On April 9, 2017 by Kim
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Welcome back to the last installment in our Instant Pot Series. Just to recap – when we say Instant Pot, we are really talking about a programmable pressure cooker. Catch up on the other resources here if you are just joining us, and then read on for our best Instant Pot tips and tricks.
- Instant Pot Tips & Tricks 201: Hints on adjusting, adapting, converting and more!
- What is an Instant Pot? (Includes a Buyers Guide!)
- 4 Ways to Transform Your Freezer Cooking with an Instant Pot
- Crock-Pot VS Instant Pot: Pros, Cons, Recipes, Videos & more!
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals: 50 Meals to cook from frozen!
- Pot-in-Pot Method: Learn what and how this method works!
- New Easy Assembly Instant Pot Mini Menu!
We’ve compiled our favorite Instant Pot tips, including how to cook your freezer meals from frozen in the Instant Pot!
The number one reason people love the Instant Pot is speed. Whether you are a long time freezer cook or you are just stumbling upon the idea of it, you probably know that the goals of the freezer cook are the same: speed, efficiency, simplicity. Freezer cooking and Instant Pot are a match made in heaven, and this is why:
1. You can cook food directly from its frozen state!
Yes, that means you can skip the thawing step and still have your freezer meals on the table in record time. But there is one catch to cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot. Because the appliance is round you cannot freeze your meals in the bag flat. Square peg, round hole – you get the picture. But never fear! Our test cooks weren’t about to let this come in the way of this epic couple.
2. Freeze your meals in 64 – 96 ounce round plastic containers.
We typically steer you toward using freezer bags, and laying them flat to freeze as they take up less space in the freezer. But if you freeze your meal in a round container, then you can pop it out and right into the Instant Pot. 64 ounces is should be the right size for four servings (what we normally put in a gallon freezer bag). This works best for soups, stews, or anything else that will easily fill the space.
3. Place your freezer bag into bowls, pots, pans, etc. that will fit inside your Instant Pot and freeze them in that mold.
This is a great option if you don’t want to dedicate your containers to the freezer or you don’t want to buy new containers just for your instant pot. Just get creative! This works great for larger pieces of meat (roasts, whole chickens, etc.) that have liquid component as putting the bag inside another container will keep the liquids from freezing flat.
4. Allow your Instant Pot extra time when cooking from frozen.
You are still going to be getting dinner on the table in record time, but when you cook food from a frozen state it will take a little bit longer than the regular cook time. Remember, it has to thaw and cook the meal all at once.
*Our staff discovered a few more helpful Instant Pot tips while they were in the test kitchen, as well as some other great resources.
5. Use caution with recipes that use dairy or flour.
Cheesy dishes, cream soups, and dishes that are thickened with flour are not expressly forbidden in the Instant Pot – thankfully! But you do want to take care to clean the seals and valves when you are done so that these foods don’t get stuck in there. These items are best added during a saute or warming step at the end of the cooking time.
Indigo Nili (she vlogs about food on You Tube) has a great tip on using the “pot in pot” method for recipes such as these. This allows you to still use water to create the pressure seal and not the creamy/thickened liquids.
Nili also has a fun video called A Day in the Life of My Instant Pot.
6. For frequent use, consider purchasing an extra stainless steel insert.
If you’re cooking almost every meal with your Instant Pot like Nili, you might want to consider purchasing an extra insert so that you don’t have to wash as much between meals.
7. Get familiar with the various pressure release methods.
Cathi at Cherry Blossom Kitchen reminds us that when you are using the pressure cooking setting, that pressure needs to go somewhere once the cooking is all done. There are various methods for different recipes, so check her tips and the instructions in your Instant Pot to use the quick release, natural release, or 10 minute natural release. Also remember that there has to be at least one cup of liquid in the Instant Pot in order to use the pressure cooking function.
Additional Resources and Instant Pot Tips
- 10 Reasons I Bought an Instant Pot – great summary of foods you can cook and methods you can use
- Stovetop and Electric Pressure Cooker Time Chart – handy time chart for all different types of foods, but Hip Pressure Cooking has all kinds of resources for the pressure cooking aficionado
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals
- Easy Assembly Instant Pot Mini Menu
- 10 Basic Instant Pot Techniques
- 61 Pressure Cooking Recipes
- Pressure Cooking Ebook by Traditional Cooking School
- Pressure Cooking ECourse by Traditional Cooking School
*This post may contain affiliate links.
Great news: we have Instant Pot friendly recipes and menus!