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Behold, the Instant Pot

Behold, the Instant Pot
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  • Behold, the Instant Pot

    Post #1 - December 21st, 2016, 8:17 pm
    Post #1 - December 21st, 2016, 8:17 pm Post #1 - December 21st, 2016, 8:17 pm
    So about a year ago, everyone I knew who had any kind of disposable income was purchasing an Instant Pot... an electronic pressure cooker that can also act as slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker.

    http://amzn.to/2i2x6NQ

    Finally, just after Thanksgiving, I heard that Amazon was selling them for $59 (down from $135, now priced at $99 for the 6-quart model), and I pulled the trigger on one for us.

    We've made pulled pork (twice), lots of rice and oatmeal, a stupendous beef stew, and tonight's entry will be butter chicken.

    I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been a thread started on this nifty tool; I'm sure they are in many LTHers' kitchens. What I'd like to know is, how do you use yours? Would you please share some of your favorite techniques and recipes?
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #2 - December 22nd, 2016, 9:34 am
    Post #2 - December 22nd, 2016, 9:34 am Post #2 - December 22nd, 2016, 9:34 am
    I bought a Versonel 6-in-1 electric pressure cooker last month which looks almost exactly like the Instant Pot IP-LUX60, and after looking up the UL certification number turns out to be manufactured by the same company that makes the Instant Pots. So far I've made short ribs (browned the ribs, added mirepoix, thyme, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, water salt and pepper) cooked using the meat/chicken setting with the texture adjusted up. Those turned out great served over brown rice. For Thanksgiving I used it to make turkey stock for the gravy and stuffing (roasted some turkey necks along with mirepoix, added to pot with some bay leaf, thyme, oregano, black peppercorns and covered with water). Used the soup/stew setting, once done I strained out the solids, added them back to the pot, covered with more water and got a second batch of stock out of it. Haven't tried to use it as a slow cooker or to make rice yet, but I'm sure I'll get around to that eventually!
    Cookingblahg.blogspot.com
  • Post #3 - December 22nd, 2016, 11:15 am
    Post #3 - December 22nd, 2016, 11:15 am Post #3 - December 22nd, 2016, 11:15 am
    We've had ours for about 3 months, also taking advantage of a lightning deal on Amazon.

    It's been a revelation for beans - particularly those Rancho Gordo varities. From dry to finished in less than 2 hours all in, provided you let the Pot cool on its own and don't rush the depressurization.

    I've made a veggie/bean/chili that turned out quite well. A black bean soup that was pretty tasty and I regularly use it to cook garbanzos, either for use whole in other dishes or as part of hummus. I've made steel cut oats (3 minutes! - not really 3 minutes) but my kids like the slow-cooker varient for that so we've switched back to that.

    We also did the red wine poached pears from the recipe book to bring to a holiday party last weekend and they looked pretty good.

    The "saute" functionality is surprisingly convenient for soups and meat-based dishes that require browning - like the lamb tagine which was also nice. Not having to dirty another vessel to brown meat or saute veg is a huge bonus. But, I've found that I have to watch my quantities as it suffers a bit in comparison to my normal burners from a BTU perspective.
  • Post #4 - December 24th, 2016, 8:25 pm
    Post #4 - December 24th, 2016, 8:25 pm Post #4 - December 24th, 2016, 8:25 pm
    We use ours for a lot of things....just used it for a slow-cooker chicken soup with a recipe that calls for starting the soup in a pan and moving the ingredients to a slow cooker. The beauty of the Instant Pot is that because it has a saute function, we could do it all in one pot.

    One of the first -- and still favorite -- recipes we made in it was Serious Eats' chicken, bacon, lentil stew.

    Hard boiled eggs in the IP are also pretty amazing because they'll be finished in less than the time it takes to boil water.
  • Post #5 - January 2nd, 2017, 6:16 pm
    Post #5 - January 2nd, 2017, 6:16 pm Post #5 - January 2nd, 2017, 6:16 pm
    We use ours constantly, probably 3 - 4 times a week at least. Great for anything that otherwise benefits from low-and-slow cooking: stews, bean soups, stock. Very handy for cooking up a vat of dried beans or brown rice that would otherwise take forever - chickpeas from dried in under an hour! Steel-cut oatmeal in 7 minutes on high pressure! And it even works decently well for rice-based dishes that would otherwise be kind of a production: arroz con pollo in ~ 7 minutes on high pressure once the onions and chicken are browned, etc. And it makes plov into a feasible weeknight meal, if one that needs to be done in 2 stages (first the lamb and carrot stew, and then a second stage with the rice on top).

