Please don’t tell us you’ve got an Instant Pot at home that’s either:
Still in its package…
Used less than 2x per month…
Okay, okay. If this is the case, we can STILL be friends. But chances are, if you’re here you might be on the wonderful journey of feeding your baby and you are likely all game for some kitchen hacks that can make the process a bit more speedy and easy for ya!
An Instant Pot…or any pressure cooker, electric or not, can be such a useful tool in the kitchen! While electric pressure cookers seem to be a growing trend, traditional pressure cookers have been around for a long long long time.
Personally, both of us (Jess and Nita) love our multi-use pressure cookers that act as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer… you get the point! Nita loves being able to cook dishes faster in it like her moong daal. Meanwhile, Jessica uses it more simply for cooking “meal parts” like quinoa, chickpeas, and rice.
In this blog post we’ll teach you six different ways you can use your pressure cooker to assist with making baby and family friends meals!
Why we love the Instant Pot for making baby food
When I (Jessica) first got an Instant Pot, I was a little disappointed to discover that it wasn’t quite so “instant” as I thought. If you haven’t used one before, this is an important thing to know! I was so excited to see “one minute quinoa” in the recipe book that came with the appliance. That’s the actual cooking time. What I didn’t realize was that you need to tack on extra time for the appliance to get up to pressure, and more time after cooking to allow it to release the pressure.
I know, I know, I’m not really selling the thing right now, am I? Bear with me 🙂
Once I got over my initial disappointment, I quickly realized the following beauty of the Instant Pot:
- It’s a “set it and forget it” appliance! There’s no need to babysit your food as it cooks over the stove. You just throw ingredients in the pot, press a few buttons, and come back later to perfectly cooked food. When you have a baby who needs your attention 24/7, this is a lifesaving feature!
- Perfectly cooked food. Every. Single. Time. The fluffiest quinoa, chickpeas that don’t fall apart, pulled pork that falls apart with ease. You get the picture.
- Quick steaming. For making soft and squishable food for either handheld baby food or for puréeing, it’s so easy to make a small batch of food for your baby!
Use your Instant Pot for...hard boiled eggs
To make eggs in your Instant Pot you’ll need to fill the insert with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. You’ll also want to use your wire insert or trivet and gently drop in your eggs. You can add as many as you’d like or can comfortably fit in a single layer.
Timing is really important when you are preparing eggs for your baby. Since babies are still developing their immune system, we want to ensure that the yolk is cooked through to prevent any risk of food borne illness. You’ll see we had some fun with this experiment.
Ideally, you want to stick to a 4 or 5 minute cook time for your Instant Pot. Anything less than this will yield an egg that is too undercooked for your baby.
Here’s the play-by-play of cooking hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot:
- Add a layer of water to the insert of your Instant Pot.
- Place the trivet into the pot.
- Place eggs on the trivet in a single layer.
- Seal your Instant Pot and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Your instant pot will take some time to reach the pressurized stage.
- As soon as the eggs are done cooking, natural release for 4 minutes and then manual release to depressurize the Instant Pot. This is important because if you forget, it will continue to cook.
- Place the eggs in an ice bath which is essentially a bowl or tray filled with water and some ice. Leave them in this cold water bath for 4 minutes.
- Now you can gently crack your eggs from the bottom and efficiently remove the shell!
Use your Instant Pot for... pulses!
Pulses! There are sooooo many varieties. Some of our favorites include chickpeas, black turtle beans, kidney beans, navy beans, split red lentils and yellow split peas too!
These are all great plant based proteins that offer a ton of nutrition such as fibre, complex carbohydrates, some non heme iron, and potassium. One of the pet peeves people have with dried pulses is that it can take a long time for them to cook on the stove top! Seriously…have you ever boiled chickpeas? LOL, Nita made that mistake once and it took a long long time.
Then, enter the Instant Pot! That pressure system is fantastic for speeding up cooking time. So yes, use your electric pressure cooker to batch prepare your pulses. Then, store them in the freezer and pull it out as needed. Not only is this much more budget friendly, but it is also environmentally friendly since you won’t be buying canned varieties.
