Instant Pot 101: Brown Rice & Chili

Do you have an Instant Pot? We received one at the beginning of this year, and I have been using it almost weekly. I was concerned it was just going to be another large appliance taking up space in our kitchen, but I have been pleasantly surprised. We had to get rid of our slow cooker in order to accommodate room for the Instant Pot, but it was a good choice. Besides the food processor and Keurig, the Instant Pot is probably our next most commonly used small kitchen appliance. The blender, panini press, hand mixer, and toaster are all used a little less frequently. We don't have a waffle maker or KitchenAid, so I can't count those!

My two favorite items to make in the Instant Pot so far are rice and chili. In the past, we used rice makers with mixed results. One of the rice makers we had bubbled over, and the other took 1 hour and 40 minutes. I can cook up 2-4 cups of brown rice in 30 minutes with the Instant Pot! I mix 1 cup brown rice with 1.25 cups water OR 2 cups brown rice with 2.5 cups water. You do not need as much water as you typically do with rice because the Instant Pot is sealed. Then, you set the Instant Pot to 23 minutes and let it cook. It takes about 5 minutes to heat up and then a couple minutes to cool at the end, so total time is closer to 30 minutes. 

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My other favorite dish to cook in the Instant Pot is chili. You can make endless amounts of soups, stews, and other meals in the Instant Pot; however, I love making chili because typically you have to simmer it for awhile, and the Instant Pot knocks the total time way down. One of the neatest features the Instant Pot has is you can sauté in the same pan you pressure cook with. For our chili the other night, I sautéed some carrots and peppers with ground beef. Then, I added beans and diced tomatoes along with chili powder, cumin, and garlic. I set the Instant Pot to 10 minutes, and voila! Total time was about 30 minutes. 

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It is great to be able to use the stove and oven for other things while the Instant Pot is going. For example, I made corn muffins in the oven and cooked chicken on the stovetop while the chili was cooking. This allows me to prep lots of food all at once without having to wait for anything to finish. 

You do have to be careful when depressurizing the Instant Pot. You can chose to force it or you can let it naturally release. If you force it, there is a large blast of steam that comes out the top. You have to make sure your fingers, face, body, and cabinets are not nearby! You can see the steam releasing here. 

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Overall we love our Instant Pot, and I enjoy using it each week for fast meal prep and new dishes. 

What is your favorite small kitchen appliance?