Welcome to my ultimate guide to the Instant Pot. Just like many other people I have invested in an Instant Pot in order to make family cooking easier and this guide is based around everything I have learnt about my Instant Pot so far. We hope you enjoy our ultimate guide to our Instant Pot and that it inspires you in your own Instant Pot journey.
So let’s get started at the beginning.
The Birth Of The Electric Pressure Cooker
First of all you are probably wondering with this being the most popular electric pressure cooker, what an electric pressure cooker is and how they can help you, I’ve put an infographic together to explain more first:
After reading that I bet you are wondering how people coped with the earlier models! I remember my Grandparents having the old fashioned manual pressure cookers before everything went electrical.
I used to find it really funny because if it went wrong and the pressure was even the slightest bit off it would mean that my Grandma would have mushy peas on her ceiling and it looked disgusting and I don’t think I have eaten mushy peas since.
You can of course have similar accidents with an electric one, but it is less frequent and as long as you don’t put milk or cream in your Instant Pot you should be okay!
Which Instant Pot Should You Buy?
This is the biggest question I see online when people are thinking about getting an Instant Pot is which one to get. There are two main ones that people talk about and unless you are experienced in it, it can be hard to decide which one you need.
Well this is the crème de la crème of Instant Pots. It is bluetooth and is everything you could possibly want all in one machine. Though for the frugal average family I wouldn’t recommend it.
This is the exact one we have. It is the perfect family electric pressure cooker and is perfect for everything that you could possibly want from one pot. It has more features than the basic Lux version for example with this version you have both low and high pressure and it comes with a yoghurt maker. We chose this because of these 2 added features as when I like to cook a variety of dishes I want to have it all!
So with this one you’re losing the yoghurt pot. You have to ask yourself whether you will use the yoghurt pot or if it will work out cheaper to get this one. When I checked it out on Amazon (at the time of writing this) both the Lux and the Duo were the same price so if the cheaper one was your plan, shop around as you might get it cheaper.
The Water Test
You eventually chose your Instant Pot and got it delivered. It is now sat out of its box and is ready to be used. You now find out about a water test and you are already confused.
What on earth is this water test that everyone is talking about?
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Well basically this water test is all about giving it a trial run of just water, just to make sure it works well for you and everything is in order before you cook something in it for real.
10 Instant Pot Recipes You Should Cook First
So you have bought your Instant Pot (after choosing the right one for you) it has been delivered and you’ve done your water test. But you have to ask yourself what is next? Well it is the time to give your Instant Pot a go with some easy to follow recipes that is perfect for Instant Pot cooking.
These are 10 recipes that we cooked in the first month of owning our Instant Pot all of which are recipes that we plan to cook over and over again.
This is one of our favourite healthy lunches that we have when Kyle is at school. The salmon and broccoli are super healthy and they are complimented with new potatoes in their skins. It is heaven and if we could afford salmon twice a day, every day then we would!
This may not be a meal but it is a perfect side for another dish that you’re having. I love corn on the cob and with delicious Danish bacon around the outside it makes it just PERFECT. It is also great for the summer months when you want something to go with your barbequed food.
You are probably wondering what the big deal is with jacket potatoes in the Instant Pot….well…..it makes them in a 1/3 of the time it takes in the oven and ½ the time it takes in a traditional steamer. And for a mum that forgets to put dinner in on time, then it is perfect.
Soup is brilliant in the Instant Pot and that is for two reasons. Firstly you can sauté your meat first on the sauté setting and then it will cook super fast at a third of the usual cooking time.
This is another delicious soup recipe and it is great for getting you used to using the Instant Pot and understanding how easy it is. You sauté the bacon and then throw in the rest of the ingredients and then you have a delicious creamy homemade soup. It is also perfect for this time of the year when you just want a homemade soup.
In this recipe I will be sharing with you how to make the perfect boiled eggs in your Instant Pot. Use this recipe to have eggs that will be perfect for egg mayonnaise sandwiches or for when you are making egg fried rice.
So we have had the hard boiled eggs and it goes without saying that we must have the soft ones too for dipping toast into. For a lot of people there is a struggle to get the eggs perfect and this recipe will mean that you can get the Instant Pot to do it for you!
There is pulled pork in a slow cooker and then there is Instant Pot pulled pork. It is so much tenderer and so delicious. I just can’t stop making it!
Pot roast or pork pot roast is absolutely divine in an Instant Pot. It is so easy to make and so full of flavour. I am completely in love and pork tastes so juicy and full of flavour. You could also adapt this recipe for beef, turkey, chicken or even gammon.
This is similar to the one above but it is all about the fact that you can purchase a cheap cut of meat such as beef shin and turn it into the most tender bit of meat that you’ve ever tried.
The Instant Pot Buttons
So you have all these different buttons and you are wondering what they all do. Or whether or not you need them all. So I decided to give you a run through of the buttons and what is best to use them for.
Soup – This is the standard soup button. Unless you click on the adjust button it will automatically cook for 30 minutes. I always click the adjust button twice to manually reduce it to 10 minutes as I find this is the perfect time for most soup recipes.
Meat & Stew – It has an automatic 35 minute cooking time for making stews and pot roasts. We find that an hour is often a more suitable time so we increase the time for cooking on this function.
