Share your Instant Pot love here!
November 25, 2017 5:17 AM   Subscribe

I think I want an Instant Pot. If you love yours, what model/size do you have and why do you love it? What do you make in it the most? Do you have a favorite cookbook that you find helpful? Possibly relevant details—I only cook for myself, but love bulk-cooking ahead and freezing single servings. No dietary restrictions.
posted by bookmammal to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 165 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure a lot of people will answer with their favorite soups and stews, so I won't cover that, but I've done some other things with my Instant Pot that have pleased me greatly:

- Delicious hard boiled eggs! Put a cup of water in the pot, insert a steamer basket, and carefully put the eggs on the steamer. 5 minutes at high pressure, then wait 5 minutes and release the steam. You can tweak the timing depending on how you like your eggs.
- Boneless/skinless chicken breasts for shredding: I use 2-3 large breasts and about a cup of liquid, flavored depending on what I'm doing with the meat. For instance, a cup of chicken broth, some soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, and a little bit of Thai fish sauce will make some delicious tangy pulled chicken suitable for a chopped cabbage salad or something similar.
- Mashed potatoes: similar to the hard boiled eggs, quarter some potatoes, put a cup of water in the pot, and the potatoes on top of a steamer basket. 7 minutes at high pressure and about equal natural release time worked for me and some small red potatoes. (A lot of recipes online have you skip the steamer and cover the potatoes in water or stock, but I like the steaming method.)
- Amazing turkey stock. I used this method, scaled based on the weight of meat I had, plus a stalk or two of celery. So good.
- I've had a lot of good luck cooking rice, too. This method seems to be fine--so far I've only cooked long-grain white rice, but I will try brown rice at some point.

I have the 8-quart DUO80 model. I bought it during a kitchen remodel to replace some stovetop tasks and I've used it nearly every day, and I'm definitely going to keep using it once construction is done!
posted by tybstar at 5:57 AM on November 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

Seconding the hard boiled eggs. The shells just slip off, it's amazing.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:20 AM on November 25, 2017

Caramelized onions. Serious Eats has a recipe that I let run for an extra 10 minutes under pressure to produce the most intensely flavored caramelized onion jam for sandwiches, toppings, etc., with far less work and in far less time than anything else.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:22 AM on November 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

Beans! Dried beans are so much better than canned, they can have this really nice creaminess to them. They're also a lot cheaper. I had a regular pressure cooker before, but with the Instant Pot, you set it and forget it, which is really convenient. I use it to cook rice and other grains too, but honestly, it's not any better than a regular rice cooker for that.
posted by Fig at 6:35 AM on November 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Like tybstar, I like to make chicken in mine -- I'll throw a bunch of chicken thighs or breasts (2-3) in with a bottle of Nando's sauce (125g/~4oz) and then a cup of water, then manual high pressure for 8-15 minutes depending... The flavor infuses the meat just like it'd been marinating for a day and it's delicious. Would probably also work great with BBQ sauce but I haven't had the chance to try it out yet.

I also do whole chickens in mine (the 6 qt), and have done a small whole turkey. It's a great way to get it cooked beautifully and then just throw it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin. Then when you're done, throw the carcass back in and HP it for 90m and presto! Excellent stock.
posted by sldownard at 6:36 AM on November 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

I love to do pulled pork. Rub whateverspices on the pork and brown in the I.P. then add ingredients to make barbeque sauce or you could use store-bought sauce. Cook for 99 mins. I make tons and freeze it and it's super cheap and delicious. Serve on a warm flour tortilla with homemade salsa or chopped tomatoes and srirachi if I'm feeling lazy, a squeeze of lime and some Greek yoghurt.

I also cook whole chickens, barbecoa beef, beans, stock and mashed potatoes and will have to try to pulled chicken now I've read this thread.
posted by hazyjane at 6:43 AM on November 25, 2017

I love mine. There was only one model when I got it, so I have the original. I was shocked at how big it was, so check measurements if space is at a premium. It is the only way I can get dried beans as soft as I want them. I also use it to steam potatoes.