    My general rule of thumb is to cut cooking time by 2/3 from whatever a stovetop recipe calls for.

    I may try Greek yogurt next - a friend of mine swears by this recipe: http://thisoldgal.com/instant-pot-greek-yogurt/2/
  • Post #6 - January 2nd, 2017, 11:30 pm
    Post #6 - January 2nd, 2017, 11:30 pm Post #6 - January 2nd, 2017, 11:30 pm
    chgoeditor wrote:We use ours for a lot of things....just used it for a slow-cooker chicken soup with a recipe that calls for starting the soup in a pan and moving the ingredients to a slow cooker. The beauty of the Instant Pot is that because it has a saute function, we could do it all in one pot.

    One of the first -- and still favorite -- recipes we made in it was Serious Eats' chicken, bacon, lentil stew.

    Hard boiled eggs in the IP are also pretty amazing because they'll be finished in less than the time it takes to boil water.



    I used ours a ton this weekend to prep a bunch of meals for the week ahead. Last night we ate the Chicken, bacon, lentil stew from above and it was so very good! Thanks for the rec.

    I also hard-boiled a dozen eggs for kids' breakfasts for the week ahead. Very convenient.

    Another nice revelation was the ~30 minute total time to cook nearly perfect brown rice - which has always been a thorn in my side in terms of timing/moisture. Cooked up a whole bunch as a side to several dishes and then stir-fried a bunch to make veggie fried brown rice.

    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of these recipes. I'll also be checking out that greek yogurt recipe.
  • Post #7 - January 3rd, 2017, 4:08 pm
    Post #7 - January 3rd, 2017, 4:08 pm Post #7 - January 3rd, 2017, 4:08 pm
    One question about the instant pot.......How does it do with small portions? It is a 6 qt pot but if I want to just make a cup or 2 of oatmeal or rice or whatever for myself does that work or do I need to do a larger batch?

    Thanks, Will
  • Post #8 - January 3rd, 2017, 8:37 pm
    Post #8 - January 3rd, 2017, 8:37 pm Post #8 - January 3rd, 2017, 8:37 pm
    WillG wrote:One question about the instant pot.......How does it do with small portions? It is a 6 qt pot but if I want to just make a cup or 2 of oatmeal or rice or whatever for myself does that work or do I need to do a larger batch?

    Thanks, Will


    We do 2 servings of oatmeal on a regular basis - works just fine.
  • Post #9 - January 4th, 2017, 10:32 am
    Post #9 - January 4th, 2017, 10:32 am Post #9 - January 4th, 2017, 10:32 am
    Free Instant Pot cookbook at Amazon
    Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Top 50 Original Instant Pot Meals-Speed Up Cook Time And Use Up To 70% Less Energy Kindle Edition
  • Post #10 - January 4th, 2017, 12:28 pm
    Post #10 - January 4th, 2017, 12:28 pm Post #10 - January 4th, 2017, 12:28 pm
    I have been making a lot of Jook with mine. I take some basic aromatics (ginger, garlic, lemongrass, etc.) and cook it on the saute function until they are fragrant. The I add rice and broth at a 1:10 ratio. Depending on what I have around the house I will add other ingredients like dried mushrooms or soft tofu. I cook it on the porridge function. Finish it in the bowl with a little toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and fried shallots.

    It's a great canvas for any protein and it is so warming on these frigid days.
  • Post #11 - January 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm
    Post #11 - January 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm Post #11 - January 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm
    dagrassroots wrote:I have been making a lot of Jook with mine. I take some basic aromatics (ginger, garlic, lemongrass, etc.) and cook it on the saute function until they are fragrant. The I add rice and broth at a 1:10 ratio. Depending on what I have around the house I will add other ingredients like dried mushrooms or soft tofu. I cook it on the porridge function. Finish it in the bowl with a little toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and fried shallots.

    It's a great canvas for any protein and it is so warming on these frigid days.


    I am not understanding the purpose of this pot. What has this pot gained you from doing the exact same thing on the stove top?
  • Post #12 - January 4th, 2017, 8:13 pm
    Post #12 - January 4th, 2017, 8:13 pm Post #12 - January 4th, 2017, 8:13 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    dagrassroots wrote:I have been making a lot of Jook with mine. I take some basic aromatics (ginger, garlic, lemongrass, etc.) and cook it on the saute function until they are fragrant. The I add rice and broth at a 1:10 ratio. Depending on what I have around the house I will add other ingredients like dried mushrooms or soft tofu. I cook it on the porridge function. Finish it in the bowl with a little toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and fried shallots.

