Instant Pots have been around since 2010, and if you know anything about them you know that they cook food FAST! The number one reservation most people have about getting an Instant Pot is the concern surrounding how they will be able to convert their favorite slow-cooker recipes.
Today, I am going to show you the simple steps you can take to convert ANY slow-cooker recipes into an InstantPot recipe that takes a mere FRACTION of the time. Plus, I am going to share my favorite chicken fajita recipe!
Here are the things you need to know about converting your slow cooker recipe to the InstantPot.
Generally speaking, if your slow cooker recipe calls for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, your recipe will be fully cooked in 25-30 minutes in the Instant Pot. For recipes using poultry (chicken, turkey) reduce this time to 10-15 minutes or use the 15-minute “poultry” button.
If your ingredients are frozen when adding them to the Instant Pot, add 10 minutes to your cooking time.
2. Adding Liquid
Because of the nature of an Instant Pot, they require some liquid in order to come to pressure. So, unlike your slow cooker, it is recommended that your recipe include at least 1 cup of water (juice, beer, wine or thin sauces work too!). If you are making a dish that does not traditionally include extra liquid or sauce, you can use the trivet incuded with your Instant Pot to keep your recipe from sitting in the liquid.
When cooking things that expand (like beans and rice), be sure to never fill your Instant Pot more than halfway full.
In fact, since some grains may be pre-soaked and others aren’t, it is also really important when dealing with grains that you use this handy Instant Pot timing chart to make sure you aren’t undercooking or overcooking your grains or beans.
4. What to Leave Out
The Instant Pot does have it’s limitations, and there are certain ingredients you will need to add in at the END of your recipe to avoid a recipe disaster.
- Dairy & Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives: These ingredients can curdle, separate and clog the pressure valve on your Instant Pot.
- Thickening Agents: Ingredients like arrowroot and flour will cause your Instant Pot to be unable to reach full pressure. Add your thickening agents after your pressure cooking has finished by switching to the saute function, adding your thickener and stirring until your dish has thickened to your preference.
5. Quick Release vs. Natural Release
The Instant Pot is equipped with a quick release pressure function on the lid, but it is important to know when it is a good idea to quick release, and when to allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally.
- Quick Release: Use the quick release function on your Instant Pot when you are making a dish that contains fresh veggies or other ingredientss that you don’t want to overcook (like the fajita recipe I am going to show you!).VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT QUICK RELEASING – Be sure to keep the pressure valve pointed away from yourself to avoid steam burns as well as away from your cabinets to avoid warping of the wood. Also, use a towel or an oven mit to turn the pressure valve if you have an older model. The newer models are equipped with seperate quick release button just to the right of the pressure valve, making it much safer.
- Natural Release: Allow your Instant Pot to naturally release it’s own pressure when making foods that need time to “relax” (like a big roast or other hearty cut of meat) or those that may potentially clog the release valve (like oatmeal, pasta or a very full batch of soup).
Now that you are equipped with the basics, now for the fun part!
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas
1/2 cup water
2 green bell peppers, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow or orange bell peppers, sliced
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2″ -1″ thick strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp honey
3 limes, juiced (~1/2 cup lime juice)
2 Tbsp chili powder
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Pour the 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot and place your trivet on the bottom.
- Mix together garlic, honey, lime juice and all spices in a medium bowl and add the chicken, mixing to coat the chicken thoroughly.
- Use tongs to remove the chicken and place on the trivet in the Instant Pot. Reserve the remaining liquid.
- Layer the bell peppers on top of the chicken, and the onions on top of the peppers.
- Pour the remaining liquid from the bowl over top of the veggies.
- Select the manual pressure or pressure cook option and use the +/- button to adjust your time to 12 minutes.
- Use the quick release function after cooking time has elapsed to avoid overcooking the veggies.
- Serve over a bed of lettuce or rice with salsa and avocado for a delicious meal!