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More than five million people worldwide use Instant Pots to get food onto their table fast. But only The Instant Pot Bible has everything you need to revolutionize the way you cook with your favorite machine. Every one of the 350+ recipes gives ingredients and timings for all sizes and models of Instant Pot, including the Instant Pot MAX, which cooks even more quickly. And you get exciting new recipes that utilize the MAX’s unique Sous Vide setting.
The Instant Pot Bible is the most comprehensive Instant Pot book ever published, with recipes for everything from hearty breakfasts to healthy sides, from centerpiece stews and roasts to decadent desserts. Bestselling authors and pressure-cooking experts Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough offer customized directions and timings for perfect results every time. And many recipes can also use the slow-cook setting to let the machine cook while you do other things.
These innovative “road map” recipes for classics such as vegetable soups, chilis, pasta casseroles, oatmeal, and more let you customize flavors and ingredients to make each of your family members’ favorites. Need dinner in an instant? No problem-more than 175 recipes come together in just a few minutes or just a few steps. Not to mention vegan and vegetarian, keto-friendly, and gluten-free options galore.
The Instant Pot changed the way you cook. The Instant Pot Bible helps you make the most of it.
For the complete guide to cooking meals in your Instant Pot with ingredients straight out of your freezer, don’t miss their latest book: From Freezer to Instant Pot.
WELCOME TO THE INSTANT POT REVOLUTION.
This extraordinary multipurpose countertop cooker has changed the way millions of us cook, opening up new opportunities in our kitchens and saving us countless hours of time along the way.
The Instant Pot® Bible is the first cookbook written for all models, even the Instant Pot® Max, which features both a new, powerful MAX cooking function and the ability to cook sous vide. But you don’t need a MAX for this book. You can have a Lux. A Duo. A Smart BT. An Ultra. A 3-quart Mini. Or an 8-quart of any sort. These recipes are fully forwards-and-backwards compatible no matter which Instant Pot you have. What’s more, over a quarter of the recipes can use either the PRESSURE COOK or the SLOW COOK function, depending on what your timing needs are. Everybody uses their pot to cook fast. Some of us still like a slow cooker. Now we can choose. (And yes, this is the first Instant Pot book with sous vide recipes. Those are only for the Max machine. But the other 342 were crafted for every model, every make.)
That’s a lot of good news, so permit us to be blunt: This cookbook is not an owner’s manual. Because each model varies slightly from another, we won’t tell you how to turn yours on, how to get the SAUTÉ function to the right heat, or how to open the pressure valve. Some models have preset buttons (MEAT/STEW, SOUP/BROTH, etc.); others don’t. Some models require you to press START; others automatically switch the machine on after you’ve keyed in your cook time. You can find this sort of information in your owner’s manual (or online, if yours has gone missing). We’ve accounted for the variables that matter once you start cooking, but we count on you to have a basic understanding of your model.
Then what is this book? The cover says it’s a collection of 350 recipes. But it has many more. Countless, probably, given that we provide 25 flexible “road map” recipes: not standard recipes at all, but detailed layouts for chili and risotto, winter vegetable soup and rotisserie-style chicken. Each is a culinary outline that teaches you the basics and allows you to customize a dish with countless proteins, vegetables, herbs, and flavorful liquids. Consider these road maps to be gussied-up master recipes with the ratios set and the variables laid out so you can prepare whatever you and yours prefer. (Desserts are a matter of greater precision, of course.)
In the more traditional recipes, we sometimes use the headnotes to explain how to make other, similar recipes in the pot. In the end, we hope you’ll treat almost every recipe as a road map. Cook with a pen in hand so you can alter the recipe on the page. Or if you’re scrolling on an e-reader, make notes in the recipe with the call-out function. And post your versions in the various Instant Pot Facebook or Instagram groups. We’d be more than flattered if you took our ideas and made them your own. Creativity is the best part of our job. We have a feeling it may be the same for you—at least, at times other than 5:45 p.m., when the kids are starving and you’re about 20 minutes away from DEFCON 10.
