How To Cook Using An Instant Pot
For a quick and dirty guide, it’s as easy as this:
If using your Instant Pot still seems daunting and you need more detailed instructions on how to use it, we’ve got you covered.
Once you’ve found a safe place to put your Instant Pot I keep mine on a kitchen counter away from other appliances take a moment to gently handwash the removable pot and the interior of the lid before you first use it. Next, plug in the unit.
If you are using meat or vegetables like garlic and onions that benefit from browning, you’ll want to use the sauté function first. With some recipes you can skip the searing shredded chicken from frozen comes to mind but for the most part, you want to brown or sear your meat first to add and lock-in flavors. Press the Stop or Cancel button to stop the sautéing, and add your other ingredients. If there is an excessive amount of grease left in the pot, drain it before continuing.
Before you press Start to begin the cooking process, make sure the steam valve is in the closed position. If it’s left open, the pressure will never build up, and your meal will take much longer to cook.
Smart Program Cooking Option
You can also choose to select the RICE smart program button. This program cooks on low pressure and is best used for white rice. For rice with a firmer texture or thinner rice like Jasmine or Basmati, use the Less mode for rice with a normal texture or regular long-grain or medium-grain white rice, use the Normal mode for rice with a softer texture, use the More mode. You can change the modes by pressing the RICE button again. Use quick release at the end.
Types Of Lentils And How To Cook Them In The Instant Pot
Red Lentils: These are commonly used in Indian dal and soft dishes like soups and curries. Red lentils break down quickly and become creamy, making them the perfect thickening agent for stews, soups, and purées. If youre new to red lentils and open your pot to see a pile of mush, dont be alarmed. Thats exactly what red lentils do!
For a soup/stew/curry, I like cooking red lentils for about 10 minutes in the Instant Pot at high pressure. This gives them plenty of time to disintegrate and melt into the other ingredients, thereby naturally thickening the texture. But if youre just cooking red lentils in plain water, they need just 2-3 minutes. And theyll still get mushy in this short amount of time.
Note: At Indian grocery stores, you will also find split red lentils, AKA masoor dal. These are red lentils that have had their skins removed and therefore cook a bit more quickly. Youll also find split yellow lentils, AKA moong dal. If youd like to learn more about the varieties of lentils used to make Indian dal, check out this blog post on Restaurant-Style Dal Tadka.
Brown and Green Lentils
French Green Lentils: These lentils also hold their shape when cooked, making them perfect in salads. If you find brown or green lentils to be too mushy for your taste or use, try these French green lentils instead. They have a pleasant, peppery taste.
French green lentils take 6-8 minutes in the Instant Pot and will stay nice and firm. I prefer to cook them for 6 minutes.
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What Is The Timer Button For
Some models have a button that reads Timer. While you may think that this is the button that sets the cooking time for your Instant Pot, it actually delays cooking time and will start the cooking when the timer counts down. You can set the cooking time with the plus/minus buttons or the dial, depending on the model.
Instant Pot Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions typically require a great deal of attention and time, as the low and slow cooking provide a perfectly tender and golden brown result. But thanks to the Instant Pot®, this typically labor-intensive recipe because an achievable weeknight dish. These sweet and jammy onions are the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches, grain bowls and more.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Caramelized Onions
Also Check: How To Clean An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot Pasta Formula
To cook any type of pasta perfectly in the Instant Pot :
But theres no need to do all that math. Just use the chart below:
**0 is a real setting on the Instant Pot / pressure cooker. For small pasta shapes with a short recommended cook time, set the timer to zero minutes. The pressure cooker will fully pressurize but wont hold for any amount of time.
Do You Have To Soak Beans
Another good question! And my answer isit depends.
A lot of people say that soaking your beans beforehand will help make them easier to digest. There are studies that show it does, others that say it doesn’t make a difference at all. So I guess my point here is that it depends on your body.
If you find that beans are hard to digest, or that they give you gas/cause bloat, then you should probably soak them. If not, then you might be fine not soaking!
HOWEVER when it comes to cooking, that’s where the real benefit of soaking your beans lies. When you soak your beans, your cooking time is cut by at least 75% . So if you’re in a rush, then for sure soak your beans!
note: If you do soak your beans, soak them overnight!
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How Do I Get Into This Thing When Its At Pressure
Now you need to release the pressure. There are two ways:
- Natural release: That means you do nothing but wait. The more food in the Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the pressure to come downas long as 30 minutes if you have, say, a big batch of chili. In a lot of recipes, this time is actually part of the cooking time, and the recipe will specify natural release in the instructions. Think of it as carryover cooking. Youll use natural release with dried beans, a lot of soups and stews, most meats, steamed desserts, and long-cooking vegetables.
