My social media feeds have been filled with photos of Christmas celebrations over the past couple of days and I've been noticing a huge trend - I know a LOT of people who got InstantPots for Christmas.

I myself have been an InstantPot-head for a few years now, and I know that when you first see this magical pressure cooker, it can be a little intimidating. First of all, we've learned throughout the years that pressure cookers are freaking terrifying. Those old school metal ones that sat on your mom's stove top really could do some damage, but the InstantPot has changed the pressure cooking game, I swear.

I will fully admit that I am not a cook. I always thought that cooking took too long and that prep took too long, and... well, I'm impatient is basically what I'm saying, but the InstantPot changed that for me in the best possible way. This magic little machine that sits on my counter (and the other one that sits on a shelf because, yes, I have two InstantPots) has changed me into a person who can whip up a delicious meal in no time flat.

So, now that you have an InstantPot, what's next?

Getting Started

First and foremost, you need to do a water test to make sure that it's working properly. All of you have to do is pour three cups of water into your pot, make sure that the release valve is set to sealing, press "manual", change the time to three minutes, and let it go. When it's finished, the pot will beep and will change to the "keep warm" function. Allow the pressure to release from the pot (either manually by flipping the release valve to "venting" or naturally by waiting for the pressure to release (you'll know that pressure has released when the pin next to the sealing valve drops).

Making Your First Meal

Next, it's time to find the first recipe that you want to try out. It can be a little intimidating trying to figure out what you want to make, especially because there are seemingly thousands of recipe websites out there dedicated to the IP. A lot of people try out hard-boiled eggs first because there's really very little involved in making them. The problem is, the easiest way to do eggs is if you have an egg rack. You can find them relatively cheap on Amazon, but if you don't already have one, you may want to try something else for your first recipe.

I highly recommend trying out making shredded chicken for your first foray into the IP world. You can use it on/in pretty much anything, so it's a win-win. These step-by-step instructions by my favorite InstantPot recipe site, Pressure Luck, makes it super simple. The author of the Pressure Luck recipes also has a cookbook coming out in April that is currently available for pre-order.

Probably the Best Thing About the InstantPot

I will tell you right now that one of my absolute favorite things about the InstantPot is that you don't necessarily need to meal plan. My boyfriend and I aren't very good at planning ahead when it comes to what we're going to eat for dinner throughout the week, but with the InstantPot that doesn't matter. The beauty of this gadget is that you can throw FROZEN meat into it, and it will cook it for you. Keep in mind, if your meat is frozen, it will take a bit longer for your pot to come up to pressure, but it will take less time than if you were to wait for the meat to thaw on its own.

Two of my absolute favorite IP dishes that you can make using frozen meat are this 20-Minute Frozen Chicken Pasta dish, and this recipe for frozen salmon that always comes out delicious.

You Can BAKE in This Thing

Did you know that you can even make things like bread, cake, cheesecake and lasagna in the InstantPot? Well, you can. I've done lasagna, but haven't ventured into the cake/cheesecake world... yet. You can find some great recipes for cheesecake in the Rootitoot Cookbook Volumes 1 & 2 (physical copies can be purchased through their website, but they also have an e-reader version that can be purchased on Amazon.) Rootitoot also has an extremely helpful Facebook group that features some of the recipes from the books and the members of the group are also super helpful if/when you have any questions. Just make sure that when you request to join the group that you answer the questions asked of you or they won't accept your request.

The thing about making cakes and lasagnas and what not is that you'll need some extra accessories for your pot. You can get a pretty decent set of accessories on Amazon for less than $30, OR if you can purchase a Fat Daddio pan.

Some of the Best Recipes (In My Opinion)

I'll be honest - a lot of using the InstantPot is trial and error. You'll find recipes that you love, recipes that you hate, and recipes that you slightly tweak to fit your tastes.

That being said, here are a few of my favorite recipes that I've tried over the years:

Hopefully I've given you enough information (and confidence) to give your new kitchen gadget a try. I also got a Mealthy Crisplid for Christmas, so stay tuned for some recipes for that once I get it all figured out.

If I fall in love with it like I did the InstantPot, I'm sure that I'll have a lot to say about it.

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