Are you one of the people that got an Instant Pot over the holidays? If so, you may already be a pro and whipping out all kinds of pressure cooking delights. Or you could be a tad bit intimidated by your new electric pressure cooker and not even sure where to start. If that sounds familiar, grab a seat! This article is for you. (Plus, I’m really excited to share some of our favorite easy instant pot recipes with you guys below!)
Getting Started with Your Instant Pot
The very first thing I would recommend you do, after reading the manual of course, is joining THIS amazing Instapot community on Facebook. Other than, a VERY helpful cousin that was already an Instant Pot pro, this group was the NUMBER 1 biggest help for me while I was learning to cook with my new toy.
On that same note, given it’s popularity, you may also have a very helpful family member, friend, or neighbor that’s a pressure cooking expert and will totally be ok with you texting or calling when you are all ‘OMG did I over-fill it?’ or ‘Why won’t the pot close?’ Or you know… so I hear….. *cough* (Thanks, Kelly! LOL)
Get Familiar With These Pro-Tips
Before pressure cooking, always make sure the white silicone ring on the inside of the lid is in place all the way around. And once you close the lid, make sure the black dial at the top is set to sealed, not venting. This means the pot is sealed shut and allows it to come to pressure.
NPR means Natural Pressure Release: This is recommended when you are cooking most things in the Instant Pot. For meats, it is like ‘letting it rest’ and get more tender and keeping the juices in. For soups, if you don’t naturally allow the pressure to release, you could get liquid shooting through the valve. Not good.
QPR means Quick Pressure Release and that is when you CAREFULLY open the valve and allow steam to release quickly, keeping your hands safely out of the way. I release mine with a wooden spoon handle. Quick pressure release is useful if you are wanting to avoid overcooking something like pasta or vegetables.
The ability to ‘Saute’ in the instant pot and brown meats before pressure cooking, is one of my favorite features. But, make sure you wait until the pot says HOT before adding your cooking oil and your meat. This will keep the meat from sticking.
The first thing I would make in the Instant Pot? Water. That’s right. Good ol’ fashioned H2O. Familiarize yourself with your pot without having to worry about messing your dinner up. This video is an excellent tutorial on how to do the Instant Pot Water Test and why.
One last thing to note: Some types of foods are prepared in a MUCH shorter time than traditional cooking, such as pot roasts, pulled pork, stews, dried beans, stock, etc., while some recipes that have less of a cook time with traditional cooking methods, may not save you THAT much time in the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Recipes for the Whole Family
Mississippi Coke Roast: Everyone I asked suggested making a simple roast for my very first instant pot recipe. This one is as easy as it gets and our family absolutely loves it. I was SHOCKED that I made a chuck roast all the way from start to fall apart tender in such a short amount of time. I was honestly sold on this appliance after this very first recipe.
Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken: Cooking a whole chicken and using the shredded meat in casseroles, sandwiches, and salads is a huge money and time saver for our family. Being able to do it in less time and freeing up my oven is a huge bonus!
Instant Pot Mongolian Beef: I was so excited to convert one of our favorite recipes, and the first recipe I ever blogged! It turned out so delicious, it may be one of the best things I’ve ever made.
Instant Pot Chili Con Queso: One of our favorite party dips! It wouldn’t be a holiday or game night without my mama’s delicious and meaty cheese dip recipe! SO fast in the Instant Pot and LOVE being able to saute the ground beef in it too.
Instant Pot Apple Butter Pork Chops: Apple and pork are the perfect pair in this delightfully easy recipe! Shred the leftovers and add barbecue sauce for the best BBQ sandwich you ever put in your mouth.
Instant Pot Ground Beef & Vegetable Soup: Soup and grilled cheese is one of our cold weather favorites. The Instant Pot gives soup, all day flavor in minutes.
Italian Sausage & Spinach Tortellini: This is an entire one pot meal! Love this one for a busy weeknight.
Instant Pot Baked Potatoes: We love to have loaded baked potatoes, piled high with bbq pork or chicken or leftover taco meat. It is such a good way to use up leftovers and reign in the grocery budget. You won’t find an easier recipe that this fool-proof one, anywhere.
Instant Pot Meatball Subs: No surprise here folks, this is one of my kiddos all time favorite meals and the easiest preparation of homemade meatballs I have ever tried! If you want to win your family over to the electric pressure cooker, this is the one!
What have you been cooking in your Instant Pot? We would love if you shared some of your favorite recipes with us below!
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Brandi Burgess A.K.A. 'Aunt Bee' has been married to the love of her life for 10 years. A Birmingham native, she and her husband helped run her parents successful business for 8 years before finally spreading their wings and setting out to make it on their own. They moved to Huntsville in 2012 where she is a stay at home mom to their 2 kids, ages 9 and 4. She has a passion for cooking for her family and trying new recipes, and she blogs her family's dinners and weekly meal plans over at Aunt Bees Recipes.