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The Instant Pot Simplified: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes to Get You Started

Unless you have been living under a rock off of social media, you have heard rumors of this magical creation called the Instant Pot. If you haven’t seen this appliance work its magic, you probably think the women touting its amazingness found their way into some other type of “instant pot” based on all of their crazy claims! However, I am here to set the record straight: The Instant Pot truly is magical, and it will completely transform mealtime in your home. 

Instant Pot Kitchen ApplianceWhat Is It?

Long gone are the days of men and women everywhere fearing their stove-top pressure cookers exploding! The Instant Pot is a modern-day electric pressure cooker that takes the guesswork and fear straight out of pressure cooking. And, before I lose you, it’s purpose is not to try to turn y’all into Laura Ingalls canning your most recent harvest. This do-it-all device will steam your rice, brown your ground beef, cook your Sunday roast, ferment yogurt, and make hard boiled eggs all with surprising ease and in record time!  

On top of all of that, you can cook your meat from frozen! Just last night I cooked chicken breasts, from frozen to shreddable, in under 15 minutes start to finish. It’s like Tinkerbell came and sprinkled pixie dust on my crock pot! (Which, by the way, you will not need any more after you buy one of these!)

Now that I have your attention, let’s get to the good stuff! My Facebook feed is FILLED with Instant Pot lovers (apparently I have really smart friends), so I decided to crowd source in order to bring you our Top 10 Tips and Tricks AND the Top 10 Go-to Recipes of the Instant Pot. If you have questions, do not be afraid to ask them. We are here to help. Ready . . . set . . . INSTANT POT!

Top 10 Tips & Tricks

1. Don’t freak out. It won’t explode, I promise. If you are just beginning, look for instructions on how to do “the water test” in your manual. This will help you get the lay of the land without putting a meal on the line.

2. Start out easy. If you aren’t sure what that looks like, try my favorite, “First Meal.” Put a pound of chicken breasts in the silver pot.  Next, pour a 16 ounce jar of salsa on top. Close the lid, be sure the pressure valve is closed, press manual, and adjust the time to nine minutes. Go fold a load of laundry, and return when you hear the timer go off. Turn the pressure valve down, which will allow a “quick release” of the steam. Once all the steam has escaped, open the pot and use your hand mixer to shred the chicken. (Just be careful; its HOT!) Put the shredded “Salsa Chicken” into lettuce wraps or tortillas, and voila! Dinner is served. 

3. No more take-out because you forgot to take meat out of the freezer. You can cook thawed meat, frozen meat, or anything in between in record breaking time. That Salsa Chicken recipe I posted above? If your chicken is frozen, cook for 12-14 minutes instead of nine. If it isn’t quite shreddable yet, just put the lid back on, and cook for a few more minutes. 

4. Use the pre-sets. All of those buttons can be confusing, but they are intended to keep the guess-work at bay. Rather than trying to decide how long to cook your rice, just push the “rice” button. Same goes for stew, chili, soup, and oatmeal.  

5. Ditch the extra pans. Does your recipe call for sautéed onions or browned meat? Simply start with the Sauté function and brown your meat or veggies. When you are done, pour a little bit of water in the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, and then continue on without ever having to dirty an extra pot or pan.

6. Speaking of sauté . . . if you want to make things go even faster, turn on the sauté function and pour in your liquids as you are preparing everything else. This will heat up the liquid, helping your pot reach pressure faster when you turn it on to cook. 

7. Sauté again! Because liquid is required to get your pot to pressure, and because very little liquid will evaporate during the pressure cooking process, your dish may end up a little soupier than you would like. Simply take off the lid after your dish is done cooking, and turn on the sauté function. Allow the sauce to simmer until your sauce reaches the desired consistency. (You can also make gravy this way.)

8. Use the trivet. That little metal insert really is useful!  If you want to steam veggies or even reheat frozen leftovers, use the trivet. Pour in a cup of water, then place an oven safe container on the trivet. The first time I did this with a glass Pyrex, I was certain the whole thing would explode into a thousand sharp pieces, but I instead got perfectly steamed green beans in just a few minutes.  

9. Consider buying a second insert. I know this sounds crazy, but having a second stainless steel insert will help you get even more out of your Instant Pot. You can make an entree, then switch the pots and quickly make some rice.  

10. Join the Facebook group. There is an entire community of Instant Pot gurus available to help! This Facebook group has answered my questions, given me tips, and gotten me out of my dinner rut over and over again. 

Top 10 Go-to Recipes

1. Perfect FAST Hard Boiled Eggs

2. Easy Bone Broth

3. Butter Chicken

4. Macaroni and Cheese

5. 7 Minute Spaghetti Squash

6. 5 Minute Shrimp Scampi Paella

7. Sausage Penne Pasta

8. Easiest Pot Roast EVER

9. CHEESECAKE (No, I haven’t lost my mind!) 

10. Steel Cut Oats

instant potIf you are giving the Instant Pot as a gift, you can download and print the image seen to the right, and include it with your gift package. This will provide the recipient with the link he or she needs to access these tips and tricks to getting started with the Instant Pot!

Are you already an Instant Pot lover? Share with us YOUR favorite recipes, tips, and tricks so our newbies can get even more out of their Instant Pot experience! 

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8 Responses to The Instant Pot Simplified: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes to Get You Started

  1. Roxanne December 11, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    How much is this wonderful contraption?

    • Emily S. December 12, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

      I think there are different styles – I don’t have one yet but hope to get one soon! https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=instant+pot

    • Krista
      Krista December 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

      They range anywhere from $60-$150, depending on which one you buy and when you buy it! There are occasional sales on Amazon, so I always encourage people to try to hold out until one goes on sale. They will post it in the Instant Pot FB group if you want to join there!

      Here is the run down on the different models:

      The DUO models have 7 functions, including a yogurt function…. which I love.

      The LUX models have 6 functions.

      The number afterward refers to the size… the 50 is a 5 quart, the 60 is a 6 quart, etc.

      Hope that helps!!!

  2. Raj @ www.ThePrimalDesire.com December 11, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Made the Top 10 IP recipes list? I’m honored, and glad that you like the butter chicken!

    Amazing the things you can do with an IP. I just posted a recipe for dairy free chocolate eggnog as well. There are so many exciting recipes being developed!

    • Krista
      Krista December 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

      I had SEVERAL people tell me your Butter Chicken was their all time favorite InstantPot recipe! Its on my rotation this week, too 😉

      Thank you for providing so many people with nourishing, easy recipes!

  3. Robin Bartanen December 14, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I printed out the printable and tried the link. It did not work.

  4. Christine January 17, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    I watched you video yesterday (the entire video) Andy I can’t tell you how much it helped me understand my IP. Thank you! Will be following your blog.

    • Krista
      Krista January 17, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

      I’m so so glad Christine! I hope you begin to love your IP as much as we all do!

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