How To Convert A Recipe Into A Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Recipe

Convert recipe to pressure cooker

Video Convert recipe to pressure cooker

I am often asked how to turn a recipe into a pressure cooker recipe. So the last time I turned a recipe to make into an Instant Pot, I wrote down the steps. Today I share my tips for turning recipes to make into electric pressure cookers.

Before converting a recipe, ask yourself: Is the recipe a good choice for pressure cooker?

The first step is to choose a recipe that fits the pressure cooker well. The pressure cooker requires liquid to reach pressure. So ideally the recipe will already have some liquid in the recipe. Slow cooker recipes, soups, meats, legumes, and grain recipes usually easily fit the pressure cooker.

If you want a crispy, fried layer on your meat or vegetables, pressure cooking is not the best method. If you’re cooking meat that’s already very lean, or expensive and tender, pressure cooker probably isn’t the best method for cooking that meat.

The pressure cooker excels at taking hard, fatty meats and turning them into tender, succulent meat. He excels at making soups quickly that taste like they’ve been simmered all day.

It is also perfect for cooking tubers. Two of my favorite vegetables to cook in the pressure cooker are potato salad potatoes and spaghetti squash. It’s the only way I cook rice now, and it makes cooking dried beans a breeze.

How do I know what cooking time to use when converting a recipe?

The next step is to determine the cooking time. Ideally, you can find a similar recipe online or in a cookbook and use the cooking time used in that recipe. Then change the ingredients to use the ingredients in the recipe you’re adapting.

If you can’t find a similar recipe, use a reliable table to find the cooking time for the main ingredient in your recipe. I often use the boards at Pressure Cooker Perfection by America’s Test Kitchen, Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow and Hip Pressure Cooking by Laura Pazzaglia. Hip Pressure Cooking also has useful online cooking time charts.

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As a starting point when adapting a recipe, I reduce by two-thirds the cooking time of meat recipes cooked in the oven or on the stove. For pasta I reduce the cooking time by half.

What if the ingredients have different cooking times?

If you’re cooking a dish with meat, the size and shape of the meat matters more than the volume of the meat. A large 3-pound whole roast will take much longer to cook than 3 pounds of the same roast cut into bite-sized pieces.

Can the meat be cut so that the cooking time matches the cooking time of other ingredients? For example, small bite-sized pieces of chicken breast have the same cooking time as white rice. Therefore, cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces allows you to cook the chicken and rice at the same time.

If they don’t have similar cooking times, consider cooking the longer ingredient first, then adding the vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots and cooking for a few more minutes.

For example, if you think it will take 50 minutes for the meat to cook under pressure and your vegetables 6 minutes, cook the meat for 50 minutes and release the pressure. Add the vegetables, put the lid back, press the pot again and cook for an additional 6 minutes.

You may be able to wrap quick-cook items in aluminum foil or put a pot in a trivet on top of the longer cooker item to decrease cooking time.

How much liquid should I use when I turn a recipe into a pressure cooker recipe?

Usually 1 cup of liquid. If you’re using ingredients that contain a lot of water, such as chicken, fruits, or vegetables, you may be able to use less fluid.

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Since there is very little liquid loss when you cook under pressure, you usually have to reduce the liquid in recipes like soups and stews so as not to dilute the flavor.


pressure cooker Thai chicken thighs recipe is adapted from a slow cooker recipe of 365 days of slow cooking. There is a little less than 1 cup of liquid in the recipe, but because chicken releases a lot of liquid while cooking, there was no need to change the amount of liquid. However, I was able to reduce the cooking time from 6 hours to 9 minutes!

What ingredients should I not use in the pressure cooker?

If there are thickeners, such as cornstarch or flour, in the original recipe, make a suspension and add them after pressure cooking. An example of how to make a cornstarch suspension is my popular beef and broccoli recipe.

Do not flour your meat before browning. You can create a layer at the bottom of the pressure cooker that will prevent it from reaching pressure.

In general, add dairy products and cheeses after pressure cooking.

Should I do a natural or rapid pressure release?

Meat usually benefits from a natural release, but if you have pasta or vegetables in the pot and are worried about overcooking ingredients, use a quick release of pressure. For more information, visit my post Rapid Pressure Release or Natural Pressure Cooker Release.

Keep a tip book when converting a recipe for the Instant Pot.

Cooking in an instant pot or other electric pressure cooker is easy, but you’ll want to take notes when you turn recipes to make into one.

Write notes so you know what changes you’ve made and can modify the recipe the next time you make it. Or, if you’re cooking from a cookbook, I’ve started writing notes in the margins so I can duplicate the changes I made.

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Once you’ve adapted a couple of recipes, it gets easier. You learn to trust your instincts and use your senses.

If you want to print this publication to save in your notebook, please create a printable pdf version.

Converting Instant Cooker Recipes to Stove Pressure

Cooker Recipes

Stove pressure cookers generally cook at a higher psi than electric pressure cookers, so electric pressure cookers

(instant cookers) have a slower pressure than stove pressure cookers; for that reason, For short cooking times you do not need to make any changes in cooking time. For longer cooking times, reduce cooking time by about 15% – 20%. Electric pressure cookers don’t start counting time until they’re under pressure, so start your time when your pressure cooker is under pressure.

Electric pressure cookers regulate pressure very effectively, so you may need to add extra water/liquid to the recipe if your pressure cooker loses more liquid as it cooks.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks. If you have a tip to help you convert a recipe, please leave a comment. If I didn’t answer your question about converting a recipe, leave me a comment as well and I will do my best to answer it.

Thank you!

If you’re new to using Instant Pot, be sure to check out my posts on Which Instant Pot Button to Use and Quick Pressure Release or Natural Pressure Cooker Release.

I’m adding a great suggestion from one of my longtime Pressure Cooking Today readers. She suggested that new users make several reliable recipes written for the pressure cooker before attempting to tailor their favorites to the pressure cooker. “It’s best to experience sure success before riding the bike without training wheels, so to speak.”

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