But even with all those road maps and inventive recipes, there are a few dishes this book doesn’t address. Most are utter basics. There’s no plain rice recipe, for example. Nor ones for kefir or plain beans. These recipes are found in the booklet that accompanies each model. Some are even part of the owner’s manual. And some, like those for yogurt, are too complicated to be written for all models, given the differences among the pots.
Instead, we offer a veritable bible of advice on mastering the art of using your machine. There are over 20 recipes for everything that can be pulled (chicken, pork, you name it). There are braises galore. There’s a breakfast chapter, a sides chapter, and a dessert chapter. But most of this cookbook isn’t laid out in a traditional manner. Instead, the main courses are divided into chapters like Pasta Casseroles, All Things Curried, Shorter Braises, and Longer Braises. If you look in one place and don’t find a meat cut, a favorite vegetarian entrée, or a cooking technique you prefer, flip elsewhere or look in the index. For example, there are recipes for chicken thighs in the Soups, Pasta Casseroles, All Things Pulled, All Things Curried, All Things Steamed, Shorter Braises, Longer Braises, and even Rice and Grains chapters. As on any grand tour, your first stop probably isn’t your last.
And there are lots of stops on the tour because this book is big. Try the Chicken Noodle Paprikash (here). Or the Eggnog Cheesecake (here). Or any one of the ten mouthwatering ragùs (starting on here). There’s something in here for nearly every taste and occasion. And if you’re curious about our favorite? Well, let’s just say we made the Bundt Banana Bread (here) about half a dozen times after we got it right in testing because, well, banana bread is so great with a morning cup of coffee. Or at night in front of the TV while we binge-watched yet another Scandinavian crime series.
We live in rural New England and wrote this book during a long, hard winter. If the recipes in these pages helped us get through one of those, you’ll be fine no matter where you are.
An Owner’s Manual for this Cookbook
You need the manual for your Instant Pot, and you need one for this book. Ours is a little simpler. Keep the following seven points in mind:
1. Read the chapter openers.
We know: This is boiler-plate cookbook advice. But in those openers, we’ve included important information that you’ll need again and again, especially under the FAQs header. Five minutes reading these will pay off since you’ll understand how the recipes work.
2. Avoid the presets.
Many machines come with programmed, default features. Let’s take timing as an example. When you press SAUTÉ and the heat level (say, LOW or LESS), or when you press the MEAT/STEW button (available in some but not all models), you get 10 minutes, maybe 15 on the timer. You can then manually adjust this timing up or down. Some models will return to the timing you last selected the next time you press SAUTÉ or MEAT/STEW. Others return to the default. Just skip it all. We give you the timings (and more). Manually adjust the variables each time and you’ll never go wrong.
3. Pay attention to the size of the pot in the main recipe.
We have written all the recipes with the 6-quart cooker as the standard. However, more than three-quarters can also be made, as stated, in an 8-quart cooker. In these recipes, there will be a note in the Beyond section on how to alter the recipe for a 3-quart cooker. (Although a few times we note that the recipe unfortunately cannot be done in the smaller pot.) A few recipes were written for a 3- or 6-quart cooker. Again, there will be notes in the Beyond section on how to up the ingredients so the recipe can work in an 8-quart cooker. And some recipes can only be made as written in a 6-quart cooker. The Beyond section will again explain the necessary alterations for both the 3- and 8-quart cookers. Finally, a handful of recipes can be made in any size cooker.
4. Notice the two types of charts in the recipes.
One chart is for basic cooking techniques like browning a chicken breast or reducing a sauce—the same kinds of things you could also do on the stovetop. This chart is often the first and/or right before the last step of a recipe (see opposite page).
Read the chart left to right to figure out how to get the pot to the place it needs to be. The exact name for the heat level is different among the models—thus, “MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 300°F.” That last “custom” marker is for the Max machine, which has a HIGH and a LOW for the SAUTÉ function, then adjustable temperatures in-between. The Ultra also has an adjustable sautéing temperature, plus a more traditional MEDIUM setting.
Pay careful attention to the heat level indicated for the SAUTÉ function. Although the vast majority of recipes in this book use MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 300°F, some use LOW or LESS; others, HIGH or MORE.
