Instant Pot: What Can You Do With It?


Now you’ve decided you want an Instant Pot (buy the 6 qt Duo Plus from Amazon here — Affiliate link), you’ve bought it, it’s sitting there on your counter . . . what will you do with it?

This is the inner pot; the food goes in here
This is what it looks like while it’s coming to pressure

First Things First
First, per the instructions, you do the steam test.

The silver disk is up like this once the Instant Pot is pressurized; it goes back down when you vent the pressure

It’s just a matter of putting in some water and creating steam. You do that to make sure your Instant Pot pressurizes properly.

You put the dial on sealing while cooking with pressure; if you want to quick vent, you push it to Venting (making sure not to be over the dial, as it will vent hot steam

Our First Meal
Was a vegan meal. Think an Instant Pot is only for meat eaters? Think again. I made a black bean quinoa dish as our first meal. Mainly because it was a recipe from a food blogger that I’ve followed a long time and trust.
Mr. Judy, who is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, was not real enthusiastic, but honestly, that had zero to do with the Instant Pot. He’s just not a fan of quinoa or beans, but I believe it’s good for him to have the occasional veggie meal, especially after all the Thanksgiving indulgences.

Cooking under pressure for 4 minutes

I’m not sure that the quinoa was completely cooked through — it seemed just a tad crunchy — but I enjoyed the meal and then had multiple lunches out of it. You can find that recipe on my Pinterest Instant Pot board here.

If I’d planned to write a post on the Instant Pot, I would have taken a lot more photos! I had no plans, but once I saw how many people were interested, I thought I’d share.

Frozen fish
Next up was fish that was frozen. I’m forever forgetting to take stuff out to thaw, it seems. Granted, you can also cook frozen fish in the oven, and I have, but it takes longer. Much longer.

It came out a little dry, but I actually increased the cooking time by one minute because I thought I was making more fish than the recipe called for — I made both salmon and cod, as Mr. Judy is also not a fan of salmon.

This is where that steep learning curve comes in. With some experimentation, I’m pretty sure I’ll get tender, flaky fish from frozen in much less time than it would take in the oven. This will probably also be a great time to explore the pot in pot method — once I have an appropriate pot — for a “one” pot meal (or at least the whole meal cooked in the Instant Pot.

Brisket without cooking for hours and hours

I have made brisket in a slow cooker a few times. It’s definitely not TX BBQ, but I do throw Mr. Judy a bone, so to speak, every once in a while.

At first I was thinking of just doing a steak, but then the light bulb went off. Basically the whole thing (2 briskets) was done in about 2 hours, including prep (let sit with dry rub on for 30 minutes, sear) and cooking and depressurizing.

The pieces with a lot of fat on them were tender; the pieces with less fat were a little dry. That may just need an adjustment in cooking time. More? Less? I’m still confused about that one. Still far better (and quicker) than my attempts with a slow cooker.

My perfect hard boiled eggs were green tinged the next day — because I didn’t peel them?

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
Typically, my attempts at hard boiled eggs have ended in green tinged hard boiled eggs. So I just buy them. Except sometimes I don’t eat 6 hard boiled eggs before they go bad.

4 eggs. 15 minutes start to finish (including 5 minutes in an ice bath) and voila! Indeed, perfect hard boiled eggs. And only 4, which is probably just perfect for us.

Notice that there’s a little slot in the handles that the top can rest in

Brown Rice
We have a rice cooker; one of the best things we ever bought, by the way. You can also cook quinoa in it. It takes a lot longer than the Instant Pot does. Technically it cooks rice in 4 minutes, but then there’s the whole pesky pressure/depressure thing. It’s still far quicker than my rice cooker.

We used to make rice in a pot on the stove, by the way — but for whatever reason, it always boiled over on our stove in this house (never used to be a problem). After seeing how much my SIL loved her rice cooker, we bought one.

Brown rice in 30 minutes

The brown rice probably came out perfect, except we like our brown rice sticky, not fluffy. I never actually liked rice until Mr. Judy made “sticky rice”. It will again just take some experimentation to find out the right settings for us. I am almost out of quinoa, so that is probably next up. I like to make some to always have some on hand (same with rice). I also plan to be cooking up some dried beans — my first time ever! I’m looking forward (I hope) to saying goodbye to canned beans. Forever.

Instant Pot Resources:

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


What’s your favorite Instant Pot recipe?

Would you like to see more Instant Pot posts as I continue to experiment?

Would you be happy if Santa brought you an Instant Pot?

21 thoughts on “Instant Pot: What Can You Do With It?

  1. I make soups, rice, potatoes, beans, lentils – I just love my Instant Pot! But I think my favorite recipe is cooking whole small yellow potatoes for mashed potatoes. I can do everything to prepare the mashed potatoes in the one pot, which is really nice. Clean-up is so easy, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cleaning it is much easier than cleaning my crockpot! Although I did run into a small glitch when I tried to use it as a crockpot — it worked, but I’m thinking I’ll actually have to buy a glass lid (using one that I already had didn’t actually work out all that well).


  2. Great post! I’m going to follow all your recommendations. I made the best hard boiled eggs. But I haven’t paid attention to them after I put them in the fridge. Not sure if they’re tinged or not. But they weren’t when I first took them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe they got the green tinge because I didn’t peel them before I put them in the refrigerator? I was so happy with my perfect hard boiled eggs!

      One thing that didn’t work so well was the popcorn. It did pop, but it really didn’t turn out well. Not quite sure why yet.


    1. One thing I found out is that just any glass lid didn’t work so well — when I went to unplug it, there was water all over the counter, behind it. The soup cooked just fine, but I guess I’ll have to buy the actual glass lid.

      The inner pot on the Instant Pot is much easier to clean than the crock. I’m not sure any of us “need” it, but the gist of it really is that it’s a lot faster than other cooking methods & more versatile, too.

      I’m still just learning though!


  3. Here’s a question about the InstaPot ….would the 3 quart be the perfect size for just a family of two? My sister and I are discussing getting one for my Mom. We’re debating between the 3 and 6 quart since she only cooks for herself and Dad. Thoughts??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say no. Not if they want to do things like a whole chicken or a roast (which is kind of the beauty of an Instant Pot — making a whole lot of food quickly). I only cook for 2.

      Now, if they don’t like leftovers, and I know some people don’t, which I don’t get, maybe.

      I took a look at the 3 qt in Target yesterday, because I thought it might be the perfect size for things like beans, quinoa, rice. It’s still rather large.

      8 qt would definitely be too big, though!


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