I recently hosted some friends over to share my love of food and the ease of the Instant Pot. While I do hunt through a lot of recipes and often blend then without much thought, there are some key basics I always look for with Instant Pot recipes.
Sizing – If I’m cooking a whole chicken, what is the weight in the recipe? With stew meat, how big are the chunks? This tells me the most about how accurate the cooking time might be for what I’m trying to do. Speaking of which….
Cooking Time – Most recipes I’ve found ignore all those lovely preset buttons and use “Manual” for a certain number of minutes. However I choose to spice something up, that cooking time is critical, inclusive of….
NPR versus QR – Natural Pressure Release versus Quick Release: Deciding how to release pressure is just as important as the cooking time because it is cooking time. The best recipes call out not only what method, but the approximate time it will take. (See #5 below for more details) This page does a great job calling out when to do which but most recipes will tell you. Just to reiterate, if you are going to QR, aim away from your face or anything that might be damaged by a spray of hot steam.
To Trivet or not trivet – I generally see that meat recipes aiming for a shredded, fall off the bone don’t really need a trivet whereas pretty much everything else not a stew or soup does. There are many kinds so the recipe should explain if you need something special.
Order of Things – If you’re sautéing, searing, or any sort of multi-function in the recipe, the order in which you do all that is really important. Especially if you’ve graduated to pot-in-pot (PIP) cooking.
Total Time – It’s also really helpful if you consider Time #2 + Time #3 (If the recipe doesn’t give you total time) relative to other dishes you may be putting together for your meal. I recently had a recipe for a ham that was supposed to be approximately 36 minutes in a 350 degree oven. With my medium sized sweet potatoes, the recipe I had for them called for 16 minutes cook time and QR which meant that about 20 minutes after I started the ham, I turned the Instant Pot on.
Everything else in recipes for me (unless I’m baking) is up in the air and dependent on what kind of spice I’m thinking of that night. Indian? Italian? Greek? Moroccan? Given the above, you can pretty much play around with any recipe until your own standards start to develop. As to that, here are the few starting recipes from our Pothead night.
Instant Pot Whole Roast Chicken (Once a Month Meals)
Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake (Cookies & Cups)
Instant Pot Blood Orange Marmalade (Every Nook & Cranny)
Instant Pot Frozen Chuck Roast (Thrice the Spice)
I’ll be working on posting our own versions, especially of the last one since we played the most with that one and wound up about 10 minutes faster on cook time.