Today I’m so excited to share my favorite trick for using your Instant Pot.
I’ve had too much time stuck at home lately with sick kiddos. And by sick, I mean kids are COMPLETELY faking it. Today my daughter complained of a tummy ache so I tucked her back into bed with a bowl, and in about 20 minutes she was up dancing around and asking to watch a movie. Nope. Not sick. I got duped. I guess each kid has to try to get out of school at least once, right?
The good thing about being stuck at home is that I’ve had extra time in the kitchen to do some meal prep and stock the freezer. My favorite tool in the kitchen these days is, without a doubt, my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It’s one of those kitchen appliances that can do it all. It can be used as a rice cooker, slow cooker, for sautéing, for steaming, for warming, even for making homemade yogurt. You can even make a freaking cheesecake in the Instant Pot!
I am not one to have a bunch of kitchen appliances. However, I do love my Instant Pot because it is such a multi-tasker. I also love that you can program it and walk away, much like a slow cooker. The great thing about a pressure cooker is that food cooks much more quickly, so you can whip up dinner fast, and without dirtying a bunch of dishes.
Instant Pot recipe cooking times can be deceiving. They give a cooking time, say 20 minutes, but that doesn’t usually take into account that the pressure cooker needs time to come up to pressure before it actually starts cooking. It can take as long as 10 minutes to pressurize, then the Instant Pot will begin the cooking. However, I have a great trick for speeding up the process and getting your pressure cooker to start cooking sooner.
My favorite Instant Pot trick? Start with a hot pot and hot liquids.
If you are cooking something like rice, put the liquid into the pot and turn on the saute function on the highest setting. After a few minutes the pot and the liquid will be hot. Turn the saute setting off. Next, add your rice and secure the top, turn on the manual setting and timer. You will notice that it takes a significantly shorter time for the pot to come to pressure and start cooking.
Many recipes, like soups, start with sautéing vegetables as the first step. You can keep the pot hot if you warm up your liquids before adding them. Warm your broth in the microwave, or if the recipe calls for water, use hot water from the tap or even boil your water in an electric tea kettle.
The Instant Pot will pressurize much faster if your pot and liquids are hot before you put on the lid and select your settings. Try it!
To prove it, I did a little experiment while cooking brown rice. For the first batch, I started with a cold pot and cold water. It took seven minutes to come to pressure. For the second batch, I added warm water to the pot and used the saute setting for a few minutes before I added the rice and it took under two minutes to come to pressure. I did check both batches of brown rice after cooking and they both were cooked equally in texture and doneness.
And that’s it! It’s my favorite super simple trick but it makes a big difference when cooking with your electric pressure cooker. If you’re looking for a good Instant Pot Cookbook, I highly recommend this one. Every recipe I have made so far have been simple and delicious, and she gives lots of good tips for cooking with an electric pressure cooker.
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Do you have a favorite Instant Pot trick? Share in the comments below!