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. Here’s how to get started.
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5 General Guidelines
1. Start with the Right Recipe
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 there’s no evaporation during cooking, decrease liquid by about half to avoid watery results (but make sure there’s 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, it’s 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 isn’t done after you’ve released the pressure, repressurize and continue to cook as needed.