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Using the Instant Pot
Old 09-15-2018, 01:45 PM   #1
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Using the Instant Pot

I realize there are a number of threads on Instant Pots, but they seem to concern buying rather than using them, so I thought I start one on their general use.

I have used mine MUCH more than I expected, but not for the reasons I expected. A big one is tidiness: my least favorite kitchen chore is cleaning the stove top, and the IP eliminates that need.

On the other hand, a huge selling point is made out of its speed, but I have so far not found much, if any, change in speed if the time spent by the IP in coming up to pressure and then depressurizing is included. I have found the "natural release" to take twice as long as advertised. Supposed to be a maximum of 25 minutes for most items; mine goes much longer than that, 50 minutes yesterday. I'm going to check the valve, but it doesn't look clogged.

Now, today, I'm making a meatloaf, which I thought about putting in the IP, but then I realized it was just as easy to shove the container in the toaster oven, and I thought that maybe dry heat baking would be a better choice.

Interested in others' thoughts.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:03 PM   #2
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I love that I dont have to monitor it, I keep an eye on it (actually an ear because I can hear when its pressurizes ) but after that I can ignor it for most recipes. Not even be in the kitchen when its finishes. Also I love the one pot aspect, brown thinks then cook them. In general less cleanup too.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:15 PM   #3
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Our house is at 7500', water boils around 195°f. An instant pot helps immensely. I'm not sure how long I have to cook Irish oats on the stove; I never did get them right. Things like chille verde need one pot, an hour later we're eating.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:26 PM   #4
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I would not make a meat loaf in an IP. Stews, chili, soups are a yes. I also use the IP to quickly cook dried beans. It makes good yogurt also at about 1/3 the price of buying it at the store. It's a tool, use it for what it does best.
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:45 PM   #5
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I have also found it useful for cooking whole vegetables - such as heads of cauliflower and whole beets. But after that, I tend to revert to the stovetop, because the sequencing gets too difficult. Say you are making a cauliflower soup. Sauteeing the onions, etc. can happen in the pot, then you can add a roux, then whatever broth you are using, then the cooked cauliflower florets. Then after everything is simmered to blend the flavors you can use a handheld blender to puree everything, then add some cream or grated cheese. All one pot. I can't see how to do this in an IP without a lot of extra time beforehand. But it is convenient for cooking the cauliflower.

But does this make the IP conceptually just a "fast cooker," that is, a speeded up slow cooker?
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellice View Post
I realize there are a number of threads on Instant Pots, but they seem to concern buying rather than using them, so I thought I start one on their general use.

I have used mine MUCH more than I expected, but not for the reasons I expected. A big one is tidiness: my least favorite kitchen chore is cleaning the stove top, and the IP eliminates that need.

On the other hand, a huge selling point is made out of its speed, but I have so far not found much, if any, change in speed if the time spent by the IP in coming up to pressure and then depressurizing is included. I have found the "natural release" to take twice as long as advertised. Supposed to be a maximum of 25 minutes for most items; mine goes much longer than that, 50 minutes yesterday. I'm going to check the valve, but it doesn't look clogged.

Now, today, I'm making a meatloaf, which I thought about putting in the IP, but then I realized it was just as easy to shove the container in the toaster oven, and I thought that maybe dry heat baking would be a better choice.

Interested in others' thoughts.
Honestly I have never had a 50 min “natural release”. More like 20 mins. But I stop it at 10 usually - there is so little pressure left.

I mainly use the IP for stews and cooking cuts of meat like lamb shanks. Occasionally for steaming slow veggies like beets. Also tough cuts like corned beef. Occasionally beans without presoaking. I didn’t have a pressure cooker before, so it’s been an enhancement to our kitchen.

It’s faster than stovetop/oven stews. And the texture is better due to breaking down the connective tissue. I think also that more flavor gets pushed into the meat. I don’t like the texture of ground meat in the IP so I don’t use it for chili.

I’ve used it for bone broth, but not for soups. Things that cook quickly or are delicate I don’t bother. I wouldn’t use it for fish stock or seafood or cut up vegetables.

I put away my crock pot and should now just get rid of it.
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:24 PM   #7
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Cauliflower soup should be easy to convert to instapot, follow the same steps just in the instapot. If you wanted to you could pressure cook the head of cauliflower first, them take it out, saute your onions in the instapot, make you’re roux, add your broth, then add your caulifower back in ( but I bet it dosent even need to be cooked) turn it back on to pressure cook the soup for a bit ( instead of simmering) , For ease I woule npr it. Open the lid, and use the same hand held to puree it, add cream cheese atc all while leaving it on warm. If you wanted to you could reduce it with the sauté function before you add the cream or cheese. Might not save time, but you can walk away or prep another part of a meal instead of watching a simmering pot.
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:25 PM   #8
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My sister and her husband swear by meatloaf in the instapot. She also makes killer cheesecake in hers.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:32 AM   #9
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I like Indian food, and using my pressure cooker (Instant pot equivalent) really cuts the time and mess. I can brown the meat/chicken, remove to a plate, fry to onions, add the ginger, garlic and spices, and whatever else the recipe calls for, purée with a stick blender, then add the protein back in, pressure cook fo a few minutes, add finishing ingredients, and I’m done.

Cooking cauliflower is a cinch. Hard-boiled eggs (there’s a whole thread on this topic) are amazing.