Notice, too, that when sautéing, we always round the time up to the nearest 5-minute mark. So a recipe may tell you to cook the onions for 2 minutes and the chart will say to set the time for 5 minutes, or the recipe will say to brown the roast for a total of 12 minutes and the chart will say 15 minutes. We built in a little extra time because we don’t want the heating element to turn off on you—just in case your onion is juicier than ours, or your chuck roast takes a little longer to brown. As a result, you will often finish sautéing with a couple minutes on the timer to spare. Go right ahead and turn off the SAUTÉ function when you’re ready to carry on with the recipe.
And one more thing: In all models, MAX or any other, the SAUTÉ function doesn’t remain on for longer than 30 minutes. You may need to restart it to continue with a recipe that involves multiple browning and sautéing steps. Such recipes are super rare, but see the Bistro-Style Braised Short Ribs with Mushrooms on here as an example. Here, we’ve given the timing as 35 minutes in the first chart, even though we well know that the setting is impossible, given the machines’ limit. We wrote the recipe that way to avoid a second chart, to be honest. We trust you’ll know how to turn it back on when the machine switches off. And let’s face it: Most of us start sautéing before the machine actually beeps to tell us it’s warmed up to the desired temperature. So the 30-minute cutoff in even the most complicated recipe may never worry those of us who lack saintly patience.
The other chart is for using the pot as a pressure cooker or a slow cooker (see here).
A Max machine can (but doesn’t have to) cook at 15 psi—that is, pounds per square inch, the same pressure as almost all stovetop pressure cookers. The chart’s top instructional row (under the headers) is for a Max machine at its MAX setting. This model also automatically opens or closes the valve, so you don’t have to fiddle with it after you latch on the lid and set the cooking function. That’s why there are dashes in the third box of that instructional row.
The second row, the one with the HIGH pressure setting, is the row you’ll use if you have a Luxe, Duo, Smart, Ultra, or Mini. (You can also use it for a Max—see below.) All Instant Pot models except the Max cook at 12.6 psi (slightly higher than most other electric pressure cookers). For this row of the chart, you can either use the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK setting or you can press (as here) the MEAT/STEW button (or other buttons like SOUP or GRAINS as the recipe indicates). We call out all the options in all the charts. But you must always override the presets to set the specific time noted in the chart.
We should also note that the Max machine can cook on the older HIGH setting. Max users can also use the chart’s line for the HIGH setting, if they prefer a slightly longer cooking time and a slightly lower pressure setting.
Some charts are missing the last row, the SLOW COOK instructions. This is because these recipes cannot be completed using this function without major modifications to the ingredient list (in most cases: less liquid and oil, more spices and vegetables).
The Chart for Basic Cooking Techniques
Press the button for: SAUTÉ
Set it for: MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 300°F
Set the time for: 5 minutes
If necessary, press: START
Set the machine for: PRESSURE COOK
Set the level for: MAX
The valve must be:
Set the time for: 3 minutes with the KEEP WARM setting off
If necessary, press: START
Set the machine for: MEAT/STEW, PRESSURE COOK, or MANUAL
Set the level for: HIGH
The valve must be: Closed
Set the time for: 4 minutes with the KEEP WARM setting off
If necessary, press: START
Set the machine for: SLOW COOK
Set the level for: HIGH
The valve must be: Opened
Set the time for: 3 hours with the KEEP WARM setting off (or on for 2 hours)
If necessary, press: START
A few are even missing the first instructional row, the one with the Max instructions. It’s not that these recipes can’t be done in a Max machine. It’s that they can’t be done on the MAX pressure setting without, say, a cheesecake buckling into waves or more delicate ingredients dissolving into the sauce. These few recipes can only be done on HIGH, even in a Max machine.
5. Pay attention to the design and function changes in the Max machine.
For one thing, this pot’s missing the old buttons for, say, MEAT/STEW or BEAN/CHILI. The Max machine is oriented toward cooking technique, not the type of dish cooked. While this change doesn’t affect these recipes, don’t get tripped up looking for the old functions, especially if you’re used to another model or if you see those button indicators in the second instructional row of the chart.
