An electric multi-cooker, such as the Instant Pot, is a clean cook’s best friend. This appliance combines the functions of a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker and a yogurt maker all in one. Its pressure-cooking setting is especially handy because it lets you prepare tons of nutritious ingredients in a lot less time than it takes on the stove.
Clean Cooking with the Instant Pot
These appliances are particularly good at cutting down cooking time for whole grains and dried beans. In addition, you can quickly steam sturdy vegetables, such as artichokes, beets and whole sweet potatoes; you just place them on the trivet that comes with most models. Multi-cookers also make delicious homemade yogurt, crystal-clear bone broth, easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs and tasty desserts – think whole-wheat banana bread and cheesecake. And thanks to the machine’s sauté function, you can brown meat right in the pot before you switch over to pressure-cooking or slow cooking, so an entire meal can be cooked in one pan.
Another plus: electric multi-cookers control the heat for you and keep food warm after it’s done. And all models have a delayed-start function, which means you can turn the cooker on and walk away until it beeps. No minding the stove!
We’ve tried out a variety of clean recipes in the Instant Pot – everything from chili to sweet potatoes – and we’re still finding new ways to use this incredible tool. If you’ve ever been curious about this appliance craze, the following recipes just might convince you to take the plunge. And don’t forget to read our helpful tips (below) to get you started.
Instant Pot Pro Tips
Check Your Model:
- Some Instant Pot models use the terminology Low/Medium/High to indicate heat settings, while other models use Less/Normal/ More. For clarity, we've indicated both in our recipes.
Know Your Mark:
- Never fill the pot more than two-thirds full. When making food that expands such as rice, beans or grains, never fill the pot past the halfway mark to allow room for their expansion. Overfilling the pot may clog the steam release valve.
Use Enough Liquid:
- When crafting your own recipes, a good rule of thumb is to always pressure-cook with at least 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups liquid in the pot to ensure there will be enough steam to create a good seal. (Keep in mind that vegetables and meat will also create liquid as they cook, so be careful not to add too much water.) To bring the pressure up faster, use hot broth or water.
Don't Rush the Release:
- Food in the pot continues to cook as the pressure comes down, so follow recipe directions and only switch the valve to Venting when directed. Otherwise, ingredients may come out undercooked.
Make Sure It's Off:
- When you’re done cooking, make sure the Keep Warm button is not on. If it is, the Instant Pot will continue to cook food at a low temperature until you press Cancel.
- You can use a stove-top pressure cooker to replace the pressure- cooker function for these recipes. They typically work at a higher pressure, so reduce cooking time by 2 to 5 minutes. If the recipe uses another function, such as sauté, for example, you'll need to use a sauté pan or skillet.