How do you cook a cheesecake in an instant pot? Wouldn’t the crust be mushy?
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:00 AM   #10
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For baking a cheese cake , you freeze the crust for about 20 min, and then add the fillings. It cooks on a rack above the water. I found the texture to be very similar to my cherished NYC style one I bake. However the fact that the recipe size is cut dow to a 6 inch springform, would make it small enough to easily justify making for the two of us, which is why I stick to my big 10 inchpan which only comes out for big occasions when we will only get a small slice if we are quick!
I also hear it does a nice job on lava cakes.
One thing I like to do is cook pot in pot, maybe somechicken in sauce on the bottom then a bowl of rice & liquid up on a rack .
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:50 AM   #11
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About the only thing we cook in our Cuisinart pressure cooker is chicken and dumplings. We find conventional oven to do just well on meat loaf, and our large crock pot cannot be beat for roasts, chili, vegetable beef soup, etc.
We eat a very typical southern diet, and we cook on our gas grill all year round. In Summer, we cook outside just about every day and seldom spend more than 30 minutes cooking any meal. Pressure cookers are nice to have, and maybe I need to pay more attention to online recipes for their use.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:05 AM   #12
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One of my favorite uses for the IP is potato salad. Put in a cup of H2O and a steamer basket, add diced raw potatoes, and lay a couple of eggs on top. High pressure for five minutes, let cool for 10 and release pressure.

I have been making yogurt on a regular basis. Easy, and much better and cheaper than store-bought.

I think I'll find a use for it tonight. Maybe stew, what with all the rain and cooler temps today.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:20 AM   #13
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When I bought it, I rationalized that it would take the place of my crockpot - which I honestly only used a couple of times a year. I had no idea how versatile and useful this too would be and that I would be cooking in it multiple times a week.

My biggest problem with the Instant Pot is that it takes up so much room on my small countertop. I have a storage place for it in the pantry, but I swear I take it out every other day or more! I made beef stroganoff last night - the meat cooks so much faster than on top of the stove. I can use a lower quality stew meat and get the same results as if I used the higher end cuts.

I've found that I love the way it cooks vegetables like fresh green beans and carrots. I use a steamer basket and set the pot for one minute. I made some "baked" potatoes the other night - I cooked them in the pot for 10 minutes, natural release for 10 and then popped them in the over for the last 10 to crisp up the skin. I was already baking some Ina Garden baked shrimp scampi in there. The potatoes were less dry than if I had baked them for the full hour.

We make a batch of yogurt every other week - DH who has never been a huge yogurt fan loves it.

I've done lasagna and cheesecake - haven't tried the meatloaf yet. I'll have to check it out and give it a try.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:26 AM   #14
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I’m tempted to get an instant pot after reading this thread. But I’ve already has 3 crockpots and they don’t break often.
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Using the Instant Pot
Old 09-16-2018, 08:54 AM   #15
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Using the Instant Pot

I love my first iPot so much that I just bought the 3 qt mini. Use one of them almost every day, sometimes because it is quick, but mostly for the convenience. Apple sauce (my DH makes weekly), steel cut oats, yogurt, a variety of soups and stews, shredded pork and chicken are all regulars. Always make extra for another meal, so I think I am cooking less often. Great recipes on FB and lots of other places. Thinking about something to make? Do a search with “instant pot” in front of the recipe name, and be amazed about your choices. PressureLuck has the best recipes, and Jeffrey makes it all so easy. I’ve done a few classes for nervous friends, turned them into believers. Great prices on Black Friday.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:55 AM   #16
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I am tempted to get an instant also, but not sure I would use it. I use our crockpot constantly for all kinds of things from breakfast porridge to pot roasts.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:00 AM   #17
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I use mine almost every night. If not used to make a full meal I use it as a rice steamer or a vegetable steamer. It's especially nice to use it to avoid turning on the oven in the southern heat. I especially like beets steamed in it.
My favorite meals are red beans and rice, shrimp etouffee, baby-back ribs, brown and wild rice pilaf, and split pea soup. Had a curried lentil soup last night!

Cheesecake is wonderful in the IP. I'll have to try a meatloaf recipe soon.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:49 AM   #18
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I love that I dont have to monitor it, I keep an eye on it (actually an ear because I can hear when its pressurizes ) but after that I can ignor it for most recipes. Not even be in the kitchen when its finishes. Also I love the one pot aspect, brown thinks then cook them. In general less cleanup too.
These are my favorite aspects of the Instant Pot, too. I love that it turns itself off or down to "warm" since I am a bit absent minded these days, and really don't want to burn the house down if I get distracted. And it is so easy to clean.
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I’m tempted to get an instant pot after reading this thread. But I’ve already has 3 crockpots and they don’t break often.
Three crockpots? Wow! I can't imagine, but I can sure understand why you don't want another device. I am probably the only person alive who never had a crockpot.
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My biggest problem with the Instant Pot is that it takes up so much room on my small countertop. I have a storage place for it in the pantry, but I swear I take it out every other day or more!
My sympathies! Your countertop sounds really small, or else my kitchen is larger than I thought. I wonder if you could fit a larger countertop in somehow, or maybe an island or microwave cart or something like that.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:53 AM   #19
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@W2R, two were gifts, one from Xmas from one company(15 years ago), one from one kid who left me her stuff after college. I only bought one, back in the day that I cooked ahead on weekend so I can have some food during work week.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:04 PM   #20
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@W2R, two were gifts, one from Xmas from one company(15 years ago), one from one kid who left me her stuff after college. I only bought one, back in the day that I cooked ahead on weekend so I can have some food during work week.
Oh OK, I see. Well, I wish somebody had given me a crockpot sometime over the past 50 years. I guess I can use my Instant Pot for that, now.

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[…] baby-back ribs […]
Baby-back ribs? OHHHH you are giving me ideas. I order my meat from butcherbox dot com, and lately they keep including ribs in each box for some reason. I had already planned to try cooking them in my Instant Pot so I am glad to read that you had good results.
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