Lauren Cobello » Meal Planning » How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes to an Instant Pot
I have been getting this question a lot, so I thought I would answer it in a blog post. The question is How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes to an Instant Pot. It is pretty simple but in order to understand how this works, you need to know what the difference between how a Slow Cooker and an Instant Pot work.
A Slow Cooker typically runs over a longer duration of time at lower temperatures, while Instant Pots are sealed pressure cookers and typically cook at higher temperatures for a shorter amount of time. You can cook the same exact dish in an Instant Pot in 1/4 of the time, which makes it desirable for busy moms like me.
I use both my Slow Cooker and my Instant Pot on a weekly basis, but it depends on what my day looks like. If I am going to be home closer to dinnertime and need to throw something together quickly, I will use my Instant Pot instead of my Slow Cooker. If I am going to be gone all day and home right before dinner, I will put one of my dump recipes in my Slow Cooker so that I will come home to a home cooked meal.
There are so many great crock pot recipes on my website that I thought I would share how to convert those recipes into Instant Pot Recipes. With a few simple changes, you can easily make an amazing meal in 30 minutes or less!
Before we get started, another question I get asked frequently is what size Slow Cooker I use. I use a 6qt Crock Pot. This is the exact one that I use for all of my recipes.
If you are wondering what size Instant Pot to use, I recommend the one that I have. You can find that one here.
1.) Check your Liquids
In a Slow Cooker you don’t need to add any additional liquids to the pot. It is totally different with an Instant Pot. You should have at least one cup of liquids (water is what I typically add) to any dish that you are converting to an Instant Pot Recipe. The reason is because in a Slow Cooker your ingredients have time to release their natural juices, and with an Instant Pot they do not. The Instant Pot cooks quickly, therefore not allowing the meats or other ingredients to release their natural juices. If you don’t add water your recipes can be dry or burnt.
In my Slow Cooker recipes that I have on this website, simply make sure that you have one cup of fluids. For example: If you are making my Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup or one of my spaghetti sauce recipes you don’t have to worry about adding additional liquids because there is already 1+ cup of liquids in the recipe. If you are making one of my pulled pork recipes, you should add additional liquids to make sure they do not burn.
2.) Watch your ingredients
There are a few ingredients that you do NOT want to use in your Instant Pot. Most of these ingredients are in the dairy food group, but also any thickening agents like Cornstarch. These will typically burn in your Instant Pot. What I typically do is add these ingredients after the rest of the meal has been cooked thoroughly. Once the meal is cooked, I will turn on the sauté feature and finish adding any dairy, creamy soups, and thickeners.
You also should wait to add any strong wines, liquors, or vinegars. Since the Instant Pot cooks so quickly, the alcohol won’t burn off like it will in a Slow Cooker. This could make your dish taste VERY acidic. So wait to add those until the end.
3.) Change the timing
The trickiest part of knowing how to convert slow cooker recipes into an Instant Pot is the timing. A recipe that takes 8 hours in a Slow Cooker could only take 1 hour in an Instant Pot. How do you know how long to cook things?
Here is a great Instant Pot Cheat Sheet that I found online, you can download it here.
These are the major differences between a Slow Cooker and an Instant Pot that you need to understand before you convert the recipes.
The thing I love most about my Instant Pot is how versatile it is. I can make hard-boiled eggs in under 8 minutes that are cooked perfectly every time. I use it as a Rice Cooker, to make baked potatoes and soups, and to cook recipes from my Aldi Meal Plan. It is my favorite kitchen appliance and how I feed my large family on a budget.
Have you grabbed my freezer meal plans, yet? I might be biased but I think they are pretty amazing! They have saved our dinner hour for years now. Check them out!