Stocks and Broths
Here's a typical recipe: Serious Eats' Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock. It's a good one, though you don't have to stick to it religiously. Instead of chicken parts, you can use the leftover carcass of a rotisserie bird, or bones from a beef/pork roast. (If you've eaten around the bones, just wash them first.) Feel free to play with the aromatics, too—scallions, ginger, whole shallots. Beats keeping the stove on for hours and filling the house with steam.
One of my favorite stocks to have on hand is Corn Stock. It's delicate and sweet, so use it in simple preparations like risotto. For vegetable stocks, you don't need to pressure-cook for more than 15 minutes.
Another unusual stock to try is Parmesan Rind Stock (30 min or so). Instant Pot is great for turning leftovers and “waste” into good food.
When you release the pressure on your Instant Pot manually (by twisting the release knob) the contents of the pot will come to a quick boil, then cool off. This is fine, but it may produce a cloudy stock—purely an aesthetic consideration. The alternative is a “natural release,” where you let the Instant Pot cool off after its program has finished, if you can spare the time. The valve at the top pops up, and it's safe to open the pot. That gives you a clearer stock, and less steam.
Rice and Grains
One of the ways I justified buying yet another kitchen appliance was replacing our rice cooker with the Instant Pot. It works just as well, if you follow these simple instructions. Basically, measure equal volumes of dry rice and water; wash your white rice if required; run a 4-minute program; and let it depressurize on its own for 10 minutes. Other grains may need different cook times.
My absolute favorite rice preparation in the Instant Pot is Risotto. It doesn't require constant stirring; you set it and walk away. Once you figure out the basic method—sweat the onions and rice, add wine and stock, pressure-cook, then fold in butter and cheese—you can adapt it to any other risotto recipe. (And a risotto tip: you can swap in sushi rice—like Calrose or japonica—for Italian arborio/carnaroli rice. One less thing to stock. Trust me!)
A similar approach works for Polenta, too; you can replace half an hour of stirring and folding with 10 minutes of pressure-cooking.
Another rice dish that would take a lot patience and supervision normally is Congee/Jook. Instant Pot will cook it quickly and unattended; it'll then keep it warm for up to 4 hours. Feel free to riff on this one, too.
Instant Pot excels at recipes you might not make at all otherwise. Tamales, for instance: shaping them still takes a bit of time and practice, but the uncertainty over how to steam them is removed. And you can fill them with many of the other recipes listed here!
Beans and Peas
Instant Pot can produce creamy, delicious beans in under an hour, starting with dry beans—no overnight soaking needed. Here's a simple recipe for Pinto Beans; the basic idea is, add beans, cover them with water by an inch or two, cook for approximately 30 minutes, and release the pressure naturally (don't open the valve; let it cool off on its own.) You can add onions, garlic, bay leaves—it's up to you. For a heartier recipe, here's Black Beans with Chorizo.
Chickpeas are easy, too; cook them for about 40 minutes. Throw in some aromatics and make Smooth Hummus, fifty times better than anything store-bought. The Instant Pot's pressure power will make sure it's velvety. (The other secret to great hummus: serve it warm.)
Got an interesting legume like adzuki beans? Here's Instant Pot's table of cook times.
To make basic chicken soup, sauté onion for a few minutes; add chicken pieces, aromatics, and spices; cook for 20 minutes. With just a few more ingredients, you could be eating Phở Gà in half an hour.
When the weather cools, I love making this Split Pea and Ham Soup. For bonus hamminess, substitute ham stock for the chicken stock. Where do you get ham stock? Simple: pop a few ham hocks (your supermarket's meat counter is guaranteed to have them) into the Instant Pot, cover with water, and cook for 50 minutes. You'll get incredible stock and soft meat you can pull off the bone and eat so many different ways.
Southern-style collard greens (or kale, which works equally well!) can be cooked on the stovetop, certainly, but once again the process is faster and simpler in the Instant Pot. Sauté your bacon/ham and onion, throw in the greens—tomatoes, also? vinegar?—and cook for about 10 minutes. You could have them ready by the time you set the table.
Steaming is even faster: set a steaming basket or rack inside your Instant Pot; add about a cup of water; place your broccoli, cut cauliflower florets, or green beans inside; set the Pot to 0 minutes. You read that right: zero. It'll pressurize and immediately stop—that's sufficient to steam the greens. (In my kitchen, it takes about 6 minutes to reach that pressure, by the way.)
The majority of popular Instant Pot recipes out there are meat-based. And it's clear why: pressure-cooking gives you tender, pulled meat in no time, and with very little work. I wanted to open with grains and veggies to balance out all our diets a bit. But here we go: meat.
This recipe for Kalua Pig is great in itself, and it also makes a nice template for pulled-texture meat. With a marbled cut like pork/beef/lamb shoulder, you'll want to add a tiny bit of water and set the Instant Pot to 50 minutes. (Bonus sub-recipe: Instant Pot cabbage cooked in the resulting pork broth.)
In the case of Kalua Pig, you'd eat it right away, but you have other options. If you add orange, cinnamon, onion etc. to the pot, you'll be 80% of the way to Carnitas; just strain the meat, separate out the fat, then broil or fry the meat in the fat. You can do this the next day, after the fat solidifies and becomes easier to separate from the broth.
You can also do saucy, braised, bone-in meats like these Lamb Shanks (pork hocks, beef shanks, and goat legs can hop in, too). Try variations like an Indian curry, Mexican jalisco, or a tomatoey Italian sauce. Not only will the meat fall off the bone, the sauce ingredients will break down under pressure. (That said, it's often helpful to remove the meat, then blend the sauce before folding it back in.)
I love octopus, and I hope you do, too. It can be tricky to prepare, but Instant Pot makes Pressure Cooker Octopus without much fuss. Give it a shot, what do you say?