Your 7-Day Dinner Plan: Instant Pot Recipes
While the slow cooker remains one of the all-time most popular appliances for getting dinner on the table, the Instant Pot® has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years as a complementary weeknight-cooking gadget. Similar to the slow cooker, the IP (or any other brand of multicooker or electric pressure cooker) offers hands-off cooking that can be done without your presence in the kitchen. But unlike the slow cooker, Instant Pots cook ingredients under pressure, which raises the boiling point of the food, making it possible to cook hotter and faster than typical methods. And who doesn't want a dinner that cooks itself?
That's how a sweet and tangy Korean-style beef stew can come together in less than an hour instead of the usual 1 1/2 to 2 hours that the traditional way might take. Chicken drumsticks take just 12 minutes of cooking in a luscious Mexican mole-inspired sauce instead of stewing for two or three times as long.
Check out some of our favorite recipes, and get some tips for maximizing your Instant Pot cooking below.
Tips for Using Your Instant Pot
- You need a decent amount of liquid in there before covering the pot or else the food won't cook efficiently or it could even burn, so be sure to follow the recipe until you're comfortable enough to wing it. Because of this, the Instant Pot really shines in "wet cooking" applications like soups, stews, and braises, although those aren't the only things you can do in an Instant Pot.
- When releasing pressure, you can let it release naturally (slower but more tender results) or hit the quick release button. For example, you may want to bring the cooking to a halt with quick release (or if you're in a rush!). It varies but the difference in time between the two can be anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes.
- Take advantage of the sauté button. This is singlehandedly one of the most convenient functions of the Instant Pot. Being able to brown meat or sweat vegetables right in the Instant Pot insert means less mess and cleanup but loads of delicious flavor.
- The amount of time it takes to get to pressure once you've sealed the lid but before the cooking begins to count down can vary by as much as 30 minutes due to different factors. Some of these might include whether your ingredients are frozen or the total volume of ingredients in the pot, so be sure to take that time into account when planning when to serve the finished dish.