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How to Overcome Your Fear of the Instant Pot

Scared.

Intimidated.

Overwhelmed.

Does this sound like the voices in your head when you look at the Instant Pot that has likely still been sitting in its box for days…weeks…or even months? If so, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. These feelings describe about 99.9% of the first-time Instant Pot users I’ve met…and truth be told, I felt the exact same way.

I almost sold my Instant Pot.

I got my Instant Pot (IP, as the cool-kids call it) as a Christmas gift in 2016. Yep. I like to think of myself as a trend-setter… Really, I wasn’t. I just happened to have a Mom who was hip to the Black Friday Deal. Anyway, I digress. When I got this must-have kitchen gadget, I had NO idea what to do with it…and I really didn’t know WHY I needed it.

So it sat in my car for about 3 weeks.

Finally, it made its way to my kitchen counter, still boxed, for about another 2 weeks.

Then I decided to go for it. I took it out of the box…and used it! (cue the choir of angels!)

I went from skeptic to fanatic in 5 minutes.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m no Betty Crocker, so I needed to start small. I had heard great things about cooking hard boiled eggs in the IP so I put my eye on the prize and went for it. The result? I was shocked; it didn’t explode on me AND the eggs turned out perfectly cooked in just 5 minutes! There was no boiling water to watch or clean up after it boiled over. It really was as easy as everyone said it would be.

I tossed them in the pot, added a cup of water. Closed the lid, flipped the switch, pushed the “Egg” button and BAM. The Instant Pot did its magic! In that moment, with the perfectly cooked easy-to-peel eggs in my hand I knew my culinary life had been changed forever.

From frozen to table in minutes

Us moms are busy. We don’t always have time to plan ahead and this is why the Instant Pot is perfect for us all. The fact that I can get frozen chicken breasts on the dinner table in 35 minutes is unreal to me. It is a true time (and sanity) saver.

I now use my beloved Instant Pot 3-4 times a week. In addition to making eggs, I also cook up steel cut oats for the week. I pre-cook quinoa, sweet potatoes and chicken breasts to have on hand for lunches, healthy snacks and salads. And of course we also have at least one IP dinner a week — the pasta with meat sauce is one of my kids’ faves.

Size matters

There are various sizes of Instant Pots to choose from; I have the 6 quart 6-in-1 Multi-Use Instant Pot. This is actually the same one that was featured in the 2017 Holiday Guide to Online Shopping for Mom. The 6-quart IP has been plenty big for our family of four. I’ve even cooked an entire 5lb. chicken in it; I call this faux-tisserie chicken, and it has been fine. But if you’re concerned that 6 quarts may be too small, you can find 8-quart options as well.

What to know before you cook: 

So if you’ve been staring at your IP in the box or have been considering getting one, here are some tips to help you overcome your fear of the Instant Pot:

  1. Read the directions. I know this sounds silly, but if you’re like me you just want to get to it. But with something like the Instant Pot it is important to read the directions. Some recipes call for natural pressure release (NPR) and others call for quick pressure release (QPR). If you are using QPR, be sure to flip the valve from the side, otherwise the steam will get you and it doesn’t feel good. Trust me.
  2. Start small. No need to try and Bobby Flay-it on your first time out of the gate. Find a simple recipe, like I did with hard boiled eggs, and start there. Once you realize that it won’t blow up in your face you’ll gain the confidence to use it again…and again..and again.
  3. Get support. Join one of the many Instant Pot communities on Facebook to get just about any question answered. A personal favorite is the Healthy Instant Pot Recipe Group
  4. Google is your best friend. You can find anything on Google, especially when it comes to the Instant Pot: cooking times, recipes and other tips.

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