    It's a great canvas for any protein and it is so warming on these frigid days.


    I am not understanding the purpose of this pot. What has this pot gained you from doing the exact same thing on the stove top?


    From Google: http://www.thekitchn.com/instant-pot-do ... iew-217946
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #13 - January 4th, 2017, 8:53 pm
    Post #13 - January 4th, 2017, 8:53 pm Post #13 - January 4th, 2017, 8:53 pm
    lougord99 wrote:I am not understanding the purpose of this pot. What has this pot gained you from doing the exact same thing on the stove top?

    Pressure cooking, for one. A huge time-saver.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #14 - January 4th, 2017, 8:54 pm
    Post #14 - January 4th, 2017, 8:54 pm Post #14 - January 4th, 2017, 8:54 pm
    I used to have a cheap stovetop pressure cooker that I used a couple times a month until it got a bit ... iffy ... so I broke down a few months ago when the Instapot went on one of those Amazon Prime sales, and I love this damned cooker so much. No need to babysit the thing, just push a button, walk away, go to the store, heck, take the kids to the zoo, no worries.

    So I basically use it for the same things I used my stovetop pressure cooker for, except much more often (I use it about 3-4 times a week.)

    #1 is for making broth/stock. That's my main use for this thing, and it's great. In 45 minutes to an hour I can have an intensely flavored stock that would have taken me 3-4 hours of simmering on the stove. Plus, in the summer, I don't overly heat up the kitchen, which makes my wife happy. I may have bought commercial stock once or twice since buying the Instant Pot about six months ago.

    #2 is for stews. Now, I don't throw everything in the pot and cook it all together. Anything that is meant to last the full cook time, I do in the pressure cooker until it's about 75% done, then I finish on the stovetop with the potatoes, carrots, other root vegetables, etc., so they don't turn to mush. (Though you can also finish in the pressure cooker.) I'm not a fan of the "throw everything in the pressure cooker/slow cooker" style of food which reduces everything into a homogenous mush.

    If you like Indian food, you will find a lot of Indian recipes that utilize the pressure cooker. Here's one for a Keralan pork curry. Note the technique of cooking the pork in the pressure cooker, and then finishing on the stove. That's how I use the pressure cooker for a lot of things, too: just to cook tough collagen-rich cuts to tenderness, and then finish them on the stove to save myself about 3 hours of cooking time.

    I've also been finding myself use the rice cooker setting on it. I've never owned a rice cooker before, always doing it on the stovetop the old fashioned way, but I do have to say, it's become convenient and frees up some stovetop space for me, plus it has the "set it and forget it" convenience. I haven't tried the slow cooking option on it yet, though.

    All in all, the best cooking purchase I made for 2016.
  • Post #15 - January 4th, 2017, 11:11 pm
    Post #15 - January 4th, 2017, 11:11 pm Post #15 - January 4th, 2017, 11:11 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    dagrassroots wrote:I have been making a lot of Jook with mine. I take some basic aromatics (ginger, garlic, lemongrass, etc.) and cook it on the saute function until they are fragrant. The I add rice and broth at a 1:10 ratio. Depending on what I have around the house I will add other ingredients like dried mushrooms or soft tofu. I cook it on the porridge function. Finish it in the bowl with a little toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and fried shallots.

    It's a great canvas for any protein and it is so warming on these frigid days.


    I am not understanding the purpose of this pot. What has this pot gained you from doing the exact same thing on the stove top?

    Takes about half the time as doing it on the stovetop and I don't have to worry about it scalding or boiling over.
  • Post #16 - January 5th, 2017, 3:40 pm
    Post #16 - January 5th, 2017, 3:40 pm Post #16 - January 5th, 2017, 3:40 pm
    I'm in love with my IP and have started sharing recipes I've made with it. So far, these are the recipes I've shared with several more to come this month:
    Key Lime Cheesecake - http://www.whatscookinchicago.com/2017/ ... ecake.html

    Beef & Broccoli - http://www.whatscookinchicago.com/2017/ ... ccoli.html

    Steakhouse Texas Chili - http://www.whatscookinchicago.com/2017/ ... chili.html
  • Post #17 - January 5th, 2017, 4:20 pm
    Post #17 - January 5th, 2017, 4:20 pm Post #17 - January 5th, 2017, 4:20 pm
    I just received a Breville multicooker, which is very similar to the IP. It's very nice but seeing the price of the IP, I fear the gift-giver might have overpaid. :)

    I made a nice black beans and rice with it. I love that it took half the time as the stovetop method. I also loved how it broke down the ham hocks. Even after hours bubbling away on the stovetop, the hocks often remain tough. But when cooked under pressure they fully submitted and came apart into tender shreds with almost zero effort.

