The Instant Pot can easily be considered one of the most popular cooking gadgets to hit the market in recent years. Advertised as a "smart multi-use, programmable, dependable & safe, pressure cooker", the Instant Pot definitely demands interest. Pressure cookers are notoriously intimidating for the home cook, and beyond one article featured in our magazine a few years back, we rarely use our own test kitchen pressure cooker. The idea of a safe and easy-to-use pressure cooker is quite exciting.
Over the past few months, we have been recipe testing some of our classic & popular recipes to see how they would fare in the instant pot. The Instant Pot has various cooking functions from steaming, cooking rice, sauteing, and believe it or not, making yogurt.
This article focuses on the pressure cooker function and how to adapt slow cooker recipes, broths and braised dishes to see how to properly convert and adapt our favorite recipes to the Instant Pot. Generally speaking, the pressure cooker function of the Instant Pot was easy to use and worked well adapting to slow cooker & braised recipes. It is an effective, quick way to prepare recipes that would normally take hours to cook.
We used the original INSTANT POT brand in our test kitchens.
Looking for more Instant Pot Recipes? Dinner in an Instant (Pot)
Instant Pot Recipe Variation: Place all the ingredients listed in the chicken stock recipe in the Instant Pot. Cover the vegetables and chicken with water until it reaches max liquid allowance. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
Results: The stock was packed with flavor. We used the Instant Pot to cook up the stock and transferred the stock to another pot to make the matzo ball soup. Using the instant pot was definitely a time saver and a great gadget to cook up any broth recipe.
Instant Pot Variation: Place all ingredients listed in recipe inside the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. (We used a French Brisket/Chuck Roast when testing this recipe).
Results: Flavorful, tender meat. The flavor of the sauce wasn't as rich and didn't penetrate the meat as deeply as the oven-roasted version.
Instant Pot Variation: Use the saute function on the Instant Pot to sear the meat. Remove meat from pan and saute the vegetables as recipe instructs. Add meat back into pot and pressure cook on high for 50 minutes.
Results: The results were really incredible. The meat was literally falling off the bone and because we sauteed the meat and vegetables in the pot, we developed deep, rich flavors that we didn't achieve with the braised roast. Note: We used beef osso bucco in place of the veal the original recipe calls for.
Instant Pot Variations: Place all ingredients into the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 40 minutes.
Results: This was another success. The sauce didn't reduce as much as the slow cooker version of this recipe, but the meat was just as tender.
How to adapt any recipe to use in an Instant Pot?
From our testing we found that most stove top recipes can be made in an Instant Pot. The best recipes are slow cooker recipes that can be made quicker in the Instant Pot and also allow you to brown the foods first before cooking under Pressure.
Converting most recipes, especially soups, stews, meats, bean or grain-based dishes and slow cooker recipes to cook in the Instant pot or pressure cooker is pretty easy. The main trick is knowing how long to cook the dish for and that you can use the guide from the Instant Pot or follow other recipes for similar meats.
Watch the liquid. You can use less liquid than something made in the oven or on the stovetop, but make sure to always have at least 1 cup of liquid for steaming.
Don't overfill the pot, the pressure cooker needs space to build up steam.
Cooking lamb in the oven vs. Cooking lamb in an Instant Pot
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