The first time I read a blog post about the Instant Pot, I scoffed that it certainly didn’t sound instant. Though the IP has many functions, it’s primarily a pressure cooker, and pressure cookers take time to build up and then release pressure.
But I kept hearing more and more people rave about Instant Pots and kept seeing more good-sounding recipes. So I used my Amazon points (racked up from using the Amazon credit card. I could use them for everyday buying, like books, but I like to save them up for bigger purchases I wouldn’t normally make).
But my IP sat on the counter for a couple of weeks before I tried it.
I had been afraid of pressure cookers, having heard horror stories of their explosions all my life. But the Instant Pot has safety features built in, so I have little fear of the machine itself. However, it would take a bit of a learning curve and some experimenting to figure it all out, and most weekday evenings had me throwing together whatever was quick and tasty without much time or inclination to experiment.
I’ve been collecting Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest, however, and finally tried a few.
The biggest pluses to the IP I have found so far are:
1. Some items do take less time. The time it takes for the pressure to build up and release does offset the time saved actually cooking, but sometimes the whole process is still less than conventional cooking.
2. Meals can be made all in one pan. With some regular casseroles, I’d have to brown the meat in a skillet, cook the rice or noodles in a saucepan, and then combine them with sauces and spices in a baking pan before putting it all in the oven or microwave. But the IP has a “saute” function, which means I can brown meat in it and then add other ingredients and switch to the pressure cooker function, so I am just using the one pan.
3. It keeps the oven off. I don’t use the oven much in warm weather because of the excess heat it creates that the AC can’t keep up with. But with the IP I can make some meals that I normally wouldn’t during the summer.
4. It has multiple functions. Besides sauteing and pressure cooking, the IP can also function as a rice cooker and crockpot. It can even make yogurt.
Probably my favorite discovery for the IP was that I could cook chicken tenderloins straight from the freezer in it. I’ve cooked them frozen in the microwave and oven, but it’s nice to know I can do that with the IP, too. I’ve been thinking about cooking a whole pot full of them and then dividing them up to freeze for easy future meals.
My favorite recipe for the IP so far is Chicken and Dumplings. I use the ingredients for this one, a stove-top recipe I had used before, and the Instant Pot instructions for this one. These ribs were really good, too. We also enjoyed Copycat Hamburger Helper and Chicken Parmigiana.
And that’s about the limit of my Instant Pot experience so far. 🙂 How about you? Have you tried it? What do you like about it? What’s your favorite Instant Pot recipe?