The Instant Pot saved my family’s life! (well ok, not literally, but it sure has made my life easier and tastier!)
I’ve heard the hype and thought it was just that…HYPE. Then one week our rice cooker AND slow cooker both died and I reconsidered. I’m a working mom with 2 kids and we eat a lot of rice and use the slow cooker all the time. Instead of buying 2 new appliances we spend a few dollars more and bought the 8 qt Instant Pot. BEST DECISION EVER!
Here are my secrets to Instant Pot success as a busy working mom:
[Disclaimer: There are affiliate links below. If you make a purchase after clicking these links I get a small commission. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but it helps support my caffeine habit so thank you in advance!]
Instant Pot Meaty Goodness: Frozen to cooked in 40 mins or less
My kids still have afternoon naps, but it’s on their schedule…not mine. Sometimes they nap right after lunch, other times they sleep late afternoon. When they delay their nap, I’m can’t make dinner until its too late, thus I have less time to prepare and cook.
Enter the Instant Pot! I’ve taken frozen ribs and within half an hour they’re cooked, fall-off-the-bone juicy (here is a great Ribs recipe)! They’re ready in 40 mins.
The second meal I ever made in my Instant Pot was chicken. I added some spices (“earthy” ones like oregano, sage, rosemary…etc) and some water in the pot, and I had 4 juicy chicken breasts ready in 8 mins.
Instant Pot Rice: from white to moist in 4 mins!
Another night I spent so much time cutting up fresh vegetables for a delicious stir-fry, but forgot to start the rice. No problem, because in 4 mins we have fluffy Instant Pot white rice.
My son loves hardboiled eggs, but I also have a young daughter who is a mommas-girl, demanding a lot of my attention. It’s difficult to nurse or tend to her needs when I’m slaving over a boiling pot of water and eggs. I can now throw a few eggs in the Instant Pot and set-and-forget-it. And my son can have hard boiled eggs in 7 mins.
Instant Pot Chili: whole meal in 1 pot within an hour
We love our chili! But I hate using multiple pots to cook everything (I’m a mom of 2 young toddlers, so anything to reduce or dirty dishes is a miracle!). I found this amazing chili recipe where everything, including beans from dry, is cooked in 1 pot and done within an hour.
First I cook the dried beans in the Instant Pot (depending on what beans you use, they take about 30 mins). Then I remove and strain the beans and add oil and beef in the bottom of the pot and sauté until cooked. Add in some onions, garlic, spices, the cooked beans, an amazing homemade chili sauce that uses coco powder, and crushed tomatoes and cook for 15 mins. Easy, warm chili is ready in under an hour!
Instant Pot Greek Yogourt: from milk to thick, creamy yogourt overnight!
It’s hard to keep routines with you have 2 crazy toddlers running around. However, I always make sure to get my greek yogourt and granola for breakfast (So I have energy to chase after them). Yogourt is getting quite expensive but making your own cuts the costs in half!
I used this Greek Yogourt recipe. The short version is you put the milk in the instant pot and heat up to 180F. Put the pot in the sink of water to cool down to about 100F degrees. Then return the pot to the Instant Pot base and set using the yogourt function. This takes 8 hours. Then remove the pot and store in fridge for 3-6 hrs. Now you have yogourt. To make it greek (which I didn’t know before), strain the yogourt (using a bag strainer like this or some cheesecloth) for several hours. It’s AMAZING and healthy.
Instant Pot Multi-tasking: cooking 2 foods at once in the same pot
I’ve read about this but never tried it yet. Apparently, you can put a bowl or rack in the Instant Pot and make 2 things at the same time (like chicken and rice). Put the chicken in the bottom, and the rice/water in a bowl in top. Assuming you need similar cooking time you can cook them together like this. It sounds crazy I know. I’ve been sacred to try it! If anyone gives it a shot, please let me know how it went!
Instant Pot tips for success
The Instant Pot really has been a live-saver, but only because we did our research first. Here are a few tips to have a great Instant Pot experience:
- Don’t forget the “warm-up” time: Instant pot recipes all advertise amazing cooking time (rice in 4 mins, chicken in 6 mins…etc). Those times often just refer to the cooking time. You need to add about 10 mins for the system to warm-up and pressurize AND a few mins for the de-pressurizing time. If you use the quick release, depressurizing takes about 2-3 mins.
- Careful of the quick release steam: Use a large wooden or plastic spoon to release the valve for a quick release. If you use your hand or a small cereal spoon you will most likely get burned from the steam! Just stand back and use a long wooden or plastic spoon to release the valve and you’ll be ok. (Also make sure the valve doesn’t release under a cabinet or the cabinet may start warping from the heat!)
- Have spare sealing ring on hand: We’ve had our Instant Pot for a few months and have been ok so far, but make sure you have spare Instant Pot sealing ring ready in case your current one cracks or breaks. Without a properly functioning sealing ring the pressure won’t build properly in the pot and it’ll stop working. These are fairly cheap so it’s worth investing in a spare or 2. (EXTRA TIP: Wash the ring every time, the silicone ring absorbs smell and color from your meal so it’s important to keep it clean.). Also make sure you buy the right size for your pot!
- Don’t forget the water: Don’t be like me! I tried to cook some large potatoes and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t cooked after the 25 min suggested in the cookbook. I did the whole process 3 times until my husband asked “did you put water in?” Well I felt stupid! The pressure cooker won’t work unless you put water in it! ALWAYS check that you put water it in. What should have taken 25 mins for a few baked potatoes, took over an hour (we ended up eating the rest of our dinner and having the potatoes for “Dessert” instead).
- Don’t forget to use the Instant Pot Bowl. I have never done this myself, but make sure the stainless steal bowl is in the base before you add ingredients. If you accidentally pour your water and food into the base, you could ruin the appliance (and have a nasty mess to deal with after.)
- Before cooking, make sure the vent is closed! If you left the vent open from your last meal, the pot won’t pressurize and your food won’t cook. Make it your routine to chose the vent before you start each meal (or after you wash the lid). (I’ve been guilty of this myself).
I LOVE to share when I love products and I LOVE the Instant Pot. I’ve created a Pinterest board with some of my favourite Instant Pot recipes and want-to-try recipes. Please check it out and share some follow love if you like it!