I have loved my Instant Pot since the day it arrived back in 2016. I’ll admit to being slightly intimidated in the first few days but that was short-lived. Thanks to a few tips, tricks, and these ridiculously simple recipes, in no time I was making dinners in 30 minutes or less—start to finish.
Meals from my Instant Pot are as good (often better) than slow-cooked meals that I have to think about early in the day—and only one pot to clean at the end.
While there are plenty of recipes out there for electric pressure cookers, I find myself going back to my tried and true, no-brainer recipes that are as simple as the gadget itself.
All you need to pull this off in your kitchen is an Instant Pot, a few awesome, albeit simple, recipes plus a general knowledge of how it works. Here are the basic terms, which may vary slightly depending on your Instant Pot model:
Sauté: Set it to Sauté mode on High heat and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until things start to soften and brown a bit.
Manual: Set an exact cook time and pressure level (both indicated in the recipes).
Quick-release: Activate the pressure-release valve as soon as the cooking time is up.
Natural release: Wait for the pressure to release naturally until the safety valve deactivates and you’re able to open the lid (typically 10 to 20 minutes).
Here are some of my quick, go-to recipes, shorthand style. None of these require precise measurements and they’re nearly impossible to mess up. Instant Pot is so forgiving and makes just about anything turn out fabulously.
Instant Pot Soy Sauce Chicken
Rinse one whole chicken, inside and out, and then pat dry. Set Instant Pot to “Saute.” Brown the chicken on all sides in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Add 4 whole cloves garlic, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches of ginger sliced, ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup brown sugar, and 4 cups water. Manual, high pressure, 25 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Suggestion: Serve with rice and vegetable like broccoli or asparagus.
Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetables
Sauté (or simply add to the pot if you’re short on time) about 4 cups fresh vegetables cut to roughly equal-sized chunks together with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, and garlic are all good options. Layer about 4 pounds of chicken parts (leg quarters, thighs, breasts—with or without bones—along with more salt and pepper on each layer. Add a cup of chicken broth plus an optional bay leaf or other herbs if you’d like.
Manual, high pressure, 20 minutes (15 minutes if using boneless chicken). Natural release until it opens on its own (about 20 minutes). Optional: Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Variation 1: Instant Pot Chicken and Rice: Add 2 cups of rice and about 2 cups of chicken stock or other liquid (make 1 cup of it cream if you like it creamy).
- Variation 2: Instant Pot Coq Au Vin: Make the main recipe but add about 4 slices of bacon, chopped, to your sauté mix. Add a few glugs of red wine. Follow the same pressure instructions.
- RELATED: Favorite Egg Recipes for Instant Pot
Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes with liquid
- dry oregano to taste
- thyme to taste
Sauté about 6 cloves of smashed garlic and roughly chopped onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Add a 28 oz. can (or two 14-oz. cans) whole tomatoes and their liquid together with oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Manual, high pressure, 10 minutes. Quick or natural release. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add fresh herbs and adjust salt, and pepper to taste.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 2 lbs beef, chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 1 to 2-inch chunks
- 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
- 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
- 6 carrots, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Place everything in the Instant Pot. Select the stew/meat setting; 35 minutes, high pressure. After it’s done, let everything mellow out for about 10 minutes before using quick release. Technically at this point, it’s done. But I recommend placing stew in a casserole or other serving dish and finishing with a quick browning session in the oven giving it about 10-20 minutes in a hot oven (400-ish F.), uncovered, before serving. It gets the meat nice and caramelized on top and helps thicken the gravy.
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