Pressure cookers have been around for ages, but the Instant Pot has taken the home cooking world by storm. If you were fortunate enough to receive one this holiday season, consider yourself lucky. These electric cookers can work miracles for everyone short on time (and who isn’t?).
Sure, your Instant Pot can help you make meals in a snap, but you can use it for so much more than fast dinner prep. Here are 12 tips to help you get the most out of your new favorite kitchen gadget:
1. Make Friends with the Manual Setting
When you are just starting out, resist the urge to jump right into using one of the many special function buttons. Using the “manual” key, which is sometimes called the “pressure cook” key, you can set the machine to cook for a specific length of time, allowing you to follow a recipe’s suggestions.
2. Preheat the Pot
While there is no “preheat” setting on an Instant Pot, you can warm it up before you begin cooking using this hack: Set the device on sauté mode as you prep the meal to get a head start. Press “off” and choose your desired setting when you are ready to get cooking.
3. Start with Hot
Another tip that will further decrease the already speedy cooking time is to warm up liquids before adding them. With a preheated pot and hot liquid, you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.
4. Boil Eggs
Producing perfectly hard-boiled eggs that peel quickly and easily can seem like rocket science. With about five minutes and a little water, you can boil and peel even farm fresh eggs with ease.
5. DIY Dairy Products
There is something special about fresh cheese and other dairy favorites. And you can’t get any more fresh than homemade! Fortunately, you can whip up yogurt, ricotta and many other creamy foods with little time or effort with your Instant Pot.
6. Giant Pancakes
It’s not just about dinner: You can use your Instant Pot to whip up a pancake big enough to feed the entire family in just five minutes.
7. Fresh Veggie Trick
Since it prepares food so fast, you have to be careful not to overcook fresh vegetables in your Instant Pot. The trick is to use the “manual” setting and enter “0” for the cook time. By the time the machine comes to pressure, you should have perfectly cooked veggies.
8. Homemade Extracts
If you have ever used high-quality vanilla extract, you know that its painful to go back to using the store bought stuff. You can make delicious extracts yourself without waiting months using your Instant Pot.
9. Cosmetic Concoctions
While it is certainly capable of creating amazing edible items, your Instant Pot is versatile enough to make homemade health and beauty recipes, too, such as hard lotion bars, lip balm and herbal remedies.
10. Cook from Frozen
Forget to take something out for dinner? No sweat. You can cook frozen meat in your Instant Pot, although you will need to make a few adjustments such as longer cooking time (and be sure to test with a thermometer for doneness).
11. Swap Sealing Rings
The silicone sealing rings tend to absorb flavors from whatever you cook. Buy a couple before you begin using your Instant Pot. Use one strictly for savory dishes and save the second for sweet treats.
12. Prepare Thanksgiving in a Snap
Granted, you will have to have the bird butchered first, but when you can have a 15-pound turkey on the table in under an hour, who cares? It’s less to carve, as well.
These tips and tricks will likely have you itching to give your Instant Pot a go. You’ll be glad you did, as it can save you time, money and even help you eat healthier meals. If you don’t have one yet, there is no time like the present to jump on the bandwagon!
[H/t: The Krazy Coupon Lady]