Jan 4, 2017

How & Why to Get Started with an Electric Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot - with 31 Pressure Cooker Recipes!

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There are three main reasons pressure cooking is fantastic:

1. Pressure cooked food retains 80-95% of its nutrients - the most of any cooking method.
2. pressure cooking reduces energy use by 70% or better (depending on what type of pressure cooker you use).
3. Using a pressure cooker, you save a lot of time!

What I love most about using my Instant Pot (which is an electric pressure cooker) is that sometimes I save on total cooking time...but always, I save personal time because I can throw the food in the Pot and walk away. There is literally NO need to stir, adjust settings, or check on the food until it's ready to eat. This means extra time with the kids, to write, to read...to do whatever I want. I love that!

Some people are scared to pressure cook because they've heard horror stories about pressure cookers exploding. This used to happen back in Grandma's day, but as long as you follow some very basic guidelines (found in your pressure cooker's owner manual), it doesn't happen with today's electric pressure cookers.

Others wonder what on earth they'd cook in a pressure cooker. A simple answer is that if you'd normally slow cook it,  boil it, braise it, or steam it, you can pressure cook it. And today's pressure cookers even off more variety. For example, the Instant Pot (IP) allows you to saute, make yogurt, proof bread, and even bake some things. Another thing I love about my IP is that usually I only have to dirty one dish to make a meal - the pot or "bowl" of the pressure cooker. (Fewer dishes and more free time? How can you beat that!)



So far, I've cooked perfect, easy peel hard boiled eggs; super quick (unsoaked) dry beans; yogurt; meat; stock; and (oh yeah) meals in my IP. (Oh, and whole, fall-off-the-bones, chicken that's so much better than anything I've roasted before!) It's so easy! And the food is really delicious. In fact, I've made several of my slow cooker recipes in my IP and my family strongly believes they taste much better when pressure cooked. I'm at the point now where I don't want to cook...unless it's with my IP. I love it that much.
Cheesecake can be tricky to bake...but not in an Instant Pot!
Why an Electric Pressure Cooker?

For years, I've used my wonderful Presto pressure canner for occasional pressure cooking. (Read this to clarify the difference between pressure cookers and pressure canners.) But it was a bit of a pain. Not only is my Presto hard to clean (because the pot is so large it doesn't fit in the sink), but I had to keep checking on the pot, making sure the pressure was where it was supposed to be.

But with an electric pressure cooker, there is a removable pot (Instant Pot is the only pressure cooker I'm aware of that has a stainless steel pot (remember that non-stick coatings are unhealthy). This pot can go right into the dishwasher. In addition, there is no need to regulate the heat of the stove top and adjust as necessary. In other words, an IP is about as hands-free as cooking gets!

Why An Instant Pot?

Instant Pots cook at a lower psi, which makes them a bit safer than other pressure cookers. In addition, they are highly versatile, with yogurt, saute, and slow cook features. (Though I understand the slow cook feature isn't perfect. I personally haven't tried it yet.)
An antique pressure cooker. Thank goodness for modern tech!

Instant Pot Recipes

* Hard boiled eggs. So easy and they peel easily every single time! Place 1 cup of water in the IP stainless steel pot. Add the trivet. Place eggs on the trivet. (You can stack eggs on top of each other, if needed.) Put the bowl in the IP and shut the lid. Turn the vent to "Seal." Press "Steam." Press the "Adjust" button until it reads 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes are over, let the IP do a natural release for 5 minutes. Remove the stainless steel pot from the IP (using hot pads), remove the eggs, and dunk in cold water for 5 minutes.

* Dry Beans 

* Yogurt 

* Risotto

* Brown Rice 

* Frozen Ground Beef 

* Taco Meat

* Sloppy Joe Meat 

* Stock or Bone Broth

* "Rotisserie" Chicken 
 
Yogurt made in my Instant Pot.

* Chicken Breasts

* Chicken & Dumplings 

* Salmon 

* Beef Stew

* Kalua Pig

* Baked Potatoes 

* Mashed Potatoes 

* Potato Salad 

* Crispy Potatoes 

* Loaded Mac & Cheese 

* Lasagna 

* French Onion Soup 

* Split Pea & Ham Soup 

"Roasted" chicken is fall apart tender in an IP.*
* Baked Beans

* Steamed Broccoli

* Breakfast Hash 

* Ham, Egg, and Cheese Casserole 

* Cheesecake 

* Chocolate Pudding 

* Applesauce 

* Popcorn



Other Helpful Links:

* Pressure Cooker Recipe Converter
* How to Convert a Recipe to a Pressure Cooker Recipe 
* How to Convert Old Pressure Cooker Recipes
* 10 Things You Need to Know About Instant Pot
* 8 Instant Pot Basic Techniques
* My Pinterest Pressure Cooking Board


* Photo courtesy of Joe Randazzo.

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