Inspire me, oh Instant Pot!
April 30, 2018 12:55 PM   Subscribe

I have joined the legion of Instant Pot owners (the 3 qt. variety). I’m new to the world of pressure/multi cookers and… well, cooking in general. What recipes, recipe resources, accessories and/or general all around tips can you give me so I can amaze Mrs. Jabo with my culinary awakening?
posted by jabo to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
This is a great blog. If you like her style, she has two cookbooks that you'll like too.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2018 [6 favorites]

Everyone is going to say beans.

My bean tips:
-No need to pre-soak. But do rinse!
-Cook in water or salt-free stock. Salt in the water alters the cooking. I don't know why.
-Add a splash of oil to prevent foaming.
-Cook for 45-60 minutes at high pressure, depending on the type of bean.
posted by slipthought at 1:21 PM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

One-offs: (assuming carnivorism) I made this on Saturday and we all loved it. Similarly this. Yes I am kind of into pork.
posted by Smearcase at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2018

I found the book How to Instant Pot really helpful! I got it a couple of months ago (a year or two into actually owning an Instant Pot) and it is like a user-friendly, detailed manual with some decent recipes. I actually started making yogurt because of it!
posted by mskyle at 1:24 PM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hard boiled eggs
Brown rice
Pot roast
Corned beef and cabbage
Chicken soup
Spicy pineapple pork
Cheesecake (This is more involved than the savory recipes. Follow these directions very carefully and it's not too hard and should definitely impress Mrs. Jabo! My first cheesecake ever came out lovely. I'm pretty comfortable in the kitchen but not experienced with desserts.)
posted by a moisturizing whip at 1:41 PM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

As far as blogs, Smitten Kitchen has some Instant Pot recipes. So does Damn Delicious.

101 Cookbooks has a good and growing selection of vegetarian Instant Pot recipes.

(And: I wrote How to Instant Pot and it's super cool that mskyle recommended my book. I also have a food email newsletter that frequently touches on Instant Pot stuff, though it is not all Instant Pot all the time.)
posted by veggieboy at 1:41 PM on April 30, 2018 [17 favorites]

Yes, beans. But to follow up on Slipthought's comments regarding salting beans when you cook them, the folks at Serious Eats looked into this issue and found that salting your beans when you cook them is actually a good idea.
posted by cleverevans at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're still on facebook, there is a Facebook group that is expressly for the Instant Pot Mini, curated by a woman who links to other existing recipes that she has successfully scaled down for the Mini size (meaning: if you halve the ingredients in the original recipe it will work successfully in the Mini).

Although personally I find that cooking beans as a further ingredient in other things is the thing I use it for most often.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:45 PM on April 30, 2018

Melissa Clark at the NYTimes has written a lot about the instant pot, both in the paper and in a book. I find her recipes really inspiring.
I don't have an instant pot, I have a pressure cooker, and I love it. After following recipes for the first few months, I've now learnt to adapt all sorts of recipes for the cooker. Sometimes I check cooking times by writing "pressure cooker (chosen food) cooking time" into google while I still use my original recipe, but mostly I know what to do without googling.
The most obvious is doing weekend food on workdays, like a really good lasagna, or chili, or osso buco, or oxtail stew or ham hocks. What convinced me to buy the cooker was a cookbook I bought in Morocco, where every single one of the traditional dishes was cooked in a pressure cooker in less than half an hour — and I really like Moroccan food.
I'm working on a good ramen soup, and thinking about how I can adapt my favorite borscht recipe to the pressure cooker. Obviously, soups and stocks and broths work very well, but some recipes ask for adding stuff over time, which isn't great when the food is under pressure and you need to release it to add stuff.
The ham hock goes under the broiler after cooking, and you can do this with a lot of meat to get a crusty finish (though it doesn't work for me with chicken, probably it's not fatty enough).
posted by mumimor at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2018

Steel cut oatmeal and risotto. Neither recipe is any shorter for being made in the Instant Pot -- you're looking at 45 minutes for each, once you factor in coming up/down from pressure -- but the ability to just throw ingredients in and walk away is amazing.
posted by apparently at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2018

Cook Multiple Things in One Instant Pot Through the Clever Use of Trivets. The example given is short ribs and sweet potatoes, cooked in the same pot and ready at the same time.
posted by Iridic at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2018

Any recipe that says "simmer for x minutes" can be done in the instant pot in about a third of x at pressure, (a bit less for veg and lentils, a bit more for meat, in my experience). It's not a huge time saver for quick things, but it makes cooking more idiot proof. I hate stirring and making sure things don't stick.

For example, I make this pumpkin curry often, and I seal and pressure cook for 3 minutes instead of the simmer for 10 min (I add stock cubes and a full can of coconut milk though). It probably doesn't save time, but means that I can clean the rest of the kitchen and reheat the rice while it doesn't it's thing. I also don't end up with pumpkin glub all over my stove. I also make this eggplant stew in about 10 minutes.
posted by kjs4 at 4:55 PM on April 30, 2018

Tip I forgot!

The *instant* part of Instant Pot can be misleading.

Recipes will say set the timer for 15 minutes, and you'll think, oh, that's fast! ; however, you need to add the time it takes for it to come up to pressure and to depressurize, whether it's quick release or natural, which can take quite a bit of time, especially if it is something with lots of volume or liquid.

Adjust accordingly! As several have stated or alluded to above, the Instant Pot doesn't always save time, but it is a nice controlled environment with predictable results.

And a bonus tip:
Don't forget to clean the rim on the base - where the lid sits and rotates to lock. It's easy to overlook but can affect the seal.
posted by slipthought at 5:03 PM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Risotto. Dead easy. Stir in some frozen veggies once it’s done; the residual heat should cook them.

Yogurt. (Don’t get too hung up on the specific brand names in that recipe. I use Fage 2% as starter with just store-brand whole milk and it works brilliantly.)

You can adapt your favorite pot roast recipe, whatever that may be, by cooking it at high pressure for about 45 minutes. This blog tested several cooking times and found 45 minutes worked best.

Typically, you can google for any recipe of interest, add the phrase “instant pot,” and find multiple options that will let you triangulate optimal cooking time and technique. That last link points out one of the few categories where this plan doesn’t work — pot roast recipes are all over the map. I can confirm 45 minutes worked for me, though.
posted by snowmentality at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Impress the missus with cheesecake cheesecake cheesecake.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:14 PM on April 30, 2018

Just finished my lunch of leftover Instant Pot Ropa Viejo which is even yummier the next day. We loved this so much for dinner Sunday night that we immediately made another batch so we could have some for the week.
posted by cross_impact at 10:22 AM on May 1, 2018

It makes the fluffiest steamed potatoes ever that you can mash into a potato cloud.

I don't like the steamer basket that came with my Pressure King Pro (the UK market leader), so I bought one of these silicone steamer baskets, which fits snugly and holds a lot. I like the taste of the potato skin, so I don't peel them, but that's optional. I put the potatoes in whole (or if they're big, cut in half), steam them for 10 minutes and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes or so.

The potatoes will be so soft and fluffy you can mash them with a fork. Add butter, salt, pepper, cream cheese, ranch dressing, whatever. Potato game-changer.
posted by essexjan at 12:53 PM on May 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK… I cooked my first Instant Pot meal. I decided to go out on a limb and cook oatmeal per apparently’s suggestion. I put one cup Irish Steel Cut Oats and 2 cups water, and set it while I went out for a walk. Best oatmeal I’ve had in a long time, very creamy and not gooey.

I also just ordered veggieboy’s How to Instant Pot to use for my next recipe. A mefi expert with his own book responds, how cool is that?

2 questions for anyone still reading this:

1. Does high altitude have any effect on cooking time with a pressure cooker? I’m thinking it requires longer cooking times, same as with regular cooking.

2. The Instant Pot manual says that at least 2 cups of water (or liquid) are required for pressure cooking. However; many of the recipes I’m looking at have far less than that. What’s correct?

All of the answers have been very helpful, thanks everybody for the tasty suggestions.
posted by jabo at 10:14 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

It may depend on what else is in there, but in my experience, 1 cup of liquid is plenty; however I've always also got meat in there that releases liquid too. Now that is for a 6 quart: I have heard of people getting scorch warnings in 8 quart pots with recipes that do fine in a 6.

Sorry I can't help with the pressure question. I know some IPs have a setting for you to adjust altitude.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:31 PM on May 2, 2018

1. Formula to adjust high-altitude pressure cooking times
2. Ingredients also release liquid as they cook. Follow the amounts given in the tested recipes, as they will have adjusted the liquid measurement for that recipe. If too little liquid is added initially, you'll know because the cooker won't build pressure.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:33 PM on May 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I use mine all the time. Brilliant for boiled eggs that never cling to the shell. This Korean Brisket is the best thing I've ever made. Mmmm, time to go buy a brisket....
posted by cyndigo at 7:18 PM on May 7, 2018

I know this thread is months old, but I keep hearing this question about altitude affecting pressure cookers, and no one ever gives a coherent answer.

The reason that cooking at altitude requires changes is because the ambient air pressure up there is lower. Your instant pot creates its own internal pressure, meaning you might find it takes longer to get up to puff, but the actual at-pressure cooking situation will be identical from then on.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:32 AM on October 21, 2018

Of course, reading Iris's link, it makes perfect sense that the pressure gauge is relative to ambient pressure, and thus I was completely incorrect!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:56 AM on October 22, 2018

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