Have you jumped on the multi-cooker “bandwagon” yet? Stovetop pressure cookers may have been around for decades, but these newer countertop electric models have become popular much more recently. Within the past few years, home cooks have begun raving about these fancy new appliances that promise to save time and energy, getting dinner on the table quicker than ever.
At Martin’s headquarters, in our test kitchen, we decided to try out one of our favorite recipes—BBQ Pulled Chicken—using a multi-cooker to see how it fared against other methods, such as the more traditional slow cooker/Crock Pot method.
Spoiler alert—we were impressed! This new method produced deliciously tender chicken that pulled apart easily with a pair of forks. We served up some sandwiches on Big Marty’s Rolls and they were a hit! Find the full recipe below.
Continue reading to learn more about multi-cooker appliances, including a list of pros and cons as well as cooking tips, or skip to the end to try our recipe for Honey Mustard BBQ Shredded Chicken.
What is an Instant Pot® / Multi-Cooker?
Instant Pot® is a popular brand of multi-functional electric pressure cooker, or “multi-cooker,” that is often used in place of the generic term.
Multi-cookers (electric pressure cookers) are countertop appliances that cook food quickly using pressurized steam. In addition to the standard pressure cooking function, many multi-cookers have additional functions such as sautéing and slow cooking.
What Are Benefits of Using a Multi-Cooker?
A key benefit to using a multi-cooker or pressure cooker is the reduced cooking time—because of the highly pressurized environment, these appliances are able to cook many foods (such as meats and stews) more quickly than with traditional cooking methods. However, pressure cookers also have some limitations in regard to functionality and ease of use.
Multi-Cooker Pros and Cons:
|Great for cooking foods that benefit from being tender and retaining moisture, such as roasts, stews, soups, dried beans, rice, etc.||Not great for cooking foods that need to be crispy or crunchy, such as fried foods.|
|Great time-saver for foods that are traditionally prepared low-and-slow or take many hours to prepare.||Not time-saving with foods that take 20 minutes or less to cook, because the appliance takes additional time to come up to pressure and safely release the pressure after cooking.|
|The device’s multiple cooking functions take the place of several separate devices, allowing for an all-in-one cooking style.||There may be limitations with certain ingredients, such as dairy and thickening agents like flour and cornstarch.|
|Energy efficient – Instant Pot® claims to use 70% less energy than traditional cooking methods.||Potential safety hazard – always be careful when venting steam/pressure from the device.|
What Can I Cook in my Multi-Cooker?
As mentioned above, multi-cookers are great for cooking foods that typically take a long time to cook over low heat. The highly pressurized, sealed environment of the appliance can make tougher cuts of meat, such as brisket and stew meat, soft and fall-apart tender in close to no time, in addition to preparing typically time consuming dishes such as homemade broth, rice, and even yogurt.
Here is a list of foods to consider cooking in your multi-cooker!
- Meat & Poultry
- Soups & Stews
- Rice & Grains
- Dried Beans & Legumes
- Hearty Vegetables (e.g., beets, potatoes, root vegetables)
- And More!
For recommended cooking times for these and other foods, visit https://instantpot.com/instantpot-cooking-time.
How to Convert a Slow Cooker Recipe to a Multi-Cooker
Perhaps you already have a slow cooker and are wondering if your favorite recipes can be prepared in multi-cooker to save time. The good news is that many recipes that perform well using a slow cooker (such as pulled pork, beef chili, or chicken soup) also translate well to a multi-cooker/pressure cooker.
Here are a few general recommendations:
- Red meat, soup & stews: 4 hrs low / 8 hrs high (slow cooker) = ~25-30 mins cook time in multi-cooker
- Poultry: 4/8 hrs (high/low) in slow cooker = ~15 mins cook time in multi-cooker
- For frozen meat: add about 10 minutes to the total cooking time.
- Keep in mind, electric pressure cookers typically take around 10-20 minutes to come up to pressure, and about 10-15 minutes to naturally release the pressure after cooking.
- You must add extra liquid to a multi-cooker, unlike a slow cooker which often produces extra liquid from condensation. Liquid is necessary to produce steam/pressure in the multi-cooker.
- The density or thickness of your food may alter the cook time. When cooking large roasts or cuts of meat in the multi-cooker, you may want to cut them into smaller portions to ensure they cook properly.
Test out these rules on a few of our slow cooker recipes below!
Tips for Using a Multi-Cooker
- Stick to recipes that take 20 minutes or longer to cook. A pressure cooker will not save you much time with preparing traditionally quick-cooked foods such as steamed vegetables because the time it takes to reach max pressure, cook the food, and release the pressure at the end may end up exceeding the regular cook time of preparing the same food using a traditional method.
- Add liquid – Multi-cookers need plenty of liquid in order to come to pressure and cook food properly. Choose from water, broth, cider/juice, etc.
- Add dairy ingredients at the end of cooking. Adding these too early on can cause them to separate or curdle.
- Add thickeners at the end of cooking. Adding these too soon can prevent the device from reaching full pressure. Closer to the end of cooking, you may add in thickening agents like flour or cornstarch and use the sauté function to prepare sauces such as gravy.
- Fresh or Frozen – You can prepare meat (and vegetables) in the multi-cooker from either fresh or frozen; just be sure to add 10 minutes or so of extra time if cooking meat from frozen.
How to Cook Chicken in a Multi-Cooker
Some of our favorite things to prepare in a multi-cooker are flavorful meat dishes like BBQ pulled pork or shredded chicken, both of which make for delicious “game day” sandwiches on Martin’s rolls!
While we have several slow cooker chicken recipes in our archive, we had never tested it out using an Instant Pot® before, but we have to say—it worked like a charm! Watch a quick video tutorial for this recipe below, then head over to the recipe page for step-by-step instructions!
Featured Recipe: Multi-Cooker Shredded Chicken with Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
This sweet & tangy shredded chicken with honey mustard BBQ sauce makes the most delicious sandwich! In just over 30 minutes of cooking in the multi-cooker, the chicken breast was fall-apart tender and perfect for piling onto our Big Marty’s Rolls. Consider giving it a try for your next quick family dinner or “homegating” meal!
After first preparing the honey-mustard sauce and rubbing the chicken with a custom spice rub, we used the sauté function of the multi-cooker to sear the chicken. Next, we deglazed the pot with chicken stock, added the chicken back in and topped with our honey-mustard sauce. Then, we sealed the multi-cooker and cooked at high pressure for 10 minutes. After allowing the pressure to release naturally, we shredded the chicken, mixed it again with the cooking stock and extra honey-mustard, and served it up on our rolls. Delicious!
Get the full recipe at: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/honey-mustard-bbq-shredded-chicken
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