Instant Pot, resources, recipes and tips

I am NOT a fan of Instant Pot. They aren’t very good at anything. Bah.

On my latest yacht delivery there was one on board. Only two eyes on the stove so I used the IP several times. For steamed broccoli you set the time to zero (‘0’) minutes. What’s up with that? Doesn’t help have everything hot and ready at the same time. IRL it takes about five minutes so I guess you can just remember. Clean up was a minor pain and used excess water.

IP also drew a good bit of power so could not use it at the same time as the microwave on the boat inverter. I expect that to be an issue in smaller kitchens with only one 15A electric circuit.

I love mine for beans and braises.

But yeah they’re really not meant for steaming and cooking eggs…brings to mind the era when microwaves first came out with glossy books detailing entire meals cooked in a micro…and they never came out like the pictures!

2 Likes

Agreed. They aren’t effective for yogurt or rice either.

A conventional stove-top pressure cooker will be 10-15% faster. That’s why there are specific cookbooks for electric pressure cookers including IP. Lower pressure and less stable pressure levels. Also why they aren’t safe for home canning. My 5l pressure cooker is bigger than an IP on the inside but smaller on the outside and easier to store.

I don’t like IP. I think they closed the 10 to 15 percent gap, though. Also, home pressure cookers are no longer officially safe for pressure canning.

Footnote please? My K-R is, and of course my Presto pressure canner. The only issue with stove-top pressure cookers is volume. I can only get four or five pints in my PC.

I actually have a 10qt pressure cooker that might fit the criteria: https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/pressurecookers.html

You can read more here. If you understand the reasons behind the recommendation, like most food guidelines, you can use common sense to minimize the risks. However, the USDA guidelines are designed to be failsafe.

Thank you for the footnotes. Makes sense. I don’t think I’ve ever used my 5l pressure cooker for canning but I did have it in my head as an option for a few pints. No longer. Science rules. Upshot: might be safe, not tested, don’t do it.

I caved and bought an IP Max. Based on capacity. I’ve cooked two things so far. A bag of kidney beans and a pot of beef stew. I’m sure technique comes into play for time and temp and followed a recipe in the book. The stock was fine but there was more to deal with than just setting the flame to keep at a low simmer and walking away.

I never really made meals from my stove top PC. Really used my stove top PC to make stock. But maybe it’s my lack of knowledge and technique with the instrument

1 Like

Try this for your stovetop http://lornasass.com/cookbooks#pressure_cooking

1 Like

Please explain? Ours makes yogurt perfectly. And I like how brown rice and sushi rice come out.

2 Likes

Agree. Also basmati and risotto for us.

1 Like

For yogurt there is too much button pushing for something compared to the simplicity of using a pot. Why take something easy and make it unnecessarily complex? It’s easier in a pot.

For rice, again I prefer a pot. If you specifically want an appliance a dedicated fuzzy-logic rice cooker is easier. For specialist rices like risotto a stove-top pressure cooker will be about 15% faster.

Then there are short-term and long-term failure modes that apply to everything you make, and the sheer size of the thing.

Does the IP alert you when your milk is heated to 180 degrees and then again once the temp comes down to 110? (And then holds it there until you add your starter?) If so, I would buy it for that feature alone.

What I remember from reading the instructions is that you set it to reach 180F and then you have to fiddle with it more for cooling and then fiddle with it more to add starter and then fiddle with it more for fermentation. I’ve made a lot of yogurt in pots with fermentation in a lot of creative places. The IP attempt at automation takes more work than making it in a pot.

I stick milk in a pot over medium or medium-high heat while I do the dinner dishes. When it just starts to steam (that’s 180F when unwanted bacteria are killed and protein chains shift) I shift it off the heat and let it start to cool. When I can stick my finger in without burning (around 110F, cool enough not to kill the yogurt starter bacteria) I stir in the starter. Decant into a couple of quart Ball jars and stick in a cold oven with the light on to ferment overnight. In the morning there is yogurt. I’ve used IPs for yogurt as a challenge. The contact time is higher.

Yes it beeps.

The only thing is that when you heat the milk in the steel inner pot, it takes a bit longer to cook to 110/115 - you can remove the pot to accelerate that, but cool down time has to happen even stovetop or microwaved milk.

If you prefer individual servings (I do), you can pasteurize by using the Steam function instead, then use the Yogurt function to incubate. But I actually pasteurize those in the microwave (individual bowls take 45-60s) and then incubate in the IP instead of my usual fiddle with the oven or mug of boiling water in the back of the microwave.

It’s just a question of what you find most convenient to your own kitchen process.

For a larger quantity, I might only use the IP. For individual servings, IP makes the incubation simpler, but it’s a wash.

I should send this in to IP customer service or somewhere else probably.

To me the #1 improvement - mainly to the Mini - would be to invert the height / width proportions for more “floor space.”

Most of the food burn or similar issues occur because the pot is taller than it is wide - solids get stuck at the bottom and have to be stirred occasionally.

It’s like using a stock pot for everything you’d otherwise use a saucepan or chefs pan for.

If they made the bottom wider (at least on one model) I might never need my other (non-CS/CI) pans again. Plenty of floor space to brown, add a bit of liquid, close and switch to PC mode. I already have that in my stovetop PCs, but the convenience of electric shut-off and the beep alerts are very useful additions.

1 Like

Ok, so it beeps at 180, then automatically cools down to 110, beeps, and holds it there for incubation. It’s up to me to come by and add the starter, but since it’s holding at 110, I can take as long as I want to add the starter. Then it’s up to me how long I want to incubate for at 110 after adding starter. I never need to check with a thermometer. Is that correct?

Can you transfer the stainless steel pot with lid to the fridge like with a crockpot?

When I was testing yogurt making in the IP I found these two the most interesting.

1 Like

From reading these two links, there are two issues for me. First, you must cover with the lid while heating and it doesn’t hold at the target 180 temp. (I forgot about this step in my earlier discussion.) Second, it doesn’t automatically cool and hold at 110. Possibly if you hit the incubate setting and the milk is already higher than 110, it will wait for the temp to come down and then hold it, but I couldn’t find a definitive answer.

1 Like

You have to wait for temp to come down to 110/115 in any method for yogurt, right? So yes, same thing in most IP models - it’s not automatically switching the temp to 110 - it boils, beeps, shuts off and waits.

Once milk has cooled, you hit the yogurt setting again to start incubation.

The extra step is necessary anyway because you need to add starter.

Here’s a manual - page 17-18 is yogurt.

One of the earlier fancy models actually has/had fuzzy logic you could program - so you could write a custom program that went
Set temp to 180 -> Hold 5 mins -> Set temp to 110 -> Hold 6 hours -> Off

Most people didn’t need / want that much granular control. It did appeal to me, though.

2 Likes
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold