My friend and old neighbor Hilary posted on her Facebook page about a new Instant Pot appliance. It could cook beans in 12 minutes! Chicken soup – from frozen chicken – in 30 minutes! So, yes I had to buy one. The slow cooker is great and all. But you know. It’s slow. We like fast 🙂 Ha ha. Well, more like we want options. I like the options and freedom to make an entire pot roast in 35 minutes.
So how does this pot work in the real world with kids and errands, food and budgets?
- My #1 reason and I think the machine will pay for itself: dried beans. Dried beans are super cheap. Plus they have no added salt. For years, I tried different methods to cook dried beans. They never turned out right. They never tasted as good as the canned beans. Why? Because canned beans are pressured cooked at the factory. Resistance is futile. I have been assimilated. Chicken and beans cooked in 25 minutes. Just plain black beans cooked in 12.
- You can make your own yogurt! I have not personally done it myself. I cannot go through a gallon or even half gallon that fast. But it has a yogurt setting and does everything automatically. I did research it and the pot hibernates the yogurt for 8 hours – people suggest 9 hours for thicker yogurt. Just push the + button and you’re all set.
- Why do I like this better than a stove top model? The warm function. The pot automatically stops and switches to “warm” to keep your food hot and avoid overcooking. If you have a stove top pressure cooker, then you must turn it off yourself. Or some people use two burners – one to heat the pot to pressure and move it to another to keep the pressure going on a lower setting.
- Why would you buy a stove top model instead? If I had 5 or 6 kids, I would need the stove top model. This instant pot holds 6 quarts. But it is a pressure cooker. And just like a slow cooker as well, you cannot fill it to the top. So, larger families may want a 8 qt. stove top pressure cooker instead.
- You can make rice! No more rice cooker or sticky rice or undercooked/overcooked rice. Cooks rice perfectly. Automatically.
- Healthier food: Pressure cooking cooks food faster. The faster it cooks, the more nutritional value it can retain. Also, the less water you need the less vitamins and minerals will go into the water and out of the food.
- You can make porridge! From my research, the porridge function is very popular outside the USA. But hey, you have the option.
- You can steam vegetables. Well, I usually make mine in the microwave. But if you like your vegetables steamed, this device will do it for you automatically.
- The one thing I have always liked about the expensive Williams Sonoma Slow Cooker is that you can brown your meat in the same device. The Instant Pot lets you brown your meat as well on the Saute Setting.
- After the cooking is finished, you can press the saute button to thicken your sauce or gravy or soup by letting it boil just like if you were using the stove.
Here is a link to the manual if you are still curious. Instant Pot Manual.
Now, once you have a pot. How do you cook with it? I found a lot of books on Amazon. The #1 book had a lot of reviews complaining that the author uses a lot of pre-made mixes, cream of somethings, etc. So I skipped that one and found “The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
A ton of recipes including the one on this blog post. My one comment would be that the cooking times seem long. The corned beef was finished cooking in 35 minutes. The book recommended 80 minutes. My corned beef was a little smaller than the recipe, but still. I like their recipes and kitchen testing notes on every recipe. The only thing I do differently is make sure that the cooking time is closer to what the Instant Pot recommends instead of the book.
*Note any and all links are not affiliated. I live in Missouri and cannot have them. So enjoy no strings attached 🙂
- 1 tsp. dark brown sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 4 - (6-8 oz.) chicken breasts
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 1 cup (8 oz. can) tomato sauce
- ½ cup light colored beer or chicken broth
- 2 Tb. chili powder
- 2 Tb. fresh lime juice
- tortillas, tortilla chips, salsa, cheddar cheese (optional add ins)
- In a small bowl, mix the spices together (from brown sugar to garlic powder). Sprinkle onto the chicken and pat down.
- Heat the oil in the pressure cooker on the saute setting. Brown the chicken on all sides for about 5 minutes.
- Now add the tomato sauce, beer/broth and chili powder. Cook for 14 minutes on high pressure.
- Once finished, use the valve to quickly release the steam.
- Stir in the lime juice and shred the chicken apart. Or eat the chicken as is with the sauce. Or add the chicken to some tortillas with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or so in the oven.
- To make this in the slow cooker: Add all ingredients except the lime juice. Cook on high 3-4 hours. Shred and eat.
- To make this in the oven: Add the spiced chicken to a 9x13 pan. Mix the sauce and pour on top. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.