My favorite cookbook for it is Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, which is actually vegan. The author has another book called Cooking Under Pressure, but I’ve never used it. The book predates Instant Pots, so the directions are for stovetop pressure cookers. This has never been a problem for me - I just set the timer for the longest cooking item according to the Instant Pot manual. But a lot of Amazon reviews complain about that, so I thought I’d mention it.
posted by FencingGal at 7:10 AM on November 25, 2017

I do things like wild rice and quick vegetable soups (no more overly crunchy carrots!). I would, however, recommend not even trying to use the manual that comes with the pot. You'll get the basics, but it reads like stereo instructions. I like How to Instant Pot (metafilter's own!) as a instruction book/recipe book.
posted by dogmom at 7:15 AM on November 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ugh, I love my Instant Pot so much. I use it to make mashed potatoes at least twice a week. The pulled pork and hard boiled eggs are king, too. But my favorite, favorite thing to make in my Instant Pot is Spanish Rice.

Sauté garlic, a large white onion and 3 bell peppers on the sauté setting. Toast 1 1/2 cups basmati rice in a stovetop pan. Then throw the rice and 3 cups of liquid (veg stock, chicken stock, I usually do 2 cups veg stock, 1 cup tomato juice) and a can of drained tomatoes in with cumin, cayenne and salt, and bam. In 18 minutes, I have an epic butt-ton of Spanish Rice to nosh on all day.

(Warning, Instant Pot loves to scorch tomato, so you have to take the pot out when it's done.)
posted by headspace at 7:20 AM on November 25, 2017 [11 favorites]

Oh! And I also cook the chicken and make the stock for chicken and noodles and/or dumplings in the Instant Pot. I still do the dumpling part on the stovetop, but it takes a 5 hour recipe and turns it into a 1 hour recipe. I love you, Instant Pot.
posted by headspace at 7:25 AM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a 6 qt version, and it's plenty big. I echo the pulled pork recipe above. My favourite recipe right now is potato soup: dump chopped potatoes and onion in the pot with rosemary, thyme and broth. Cook 12 minutes. Add chopped kale and milk or cream, season, stir to wilt the greens.

I also Carmelite big batches of onions in bacon fat, the freeze them in ice cube trays to add a hit of bacony flavour to anything.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:43 AM on November 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

we use ours to make beans a couple times a week, Rancho Gordo produce some amazing ones that have become central to our weekly menus. Really glad we got one!

Also neither of us are particularly good at cooking rice, and the IP makes it foolproof.
posted by lettezilla at 7:48 AM on November 25, 2017

We don’t have an instant pot per se, we have a Breville pressure cooker. Beans are definitely the magic trick we pull most often, because it turns hours into minutes. We’ve also done risotto, and our cooker came with a cookbook that includes a chicken adobo recipe that is ridiculously fast and easy, so we’ve done that a few times. The one time we cooked a whole chicken in it, it was kind of a mess because it was falling apart coming out of the cooker, before we could even get it under the broiler for a minute.
posted by adamrice at 7:54 AM on November 25, 2017

Have had a 6 quart Instant Pot a few months and have already found a number of great uses especially right now when we have a 3 month baby in the house and quick meals are a priority:

It's really perfect for making large quantities of meat and then freezing in individual portions. I like to use chicken thighs or lamb shoulder or pulled pork. Anything you would usually braise does wonderfully in it. Yesterday I cooked 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs plus a large jar of salsa (and a bit of water, but this was unnecessary - I had to cook off a lot of the water to get it to a consistency I like). Before adding the chicken and salsa I fried up a little bit of sliced onions with some cumin, ground coriander and cayenne, but that's only because I like to complicate things and the salsa I had was nothing fancy - it would have been fine without that step.

I served this with mashed potatoes we also cooked using the instant pot - peeled potatoes, add water to about the level (not exact) - 12 minutes on high pressure, natural release. Then mash however you would normally (we like butter and sour cream).

We then froze up individual portions of the chicken thighs to use for later meals.

It makes great bone broth. I used the directions from nom nom paleo here.

It's great for making quick work of cooking chickpeas or lentils. For these we soak the chickpeas / lentils then completely cover then use 12-15 minutes on high pressure, based on how soft you want things. You can always season them before you cook.
posted by peacheater at 8:11 AM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nom nom paleo is in general a great source for make ahead instant pot recipes, as is the new book they brought out (Ready or Not!).

