If you’ve left your house or picked up a newspaper in the last year, it’s almost guaranteed that you have heard of the new kitchen gadget called an Instant Pot. It is easily the fastest growing kitchen appliance in the market… and with good reason!
The Instant Pot combines a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker all in one. It produces fresh homemade meals but in a fraction of the time with little to no cleanup. It debuted in 2009 and slowly increased its popularity over the years and in 2015 (unofficially the year of Instant Pot) over 300 million were sold! Most people purchase theirs on Amazon, but home and kitchen stores are always stocked up for those less inclined to order something like this online.
Many people rave over how amazing the Instant Pot (IP) is for soft and succulent home-cooked meals, but if you’re looking for something to get crispy or crunchy, an IP may not be the best thing to use. Using an Instant Pot instead of a Slow Cooker cuts cooking time in half (or more) and usually produces a juicier meal! If you’re wondering the tips and tricks on how using an Instant Pot might be better, then read on! We even included some LFLC recipes that can easily be adapted to the Instant Pot!
Cooking Chicken In The Instant Pot
After much research and experimenting, we’ve come to the conclusion that when cooking chicken in the Instant Pot, it is better to choose either white meat or dark meat, not both. Almost every time, the white meat would be overcooked, or the dark meat would be undercooked, so to be safe, choose one and not both. Like cooking chicken any way, overcooking the breast by even a minute or so can make it turn out a bit dry, so if you want a more “forgiving” meat, dark meat may be a better option, however; it has a little fattier content.
Same goes for choosing boneless or bone-in cuts of chicken, chose one or the other because the chicken will come out inconsistent. Depending who you ask, you can cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot. Some say the chicken won’t be cooked evenly, but others say with the right amount of seasonings and aromatics, you can create a juicy and delicious full chicken. Keep in mind, that the skin won’t be crispy, so you can broil it for a few minutes in the oven if you want that crunchy outside!
LFLC Chicken Recipes
We put together a few chicken recipes that could easily be adapted to use in an Instant Pot.
Instead of using the slow cooker for this Mexican Shredder chicken, just use the Instant Pot! Choose the Poultry option and add a few more minutes to ensure even cooking. Shred the chicken after it has cooled a few minutes to preserve all the natural juices. Enjoy this chicken in some lettuce wraps for Taco night or use it on top a hearty salad to get your greens in!
These spicy paprika chicken legs will turn out delicious and juicy in the Instant Pot! Even though the skin won’t come out as crispy, you won’t miss out on any of the flavors. Plus, if it’s raining or cold where you live, there’s no need to go outside and use the BBQ!
This recipe calls for cooking the chicken in a pan before cooking the sauce, but why not use the Instant Pot to cook the chicken quickly while you prepare the sauce on the stove? It cuts the cooking time in half so you have more time to spend with your family!
Cooking Beef In An Instant Pot
Like chicken, there are a few different tips and tricks to ensure a delicious and juicy cut of beef when using the Instant Pot. Always go for a slow release of pressure instead of a quick release when you open the valve yourself. When releasing the valve, yourself, the meat tends to turn out tougher than intended. Again, like chicken, cook for a few minutes longer than the predetermined setting on the pot to make sure it is fully cooked.
Some people even recommend sautéing meat in the Instant Pot a few minutes each side before using the pressure cooking options. If you’re cooking a few different food groups such as meat, potatoes and veggies, then like the slow cooker, meat should always go on the bottom!
Ever come home from work to a hungry household and realize you forgot to take out meat from the freezer to cook for dinner? Well thanks to the Instant Pot, you can cook frozen meat! Just remember to increase the cooking time by about 50%.
LFLC Beef Recipes
Try out these LFLC recipes that can be turned into Instant Pot recipes!
Drastically cut down the cooking time with this BBQ Shredded Beef recipe! It will come out just as (or even juicier) than if you used a slow cooker with less than HALF the cooking time! Doesn’t get much better than that.
Try using the sauce option to cook this Korean Beef recipe! Be careful with the soy sauce as it can easily be burned.
Cooking Vegetables In An Instant Pot
Ah now to our favorite food group – cooking vegetables in an Instant Pot is so easy! Depending what kind of flavor you are going for, you can sauté them in the bottom to soften the veggies a bit and create a better flavor or steam them. If you’re steaming don’t forget to add some liquid in the bottom and always use the quick release option.
Just like anything else, cooking vegetables in the Instant Pot is personal preference as some people prefer softer veggies or some with added crunch, so experiment with the cooking times. But one great thing is that vegetables take very little time to cook, so you really have no excuse to not eat them!
LFLC Vegetable Recipes In The Instant Pot
If you’re wanting to cook some veggies, we chose our favorite LFLC recipes that easily translate into Instant Pot recipes!
This garlic Gain Lan (Chinese broccoli) can be sautéed briefly using the bottom of the Instant Pot and then steamed for about a minute or so to cook through. It cuts down the already short cooking time to no more than 10 minutes and creates a delicious and healthy side dish!
Even though this is a roasted veggie side dish, you could adapt this to using the Instant Pot and create a totally different flavor! It will still be Italian inspired because of the ingredients used but with a new twist.
Putting a whole cauliflower in the Instant Pot makes for a fun new way to make your favorite vegetarian dish! Instead of needing to bake it for over an hour, spend no more than 20 minutes start to finish by cooking it in the Instant Pot. Anything that saves time is a game changer for us!
Hopefully, by now you can decide if an Instant Pot is right for you. If you do decide to purchase one, always read the manual before using it to cook! It is still a pressure cooker and needs to be used properly.