“I say it is just like waiting for the oven to preheat or waiting for a pot of water to boil.” – Amy Main

If ones scrolls through the many Facebook groups right now, there are some very motivated people who all got new electric pressure cookers for the holidays. Either as a gift from someone else, or, as a gift to themselves, there are a lot of new potheads wanting to cook with their new Instant Pots. They are busy collecting recipes and asking questions, and mostly getting really nice answers in return.

There are also a few fairly mad people, who are all up in arms because the IP is not what it says it is…INSTANT.

One would have to read through all of the 7 bazillion comments and suggestions to get to the heart of the matter, so I will save you the time…what many newbies are mad about is the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure.

What exactly is happening during that watchful wait? If the cook has added approximately 1 cup of water and has not filled the pot too full Рpast the fill line Рthose first ten minutes or so are spent heating the moisture to make steam, which builds up and creates the pressure. If there is a lot of of food in the liner pot, and some or most of that food is frozen or cold when they food goes into the recipe, then the time to come to pressure is going to be longer. If the recipe calls for some time on saut̩, and then one adds mostly room temperature ingredients and/or warm water for cooking, it will take less time to come to pressure. The time it takes to come to pressure is not usually listed in the recipe as part of the cooking time, and this has some people more than a little agitated, as if someone is trying to pull a fast one Рlol, get it?

“You don’t have to stand there and watch it come to pressure!”

I asked Instant Pot expert Amy DeLong Main what she says to new users about this waiting time. Amy is the founder and one of the moderators of one of the nicest and fastest growing Facebook groups out there – Instant Pot 101 for Beginners. The group is committed to helping new users with kindness and support, by being encouraging and inclusive of all questions being asked.

“I say it is just like waiting for the oven to preheat or waiting for a pot of water to boil. Plus, you can set it and walk away… you don’t have to stand there and watch it come to pressure! It will eventually do its thing. With the oven or stove, you have to go back to put things in.”

She makes a great point – we are all used to the pre-heat feature on an oven, and are also used to waiting for a pot to boil. We all make a mental calculation that the cooking method will be ready in a few minutes, because we are used to it. When cooking in the Instant Pot, the chef needs to get used to adjusting for that waiting time, too. It has to be figured in to your calculations on when dinner will be ready.

What most of us figure out is that the “special sauce” of this waiting period is that you can walk away from the IP and go do something entirely different…as Amy mentions, if you wait to put something into the oven or are waiting to throw the noodles in when the water comes to a boil, you are still in the kitchen, still working.

With the Instant Pot, those minutes waiting can be done without you present. Go out in the garden, go clean the bathroom, sit down with a good book.

Amy goes on:

“I made 2 pounds of black beans and 5 pounds of chicken breast (for enchiladas) this past summer for my turn to cook for our family reunion. Normally, I would be in the kitchen all day. I set the pots, walked out on the front porch of our cottage, and said, “I love the Instant Pot!”

She then went and enjoyed one of the very best pastimes there is: sitting on the front porch with family, knowing the food would be done soon, and done perfectly at that.