Are you looking for great recipes to cook up in your Instant Pot? On the fence about whether to splurge on one? Try these vegan Instant Pot recipes and get answers to the most common questions.
Before we get to the vegan Instant Pot recipes, I wanted to address some of the most common questions I hear about the Instant Pot.
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What you need to know about the Instant Pot
What you do need to know about the Instant Pot is that there's a small learning curve when you first unbox it. But hang in there! The first time I used mine, I turned it on and literally ran and hid, in case it exploded.
Spoiler: it has never exploded.
You should also keep in mind that—just as a pasta recipe doesn't include the time it takes water to boil—most Instant Pot recipes do not include the time that it will take the pot to come to pressure in the total cooking time. How long it takes can vary quite a bit.
You'll be better able to estimate that as you get to know your pot.
If you have a question that's not addressed below, feel free to drop a comment. I'll answer it and possibly add it to this post, to make it even more comprehensive.
Is an Instant Pot worth it?
Y'all, I have seen a lot of people considering Instant Pots lately. I can't speak for everyone, but I can share my own family's experiences with our Instant Pot and hopefully help you decide whether it's right for you.
The tl;dr version:
We use our Instant Pot almost every day. I love it, and I think that you will, too.
The longer version:
An Instant Pot is a multi-pot. It works as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, and a yogurt maker. It also has a sauté function, so you can do many recipes in just the one pot.
If you cook at home a lot or are wanting to start cooking at home, an Instant Pot makes life a lot easier. We mainly use ours to make whole grains, soups, stews, and yogurt.
If you're looking for some of the vegan Instant Pot recipes my family loves, skip down to the next section!
What I love about my Instant Pot is that it cooks food quickly, and I don't have to be there while that happens.
On busy weeknights, I'll often make rice in the Instant Pot, tofu in the air fryer, and serve it up with kale salad or a sautéed green veggie on the side.
What's the difference between an Instant Pot and a pressure cooker?
This was a question a friend asked on Facebook after I originally shared this post, and it's a great one! It comes down to the difference between what an Instant Pot does vs. what a pressure cooker does.
A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook food super fast. An Instant Pot has a pressure cooking function, which is why you sometimes see Instant Pot and pressure cooker used interchangeably.
The Instant Pot isn't just a pressure cooker, though. It's a "multipot." In addition to pressure cooking, it has sauté, slow cook, and yogurt functions. So you can use your IP as a pressure cooker, but you can also use it for other things.
What's the difference between an Instant Pot and an air fryer?
People sometimes confuse these two, since they're both small appliances that save time in the kitchen. They're actually quite different appliances that work well together!
An air fryer is basically a speed baker. If you'd bake something in the oven, the air fryer is the appliance to use to cook it more quickly.
Want to learn more about the air fryer and what to make in it? Get my favorite vegan air fryer recipes and a handy FAQ right here!
Think of the Instant Pot as a speed simmerer. If you'd boil, simmer, or steam it on the stovetop, the Instant Pot is what you need.
Not to complicate matters, but you can now get an air fryer lid for your Instant Pot. I just got one and haven't played with it much, but basically this different lid turns your Instant Pot into an air fryer!
What size Instant Pot do you need?
According to Instant Pot, here's how the sizes work:
- 3 Quart: 2-3 people
- 6 Quart: 4-6 people
- 8 Quart: 6+ people
Those sizes sound about right to me, as long as you don't like leftovers. If you do, I'd bump up to the next size, if you can.
My family of three has the 6 Quart pot, and it is perfect for us, since we love leftovers for lunch the next day. My sister and her husband use the 3 Quart and love it.
Any recipe should work in any pot as long as you're not adding ingredients that come up above the fill line, which is marked inside the pot.
Natural release vs. quick release
The other thing that is a bit confusing for new Instant Pot users is a natural release vs. quick release. Recipes should always specify one or the other.
A natural release means that you let the pot's pressure come down naturally. The lid is ready to open when the little silver pressure indicator drops back down.
Often, a recipe will tell you to do a natural release for 10-15 minutes, then do a quick release. That just means that you should wait 10-15 minutes after the timer goes off, then release the pressure manually.
A quick release means that as soon as the food is done cooking, you should release the pressure valve. To release it, just flip the valve toward you ("Venting"), being careful to not hold your hand over the top of the lid -- the steam that comes out is HOT!
No matter what kind of release you do, you don't want to open the lid while the pot is at pressure.
The cool thing about the Instant Pot is that it auto-locks when it comes to pressure, unlocking only when the pressure is fully released. Never force your lid open - it should turn smoothly and easily.
The best way to get the hang of an Instant Pot is to jump in and start using it. The vegan Instant Pot recipes below are all great places to start.
I also highly recommend picking up a copy of Jill Nussinow's book, Vegan Under Pressure. Her recipes are solid, and I still refer to her cooking charts for beans, grains, and veggies. It is much more accurate than the chart that comes with the pot itself.
Vegan Instant Pot recipes
Wondering what to make in your Instant Pot? I've got you. These recipes will help you get acquainted with your Instant Pot, so you can make the most of it!