So you have a new electric pressure cooker (or Instant Pot)? And it’s still sitting in the box? Or you’ve only tried 1 meal so far?
You’re not alone. But I want to help you get it out of the box and try new meals. Because, oh my word…this little appliance is such a sanity saver.
I talk to busy, stressed out moms all the time, and just about everyone says that the most stressful part of the day is dinner. Because you’re all out of energy. You’re all ‘out of decisions’ – decision fatigue is real. And most afternoons, you’re just plain out of time.
Enter the Instant Pot.
Now, I know that Lisa doesn’t love her Instant Pot. So I’m grateful she’s invited me here to share why I love mine and encourage you to love yours too!
Why I love My Instant Pot So Much
- I love my Instant Pot because it’s ‘hands off’ – meaning that you load it up, press a few buttons, and walk away. (It’s very similar to the slow cooker in this way, you just use it later in the day.)
- I love my Instant Pot because of how it cooks – heat + pressure (plus the right foods and settings) – makes the perfect meal, side dish, or dessert.
- I love my Instant Pot because it saves my tail on days I forget to start the slow cooker. (Monday morning rush … and oops!)
- I love my Instant Pot because it takes care of dinner … when I’m out of energy and decisions and time.
What Works Well and Doesn’t Work Well in the Instant Pot
Before we get to one of our family’s favorite Instant Pot recipes, I thought I’d share what works well and what doesn’t work well in the Instant Pot.
I love cooking roasts in the slow cooker. I love how well they fall apart and how the meat shreds nicely for sandwiches or sliders or to go over rice. Shredded meat from a roast is also wonderful for toddlers, making it easier to cut their own food.
But sometimes I want a sliceable roast … without having the oven on for 2 hours.
The Instant Pot makes a lovely roast that slices beautifully, in half the time, and without heating up your kitchen.
When pressure cooking a roast, add the roast with any sauces and seasonings and pressure cook for 60 minutes. Then, quick release and open the lid, add other vegetables, and turn it back on for 7 to 10 minutes to cook the vegetables.
(Do not, I repeat, do NOT add the vegetables in with the roast at the start of the cooking cycle, unless you like mushy vegetables. Vegetables will not survive an hour in the pressure cooker!)
Second, shredded chicken.
Shredded chicken just might be my favorite type of meal to prepare in the Instant Pot. Load up the chicken (I prefer a half-half mix of chicken breasts and chicken thighs for best flavor!) with whatever sauces or marinades you wish and set on high for 15 minutes. Here are 10 ways to ‘flavor-ize’ shredded chicken in the Instant Pot!
Also, if you froze the chicken with sauces/marinades, it cooks wonderfully as a ‘freezer to Instant Pot’ meal. Just add it to the Instant Pot partially frozen with 1 cup of water or chicken stock and set to 22 or 25 minutes. It will defrost as it comes to pressure and then cook during the cooking cycle. Talk about easy and hands off dinner, straight from the freezer!
Third, chilis, soups, and stews.
As mentioned above, the Instant Pot works wonders on the flavors in soups and stews and does a great job of marrying all the flavors together in the dish. Load up all the ingredients for your soup, stew, or chili, press the soup or chili button, and let dinner prepare itself!
Fourth, boiled eggs.
You’ll never boil eggs in water again. Add your eggs to the steam rack with a cup of water underneath. High pressure for 7 minutes (hard-boiled) or 6 minutes (softer-boiled) and you have perfectly cooked eggs.
And the best part is that the shells actually peel off without having to do anything special or magical. They just peel off – in one big peel!
Other Ideas for the Instant Pot
Here’s a quick list of other types of meals that cook well AND quickly in the Instant Pot:
- Dried Beans
- Brown Rice
- Whole Chicken
- Veggies for steaming – broccoli, sweet potatoes, baby potatoes, asparagus
- Steel Cut Oats (recipe below)
And finally, I love freezer to Instant Pot recipes. The first few options above (chilis, soups and stews, shredded chicken, and roasts) do really well from freezer to Instant Pot. So we have developed a special Instant Pot category in our MyFreezEasy freezer meal plan program.
If you want to learn more about how to get started with your Instant Pot and how to cook different types of meals, I highly recommend registering for my Electric Pressure Cooking 101 online class!
Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe
Our family has fallen in love with this Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe below.
For me, it’s become my go-to ‘second dinner.’ We have several nights a week where we eat an early dinner in order to make it to sports practice, tutoring, or Scouts. By the time we all get back home, my boys’ tummies are feeling a little empty, and we have a second dinner as we get ready for the late night homework session. I don’t really want to have to cook a second dinner, so I set the Instant Pot up with this meal on the delayed timer. I time it to be ready at the time we get back home from activities. Then, I ladle into bowls, and they fill up their tummies while working on spelling words or doing math worksheets.
For my kids, it’s not only tasty, but it’s a confidence booster too. My 10-year-old son loves to make this for us. Some evenings he sets it up for our second dinner. And some mornings, he makes this for breakfast. He is my early bird kid, often awake and chipper by 5:30 am. On these early mornings, he’ll make himself (and the rest of us) this oatmeal for breakfast. He starts it, gets ready for school, and by the time he gets back downstairs, it’s ready for release and serving. I love that he’s making breakfast for us. He loves that he’s making breakfast for us. It’s a win-win with this Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal.
The Instant Pot has a magical way of infusing flavor (and in this case, sweetener) into the food it’s pressure cooking. The heat and pressure combination works wonders on soups, chilies, stews, roasts … and steel cut oatmeal. The heat and pressure work together to take the sweetener you wish to use and get it infused into the sauce. A little sweetener goes a long way in the Instant Pot!
I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious recipe!
Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal with Berries
- brown sugar
- Remove insert from the Instant Pot. Place steel cut oats, water, sweetener, and cinnamon into the insert. Give it a gentle swirl to combine.
- Place the insert into the instant pot. Put the lid on and set to Sealing.
- Use the Manual mode. Set on High and adjust to 7 minutes.
- Quick release, or natural release.
- Open up the Instant Pot, remove the insert from the base, and then stir the oatmeal.
- The oatmeal and any remaining liquid will thicken as it cools. Ladle the oatmeal into bowls and top with berries, milk, and sweetener to taste.
- Gluten free when using gluten-free oats.
- Dairy free if milk is not used as optional garnish.
- We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.