I've heard great things about Melissa Clark's Instant Pot cookbook. I've only tried one of her recipes, but it was delicious: Pressure Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken.
posted by peacheater at 8:16 AM on November 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

THANK YOU for asking this!! Can someone PLEASE tell me if it works for brisket? I can see that a 5 lb brisket wouldn't lie flat in any of the IP baskets -- does it evenly if it's cut up and layered to fit in the pot?
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:21 AM on November 25, 2017

I freeze 4 or so chicken thighs, raw, to a bag and then cook those in the Instant Pot for quick dinners during the week. I can easily cook 3 bags at a time if i need to.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:25 AM on November 25, 2017

Can confirm it works for brisket. I've done a 4-lb brisket, and I'm sure I could have squeezed in a 5-lb, but yes, it's cut into chunks.
posted by adamrice at 8:34 AM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

For the slow cooker function, I recently made this version of Pork Adobada and it was delicious, if not like the version I buy at the carniceria. (Tip: I asked the butcher to slice the pork shoulder into 1"-ish steaks and just cubed that up. Easy peasy.)
posted by Room 641-A at 8:51 AM on November 25, 2017

I have the 6qt DUO and it is plenty big for two people. Like everyone else, my mainstays are eggs (I did 20 eggs in one go for deviling this week), b/s thighs are always in the freezer, once every month or two I buy a 4-5lb package of pork cushion meat which will make 2-3 rounds of carnitas/pulled pork. I can get the edible parts of 1-2 cauliflower heads in it at once to make mash/puree. Beans are so good, I had no idea until I started making my own. I will make a batch of beans one day and let them marinate in their juice in the fridge overnight, make chili in the pot on saute mode, switch it over to slow cooker, put the beans in, and let it go for an hour or so.

I really like Pressure Cooking Today for recipes. Her honey sesame chicken and spicy honey garlic chicken are quick go-tos for us, and there's a chicken and wild rice soup that is made almost entirely of convenience foods but is really good anyway. Another favorite soup of mine is "African" peanut stew - google it, and you'll find it in all possible iterations from vegan to pork.

After having my Instant Pot for a short time, I went ahead and bought a fancy rice cooker. I've never liked the rice I made in the IP (and I tried all the methods) and it's nice to have it going simultaneously.

Once you get the hang of timing, it gets easier to do what I call two-step meals. Like, undercook your protein by half-ish, open the pot and add in quicker-cooking vegetables and curry or tomato sauce, go another minute or two.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:27 AM on November 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I’m biased because it’s my book, but you should check out How to Instant Pot. There are a few recipes from the book on the blog there.
posted by veggieboy at 9:27 AM on November 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

My sister-in-law got one. Then my mom got one. Now I've got one, and I made phở bò in an hour.


Metafilter, there is nothing that fights off that it's-dark-and-cold-at-4:30 like a bowl of phở bò. With this IP recipe, you have about thirty minutes of prep, then you dump everything in the pot and walk away.


Also, my parents now make their own Greek yogurt with their IP, and it tastes great. Cheap as hell, too.
posted by RakDaddy at 9:53 AM on November 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I use mine multiple times a week - I make yogurt, some sort of chicken dish, a soup, and something else.
The advantage is that you can saute in it and then add other stuff on top.

Buy multiple rings because the ring takes on curry and other spice smells. I tend to use one ring for sweet and another for savory.
I also like having two interior pots to swap things out without washing.

It has changed our cooking tremendously and for the better.

N thing Nom Nom Paleo.
posted by k8t at 10:19 AM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

veggieboy's book is indeed quite awesome, and he did not even pay me to say that!
posted by briank at 10:29 AM on November 25, 2017

Love ours! Prices fluctuate widely on Amazon. There are helpful FaceBook pages to check out, some of which keep you up to date on Amazon pricing. Our favorite cookbook is "Indian Instant Pot Cookbook" by U. Pitre. One favorite thing to cook is "baked" potatoes, skins on, use steamer basket, and they reliably come out moist and cooked perfectly through in 6-8 min.
posted by Otterone at 11:02 AM on November 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have a 6 quart InstaPot and love it. I figured out risotto, and that's been the big thing I've made thus far.


One onion
Olive oil
10 oz frozen butternut squash, pre-cut
3 cups arborio rice
1 liter chicken or vegetable broth, or appropriate better than bullion for 5-6 cups of liquid
8 oz goat cheese

Slice the onion thinly. Put some olive oil in the pressure cooker and turn it to saute. Put in the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring as appropriate. Turn the pressure cooker off.

Add the risotto, butternut squash, broth, and herbs. Seal the pressure cooker and press the rice button. When the pressure cooker finishes, use the quick release. Stir the goat cheese into the risotto, it will melt and spread out easily.

Add salt or pepper if desired.


Herbs are to taste. I have fresh stuff around so I just grabbed a little bit of that and chopped it up.

