot is up to pressure. It takes10 to 20 minutes to get most pots to the desired pressure.
- Before opening the pot, release the pressure either naturally or manually. Natural release is usually used for foods with lots of liquid like soups. Manual release is the best option for delicate foods like vegetables.
Until you’re comfortable using an Instant Pot, choose recipes designed for the appliance. Try Creamy Beef Paprikash. The pot quickly cooks chunks of beef sirloin and coats it with a rich yogurt-and-paprika sauce. Served over noodles, it makes a nourishing, mid-winter, comfort food. I especially like this entrée with a tossed salad and, for the adults, a glass of red wine.
If you’re looking for a lighter family meal, make Chicken Taco Soup. Chunks of tender, white chicken mingle in a cheesy tomato broth with just enough spice to keep it interesting.
A long-time favorite at my house is One Pot Spaghetti. It’s easy, satisfying and doesn’t dirty every dish in the house. This Instant Pot version of the recipe, Creamy One Pot Spaghetti elevates the whole experience by adding melted cheddar and cream cheeses to the basic recipe.
The Air Fryer is another popular small appliance gift and we’ve got recipes for that too! Try our Jalapeño Poppers, Mini Potato Skins, and Ravioli Bites.