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My Instant Pot was an Eid present from my husband (bless his soul!) – he heard me go on and on about it after some friends in the US introduced me to it, and decided to surprise me with it. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement. We were both initially apprehensive about it, especially since I really didn’t want to have something unnecessary cluttering my worktop, and an expensive item at that, but it has lived up to every expectation I have had and more!
I have the 7-in-1 6 litre version and when I received it, I put off opening it until the kids were in bed, but was then too exhausted and finally opened it the next day, 15 minutes before I wanted to start dinner! I glossed over the manual, skipped the water test (don’t do what I did!) and went straight to cooking. I made a chicken pilau in it for the very first time and it turned out well for a fraction of the time it takes on the stove top.
To say the Instant Pot is useful would be an understatement. I’m able to cook without babysitting the pot on the stove, so if the kids are fighting or someone needs to go to the bathroom, I can walk away without having to worry that my food is going to burn, or that one of them will climb the worktop and burn themselves with an open flame. I still cook on the stove of course, but I do most of my cooking in the IP and it has cut down massively on the amount of gas used, and the washing up required.
Amazon has been running a Black Friday sale on the 7-in1 version for the brilliant price of £69.95 only and some of you who follow me on social media have bought it because of my multiple posts gushing over it! I thought I’d put together a list of tips of things I have found useful with my IP and links to resources I have found informative. This post is a work in progress so I will keep updating it as I try new methods and continue to test out new recipes.
When storing your Instant Pot away or when not in use, rest the lid upside down on top of the pot or prop it up on the side to air it out. The silicone ring will air out and the lid is less likely to smell of the food you last cooked when you use it again.
There are several accessories that will work with your Instant Pot to make it more efficient. If you need to purchase spare sealing rings or a spare inner pot – these should only be genuine Instant Pot ones, sold by Instant Pot. Anything else will compromise your unit.
If you are looking for a glass lid for your Instant Pot, the IKEA STABIL series (the 24cm lid will fit the 6 litre inner pot perfectly) is just as good at a fraction of the price.
There are also accessories that will enable you to cook multiple things at once or to cook directly in the dishes you intend to serve/ store the food away in. I will cover these below.
You may see recipes that will say 5 minutes cooking time, or similar. The ‘cooking time’ refers to the time the food takes to cook from when pressure has built, to the end of the programme. You need to factor in additional time for the pressure to build at the beginning and then release at the end. So bear this in mind when you are cooking if you need to have food prepared by a certain time.
To cut down on the time required to build pressure, you can do one of two things.
- Put the pot on sauté mode whilst you get your things ready. This builds the temperature of the inner pot so that when you programme it to build pressure, there’s already a considerable amount of heat in there as opposed to beginning from scratch.
- When adding any water, to rice or soups or anything else that you’re cooking, ensure this is warm or boiling water, and not cold – this will help to build pressure quickly.
Here is an excellent video that demonstrates how to clean your Instant Pot correctly. Flo Lum’s channel also has a fantastic playlist of Instant Pot recipes – so you may want to check those out too!
To get smells out of your silicone liner, I would recommend washing in Milton sterilisation fluid or using Milton tablets which are inexpensive. You could also use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. I have three rings in total which I switch out when making particularly smelly food – for instance if I’ve made curry and will then be making yoghurt or a dessert. These will wear out with time (as they would with any pressure cooker) so I recommend keeping an eye on these and purchasing them when they go on sale.
Pot in Pot cooking
Pot in Pot cooking, or PIP as it is referred to in most Instant Pot community groups, is using another pot within the inner stainless steel pot to either cook directly in the container you intend to serve/ store the food in, or to cook multiple items at once by stacking two pots in the inner pot.
You can only do this with oven safe glassware or stainless steel containers. Pyrex is great for this and I have a set of these three glass flat bottomed bowls with lids – that are very affordable and perfect for using in the IP. You can cook directly in them so there is NO washing up (the inner pot would just have water in it that you could just toss out after) and any leftovers can go straight in the fridge – just pop the lid on.
Indian style dabbas, like these, are great for this too – if you live near a store that sells Indian spices, food items, cookware etc, you will most certainly find one. Stainless steel conducts heat quicker than glass, so although pot in pot cooking means you may need to double the cooking time, your food will cook quicker in stainless steel than it will in glass. There’s a lot of trial and error with this, but I think it’s worth it once you’ve mastered it all.
I’ll keep adding to the list and would love to hear from you if you have any tips you find handy.
Full disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you use it to make your purchase. However, it costs you nothing and enables me to keep bringing you great content. I only ever recommend products I use and love myself.