The Max machine is not necessarily the first electric pressure cooker to cook at as high a pressure as a stovetop cooker. Some others hit that pressure mark and immediately fall off it. The Max is the first electric pressure cooker to keep the pressure that high for the duration of the cooking. Because of that and the Max model’s design changes, you’ll need to follow its specific instructions and set the pot manually every time for all of these recipes.
One feature added to the Max is the SOUS VIDE function. We’ll have much more to say about this feature in its chapter (here). For now, let’s just say that this function is a game-changer for a home cook who wants to try out this cheffy technique.
One feature missing from the Max machine is the GRAIN button. On former models, this button was something of a wonder to us. It brought the water in the pot up to a certain temperature and held it there so the raw grains got a warm, 45-minute soak before the machine then flipped to pressure cooking for the stated time. Frankly, the GRAIN button resulted in the most perfect wheat berries and rye berries we’ve ever had. But we’ve found a way around the loss in the Max machine, as you’ll see in the recipe for wheat berries on here.
The Max machine also offers a NUTRIBOOST feature that lets out steam in tiny bursts. Here’s the deal: Every time the pressure valve opens, even for a second, the liquid in the pot goes from being super-heated but essentially placid to being almost apoplectic. When the valve closes again, the liquids calm back down until the next shock. Call it “intermittent fury,” great for bone broth and more assertively flavored stocks, none of which will be clear (as they would be if the valve remained closed, followed by a natural release). These stocks would not be favored by a classically trained French chef who wants to be able to read his menu through them; but they are indeed bolder and more complex, better not only for sipping but even for cooking. We advocate using this feature only where we feel it’s appropriate. For example, we don’t feel the NUTRIBOOST function is right for broth-rich dishes like Beef Barley Soup (here). The grains become soft enough to dissolve and the soup, just too mucky.
6. Follow the release method for each recipe.
As you may know, cooking under pressure is as much about releasing said pressure as it is about building it. That pressure is made only one way: by steam. Liquids produce steam as they boil. That steam fills up the air space above the ingredients in the pot and eventually packs the space so tight that no more steam can be released from the liquids. The bubbling slows down and the pressure begins to build, ultimately bringing the liquids to a state in which they can’t boil. (When a bubble pops, where would the gas go?) The result is that the boiling point of water in the pot rises from 212°F or 100°C to around 250°F or 112°C (the exact temperature depends on the model and the pressure it reaches). In addition, the volume of almost everything in the pot expands, wine to lamb shanks, carrots to cheesecakes.
Eventually, all that pressure has to go somewhere. There are two ways to get rid of it:
the quick-release method
the natural release method (worded in these recipes as “let the pressure return to normal naturally, about X minutes.”)
For the quick-release method, the pressure valve on the lid must be opened to let go of the steam. Doing so requires different moves among different models. In some, you must turn the valve one way or another. For the Ultra, you must push a steam release button next to the valve. For the Max, you must press the indicator on the touchpad without futzing with the valve. In all cases, steam will shoot out of the small hole in the valve.
Learning to release the pressure quickly is a key part of learning to cook in the pot. Don’t ever release the steam under a cabinet overhang. Keep the geyser away from cabinet facings. And never consider the released steam an easy way to get a facial. Instead, put pets and small children out of the room until you get the hang of the method your machine requires. Don’t be afraid; there are countless videos online to help you. We’ve even got two popular classes on craftsy.com that can get you more comfortable with the whole notion of pressure cooking.
By contrast, the natural-release method is easier. Basically, turn the cooker off (or let it lapse into stand-by mode) and wait. Over time, what’s inside the pot will cool down enough that the steam in the pot’s air space will condense. (Remember high-school physics?) At this point, the locking mechanism—a pin or cylinder in the lid called the “float valve”—will drop down (or, in fact, release). You can now unlatch the lid and open the pot. A natural release can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the amount of liquid and the mass of the ingredients in the pot.
Do not vary the release from the one stated in the recipe, even if you skipped lunch earlier in the day and want that beef stew right now. The recipes were written to take into account the stated method. Although the machine is off and nothing appears to be happening, a natural release is not dead time. Those cubes of beef continue to cook as the pressure falls.
