Most families are in a rush to get out the door in the mornings and don't have time to throw a meal into a crockpot for dinner to be ready when everyone gets home — because who feels like cooking after a long busy day? To fix both dilemmas, the concept of Instant Pot was born in 2010. Did you recently get one and feel like you're just not using your new appliance to its ultimate potential? Here are 10 Instant Pot hacks from Instant Pot fans who also have busy lifestyles and families to boot so you can optimize your new gadget.
According to the Instant Pot website, the company was founded by Canadian "technology veterans" who were looking to enhance food preparation based on their own lives. "Their objective was to find solutions that would enable busy families and professionals to prepare quality food in less time, promoting better eating and reducing the consumption of fast food," the website noted. In 2010, after a ton of research, they created the first Instant Pot and "incorporated the functions of five cooking appliances in one." These appliances included a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and warmer, according to the website.
Since 2014, Instant Pot is now the most advanced pressure cooker system in the market, and is a bestseller across all categories on Amazon. I myself do not have an Instant Pot, but after reading some of these hacks and recipes from these folks below, I might have to put one on my wishlist.
1Using The Sauté Feature To Brown Meat & Apple Juice For BBQ
Nicole Murray tells Romper that she loves being able to cook dinner, even if you forget to thaw the meat. (Which I do every. single. day.) You can just throw it in and cook. She also says that she uses the sauté feature often to brown meat, leaving one less dirty dish on the stovetop. If you're looking for a crowd favorite, Murray says her hack includes using apple juice instead of water in the Instant Pot to make barbecue. "I make barbecue a lot. Just take whatever meat you'd normally make barbecue with — I use pork tenderloin — and add some apple juice instead of water and barbecue sauce."
2Put Ingredients For Steel Cut Oats In Overnight
Angelyn Vaughan has had her Instant Pot for a little over a year, she tells Romper, and uses it for oatmeal several times a week and occasionally for roasts or frozen chicken. "My hack is to put the ingredients for steel cut oats in the pot at night and set on delay for the morning," Vaughan says. This can make your mornings even more efficient.
3Always Add A Half Cup Of Water In Addition To What The Recipe Calls For
"I think no matter what the recipe says, always add at least a half cup of water to whatever you're cooking," Liz Campbell tells Romper. "Also you can cook hard boiled eggs that peel really easily if you place them in one layer in the bottom (I use the steamer rack so I can put my 1 cup of water in the bottom). You can usually get about a dozen to fit. I set it for six minutes and they are perfect."
4Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot
Yes, even pasta is doable in the Instant Pot — no more waiting on the water to boil. You can do traditional pastas, like pasta with meat sauce from The Green Bean, or even a carbonara from Adventures of a Nurse or alfredo from Heather Likes Food. And, you can do fun recipes, like "pizza pasta" thanks to Family Fresh Meals. Check out these 41 Instant Pot pasta recipes from Food. Life. DIY. — you'll be drooling in minutes.
5Use The Warming Function To Keep Food You've Cooked In Your Oven Warm
Even if you're not cooking dinner in the Instant Pot, you can still make it work for you. "A hack is to use the warming function to keep food I’ve cooked in the oven or on the stove warm," Cassandra Tan tells Romper.
6Use It To Pop Fresh Popcorn
No more microwaves and super greasy and drippy bags when you have a hankering for popcorn. The Instant Pot can even make fresh, hot, popcorn from three ingredients — kernels, coconut oil, and butter, according to this Copy Me That recipe.
7Make Your Own Stock From Bones & Veggies In Minutes
Rebecca Merchant, whom her friends call the neighborhood Instant Pot Guru, tells Romper that she loves her Instant Pot because it gives her a new way to cook and the cleanup is relatively easy. "I originally bought a 6-quart, but I upgraded to an 8-quart, mainly so I could have more room for PIP: pot-in-pot cooking (cheesecakes, casseroles, egg bites, etc)." She says that her hack is pretty general — she just converts her favorite slow cooker recipes to Instant Pot — but she also uses it to make stock and broths. "I make my own in the Instant Pot about once a week with a chicken carcass and whatever veggies I have left over in my fridge. Also, a lot of new people don't realize you can rest the lid in the handles, which saves a ton of counter space."
8Make Non-Edible Things, Too, Like Body Lotion Bars
You can make your own hand lotion bars by throwing ingredients into a mason jar, and using the "sauté" feature in the Instant Pot to liquefy everything before pouring it into a mold and tossing it in your freezer to set. Once set, you can rub it on elbows, knees, hands, or wherever you're feeling dry. This recipe from Awe Filled Homemaker is really easy and super cute, with dinosaur-shaped lotion bars.
9Easily Clean The Silicone Rings Of The Pot
Ralph Cullen loves his Instant Pot for its versatility, but his hack has everything to do with keeping that one appliance clean. Cullen tells Romper, "The one part of the Instant Pot that's prone to picking up strong cooking smells is the silicone ring inside the lid." He says there are two easy fixes. You can either buy new rings online and replace your old ones, or you can put a "couple of cups of water or white vinegar and the rind of half of a lemon into the pot and set it to steam for three minutes." He says you should let the whole cycle complete and depressurize on its own and it comes out smelling like new. Genius.
10DIY Cough Syrup
That's right. Cough syrup. With cold and flu season being extremely hardcore this year, this Instant Pot Cough Syrup recipe from Traditional Cooking School By Gnowfglins needs to be at the ready for your family. With just thyme, ginger, raw honey, cayenne pepper, lemon, and water, you'll be burning the germs and phlegm right out of your family.
Whether it's adjusting the settings exactly right, making lotion or cough syrup, or even cleaning out the pot so it doesn't smell like last night's stroganoff a week later, these Instant Pot hacks are pretty handy. And not only are you enjoying healthy, fresh, home-cooked meals and reducing waste and clean up time, but using the Instant Pot seems pretty easy. Now excuse me while I add one to my Amazon wish list.
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