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This is Part 2 of series of 4 posts about how to use your Instant Pot.
- Part 1 – A Simple Way to Get Started
- And this is Part 2 – Pot in Pot Cooking
- Part 3 – Which Instant Pot to Buy, Features, Accessories and Cleaning Tips
- Part 4 – Instant Pot FAQ
Once you’ve mastered all the great features an Instant Pot has to offer, you may want to start exploring some of the amazing things you can do with your Instant Pot that maybe you didn’t even know about – like pot in pot cooking.
What is Pot in Pot Cooking?
Pot-in-pot cooking, sometimes referred to as PIP cooking, is a technique that allows the user to cook using an oven safe bowl placed on a steam rack inside the Instant Pot. There are several benefits to using this method.
- It allows you to cook multiple dishes in the Instant Pot at the same time, such as a main course and a side dish.
- Foods that have a tendency to scorch when cooked in a pressure cooker – such as oatmeal or tomato sauce — can be cooked safely using the PIP method.
- PIP cooking can be used for baking desserts, such as cheesecakes, in the Instant Pot.
- The PIP technique can be used for pressure cooking foods that don’t require a lot of liquid, such as casseroles.
- It’s ideal for reheating leftovers.
Special Tools You’ll Need for Pot in Pot Cooking
You will need to purchase two additional tools before you try PIP cooking for the first time. Fortunately, these two items are rather inexpensive.
First, you will need a high trivet or rack. Your Instant Pot probably came with its own rack. This is ideal for steaming; however, it’s not quite tall enough for cooking two foods at once. You’ll need to purchase a trivet that is at least 2.5 – 3 inches tall.
Second, you will need an oven proof bowl. You may already own something that will work. Glass, stainless steel, metal, ceramic and even silicon is perfect as long as it fits inside the insert of the Instant Pot, steam is able to escape around it and the lid can close securely. I love this stackable steamer insert pans.
Additionally, you will need something to help you lift the oven safe bowl from the hot metal insert. You can easily fashion a sling using a long length of aluminum foil folded several times. Place the foil beneath the trivet, folding the ends down so the lid can close. When it’s time to remove the oven safe bowl from the insert, simply fold up the end and lift the oven safe bowl out.
How to Cook Foods Using the PIP Method
There are two ways to use the PIP method. The first method is used for steaming and baking. Place at least one cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot metal insert. Place the low trivet on top of the water. Arrange the oven safe bowl on top of the trivet. Place your food in the oven safe bowl, secure the lid and cook according to your recipe directions.
The second method is utilized for cooking two foods separately at the same time. Place the food with the longer cooking time in the bottom of the Instant Pot. You will need to add some sort of liquid to the bottom so the Instant Pot can achieve pressure. Arrange a high trivet on top of the food. Make sure the high trivet is level and stable. Place your oven safe bowl on top of the high trivet. Pour your second food item into the oven safe bowl. Depending on what you’re cooking, the food in the bowl may or may not require any liquid. Secure the locking lid and cook according to recipe directions. Steam trapped within the Instant Pot during pressurization cooks both foods simultaneously.
What if I’m cooking two foods that have different cooking times?
You’ll want to choose two foods that have relatively similar cooking times. Keep in mind, food cooked in an oven safe bowl on top will take a little longer to cook than if it was prepared directly in the metal insert. Rice cooked in an oven safe bowl can withstand a few extra minutes of cooking time without negatively affecting the texture. However, if you are concerned about the outcome of your meal, there are a few solutions.
- Precook the food that requires the longest cooking time. Do a quick release of the pressure, then place your second item on top of the first, secure the lid and continue cooking.
- Wrap the second food item in a double layer of aluminum to insulate it against the heat and slow the cooking time.
- Try cooking with a glass and ceramic bowl, which does not conduct heat as quickly as stainless steel equates to a longer cooking time.
This article was written by Lisa Bynum for Busy Cooks.