    The one issue I had was the beans came out tasting a little... I dunno... flat. I had to add more salt and acid than usually to perk it up. My working theory is that pressure cooking allows far less evaporation relative to the stovetop, so the final product is a little more diluted.

    Does anybody else have a similar experience? Do you have to alter existing recipes for the pressure cooker and, if so, how?
  • Post #18 - January 5th, 2017, 9:08 pm
    Post #18 - January 5th, 2017, 9:08 pm Post #18 - January 5th, 2017, 9:08 pm


    Caveat emptor with all of these free cookbooks on Amazon. The spike in popularity of the InstantPot has spurred a whole bunch of these "cookbooks". The free ones are usually a mishmash of recipes tossed together that the "author" has grabbed from other sites (and never even cooked) and crammed together. Many of the recipes end up producing terrible results. There's one author who has literally dozens of IP cookbooks on Amazon all published within days of each other.

    For reference I've had an InstantPot Smart (the bluetooth) model for over a year and during a sale this summer picked up the 6 quart IP Duo model. Was handy to have 2 on New Years when I could do the black eyed peas in one pot and the collards in the other.

    For any pressure cooker, electric or stovetop, I think the cooking times chart that Laura Pazzaglia maintains at her website is a great resource. I also have her cookbook though many of her recipes are also available for free at her site. There's also a discussion forum though it doesn't experience a high rate of traffic.

    InstantPot has an official Facebook page but, while it still exists, it deteriorated spectacularly after the first IP growth spurt led to new members that found troll-wars way more entertaining than discussing cooking. As a result Walt Brannon started "Instant Pot Cooks (All Pots Welcome)" (and a few other related FB groups) then converted it to a closed group (so some intervention required to be added). It's a moderated discussion group and has a LOT of good content though right now there's definitely a post-Christmas flood of "n00bs" dealing with their new devices (but the moderation is working).

    There's also an unrelated but, IMO, fascinating FB group "Instant Pot for Indian Cooking". As I try to expand my very limited knowledge of Indian cooking I've really enjoyed learning through this group.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #19 - January 5th, 2017, 10:02 pm
    Post #19 - January 5th, 2017, 10:02 pm Post #19 - January 5th, 2017, 10:02 pm
    egghead wrote:My working theory is that pressure cooking allows far less evaporation relative to the stovetop, so the final product is a little more diluted.

    Does anybody else have a similar experience? Do you have to alter existing recipes for the pressure cooker and, if so, how?


    Yes! That is part of the reason why I like to finish things on the stovetop--the lack of evaporation/concentration that occurs when you cook solely in the pressure cooker. Even with a lid on the stovetop, I feel that there is more concentration of flavor/evaporation going on, so part of my way of adjusting is using less liquid in the pressure cooker than the stovetop recipe, and part is to just finish on the stovetop allowing for evaporation. It's a nitpicky thing, but definitely something I've noticed, so you're not the only one.
  • Post #20 - January 20th, 2017, 4:05 pm
    Post #20 - January 20th, 2017, 4:05 pm Post #20 - January 20th, 2017, 4:05 pm
    An interesting article about the IP's rise via social media: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/201 ... nstant-pot
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #21 - January 30th, 2017, 11:47 am
    Post #21 - January 30th, 2017, 11:47 am Post #21 - January 30th, 2017, 11:47 am
    From this morning's news feed: 13 instant pot recipes
  • Post #22 - January 30th, 2017, 2:10 pm
    Post #22 - January 30th, 2017, 2:10 pm Post #22 - January 30th, 2017, 2:10 pm
    I have only used mine twice so far, and i loved the chuck roast and short ribs that I made. Quinoa was very good too but not sure it really saved much time between the heating up and cooling down. There is an interesting measuring mistake on my inner pot......whoever designed it thinks that there are 3 cups in a liter.....the liter measurement seems to be the correct one.

    -Will
  • Post #23 - January 30th, 2017, 3:36 pm
    Post #23 - January 30th, 2017, 3:36 pm Post #23 - January 30th, 2017, 3:36 pm
    WillG wrote:I have only used mine twice so far, and i loved the chuck roast and short ribs that I made. Quinoa was very good too but not sure it really saved much time between the heating up and cooling down. There is an interesting measuring mistake on my inner pot......whoever designed it thinks that there are 3 cups in a liter.....the liter measurement seems to be the correct one.