You can throw in the butternut squash still frozen, no problem.

If you want to substitute some white wine for broth, that’s fine. Verjus will also work fine for those of us who avoid alcohol.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:42 AM on November 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have TWO! Both 6qt Duos, but had the little 3qt cutie been out when I bought the second one, I would have gotten that instead. I make yogurt, beans, quinoa, rice, lentils (taco filling- yum) and a bunch of other stuff too. Buy it and be not afraid! So many people open the box and get too nervous to use it. It’s safe, really! There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve read a few recipes and watched a few how-to videos you’ll be off and running.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 12:01 PM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Background: I cook just for myself most of the time, and I love cooking.

I use my IP multiple times a week to cook sweet potatoes, various squashes, beans, or risotto on weeknights, when I want those delicious foods but don't want to wait the hours they usually take to properly cook.

It's also very nice for broths, especially when I'm not feeling well and don't want to babysit a pot on the stove.

I will say I strongly dislike cooking white potatoes in the IP. They get a weird texture I don't like. But those are quicker to cook outside of it anyway!
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:57 PM on November 25, 2017

I do lots of curries and soups in mine using Nom Nom Paleo recipes as a guide. I also make this coconut milk yogurt all the time.

I run a closed Instant Pot vegan group on Facebook if anyone wants to join.
posted by _Mona_ at 3:56 PM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I make Skinnytaste's barbacoa beef the most. She has a bunch of other great Instant Pot recipes that are (even more) simple and extremely tasty and freezable. I've enjoyed the rock creek ranch black beans, the chicken and lentil soup, the one-pot spaghetti squash and meat sauce, the chicken curry with coconut milk, and others.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:07 PM on November 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bought the 6-qt Instant Pot less than a month ago, and have made: pot roast (4x), beef stew (3x), hard-boiled eggs (a dozen), soft-boiled eggs (a dozen), potatoes, carrots, Italian sauce with pork sausages and meatballs (tasted all-day simmered) and garlic lime chicken breasts. It's amazing, you can use frozen meat and meals are still done in under an hour. Also, I like a leaner pot roast, and cuts like tri-tip roasts or London broil are still fall-apart tender. No cookbooks -- just blog posts, previous AskMe threads, and general fooling about.

(A week into ownership, I was starting a meal while distracted and poured chicken stock, onion soup mix, and bay leaves into the machine sans stainless steel liner, flooding the counter and floor. Unscrewed the bottom panel, dabbed every wire and cranny with paper towels, picked out the dehydrated onion bits, washed the panel, and swabbed the cylinder with a damp cloth. Ran to Dr. Google, reasoning, I can't be the only idiot who's done this [reading MetaFilter all these years has reassured me I'm not the only idiot to have done almost anything -- thanks, lovelies!], and took its excellent advice to leave the cooker upside down to air out for several hours. The Instant Pot still works perfectly, and next up is this rice pudding recipe.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:04 PM on November 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love making my own Greek yogurt in the instant pot, because it’s a little milder than the store-bought kind, which I appreciate. It’s certainly cheaper; you just need a food thermometer and a nut-milk bag or other strainer.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:14 PM on November 25, 2017

is it ok to put in frozen chicken thighs? what about frozen stew meat? (I know it's tastier to brown meat first but say I was willing to compromise as long as the result was safe and edible?)
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:36 PM on November 25, 2017

Frozen is fine. It'll take longer to come to pressure but otherwise nothing changes. We pretty much live on frozen b/s chicken thighs during the week. You can even fling in a block of frozen ground beef if you're fine with it being kinda cooked to death (I do it all the time for chili and big batches of taco meat).

The only calculation you need to make with frozen is density. An entire frozen pork shoulder or beef roast could take up to an hour to come up to pressure, so you want to cube it into roughly equal pieces before you freeze it so each piece cooks at roughly the same pace and all of it cooks in a reasonable time. Every once in a while I'll have a "brick" of thighs I can't get broken apart, and I'll drizzle some water over them and do a quick 2-3 minute run just to see if I can get them apart with a fork before cooking the rest of the way.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:45 PM on November 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Bagging the frozen thighs into 3 or 4 pieces makes it barely take longer to come to pressure than it would fresh and it's more difficult to overcook. Boil your liquid in the Instant Pot before adding frozen mean to reduce the time.