Use your Instant Pot for... tender meats!
If you don’t already have a recipe that is Instant Pot friendly, you’ll be able to find a ton online from bloggers who’ve done the work for you. A hot tip is to read the article and comments section for some extra support.
Use your Instant Pot for... steaming!
When you’re feeding a baby you want to start off with foods that are mostly soft. So it makes perfect sense to steam foods using your handy dandy pressure cooker.
Some families keep their Instant Pot on the counter at all times, this makes it so convenient to steam foods! You can steam by using one of two methods depending on your pressure cooker. Some include an integrated steam function, or on something like the Instant Pot you can even use the “sauté” feature to boil water and do it the traditional way…though…that defeats the purpose of this being fast 🙂
Either method allows you to steam vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, and even eggs.
Steaming allows you to expose your baby to a cooking method that leaves foods feeling soft and tender. If you’re steaming produce, be sure to not overcook it. You might ask, why? Imagine a piece of broccoli that has been overcooked. Babies typically have a strong and mighty palmar grasp which means they will smush the heck out of it before even getting an opportunity to eat it. This could also result in a frustrated, unhappy and hungry baby! Instead, steam your produce until it’s just a little past al dente!
Once the food is steamed, you can serve it handheld (aka baby led weaning style) or process it to a puréed texture.
Use your Instant Pot for batch preparing… grains!
When you’re a parent, suddenly your to-do list goes from maybe 8 items to 49584985. Ok ok, we’re exaggerating, but you get the point! If the opportunity presents itself, we highly recommend batch preparing certain main ingredients, like grains, so that you can use them over several days or even freeze them to save your future-tired-self. Trust us, you’ll be thankful you did!
The instant pot is great for cooking large batches of:
- wheat berries
- and tons of other grains!
Depending on how you organize meals, you might appreciate this because it allows you to use these staple grains over the week as a side, on their own, or as an ingredient mixed in with other foods.
For example quinoa can be used in our recipe for the Apple Quinoa Meatloaves (from our recipe book, Whole Food Recipes for Your Baby), you could also serve it alongside a curry or make patties with quinoa for your baby. The other added bonus is that quinoa actually freezes beautifully; all you need to do is spread it flat on a baking sheet and once frozen, transfer to a reusable bag or airtight container.
Use your Instant Pot to... sterilize baby feeding gear!
If our other hacks haven’t already earned your Instant Pot an honourable spot on your kitchen counter, this one surely will! Boiling a pot of water to sterilize baby bottles, breast pump equipment, and other baby feeding accessories can be such a pain. You have to watch to ensure it gets up to temp and everything stays submerged.
One of the beauties of the Instant Pot is that the pressure chamber can reach temperatures that are higher than boiling water so you can be confident that everything is getting sterilized well! Not only that, but everything is happening in a sealed chamber so you don’t have to babysit the pot to make sure everything stays underwater.
And there you go! We hope by the end of this you feel inspired to revisit your Instant Pot and have fun creating family friendly meals that include your baby. And because we love to nurture this community, you can learn more about how to adapt any meal and make it baby friendly right here.
*Note: we mentioned this hack on our Instagram page once and a few people mentioned that their bottles melted in the Instant Pot. In light of this, we feel it’s worth advising you to check with your bottle company to ask if it could withstand a pressure cooker.
We’d love to learn more about the ways in which you use your electric pressure cooker for baby food. Let us know in the comments below.
Do you have fears or worries about feeding your baby?
We know that starting your baby on solids can feel overwhelming and you may have other worries such as…
- I’m afraid my baby will choke!
- I’m afraid my baby won’t be getting enough of the right nutrients!
- I’m afraid my baby will have an allergic reaction!
- I’m afraid my baby is not eating enough… too much!
- I’m afraid my baby will be a picky eater!
We’ve created a FREE guide for you to address these fears and most of all, help you work through them! Just enter your email below and you’ll get the guide sent to your inbox.