Maybe you’ve used your Instant Pot a few times, or after pinning several feast-size recipes, you’ve started using it once a week. If you love your Instant Pot but don’t use it on weekdays because your schedule is just too hectic, these quick tricks will turn you into a frequent user. You can cook faster and easier, no matter how busy you are, and you can even do it on the cheap! Here are five ways your Instant Pot can save you time and money. (See also: 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Recipes That Fit Any Budget)
1. Freeze food in round containers
Take advantage of how much time and money homemade freezer meals can save you. You can batch-cook healthy meals in large quantities for the week, freeze them in individual servings, and freeze in round containers that will fit inside the Instant Pot for the week ahead. When you’re ready to eat the frozen dish, rest your container on a trivet inside the Instant Pot with a half cup of water added to the bottom of it in order to heat it thoroughly. This is called the pot-in-pot method (PIP). This will save time on busy workdays, and loads of cash you might usually spend on eating out for lunch or dinner.
2. Add one-pot pasta dishes to your weekly menu
We’ve all had those crazy days where making dinner seems like an impossible feat. This is where one-pot pasta dishes can save you time and money. The Instant Pot allows you to cook the meat and pasta all in the same pot in less than 15 minutes, which helps curb the desire to order takeout on a Tuesday night.
There are several recipes available — even ones that use only pantry goods, so you know you’ll always have what you need on hand. (See also: 10 One Pot Meals That Will Transform Dinner)
3. Use a steam basket for a side of veggies
Using a steam basket that fits inside the Instant Pot will allow you to make a healthy side of steamed vegetables to go alongside any meal in about five to 10 minutes. Even frozen vegetables can be heated perfectly this way, by setting the Instant Pot to “Manual” for zero minutes. That means your frozen vegetables — which are almost always budget-friendly staples — will be ready to go in the time it takes the IP to build and release its pressure.
4. Use the Instant Pot as a sterilizer
Baby bottle sterilizers can cost as much as $60, and most parents use them for baby items and breast pump parts for only a year or so. Not to mention that a separate sterilizer can take up valuable counter space.
Instead, use your Instant Pot as a sterilizer. To do this, add a half a cup of water to the IP, then place a steamer basket in the pot and place your baby items/pump parts in the steamer basket. You don’t want your baby items to be touching the bottom of the Instant Pot as they will get too hot. You want to sterilize them with steam. Set the IP to steam for one minute and then let it come back to base pressure on its own before opening. (See also: 12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money)
5. Can foods to extend their life
Canning is a method of food preservation that has been around centuries. The process is also a little intimidating, since most people don’t want to serve a side of botulism with their homemade applesauce. For food safety, can high-acid foods, such as fruit, jams, jellies, and pickles, not meat or vegetables. Here’s a video to show you how to can in the Instant Pot safely.
If you and your Instant Pot aren’t best friends yet, then what are you waiting for? There’s a small learning curve with the cooker, but once you learn how to use it, it can save you money on cooking, electricity (i.e. not heating up the house during the summer), and by replacing other kitchen gadgets.