We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
An instant pot is a type of cooking appliance that uses pressure cooking for rapid cooking of your meals and ingredients. It is becoming very popular for people who want to cook foods in record time, and is especially helpful when you are cooking a lot of meals on prep day. It has become one of my favorite tools to use in the kitchen and I use mine at least a couple of times a week to save time. Here are some things to know about using an instant pot for your healthy meal planning and prepping.
Freeze Ingredients Ahead of Time
One of the reasons the Instant Pot is perfect for meal planning and prepping is because it can cook foods that are frozen. This is great news, since many other cooking methods and appliances don’t cook frozen food evenly. It can be a huge pain having to defrost everything first, then get to cooking. But with an Instant Pot, you put your frozen chicken or veggies right in the pot, and just give it a little extra time to cook the foods through. It is going to use pressure cooking instead of direct heat, so this is why it is safe to cook when something is frozen. One of my favorite ways to use the instant pot is to place frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot with seasonings or salsa to make a large batch to use in a couple of recipes during the week.
Start With Simple Recipes
Until you get used to the Instant Pot and how it actually works, you should start with some simpler recipes. Some things that are easy to make and can also provide you with healthy meals are vegetable side dishes, beans, and eggs. These are very simple foods that can be made until delicious and healthy meals, and don’t require a lot of prep work beforehand. You should start with these simpler things because the Instant Pot has various settings and cooking variances you need to get accustomed to. My appliance came with a cookbook as well as the manual with simple ideas to use with appropriate cook times. There are a TON of recipes using the instant pot so do some searching for ones you might like.
Learn the Basics of Using an Instant Pot
This type of pressure cooking appliance is not the same as a slow cooker, so you need to know the difference. First of all, you turn the appliance on, then you turn the temperature to what you want, and wait for it to count down. Just because it is turned on, doesn’t mean it is ready for you to add the foods and begin the cooking time. Like an oven, it needs to be preheated to the desired temperature first. You should also make sure some liquid is in the pot every time you cook something, unlike a slow cooker that doesn’t always require it. The simplest thing to do is look up recipes and prepare those first before you begin experimenting with your own. Many of the recipes will say it is done in just 15 minutes or whatever time, but that does not bring in to account the getting up to pressure time. It still saves me time, especially if something is frozen, but keep that in mind when you are using the appliance. One of my favorite hacks is to put the ingredients into the instant pot, but hit the saute button, first. Let the instant pot start to warm up using the saute button, before you shut it off and then choose the appropriate button for what you are cooking. It decreases the amount of time to come up to pressure. Of course, be sure you have liquid in there so you don’t burn something and it won’t come up to pressure if there is no liquid. Following the recipe is very helpful with the amount of liquid you need.
I hope these tips get you started on using this appliance. I have lots of Instant Pot recipes that I have saved on my Pinterest board from other people that are food bloggers. I am sure you will find plenty to choose from.
Do you have a favorite recipe to make in your Instant Pot?