The all-in-one multicooker isn’t going away anytime soon. So whether you’re already deep in the Instant Pot game, you were just gifted one over the holidays or you have yet to hop on the bandwagon, we’re serving up some cooking inspiration from the pros.
It turns out that despite having loads of expertise and equipment at their disposal, even chefs can’t resist the speedy, low-maintenance cooking experience of the Instant Pot. Below, we’ve detailed some of their favourite dishes to make in it.
Chicken Noodle Soup
It doesn’t get any more classic than a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup, and whether you’re feeling under the weather or craving something warm on a cold winter day, using an Instant Pot will get it done that much sooner.
“A rustic chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite recipes to cook in an Instant Pot,” Carsten Johannsen, executive chef of Harold’s, told HuffPost. “You can achieve a great depth of flavour in a very short period of time and cook a large batch that will feed plenty of hungry mouths with very little effort. My soup recipe reminds me of an elevated version of a childhood classic.”
To make chicken noodle soup in an Instant Pot, Johannsen first uses the sauté function to soften the vegetables. Then he adds the chicken and water and cooks the soup using the pressure cooker function for 20 to 30 minutes. Bowls of the finished soup are garnished with chopped cilantro and lime zest.
It may come as a surprise to some, but select Instant Pot models have a yogurt function. While the process can be time-consuming, it’s more straightforward than making yogurt on a stove, as Dinesh Jayawardena, executive chef of FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, can attest.
“When I was a young prep cook starting out in Sri Lanka, one of my daily duties was to make yogurt and poached fruit,” Jayawardena said. “It was a tedious process to get it just right and I would have to manage the heat and timing. Back then, it culminated in having to put the yogurt on a rack that was rigged up above one of the ovens to catch the perfect temperature for hours. The overnight cook would then refrigerate it and it would set beautifully.”
But an Instant Pot with the yogurt feature “makes it a whole lot easier to enjoy the creamy morning dish,” said Jayawardena, adding, “I can enjoy the yogurt I used to labor over to get right and simply blend in mango, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, or whatever seasonal fruit I can get my hands on.”
Vegan Wild Rice And Mushroom Soup
This soup is a typical weeknight meal that Kristen Thibeault, co-founder and executive chef of corporate catering company Nybll, prepares for her family with the help of an Instant Pot.
“Preparing food with the Instant Pot is incredibly helpful because these days we all (myself included) struggle to balance having a million places to be at once with longing for beautiful, healthy food that’s cooked at home,” Thibeault told HuffPost. “There’s no reason to feel like you’re cheating or taking shortcuts because the flavours and textures you can build speak for themselves. Especially as a mother of four, I can put food on the table that I’m proud of while saving precious family time and using less energy than other methods.”
To make the soup, Thibeault puts carrots, onions, celery, butternut squash, garlic, mushrooms, wild rice and vegetable stock in an Instant Pot and cooks them on high pressure for 40 minutes. In a separate pot, she heats pea milk to a simmer and adds nutritional yeast and mushroom seasoning, stirring until dissolved. She whisks in cornstarch to thicken the mixture and then combines it with the Instant Pot soup. To finish, Thibeault stirs in chopped kale and seasons to taste with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Gavin Tseng, co-founder of New York-based sushi restaurant Rolln, uses this modern appliance to recreate a classic family recipe.
“One of my favourite things to make in an Instant Pot is an iteration of my grandma’s braised pork,” Tseng said. “It’s really straightforward to make and using pork cuts like belly or butt ensures that after a good braising, you will end up with delicious, meltingly tender pork that is hearty and satisfying –– perfect for winter.”
Tseng combines the pork with soy sauce and water and seasons it to taste with five-spice powder, sesame oil, pepper, palm sugar and chilli flakes. Then he cooks it on high pressure for about 40 minutes until the meat is “meltingly tender.” It’s delicious served on rice and topped with cut scallions.
Maiko Kyogoku, the owner of Bessou, was skeptical of the Instant Pot when she first saw it on her boyfriend’s kitchen counter.
“A pot that does everything sounds too easy!” Kyogoku told HuffPost. “And it diminishes the fun (at least for me) in owning all the different gadgets and tools that one can potentially use in a kitchen.”
“But for my boyfriend, who isn’t as comfortable in the kitchen, whipping up meals has become quick and easy with the Instant Pot,” Kyogoku said. “And as a father, it’s great for him on a busy weeknight.”
Plus, she acknowledged, “Since Instant Pots are like the modern versions of pressure cookers (my favourite tool in the kitchen), you cut the cooking time in half for those dishes that usually require more love, care and time.”
Chilli is Kyogoku’s suggestion for a “hearty, easy comfort food” that you can make in an Instant Pot “without much fuss after a late night at work.”
Tracy Wilk, the recreational program lead chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, likes to cook beans in an Instant Pot as the device provides consistent heat and cuts down on cooking time. While most Instant Pot recipes don’t require dried beans to be soaked beforehand, she prefers to soak them for about 24 hours to ease digestion.
“[Beans] take a long time to cook, up to 45 minutes, but in the Instant Pot they take about 10 minutes,” Wilk said. “Not only is it a timesaver, but you also don’t need to tend to it as much as you would on the stove.”