Honesty check – does your Instant Pot shine just like it came out of the box, because, well, it’s still sitting in the box? Are you afraid to pull the trigger on trying your new appliance? My good friend, an excellent cook, received an Instant Pot as a gift six months ago. She’s a health nut, so I knew she’d love the variety of nutritious meals she could prepare. I asked her recently how she was enjoying the flexibility of cooking with her new kitchen toy and she sheepishly admitted she was afraid to try it. Not only that, she keeps asking me to come over and show her how to use it. She’s not the only one – old pressure cookers certainly garnered a bit of a reputation for being unstable (ever heard the cliche ‘he’ll pop his top like a pressure cooker’? The reputation had some merit). Since I can’t come over to all of your kitchens and walk you through (I wish I could – how fun would that be!), here’s some reasons why you can be confident cooking with Instant Pot.
Today’s pressure cookers, including the increasingly popular Instant Pot, use electricity to stabilize the pressure, making them safer and easier to use. Can you still have kitchen mistakes and minor pressure disasters with an Instant Pot? Absolutely, if you don’t read the instructions thoroughly and learn the do’s and don’ts of cooking with the IP. Part of the problem is all the new websites popping up with seemingly ‘tried and true’ recipes for the Instant Pot. I’ve read several where the recipe itself sounds great but the instructions aren’t in line with the manufacturer recommendations – the biggest two being not including enough liquid in the recipe and recommending quick pressure release for high liquid-content recipes when the IP manual clearly states natural pressure release needs to be used on high liquid foods.
Still unsure? Not sure where to start with your Instant Pot? Let me help relieve some of your anxiety and be your cheerleader. Fear no more – you can do this! I’ll walk you through it.
Bonus reason to get that appliance out and starting using it!
You’ll have fun experimenting with your own unique creations. Start with a recipe you’ve made and works well. Remember that not all recipes are created equal so start with a trustworthy source, like this cookbook. Let’s say you want to create a chicken recipe, using chicken quarters, with a Tex-Mex flare. Find a tried and true recipe using chicken pieces, then alter the seasonings, liquids used, veggies included and follow the cooking time on the original recipe. For the most part, this is how almost all recipes start. Then you can continue tweaking it each time you make it until you have THE perfect recipe.
Ready to get started? Let me leave you with this story – not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it worked. The VERY FIRST thing I made in my Instant Pot was our signature Applesauce Cake recipe. I (very foolishly) did not do the water test as recommended in the instructions. Now, I do have some experience in creating new recipes, but my first time out of the gate, I decide to try creating a new recipe. I’d NEVER pressure cooked before outside of using a pressure canner to put up vegetables. I was brave, figuring the worst that could happen would be having to throw away the cake. But guess what? It was a success!
Now, do I recommend skipping the water test – NOOOOOO! My intention with this story is letting you know it’s ok to experiment and try things out not knowing what will happen, because most likely, it will turn out ok and you’ll learn some great tricks for cooking with your new appliance. I’d love to hear what you cook first, and definitely share if you create some new family favorites!