The Downlow on the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot.  Have you heard of it?  The other day a friend of mine asked for advice on the Instant pot on Facebook, and she got several responses about the nettie pot.   I’m not sure how you confuse the two since the nettie pot cleans out your sinuses and the Instant Pot cooks your food.

If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is or if you know just enough to be dangerous, I am here to change your life!   That might sound crazy, but I am certain the Instant Pot has changed the way I cook and meal prep.   At this point, I’m doing 100% of my meals for the week with the Instant Pot.

What is an Instant Pot?

You might be asking, “What is it?  What makes it so great?”  Let’s start with what it is.  The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker.  Before I got the IP, all I knew about pressure cookers is that my grandma used to use one to seal jars of jelly.   I was always scared of hers because it was hot and loud.   The IP is none of these things, except that it does use pressure to cook.  It is basically a large pot with an electric heating element in the bottom and an automatic sealing lid and pressure valve.  It allows you to both saute and pressure cook in the same pot.

Why is an Instant Pot Awesome?

This is just the start of what makes it awesome.  First of all, it is electric, so no heating up the kitchen or dirtying up the stove or oven.  Also, because it has a heating element in the bottom, you can brown your meat or saute your veggies in the same pan that you cook the whole meal.  This really cuts down on dishes.  I would say 95% of the meals I make now use only the IP and no other pots and pans.

Who Needs a Crockpot?

The real beauty of the Instant Pot, though, is that it can completely replace your crockpot.   I loved my crockpot.  It allowed me to eat super healthy, and it reduced the number of dishes I used and my prep time.  Unfortunately, though, the extended cook times were annoying.  I could prep everything in one day, but then it might take me a couple of days to cook three meals that each needed 8 hours to cook.   Also, it was difficult to use the crockpot for ready-to-eat meals.  It took more scheduling and time management than I liked.

Enter the Instant Pot.  It is a pressure cooker.  This means that when it is sealed and the liquid inside heats up, it creates an intense high pressure.  This high pressure tenderizes meats quickly and mixes flavors together as if they’ve been in the crockpot for hours.   In short, food cooks faster and tastes better in the Instant Pot than in the crockpot.  For example, chili takes 50 mins in the IP; whereas, crockpot chili recipes might call for 6 hours of cooking.  I can cook a fork-tender pork butt in 90 minutes and do a whole rotisserie-style chicken in 25 minutes.

Where Can I Find Recipes?

Another awesome aspect of the Instant Pot is all of the online recipes and support that are available.  When searching for recipes on Pinterest or online, I usually type in paleo Instant Pot recipe.  There are tons and tons of recipes.  I also joined a couple of paleo Instant Pot facebook groups, and they are great about providing recipes and answering questions, especially for beginners.  I have started amassing many of my own recipes as well on Pinterest.  I have boards for beef, chicken, pork, and seafood that include many Instant Pot recipes.

What’s even better, is that it is pretty simple to convert any slow cooker recipe into an Instant Pot recipe.  For example, for stews and chilis, you can use the stew setting on the Instant Pot in place of the slow cooker cook times.  For chicken recipes, you will want to put the Instant Pot manual for 25 to 30 minutes.  For beef or pork roasts, you would want to cook for 50 to 90 minutes depending on the roast size.

Where Can I See More?

Special bonus–even non-slow cooker recipes can be converted to the Instant Pot.  As long as you have at least a cup of liquid per 2-3 pound of meat and follow the general cook times above, you can convert almost any recipe.  I have experimented a lot with pork chops and had good success.

Sounds amazing, right?  When I talk to people about how awesome the IP is, I often get the impression that people are intimidated by the Instant Pot.  Honestly, I was a little intimidated when I pulled it out of the box, but it has a great manual, and after using it once or twice, it is super simple.  Be sure to check out this video where I introduce you to the basics of the Instant Pot.

My biggest tip?  Don’t be intimidated.  Get the biggest pot, and get started experimenting today.  You will not be disappointed!