I also HEARTILY recommend the OXO fat separators, both sizes. It makes it a lot easier to reduce sauces right away.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:30 PM on November 25, 2017

I also make yogurt once a week. I love that mine has no chemicals for thickeners, just plain old good, organic yogurt. I started with a small container of plain yogurt from the grocery store, and then it was like sourdough starter, I just keep reusing a small amount of yougurt every week to start the new batch.
posted by raisingsand at 7:21 AM on November 26, 2017

I got my IP about a year ago - it might have been Black Friday, now that I think about it; and I use it frequently.

- Yesterday I made pork ribs (15 minutes in the pot and then broil with sauce for a few).
- A few days ago threw in some chicken thighs with a spoonful each of Korean ssamjang and chili paste, a splash of soy sauce and a little water and had something delicious in about 10 minutes. The next day I cooked a couple of soft-boiled eggs (6 min at low pressure) to add to the leftovers and it was even better.
- This lemon chicken recipe was also really good recently (I used thyme instead of rosemary).
- Last weekend I cooked a pork loin from frozen in about 25 minutes and had it for lunch all week.
- It's also almost time for me to start making holiday cheesecakes, which turn out really nicely in the IP.

The Reddit r/instantpot and r/pressurecooking groups are good for recipes, inspiration and advice.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:09 AM on November 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh yeah, I forgot that I also make chicken adobo pretty often. I cook mostly for myself, and I have the 6-qt version.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2017

One thing I hadn't realised before I got my I.P. was that it doesn't just save time but it actually seems to make food that tastes better than it would if I cooked it through other methods. I'm not 100% sure it isn't my imagination but I don't think it is. Something about cooking at pressure seems to me to intensify the flavours of the food. Like may be it's pressing the herbs and spices into the meat or maybe the pressure causes the flavours to marry? I don't know but it's great.
posted by hazyjane at 11:55 AM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I make brown rice (22 min!), Kale (3 min) and dried beans a lot. I use the times on Hip pressure cooking for guidance.

I also make just about anything that has a "simmer for x minutes" in it, reducing the time to about a third. This recipe for bolognese works well at 10min.

If you have a kettle, you can speed everything up by using boiling water. It comes to pressure much faster if it's already hot.

Last night I made dhal for the week (6 servings):

Melt 2 tbsp butter, add 2tbsp cumin seeds, 2tsp tumeric, chili flakes to taste (or cayenne, or birds eye chilis) and heat till fragrant. Add 2 cups red lentils, 6 cups (boiling water), seal and cook at pressure for three minutes. Release and add 1 tsp salt. I like to add frozen spinach at this point, though I may try adding it with the lentils, because heating the dhal at this point can result in turmeric stains on surrounding walls, as it bloops like a swamp of despair.
posted by kjs4 at 4:54 PM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

We literally just caved, an Instant Pot was delivered to our house today, and I made a very righteous looking stock in the 30 minutes while we ate dinner with some frozen chicken carcass that had been in the freezer for months. I then chopped an onion, sauteed it, put 4 cups of chicken stock back into the pot with 2 cups of rice, hit the pressure button and in four minutes of cook time have a pretty nice approximate of a risotto. Well, more of a pilaf since I don't have wine or saffron or more butter or cheese in it, but anyway I just tasted it and it's good and I was able to goof off on the internet for basically all of the cook time besides the sauteeing. So... now I'm off to portion lunches. It's an IP-Duo, but since I wasn't involved in this purchase decision, I can't compare/contrast on features.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:21 PM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I ordered an Instant Pot today and am really looking forward to trying it out next weekend. So many great ideas listed above! I can’t wait to start experimenting—and eating the results.
posted by bookmammal at 3:18 PM on November 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

I made a lazy instant pot discovery this morning: you can hard boil eggs and pressure cook steel cut oatmeal at the same time. Instant breakfast! I put in my usual oats (about 3/4 cup oats and 1 1/2 cups water), then put in the steamer rack on top with some eggs on it. High pressure for 5 minutes, wait for 5 minutes before pressure release. I had perfect eggs and slightly al dente oatmeal (the way I like it). The eggshells were covered with oatmeal goo, but that's ok because I don't eat that part, and the shells slip right off when eggs are cooked this way.
posted by moonmilk at 11:08 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just made this Indian butter chicken and I can't even handle how good it is. SO GOOD. And I only used a fraction of the fat -- recipe calls for both butter and cream; I only used half the butter and no cream. And it's still amazing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:42 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Going no contact without burning bridges......   |   Home stereo question Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.