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Cooking Tips

How to Convert Your Favorite Recipes for a Multicooker

Want to learn how to make your favorite recipes in an Instant Pot or other multicooker? Follow these guidelines.
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Published Jan. 4, 2024.

Electric multicookers, most famously the Instant Pot, offer the convenience of dramatically speeding up a recipe, cooking everything in one pot, and at the same time eliminating the need for minding that pot on the stove.

And while we have created lots of recipes in the test kitchen specifically designed for this appliance, you may have your own recipes or family classics that you wish could benefit from its ease of use and faster cooking.

The following guidelines will help you do just that.

But know that these guidelines are not hard and fast rules. With each recipe you try to adapt, you will likely need to tweak the process to get the results you want. Heres how to get started.

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5 General Guidelines

1. Start with the Right Recipe

Stick with recipes that require moist heat and can withstand a pressure cookers high temperatures: braises, soups, stews, beans, and grains. Pass on recipes that need crisping or dry heat.

2. Cook for Less Time

In general, a multicooker will cut cook time by two-thirds or even more.

3. Brown in More Batches

Multicookers have less surface area than a Dutch oven or skillet, so avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure that meat browns properly.

4. Monitor Browning Carefully

The sauté feature on a multicooker is powerful and not easily regulated, so watch carefully to avoid burning. If necessary, remove the insert from the pot for a few minutes.

5. Use Less Liquid

Because theres no evaporation during cooking, decrease liquid by about half to avoid watery results (but make sure theres still at least ½ to 1 cup liquid in pot).

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When to Add Ingredients

When to Cook Ingredients All Together: In stews and soups, if the standard recipes call for cooking vegetables, grains, and/or beans together with meat, its fine to do the same in a multicooker.

When to Stagger Ingredients: If the standard recipe staggers ingredients, adding meat first and quicker-cooking items later, do the same in a multicooker.

Suggested Cook Times and Release Options

All times are for high-pressure cooking. If the food isnt done after youve released the pressure, repressurize and continue to cook as needed.

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