Why didn’t we just write all the recipes with the quick-release method? Because of what happens inside the pot when you release the pressure in one fell swoop. As we’ve indicated, things in the pot are pretty calm when the pressure’s on. You’ll hear almost nothing. But the second that valve opens, it’s as if the ingredients went from being a jalopy on a country road to a race car in the Indianapolis 500. In other words, the liquids jump to a furious boil. That sudden switch can help save delicate ingredients from getting overcooked, and it can offer faster soups and stews when it’s warranted. But it can also turn braised vegetables to mush, cause potatoes or roots to cloud a sauce, and render more delicate cuts of meat a little too soft.
No, a quick release will not ruin a pork chop. But in testing the difference time and again, we found a quick release can make some cuts of meat a little too squishy for our taste. And they’re not necessarily the ones we expected when we started writing about pressure cooking. Leaner cuts—like boneless skinless chicken breasts—are often able to withstand a quick release better than fattier ones like pork shoulder. (Our tests were conducted with cuts of meat in water in the pot. There are other factors that come into play in actual recipes—fat, starches, and even liquid-mass ratios—so we sometimes call for a quick release even with a fatty cut.)
Hey, we get it: The natural-release method makes pressure-cooker recipes look like bald-faced lies. “Twenty minutes under pressure yet the dish took an hour to make,” someone inevitably says. We didn’t want to fool you, so we always indicate about how long the natural release takes. Some writers shy away from these things. They want you to believe that a soup takes 10 minutes when in fact it takes 15 minutes to brown the meat and sweat the onions, another 10 minutes for the machine to come up to pressure, 10 minutes for it to cook under pressure, and 20 minutes for it to come back to normal pressure naturally. If you glance through a full recipe on any page of this book, you’ll have a pretty good notion of the real timing.
7. Check out the Beyond for each recipe.
We started writing this book with an oath that we wouldn’t call for any ingredient we couldn’t find in our rural supermarket, a nicely stocked but not gigantic suburban Stop & Shop. That’s why we substituted a mix of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce for Chinese black vinegar in a couple of recipes. True, the real-deal vinegar is available online with a click but otherwise only with a long drive for us. Yes, we can travel over an hour to some big gourmet supermarkets, even a decent Asian one and a great kosher one. But there was no Chinese black vinegar down the road. We should also admit up front that we made an exception for Sichuan peppercorns. There’ll be more about them when we get to the two appropriate recipes.
Even though we (mostly) held to our oath, we often wanted to tell you how to nudge a recipe toward authenticity or how to make X, Y, and Z substitutions to our ingredient list that would make the dish, well, “cheffier”—and thus began the Beyonds. Over time, these grew to include serving suggestions and even garnishes. As we’re indicated before, this section is also where you’ll find any modifications needed to make a recipe work in a 3- or 8-quart pot.
The Recipe Tags
We’ve tagged the recipes in this book to help you make better decisions about what to make for dinner. Not every recipe has every tag. Most have three or four. Here’s what they mean:
FOR MAX MACHINES ONLY. Sous vide recipes are the only ones so marked.
SUPER FAST. These recipes are either 1) shockingly speedy, ready in just a few minutes, like the kid-friendly Buttery Noodles (here); or 2) absurdly quick given all that’s going on in the pot—like a barbecue-sauce-based casserole with dried pasta that comes together in mere minutes (here).
- "While most cookbooks are just a collection of recipes, this helpful guide offers directions for each Instant Pot device on the market while also teaching you how to customize your favorite recipes. You'll also discover a range of dishes designed for vegetarian, vegan, keto, and gluten-free diets."—Food & Wine
- One of the 9 Best Instant Pot Cookbooks (Epicurious)
- "Organized by functions on the Instant Pot, as well as by dish. So if you're not sure what you want to make but you have been dying to try the sous vide method, or you want something that will pressure cook in under 20 minutes, you can flip right to those chapters. For those of us who want an easy, hands-off staple, turn to... options for for vegetarians and omnivores alike."—Epicurious
- On Sale
- Oct 2, 2018
- Page Count
- 496 pages