I, like many of you, were excited to unwrap an instant pot Christmas Morning. However, after taking the appliance out of the box I was slightly terrified!! So. Many. Buttons. This machine is not an updated version of my crockpot like I naively presumed! While there are many amazing functions of the instant pot, I knew I would never use it if I didn’t figure out how to keep it simple.
So I did what any self respecting blogger would do… asked our instagram fam for their help! The responses and tips you guys passed on were far more helpful than the manual, so we figured it was only fair to share them here so others could benefit too!
Instant Pot Hacks:
- Master the Sautee + Manual Settings. Far and away the biggest tip was to stick to these two functions. Sautee allows you to braise prior to cooking, which greatly increases the flavors. Manual cook times keep it simple and will be found in most recipes
- ALWAYS double the amount of water the instant pot says you need. This prevents the dreaded “BURN” message from showing up on your instant pot. Even if you think its too much water.. trust us– the water is what does the pressure cooking. If there’s not enough water it wont cook properly.
- If you do get a burn message, it is not the end of the world. Usually a warning that burning is imminent if you don’t do something. To save your food, turn your steam vent to “venting” (with a long object, hand and face away from vent) and manually vent your pot. Once the steam is outside of the pot, open it, add more water, stir bits from the bottom of the pot to prevent actual burning and start the cycle again.
- Plan for the Instant pot to take LONGER. Yes, some recipes say it can cook chicken in seven minutes. And the Instant pot can. BUT the Instant Pot can take about 10-15 minutes to build the necessary pressure within the inner pot. AND the unit also takes 10 minutes or more to de-pressurize. So whenever you’re using the Manual or Pressure button to cook, you’ll want to add about 20-25 minutes of time to the cook time to plan accurately. For example, if it takes 7 minutes for that chicken dish, estimate about 35 minutes for the entire process
- The Instant Pot is not really a “set it and forget it” appliance. UNLESS you are using it as a straight up crock pot. I’ve used my instant pot multiple times now, and each time Ive had to make some sort of adjustment as It goes. We would not recommend setting and leaving your pot (while you leave your home) until you’ve really mastered the whole process!
- Be careful with Dairy or Sugar based sauces ( ex. cheese sauces and barbecue sauces). While many Instant Pots include a yogurt-making function, this appliance doesn’t always cook creamy or thick sauces well. That’s because milk (or sugar based sauces like ketchup + BBQ sauce) can scald or curdle quickly, and cheese can get watery and even congeal. When using dairy products to make a creamy or cheesy recipe, add the dairy ingredients after the pressure cooking process is complete. This way, you’ll be left with a creamier dish that isn’t watery and curdled.
This is in no way sponsored by Instant Pot, but If you are on the fence about getting one, here are some of the things we love about it
- Overall short cooking times (less than an hour)
- Meat can get very tender (and delish) in a relatively quick time
- If you forget to meal plan ahead and buy meat the day of – you can cook it that night
- Clean up is SO MUCH easier than a crock pot
- It has the function of a crock pot, so it is a more multi purpose appliance
- Delayed start allows you to set it for later … once you have the basics mastered of course
Have any tips to add? Send us a message on instagram or an email firstname.lastname@example.org ! Happy Insta-pot-ing!