Instant Pot Quickstart

I recently got an Instant Pot (IP-DUO60), and it’s been a great addition to the kitchen. I do have to say the manual leaves something to be desired though when it comes to teaching a brand new person how to use it.

First, a couple of obvious, but not-so-obvious tips.

1. You need to add water for it to work right for most pressure-related cooking. It’s a pressure cooker, how obvious, right? Well, when you’re trying to convert some non IP recipes for use in it that have some liquid already, it’s not really clear if you should add more or not. Rule of thumb, unless it already has a lot of free liquid, add a cup or two of water so it can reach pressure. I found this out the hard way when trying to make a Thai Chicken recipe with a lot of salsa as part of the mixture. Chicken was raw until I added a 1-2 cups of water and set it back on program.

2. Pasta without sauce. There are tons of guides about making a one-pot pasta recipe by browning your meat, adding sauce, adding pasta, maybe some water, and go. For great pastas that you just want to eat with maybe some olive oil, this makes it difficult to know what to do. I experimented around and found you can usually make it work well by putting the pasta in the pot with some olive oil mixed around, and then enough water to cover it by a centimeter or so – use your judgement here. Then I set it to cook high pressure for half the time on the pasta package. I got perfectly al-dente tortellini this way.

3. Yogurt. If you already own a yogurt maker, this really doesn’t make the process any easier, except for not having to measure the temperature while its heating. If you don’t have one, it likely will save you some time. Do yourself a favor and cool the milk once you get it to 180F in a cool water bath. I usually just fill up the sink with cold water and let the pot sit in it while stirring the milk mixture around until it cools down. This only takes a couple of minutes (as opposed to letting it sit on its own for 1-2 hours).

More to come.

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