How To Use an Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker
Hi there, fellow cooking enthusiasts! I bet you’re excited to unlock a new level of culinary versatility with your Instant Pot, aren’t you? Well, buckle up because today, I’m going to show you how to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker. It’s an easy and efficient way to create mouth-watering meals that’ll leave your family and friends asking for more.
What is an Instant Pot?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of slow cooking with an Instant Pot, let’s quickly talk about what an Instant Pot actually is. Does it sound like a sci-fi gadget? Perhaps, but in reality, it’s a handy kitchen tool that is as magical as it sounds.
History of Instant Pot
The Instant Pot came into being around 2010, revolutionizing cooking in a big way. The brainchild of a Canadian technology company, it was designed to be a multi-cooker that could perform multiple kitchen tasks with ease and convenience.
Key Features of an Instant Pot
This versatile appliance combines the functions of a pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker, and yes, you guessed it, a slow cooker. With a high-tech, user-friendly design, it’s no wonder the Instant Pot has gained a loyal following among culinary enthusiasts and busy home cooks.
The Versatility of Instant Pot: Slow Cooking
You might be wondering, why slow cook with an Instant Pot when it’s so well-known for its pressure-cooking abilities?
Benefits of Slow Cooking
Here’s the thing—slow cooking has its own charm. It brings out deep, rich flavors and tenderizes even the toughest cuts of meat, turning them into a succulent delight. Plus, it allows you to ‘set and forget,’ providing a convenient cooking method, especially for those with a busy schedule.
Setting Up Your Instant Pot for Slow Cooking
It’s time to get hands-on. Are you ready to transform your Instant Pot into a slow cooker?
Instructions: Converting Instant Pot to a Slow Cooker
- First, you’ll need the glass lid for your Instant Pot. This accessory allows for venting, which is crucial for slow cooking.
- Select the ‘Slow Cook’ function on your Instant Pot’s control panel.
- Adjust the settings according to your recipe. Keep in mind that the cooking temperatures can vary.
Tips for Successful Slow Cooking with Instant Pot
Slow cooking with your Instant Pot can be a breeze, but there are some tips and tricks you should keep in mind.
- Do give your pot enough time to cook. Patience is key when it comes to slow cooking.
- Do ensure your pot is at least half full for optimum cooking results.
- Do remember to adjust the venting setting using the glass lid.
- Don’t overfill your pot. A good rule of thumb is to fill it two-thirds of the way.
- Don’t open the lid too often. This allows heat to escape and disrupts the cooking process.
Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes for Instant Pot
Now, what’s cooking without some tantalizing recipes to try?
Instant Pot Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
- 2 pounds (900g) beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional, for thickening)
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add the olive oil and heat it up. Brown the beef stew meat in batches until all sides are seared. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
- Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the Instant Pot and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until they soften and become fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to the pot, stirring well to coat the onions and garlic.
- Pour in the red wine (if using) and let it simmer for a minute or two to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Return the browned beef to the pot and add the carrots, potatoes, celery, frozen peas, bay leaves, and dried thyme. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Pour in the beef broth, ensuring that the ingredients are mostly submerged. Give everything a good stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to the sealing position, and select the “Slow Cook” function. Set the cooking time to 4 hours on the low setting.
- Once the cooking time is complete, carefully release the pressure manually by turning the valve to the venting position.
- If you prefer a thicker stew, you can create a slurry by mixing the flour with a little water until smooth. Stir the slurry into the stew and let it cook on the sauté function for an additional 5-10 minutes until the stew thickens slightly.
- Remove the bay leaves before serving. Ladle the delicious slow-cooked beef stew into bowls and enjoy!
This recipe yields approximately 6 servings. Feel free to adjust the seasonings and vegetables according to your preferences. Enjoy your hearty beef stew!
Instant Pot Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 16 oz (450 g) elbow macaroni
- 4 cups (960 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups (480 ml) milk
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter
- 4 cups (400 g) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (100 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot, combine the elbow macaroni, chicken or vegetable broth, milk, butter, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Stir to combine.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the pressure release valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure using the Manual/Pressure Cook function for 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is complete, perform a quick pressure release by carefully turning the pressure release valve to the venting position. Be cautious of the hot steam.
- Open the Instant Pot lid and stir the macaroni mixture. It will appear soupy at this stage, but it will thicken as you add the cheese.
- Gradually add the shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and grated Parmesan cheese to the macaroni mixture. Stir well until the cheese is melted and the sauce becomes creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Switch the Instant Pot to the slow cooker function and set it to low heat. Allow the mac and cheese to cook on low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- After the desired slow cooking time, the mac and cheese will be thick and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve the Instant Pot slow cooker mac and cheese hot, garnished with additional shredded cheese or chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
Enjoy your delicious homemade mac and cheese!
With the right steps and a few handy tips, you can easily turn your Instant Pot into a slow cooker, and elevate your cooking game. The benefits of slow cooking with an Instant Pot are numerous – from added convenience to the ability to extract maximum flavor. So, what are you waiting for? Try it out and enjoy the delicious results.
1. Can I use my Instant Pot as a regular slow cooker? Yes, you absolutely can! By selecting the ‘Slow Cook’ function, your Instant Pot can operate as a slow cooker.
2. Do I need any special accessories to use my Instant Pot as a slow cooker? For slow cooking, it’s recommended to use a glass lid for proper venting.
3. How do I adjust the cooking time when using my Instant Pot as a slow cooker? You can adjust the cooking time using the control panel on your Instant Pot.
4. What kind of recipes can I make using the slow cook function on my Instant Pot? You can make a variety of recipes, from stews to soups, roasts, and even desserts.
5. Is it safe to leave my Instant Pot on ‘Slow Cook’ mode when I’m not home? Yes, it’s safe. However, it’s always good to ensure that the appliance is in a safe, heat-resistant location and away from flammable items.