Honesty check – does your Instant Pot shine just like it came out of the box, because, well, it’s still sitting in the box? Are you afraid to pull the trigger on trying your new appliance? My good friend, an excellent cook, received an Instant Pot as a gift six months ago. She’s a health nut, so I knew she’d love the variety of nutritious meals she could prepare. I asked her recently how she was enjoying the flexibility of cooking with her new kitchen toy and she sheepishly admitted she was afraid to try it. Not only that, she keeps asking me to come over and show her how to use it. She’s not the only one – old pressure cookers certainly garnered a bit of a reputation for being unstable (ever heard the cliche ‘he’ll pop his top like a pressure cooker’? The reputation had some merit). Since I can’t come over to all of your kitchens and walk you through (I wish I could – how fun would that be!), here’s some reasons why you can be confident cooking with Instant Pot.
Today’s pressure cookers, including the increasingly popular Instant Pot, use electricity to stabilize the pressure, making them safer and easier to use. Can you still have kitchen mistakes and minor pressure disasters with an Instant Pot? Absolutely, if you don’t read the instructions thoroughly and learn the do’s and don’ts of cooking with the IP. Part of the problem is all the new websites popping up with seemingly ‘tried and true’ recipes for the Instant Pot. I’ve read several where the recipe itself sounds great but the instructions aren’t in line with the manufacturer recommendations – the biggest two being not including enough liquid in the recipe and recommending quick pressure release for high liquid-content recipes when the IP manual clearly states natural pressure release needs to be used on high liquid foods.
Still unsure? Not sure where to start with your Instant Pot? Let me help relieve some of your anxiety and be your cheerleader. Fear no more – you can do this! I’ll walk you through it.
- The manual will get you through it – trust the instructions! Trying something new the first time can be scary. The experts at Instant Pot want you to be successful and have created a great manual to get you going in no time. Need some more help? This is a great starter cookbook to get you cooking with confidence.
- Your family will have extra time to spend with you. Start simple with a foolproof recipe like these herb-infused BBQ chicken drumsticks. Keep your side dishes simple – a big green salad and some whole grain bread will fill your family nicely. Start the Instant Pot, and you’ve got time now to play with your kids, chat with your spouse, or simply take a few minutes to relax!
- Put a little extra money in your pocket. When you cook with the Instant Pot, you can buy cheaper cuts of meat and they’ll end up super juicy and delicious after cooking in the high pressure. This Kindsay signature brisket recipe is delicious!
- High pressure cooking is easy…and very safe! Pressure cookers get a bad rap – traditional stovetop pressure cookers had to be monitored carefully to avoid over-pressurizing, and trying to relieve the pressure too quickly led to kitchen disasters. This reputation has held on over the years and now has home cooks afraid to try electric pressure cookers like Instant Pot. The beauty of the electronic features is no more over-pressurizing, and more importantly, ease of use as keeping a watchful eye on the cooker is no longer necessary. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather set it and forget it and go do something else than stand guard over the cooker for an hour!
- If at first you don’t succeed, it’s very easy to fix! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a recipe, let it cook and then after releasing the pressure discovered the meat wasn’t fully cooked (this was before I learned to stop searching for just any ol’ recipe on the Internet and use trusted sources!). The cool thing is that all you have to do is lock the lid back on your cooker, start it back up and cook for a few more minutes. Bringing the Instant Pot to pressure a second time is much faster as the contents and pot are already hot. I’ve never had to delay a meal any more than 10 minutes.
- Bonus reason to get that appliance out and starting using it! You’ll have fun experimenting with your own unique creations. Start with a recipe you’ve made and works well. Remember that not all recipes are created equal so start with a trustworthy source, like this cookbook.. Let’s say you want to create a chicken recipe, using chicken quarters, with a Tex-Mex flare. Find a tried and true recipe using chicken pieces, then alter the seasonings, liquids used, veggies included and follow the cooking time on the original recipe. For the most part, this is how almost all recipes start. Then you can continue tweaking it each time you make it until you have THE perfect recipe.
Ready to get started? Let me leave you with this story – not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it worked. The VERY FIRST thing I made in my Instant Pot was our signature Applesauce Cake recipe. I (very foolishly) did not do the water test as recommended in the instructions. Now, I do have some experience in creating new recipes, but my first time out of the gate, I decide to try creating a new recipe. I’d NEVER pressure cooked before outside of using a pressure canner to put up vegetables. I was brave, figuring the worst that could happen would be having to throw away the cake. But guess what? It was a success! Now, do I recommend skipping the water test – NOOOOOO! My intention with this story is letting you know it’s ok to experiment and try things out not knowing what will happen, because most likely, it will turn out ok and you’ll learn some great tricks for cooking with your new appliance. I’d love to hear what you cook first, and definitely share if you create some new family favorites!