Bean & Chilli – This has a 30 minute cooking programme. I tend to use this more for when I am cooking a really big dish when the Instant Pot has a lot in it and needs extra cooking time.
Poultry – This is a great setting as it does a 15 minute high pressure. This is perfect for cooking chicken casserole in or some vegetarian stews.
Slow Cook – It will automatically set itself to the four hour slow cook time. It automatically cooks on a medium slow cook but you can use the adjust settings to take it down to low or up to high.
Sauté – The sauté button is for whenever you want to start the cooking process but you don’t actually want to cook something completely. You also do the cooking without the lid on. It is perfect for making a cheese sauce, browning onions, browning meat before making a stew or you could even make a fried breakfast in it. If you press the adjust button once it will set it to browning and then twice for a simmer.
Rice – This is an automatic button and will cook the rice dependent of the amount of rice and water you add to the pot. It also cooks it incredibly well via the low pressure option.
Multigrain – This will cook a whole range of multigrains on high pressure for 40 minutes. This is the one function I am yet still to test!
Porridge – This does quick 20 minute porridge. Perfect for early morning breakfasts or suppers and you can just season it when done.
Steam – This does a 10 minute quick cook on the high pressure setting. This is perfect for lunch and dinner and what I use for steaming chicken and vegetables for dinner. Out of all the functions we use this one the most.
Yoghurt – This function is used for making homemade yoghurt that you can then flavour and add to jars or yoghurt pots.
Pressure – This allows you to switch between high and low pressure. Though the majority of the time you would keep it on high.
Manual – We love this as you can adjust the time for cooking a dish to fit in with what you’re making. This can be very handy if you have a set amount of minutes for a recipe.
Timer – This is brilliant for delayed cooking times. You can set your usual function and then hit this button to delay when the cooking starts. It is great for overnight porridge that can be ready for breakfast.
Adjust – The adjust button is there so that when you use one of the main functions that has a pre-set time that you can increase or reduce it. You press down twice to reduce cooking time and once to increase.
Keep Warm & Cancel – I love this button as it will keep your food warm after cooking it or you can click it to cancel what you’re cooking if you’re ready for dishing up your meal.
Instant Pot Tips & Tricks
Before you go we decided to put together our top tips for using the Instant Pot so that you can get the most out of it.
#1 – You can cook frozen food in it
You could go into your freezer grab a leftover ready meal that you made with your Instant Pot a couple of months ago, throw it in and let the Instant Pot warm it up for you. The same could be applied to almost anything that you have frozen that you wanted to cook.
#2 – Leftovers Can Be Frozen Straight Away
As well as putting frozen meals into your Instant Pot you can use it to create frozen meals. We tend to fill our Instant Pot and then find that it will create enough food for 6 of us. As we are only a family of 4 plus a baby, we will end up with a lot left over for another day.
We now have a section in the freezer dedicated to frozen leftover meals that are perfect for when we don’t want to cook!
#3 – Your Instant Pot Isn’t Completely Instant
There is a lot of recipes that say “chicken from frozen in 45 minutes” in reality it can often take 15 minutes for your Instant Pot to get to temperature in order for this to happen. Plus you might see a recipe with keep warm after cooking requirement. This means that a whole chicken could end up taking 1 hour just like it would in an oven. For me the advantage of the Instant Pot is the one pot cooking that you can forget about.
#4 – Dairy Can Explode
You may laugh but the old fashioned pea on the ceiling can still apply when cooking with dairy. This particularly applies when cooking with milk or thin creams. It is often better to add these last or use the slow cooker function.
#5 – Learn The Settings
Spend time getting to know all the different settings as there are a lot of them to get your head around. I would suggest spending a week on each of them so that you can get used to it and then become confident in each of them. Over time you’ll find that some of them get used all the time compared to other settings that hardly get used. For example we use the bean, slow cook, poultry, steam and sauté settings the most. It is also important that you read up on each of the settings as they are very difficult and you don’t want to run into trouble with it and damage it.
#6 – Not All Cups Are Equal
Not all cups are equal around the world, so if in doubt to what a cup means in your country compared to others measure it out. 180ml is what is required on standard settings and we stick to that via our measuring jug.
#7 – Start With Steaming
For an easy start to cooking steam things. Steaming is the easiest function to get your head around and after steaming lots of food you can advance to the other settings.
#8 – Don’t Expect To Be A Pro In 1 Day
It is like you’re learning to cook from scratch all over again. Electric pressure cooking is different and don’t expect to be a pro straight away, start slowly until you get the hang of it and are happy doing it.
#9 – You Don’t Need To Buy The Accessories YET
I am all for the Instant Pot accessories but you don’t need them all straight away. You already have the steaming basket and most things will be cooked in the main pot, so take your time and get used to the Instant Pot itself before you buy the accessories.
#10 – Frugal Accessories Hunt
If you look through your kitchen cupboards you’re bound to find some really good things that you can use without splashing the cash. For example we used our old steaming basket from our soup maker, ramekins that we use for the air fryer is perfect for making little puddings and oven proof dishes are perfect for cooking traybakes.
My other favourite accessory around the house is silver foil. You can wrap up your meat into it (like I have done here) and then rest it on your steam shelf.
Buy The Instant Pot
If you’ve not bought the Instant Pot yet then you can buy it or find out more information on the banner below: