Instant Pot Fear No More

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There’s nothing worse than purchasing another kitchen gadget that takes up cabinet space and never gets used.  I held out on the Instant Pot for years for this exact reason.  I was sure I wouldn’t use it.  I had heard mixed reviews both on little use and even fear that an explosion could take place in my kitchen if I used it wrong.  Working from home, I always assumed the crockpot would be able to do all of the same things, so I watched and waited.  This is an important time to also reiterate, I am no kitchen wizard.  So what finally made me take the Instant Pot plunge?  Krista’s Instant Pot Pinto Beans!  

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I purchased the Instant Pot Duo 6-quart. It’s a great size. I let it sit in the packaging for a good week before I had a girlfriend come over and show me there was nothing to fear. I needed somebody to hold my hand and walk me through the steps, and that’s what my aim is here today for you!  If you want to know which size and instant pot is best for you, click HERE for a full list of options.

Instant Pot how to

The first thing I want to cover is the sealing/venting knob. I’m covering this first, because it seemed the most intimidating to me.  When you’re cooking you want to make sure that the knob is slid all the way over to “sealing.”  Once the food’s done you can let your instant pot natural release (10 to 40 minutes depending on the amount of food/liquid in the pot) or quick release (all steam comes out at once),depending on what the recipe calls for. When the instant pot vents on quick release it shoots out steam pretty aggressively.  Make sure it’s not under your upper cabinets when releasing the steam or that will cover the bottom of your cupboards with the condensation.

There are programming keys on the front of your instant pot.  The button I’ve personally used the most is the “pressure level” button as most recipes that I’ve used indicate a pressure level as well as a time.  You can adjust cook time with the +/- keys.  Another amazing feature of the instant pot is the Saute button.  This button really separates the instant pot from the crockpot as it allows you to saute food prior to cooking, i.e. saute garlic and onions, sear meat, etc. Be sure to keep the lid off when sauteing. 

Your pressure cooker will come with a steam rack that you can place at the bottom of your instant pot.  This can be used for recipes that need to sit higher to allow for steaming, i.e. baked potatoes, hard boiled eggs, vegetables.

Instant Pot how to

Some of the coolest features about the instant pot that have won me over:

  • You can cook frozen meat right in there if you forget to thaw!
  • If you don’t want to heat up your oven, baked potatoes in the instant pot work great!
  • You have another kitchen gadget available to you when making big meals for a dinner that may serve a lot of people.
  • Forget to start your crockpot in the morning?  No problem, you can still have dinner on the table in a very reasonable amount of time with an instant pot.
  • Makes meal prep easier!

Favorite Instant Pot Macro Friendly Recipes:

Some important things to remember:

  • It takes about 10 minutes for your pressure cooker to get to pressure and another 5-10 minutes for it to quick release the pressure after cooking. So keep in mind a recipe that says to cook for 20 minutes will actually take 35-40 minutes total.
  • The lid must be locked before it will start to pressurize.
  • Inner pot comes out just like a crockpot for cleaning.
  • Liquid- you have to make sure you put ½ -1 cup of water or marinade in with your food or it will burn and shut off.
  • The manual button is usually all you need.
  • If you’re having trouble with the Cooking Programing Keys (rice, soup, poultry, meat, stew, bean buttons) with burning or undercooking, see the chart below.
  • If you have any other issues that you’d like to troubleshoot, click HERE for the full instructional manual. 

If you’ve got an instant pot sitting in your cupboards somewhere, this is the week to dust it off! Remember you’ll be able to cook frozen meats and save on cook time, all while freeing up your oven and stove!  Happy Cooking!

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