    -Will


    It's confusing, but the cup markings on the left are supposed to be for the little rice cup scoop that came with the Instant Pot. So, if you use 3 scoops of rice using the little rice cup, you're supposed to fill it with water to the "3" level.
  • Post #24 - January 30th, 2017, 5:15 pm
    Post #24 - January 30th, 2017, 5:15 pm Post #24 - January 30th, 2017, 5:15 pm
    Interesting. I guess I need to read the instructions more closely! Thanks
  • Post #25 - January 30th, 2017, 6:01 pm
    Post #25 - January 30th, 2017, 6:01 pm Post #25 - January 30th, 2017, 6:01 pm
    I'm not entirely sure it's in the instructions. It is on their page on cooking rice, but I just remember coming across that tidbit on some message board. I'm not sure I even noticed there were markings on the pot before I came across that post. I looked through the manual online, and I didn't see there, but I do remember there was at least a recipe book included, as well, which I threw away. Perhaps it was in there. Regardless, it's not obvious and doesn't seem to be well documented.
  • Post #26 - January 31st, 2017, 3:51 pm
    Post #26 - January 31st, 2017, 3:51 pm Post #26 - January 31st, 2017, 3:51 pm
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/dini ... tcore-ipad

    The electric pressure cooker is the kitchen gadget of the moment. Here’s what it does (and doesn’t do) well.
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde
  • Post #27 - February 1st, 2017, 8:02 am
    Post #27 - February 1st, 2017, 8:02 am Post #27 - February 1st, 2017, 8:02 am
    Here are a couple of concluding paragraphs from that NY Times article:
    For cooking rice, I preferred both the brown and white rice I made in my separate rice cooker. The pressure cooker was faster, but the rice a bit heavier and chewier. And for yogurt, which I’d gotten into the habit of making every other week on the stove, I have to admit that the machine worked like a dream.


    ...And I’ve accepted its limitations, like the fact that there’s no reason to ever make oatmeal or rice in it. But between the lamb stew and the butternut squash soup, I know we will be together forever.”


    There's also an article about converting other recipes for use in the Instant Pot.
  • Post #28 - February 1st, 2017, 10:31 am
    Post #28 - February 1st, 2017, 10:31 am Post #28 - February 1st, 2017, 10:31 am
    I'm not that picky about the rice. It's about twice as fast as my electric rice cooker, and on a weeknight when I need dinner in the table in under 30 minutes, that's a huge advantage. But I'm not throwing away the rice pot!
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #29 - February 19th, 2017, 2:59 pm
    Post #29 - February 19th, 2017, 2:59 pm Post #29 - February 19th, 2017, 2:59 pm
    I've been enjoying cooking in my Instant Pot quite a bit. It's taken a lot of the anxiety out of pressure cooking, which until now, always made me nervous. It's a huge time saver, especially when it comes to cooking dried (unsoaked) beans and braising meats. These are both items that were previously not feasible on weekdays. But now, I can come home from work and cook these things in under an hour.

    That said, I've found that the applicable recipes provided in the booklet that comes with the unit call for way too much liquid. What I've found with cooking dried beans, is that you only need to add enough liquid to just cover the beans. And even that can be more than enough. Since I use a variety of sizes of beans and change up what I add to each batch, I've never measured the amount of liquid. But eyeballing it to the level just above the beans seems to work out pretty well. And if after the beans are cooked, you feel there's too much liquid, a quick switch-over to Sautee mode -- after the pressure cooking phase has ended -- can remedy that. Not too long, or the beans will get mushy.

    I also tend to keep the liquid component of braised meats lower than is officially recommended. I want my meat to be accompanied by an edible sauce, not be swimming in an under-reduced pool of cooking medium. So using less liquids and letting them cook down a bit during the initial Sautee mode, is really helpful in this regard.

    I haven't used the Instant Pot for anything else yet but as the desires come up, I won't hesitate. But for now, as I stated above, I'm really happy that with dried beans and braises, what used to be weekend-only cooking can be done quickly, after I get home from work.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #30 - June 20th, 2017, 2:22 pm
    Post #30 - June 20th, 2017, 2:22 pm Post #30 - June 20th, 2017, 2:22 pm
    Instant Pot, the Latest Prized Kitchen Gadget, Has Staying Power

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/tech ... ooker.html

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