Yeah, I have become obsessed with yet another kitchen gadget … and then it became the most talked about topic in my online Facebook community this week. So, with all the newbies with an Instant Pot now, I thought it might be good to share why I love the Instant pot, and what I do with it for my meal prep adventures.
First of all, I must say I was hesitant to try this bad boy out, as I had visions of exploding pressure cookers and sneaky sauce all over my ceiling. If you are hesitant on this one, I get it. Maybe after this post, you won’t be so afraid to give it a try.
What is an Instant Pot?
It is a (Canadian invented!!) programmable pressure cooker that also functions as a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, saute pot and warmer, and if you have the 7 in 1 model (vs the 6 in 1 model), it is also a yogurt maker.
Think of it like a slow cooker. Dump stuff in, turn on a timer, and poof done. Except with the pressure cooker it is all done in a fraction of time time. For example, the cook time on a whole chicken is 30 mins. By the time it comes to pressure and depressurizes you are looking at one hour, which is still pretty good in my mind.
Why the Instant Pot over the other brands out there?
My first programmable pressure cooker wasn’t an instant pot. I heard about the instant pot but figured any other brand would work- and it did.
But, I like the instant pot better – here’s why:
- My first one had a teflon pot and not stainless like the IP, and I thought it would clean better. Nope. The teflon one I first tried had divets in the bottom that actually made it harder to clean.
- The saute function is awesome. With my old one, I had to brown meat in a pan and transfer it. With the IP, you can prepare your whole meal with only one pot.
- Theres an Instant Pot community and lots of support for questions and they always know when the thing is on sale!
- And… I prefer to support a Canadian company.
Instant Pot has a couple of options out there, and the main difference is size. The difference between the 6 in 1 and the 7 in 1 is the ability to make yogurt. The smart version is bluetooth enabled if that is something that is appealing to you.
Why is it a good kitchen gadget for meal prepping?
There are 3 main reasons why I love this for meal prepping:
1- You can cook from frozen!
Unlike using a slow cooker, you can dump your frozen block of raw stuff into the instant pot and cook from frozen.
Much like I used to prep my slow cooker ready to go packs, I can now do the same prep, and cook from frozen if I am in a pinch. It is still my preference to thaw and then cook (shorter cook times) but I like the option to cook right from frozen if I need to.
EXPERT TIP – the instant pot is round, so if you are going to be doing the dump and go from frozen prep – make sure you freeze your packs in a circular shape (ie. a round plastic container 64 to 96 ounces in size). If you freeze it in the typical square pouches that I normally do, it wont fit into the instant pot while frozen.
2- Quick Cook times when you are prepping multiple recipes in a day.
I recently filled my freezer with single serve soups and ready to go lunches – and cooked almost all of the recipes in the instant pot. You can get through more recipes with the FOUR minute soup cook time. However, don’t let me lead you astray – total time is more than 4 minutes because the IP needs to get to pressure and be de pressurized. But, what I like is that I can get one soup going and while its cooking, I am chopping and prepping for the next one, and repeat X 5 times.
On my big cook days, I can get something cooking in the IP while I mess around with other stuff on the stove and oven. So this is just another way for me to multitask in the kitchen – and I am ALL about being efficient when cooking.
3- Weeknight dinners have less dishes and quick to the table.
When an instant pot meal is on the meal plan for a weeknight, I get home, dump my pre prepped ingredients into the pot, set it and go put my lululemon leggings on, and have a chat with my small human about her day. I don’t need to stand over a stove while dinner cooks, and then, at the end, I have one pot and a couple of plates to clean up. This type of cooking makes for easy Sunday meal prep. I just chop up everything I need so when I get home I literally just put it in my pot.
What should you cook in it?
Well, here are the top recipes that I have done and loved (so far!) – I have only had mine for a few months so I am sure there is more to come!
This is hands down my favourite to date! I double this everytime. I have made the prep raw dump and go packs, and I have cooked it on my prep day and stored in little grab and go containers for freezer lunches.
There are a few versions of this type of recipe floating around the internet – this is my version.
So easy. If you are new to this type of cooking, this is a great starter recipe!
I have don’t this in the oven, and the microwave and this is now my new fav way to make spaghetti squash – with a 7 minute cooktime!
Make a big batch of this and freeze some!
I love tacos. I love soup. I love my instant pot taco soup.
Not super healthy but because I live by the 80/20 rule, sometimes I eat chicken with butter and I love it.
Want more recipes? I have a Pinterest board for Instant Pot Recipes that you can check out or follow!
So, here you have it, the why and the how of using an instant pot for once a week meal prep!