By now, you’ve probably heard about the Instant Pot. This multi-cooker appliance has taken the kitchen market by storm in recent years because of its convenience and functionality. In today’s 101, we break down the Instant Pot craze. We learn what it is, why they’re so popular and how to use it. We even throw in three recipes for you to try: hard boiled eggs, lemon chicken soup and chocolate lava cake.
First things first, what’s an Instant Pot?
In the most basic terms, an Instant Pot is an electric multi-cooker. It can work as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, saute pan or warming pot. After plugging it in, you simply press a preset button for what you’re making — rice, soup, beans, poultry, etc. There’s also a manual setting button, which allows you to adjust the time and pressure level to anything you are making.
Why are they so popular?
The Instant Pot is the epitome of efficiency and multi-tasking. Buying one Instant Pot can replace a crockpot, steamer, rice cooker, and even a few pots and pans.
How does it work?
Since the Instant Pot has so many features, it can be a little complicated to learn out of the box. Here are a few quick terms, abbreviations, and jargon to jot down that you may see in Instant Pot recipes.
Instant Pot Acronyms:
- IP / Instapot = Instant Pot
- Pothead = Instant Pot user
- PC = Pressure Cooker, EPC = Electric Pressure Cooker
- HP = High Pressure or LP = Low Pressure
- NPR or NR = Natural Pressure Release or Natural Release
- When pressure cooking is done, let the instant pot release the pressure by itself until the pin drops. Do not change the pressure valve position.
- QPR or QR = Quick Pressure Release or Quick Release
- When the pressure cooking is done, release the pressure by moving the pressure valve to the venting position. Wait for the pin to drop before opening the instant pot.
- Tip: If you’ve filled your Instant Pot to the max line or are making a soup or other liquid base recipe, sometimes QR may be a splattery mess out of the valve. Letting it naturally release for a few minutes after cooking can help prevent this from happening.
- X minute NPR = Do natural pressure release for X minutes, then do a quick release.
- You will see this used often as “5 minute NPR” or “10 minute NPR”. A 10 minute NPR means you release the pressure manually 10 minutes after the instant pot beeps.
- PIP = Pot-in-pot
- This method is used by many to cook multiple dishes at once or if you are cooking a small amount of food. For example, cooking meat or a curry in the main pot, while cooking rice in an oven safe or steel pot kept on a trivet. Many people have made three things at a time in the Instant Pot using stackable containers. See the post to cook rice with the PIP method.
- Manual = Pressure Cook
- The older models of instant pot had the button to pressure cook named “Manual”. However in the newer models they have fixed this and now call it “Pressure Cook. ”
Before long, this sentence will sound normal: “I set my IP to Manual 15 HP to cook my PIP and will QR after 5 NR minutes” Well, maybe almost normal. The best way to get to know your Instant Pot is by using it. Here are a few beginner recipes that will turn you into an Instant Pot master in no time:
Recipe #1: The Instant Pot 5-5-5 Hard Boiled Eggs
Almost everyone that has an Instant Pot will tell you to use it for the best soft boiled or hard boiled eggs around. The famous 5-5-5 method really finds it’s home in the Instant Pot, making it a perfect recipe for beginners to learn how it works.
- 1 cup of water
- 6 eggs
- Add water to the Instant Pot, and then place the bottom rack in the pot. (You can also use the trivet that came with your pot)
- Stack the eggs in a single layers on the rack making sure to place the eggs pointy tip down. This will center the yolk.
- Close the pot, set the sealing valve to closed and then press the button for ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’, Adjust Button to ‘High Pressure’, Plus or Minus Button to 5 minutes.
- Once the pot has completed the 5 minute cook time, allow it to do a 5 minute Natural Pressure Release (NPR).
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and water.
- Release any remaining pressure after the 5 minute NPR by opening the valve on top of the pot until the steam fully finishes escaping. Open the pot and carefully remove the eggs from the pot and place them in the ice bath.
- Allow the eggs to soak in the ice bath for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the eggs for the ice bath, peel and serve as you please. Enjoy!
Recipe #2: Greek Style Lemon Chicken Soup
By Brocc Your Body
This versatile soup will quickly become a weekly dinner staple. Mix it up and add any additional vegetables, beans, grains, or even proteins.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 white onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed/diced
- 2 cups cauliflower rice or 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 2-3 tbsp fresh dill and parsley (+ more to serve)
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 lemons
- 2 tbsp olive oil (+ more to serve)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp salt & pepper (+ more to taste)
- Sauté white onion, carrot and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat (or the saute setting in your Instant Pot). After about 5 minutes, add cauliflower rice or uncooked orzo.
- Make space for the chicken breasts and sear for 2-3 minutes each side. Add the chicken broth, fresh dill and parsley and salt & pepper. Pressure cook for 10 minutes in your Instant Pot or bring to a simmer and cook covered for 45 min – 1 hour in a regular soup pot.
- Once the soup is done and the chicken is cooked through, set aside 1 cup of hot broth and slowly add it to your egg yolks (1 tbsp at a time) while whisking vigorously. This prevents the eggs from scrambling when you add it to the soup!
- Remove the chicken, shred it and add back in with the juice from the lemons and the egg yolk mixture.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh parsley and dill and drizzle with a little olive oil!
Recipe #3: Instant Pot Chocolate Lava Cake
Adapted from FavFamilyRecipes.com
Want a luscious Chocolate Lava Cake in under 20 minutes? This recipe uses the famous PIP (Pot In Pot) method of cooking, which means a recipe uses a pot or ramekin inside the Instant Pot to cook within.
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- mint leaves (optional)
- raspberries (optional)
- Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove from microwave and stir.
- Place back in the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla together until smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture and stir well to combine.
- Spray four 6-7-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
- Fill each ramekin 2/3 of the way full with batter.
- Put steam rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add 2 cups of water.
- Place ramekins on the steam rack, placing 3 of the ramekins directly on the rack and one over the top and in the center of the 3 ramekins.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and place tab to “sealing”. Manually set the time to 8 minutes on “high” pressure.
- Quick release the pressure and carefully remove ramekins from Instant Pot.
- Serve with ice cream and add mint leaves and raspberries for garnish.