Want to make the most out of your Instant Pot? Learn how to make things you never dreamed possible in your Instant Pot with this complete guide on how to do Pot in Pot Cooking.
Why You Should Trust My Pot In Pot Cooking Methods
- Cookbook Author: I've written 5 Instant Pot Cookbooks that have been authorized by Instant Pot.
- Efficient: That's the only way I know how to do things in the kitchen. Who has time to waste when you're trying to get food on the table? I'm known for my ruthless efficiency and use the pot in pot cooking method every chance I get.
- Gadget geek!: I'm a self-proclaimed food tech enthusiast and have been known to purchase (and review) just about any kitchen appliance I can get my hands on.
What Is Pot In Pot Cooking?
Pot in pot cooking is the art of cooking more than one kind of food in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker at once.
Why Is This Cooking Method Beneficial?
It's easy. You can make a complete meal at the same time without dirtying your whole kitchen to do so.
There are four reasons why you might want to cook pot in pot in your pressure cooker.
1. Cook Multiple Things At Once
Sometimes you want a complete meal like rice and chicken, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes, all in one go. Pot in pot cooking allows you to cook multiple things in one pot.
2. Slow Down Cooking
Pot in pot is used to slow down the cooking process. Yes, I said that right. I know the Instant Pot is generally used to speed up the cooking process. But sometimes foods cook so quickly that you need to do a slower, lower heat cook time, even under pressure.
Here are some items that might require you to reduce the cooking speed:
- Delicate vegetables
- Shellfish such as lobster or crab
3. Make Dry Dishes or Steam Things
Want to make a dish in your pressure cooker that isn't overly saucy or something that just needs to be steamed and not boiled?
Place that item in a pot on a trivet with water in the Instant Pot liner. This will allow you to cook something without diluting the flavors or boiling something delicate that simply needs steaming.
4. De facto Water Bath
Pot in pot cooking happens largely with steam. If you elevate the dish away from the bottom, away from direct heat, it will let you to cook something that needs a gentler, non-boiling cooking time to avoid overcooking or curdling.
Simply elevate the inner pot on a trivet with water at the bottom of the Instant Pot liner and cook per the recipe.
How Do I Do Pot In Pot Cooking?
The pressure cooker pot in pot method is so simple and it makes cooking things you never thought were possible in your Instant Pot a reality.
- Pour. Place water in the inner liner of the Instant Pot.
- Elevate. Place a steamer rack in the pot.
- Container. Use a heatproof container and place the food you want into it.
- Cook as directed.
- Two items. Sometimes, rather than plain water in the pot, you may have another dish cooking at the bottom. The water from this dish will create steam, allowing the food in the top to cook at the same time.
What Things Can I Cook Together?
It all comes down to similar cooking times. Here are some guidelines for how to be successful in pot in pot cooking.
- Similar cooking times. An important principle in order to cook things at the same time, they must have the same cook times. Rice and fish, rice and chicken pieces cook at the same time. Broccoli and brown rice do NOT cook at the same time. So don't cook those together.
- Cut into smaller pieces. Sometimes you can make two things cook at the same speed. For example, a whole chicken takes 20 minutes+ under pressure. But chicken bites cook in two minutes. So if you need to, cut up the food with longer cook times into pieces that will cook at the same time.
- Long cooking at bottom, fast cooking on top. The thing that takes the longest to cook needs to go into the pot. The thing that takes a shorter time to cook needs to be elevated. You're moving it away from the direct source of heat at the bottom, elevating it. And that is what it's going to retard the cooking time.
The following types of things can be cooked together:
- Chicken in bite-size pieces and white rice
- Fish and white rice
- Meatloaf and potatoes
- Chicken bites and frozen vegetables such as broccoli.
- White rice and canned beans
- Brown rice and dry, soaked beans
The following types of things can NOT be cooked together:
- Whole chicken and white rice
- Fish and brown rice
- Meatloaf and broccoli
- White rice and dry, soaked beans
Do I need to add water in the pot AND to the food when I cook pot in pot?
For just a minute, forget about the fact you're cooking in a pressure cooker and just think about if you would normally steam the food or boil the food, it makes it simple to determine if you need to add water.
Examples of these are:
If you are making something that absorbs water, you'll want to add the water to the starchy foods to help them cook. In this case, you need water IN the inner liner of the instant pot (for building pressure) PLUS you need water in the small pot you are using to make the elevated dish.
Quick Cooking Foods
Examples of these items would be:
If you're preparing something that cooks quickly, you do not need to add water or liquid to the elevated pot.
You will want to keep the water separate from it so it doesn't overcook. Think of this as the food in the elevated pot being steamed.
What Accessories Can I Use?
As long as there is room for the steam to circulate around the pan, bowl, or mold inside of the Instant Pot, the dish is oven-proof, and the lid closes completely, you can use whatever you have available to cook this way.
Can I Use A Glass Bowl In A Pressure Cooker?
Yes, you can use glass for PIP cooking. However, you will want to make sure it is an oven-safe glass container so that it doesn't shatter under pressure and ruin any delicious thing you're cooking.
Equipment You May Need For This Cooking Method
While there are several different accessories available, let me give you a starter list of some of my favorites.
- Instant Pot Mini Duo or Instant Pot 6 quart or Instant Pot 8 Quart
- 6 inch pan
- Steamer Rack
- Mini Bundt Pan
- Egg bite pans
- Cheesecake Pan
- Yogurt Jars
Go ahead and give pot in pot cooking a try. You're guaranteed to fall in love with how quickly you can cook some of your favorite foods. If you found this helpful, make sure you share it with your friends on Facebook so they can try it too.
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Originally Published July 31, 2020