- Quick release: With this method, you use the quick release valve and steam shoots up out of it. Once again, the more food in your Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the steam to release. Youll use quick release for quick-cooking foods like tender vegetables and seafoods.
Spiced Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup
This is a creamy and spiced soup/stew inspired by Indian dal. It gets its natural creaminess from red lentils, which break down and mushy when pressure cooked, and sweet potatoes, which melt into the soup thanks to the high pressure of the Instant Pot.
- 1tablespooncoconut oil
- 1medium onion,diced
- 1 1/2tablespoonsfreshly grated ginger
- 1serrano pepper, diced
- 2teaspoonsgaram masala
- 1teaspooncurry powder
- 1teaspoonground cumin
- 2medium sweet potatoes,peeled and cut into large dice
- 1cupred lentils
- 4cupslow-sodium vegetable broth*
- 1 1/4teaspoonssea salt + more to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1-2teaspoonsmaple syrup
- For serving :coconut yogurt, fresh cilantro, and flatbread or rice
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Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
You can make hearty stuffed peppers without the long bake time, thanks to your Instant Pot! Just build the ground beef and rice filling in the Instant Pot itself, then stuff into large bell peppers and pressure-cook until perfectly tender. Finish off with some extra-sharp Cheddar and chopped parsley for a great weeknight meal.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
How To Wash Your Instant Pot
When you’re doing dishes after dinner, be sure to remove and thoroughly clean the sealing ring to ensure it doesn’t hold onto flavors. You can do this quickly by hand-washing using a mild detergent.
For a deeper clean, add a cup of water, a cup of white vinegar, and a few lemon peels to the clean inner pot and run the unit on Steam for two minutes. Release the pressure naturally and let the lid and ring air dry.
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Why Cant I Just Cover The Release Valve With A Towel
If you are asking this, you likely havent read your manual. While it might be tempting to let the pressure just release while covering the valve with a towel to stop the starch from going everywhere, the Instant Pot instructional manual explicitly states that you cannot for any reason cover the pressure release valve with a towel, for safety purposes and for the health of your Instant Pot. So that is the reason for coming up with a way to deal with the escaping starch!
Cooking Spaghetti Fettuccini Or Linguini In The Instant Pot
Long, straight pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, and linguini can be a bit finicky to cook in the Instant Pot. The method for cooking these is slightly different than other shapes, though the cook time remains the same.
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How To Make Baked Potatoes In The Instant Pot
- To cook your potatoes in the Instant Pot digital pressure cooker, use the wire trivet that came with the IP. Add one cup of water to the stainless steel insert and arrange potatoes on the trivet.
- Close lid and turn the valve to sealing position. Set timer to 14 minutes for medium potatoes. Make sure the IP is set to cook on high pressure.
- When the time is up and the Instant Pot beeps, press cancel/off button and let it release the pressure naturally for about 4 minutes. The switch the valve to venting position and do a quick pressure release.
- Use kitchen tongs to remove the potatoes from the pressure cooker and set on a platter. Done! Your potatoes are ready!
Its important to poke the potatoes with a fork. It allows the steam from the potatoes to escape during cooking.
No foil is needed to cook the potatoes in your pressure cooker.
How To Serve Butternut Squash:
Once your butternut squash is cooked, you have several options for serving it.
- Cubed Peel and cut the squash into bite size chunks
- Halved Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and serve with the peel still intact.
- Mashed Scoop cooked squash into a bowl and mash or use a mixer or food processor to blend until smooth.
- Roasted Cut squash into desired shape and size, drizzle with olive oil or butter, and place under the oven broiler until it starts to brown.
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Want More Practice Bring It Back To Pressure
Try it again with the same hot water. This time, press Manual and then adjust the 30 minute default time by pressing the button, then press the + button to go up. Lets do 10 minutes.
You may notice how, if you press Manual and take too long before pressing the other buttons, the cooker will just beep on its own and proceed for 30 a minute pressure cooking time. If you need to re-start, just press Cancel/Keep Warm and start over.
Since the water is in your cooker is already almost boiling to begin with, the cooker will come to pressure a lot faster than it did the first timewithin a minute or so. Itll hiss, then the hissing will abruptly stop as the pressure indicator button goes up. If the hissing just keeps on going, its probably because you left the valve in the venting position instead of sealed. Just use your spoon handle to nudge it back.
What next? Same as before: the cooker beeps, the readout will say 10, and then it will switch to LO:00. You can do quick or natural release, whichever floats your boat.
How To Set Up Instant Pot
Steam Rack :
Instant Pot Condensation Collector:
Instant Pot Lid:
Steam Release Valve:
sealingventing1. Sealing: 2. Venting or How to Release Pressure from the Pressure Cooking Setting-Quick release.
-Natural release. If you do NOT do a quick release by pushing the valve to the venting position, the Instant Pot will naturally begin to release the steam on its own immediately after the programmed cooking time is over. This allows the pressure to naturally dissipate on its own. It will start counting to let you know how many minutes it has been releasing the pressure. Usually this takes about 10-20 minutes depending on what and how long you have been cooking something.
The Underside of the Instant Pot Lid:
The Anti-Block Shield:
Instant Pot Sealing Ring:
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How To Cook Rice In Instant Pot
In this beginner-friendly recipe, we are going to teach you how to cook rice in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. With detailed instructions, step-by-step photos and cooking tips, you will have perfectly cooked rice every time. We will cover how to make dry white rice such as Basmati, Jasmine and regular long-grain and medium-grain, and provide cooking variations for brown rice and wild rice.
Rice is the most widely consumed staple food on the planet, so naturally, it is one of the first Instant Pot recipes one should learn how to make. Another reason is that the pressure cooker is perfect for making fluffy, well-cooked rice quickly and easily.
You will find an easy everyday recipe just below or you can jump to other sections in this post: detailed step-by-step instructions for making uncooked white rice such as Basmati, Jasmine, regular long-grain or medium-grain and variations for making wild rice and brown rice in the Instant Pot.
Keywords: Vegan, Vegetarian, Rice, Grain, Instant Pot, Pressure Cooking, Basmati Rice, Jasmine Rice
Instant Pot Pork Loin With Carrots And Onions
Pork Loin is so lean that it’s often overcooked and turns out dry –but not with the Instant Pot. After just thirty minutes, you have tender and juicy pork in a rich, savory sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes for a quick and easy comfort meal.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Pork Loin with Carrots and Onions
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Convert Your Favorite Recipes
Conventional recipes can also be adapted for the multicooker. Its not exact, but you can get good results by following these guidelines.
For Pressure Cooking: Cut the liquid by at least half or even three-quarters. You wont have any of the evaporation happening in the pot. A very rough estimate is to plan on about a third of the standard cooking time for meats, vegetables and grains, with beans taking a quarter of the standard cook time.
For Slow Cooking: You dont get as much evaporation in a slow cooker as you do in the oven. Double or quadruple the cooking time, depending on if youre using the high or low setting.
For Both Methods: If you end up with a thin sauce, open the cooker and use the sauté function to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
Whats The Big Deal With Instant Pots Anyway
Instant Pots are multifunction, programmable electric pressure cookers. Think of them as little cooking robots.
If youre not familiar with pressure cooking, the entire point of an Instant Pot can be confusing.
The big sell here is pressure cooking is up to 70 percent faster than other ways of cooking. Pressure cookers reach higher temperatures because their lids lock into place without steam escaping, which creates a pressurized environment inside the pot. In this environment, the cooker reaches 250°F .
With pressure cooking on a stove, you have to keep a close eye on the cooker because you regulate the heat source. If you let the burner get too hot, the pressure builds up too much and the cooker spews out angry jets of steam .
But with an electric Instant Pot, the cooker regulates its own heat via sensors. Thats the other win. No need to carefully monitor it as your food cooks. Program the Instant Pot and once its going, youre free to go for a walk, vacuum the living room, check your emailyou get the idea.
Instant Pots can do other things besides pressure cook, too. With the lid off, you can sauté ingredients before pressure cooking. You can also use it as a slow cooker or make yogurt in your Instant Pot. Were not going to worry about doing those things here, though. This guide is all about pressure cooking.
Wow That Was No Big Deal Which Recipes To Make Now
Great job! Take the tape off the front of the cooker and read the owners manual.
Heres the scope of whats possible in your Instant Pot, and eventually youll hone in on what makes sense for you: You might cook primarily beans and grains, shaving minutes off cooking components of other recipes. You might steam vegetables most often . You might lean toward multicomponent one-pot meals. Youre the boss of this thing, so have fun!
- Hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot are actually steamed. The plus with them? So easy to peel!
- Do you love cooking dry beans from scratch? In the Instant Pot, they are fast and plump in the pressure cooker. A game-changer.
- Regular steamed rice in an Instant Pot frees you to focus on cooking the rest of the meal. An IP is essentially a rice cooker on steroids.
- Chicken soup from scratch, ready in 60 minutes.
- Classic chili is weeknight-compatible in an Instant Pot.
- Need cooked butternut squash or other winter squash? Steam it in a pressure cooker!
- Cheesecake is a breeze in an Instant Pot, because you steam itno messing with tipsy water baths and multiple pans like you would in an oven.
- Steel-cut oats are an everyday luxury if you program it to cook right when you wake up. Your oatmeal is ready once your coffees brewed and youre dressed!
Want more recipe ideas? Check out our full list of Instant Pot recipes!