Top 10 Instant Pot Accessories Picks + 3 extras

A few weekends ago I had the privilege of speaking at a conference, my topics being meal planning tips and Instant Pots along with some of the Instant Pot accessories that are available. We kicked off this calendar year with Pressure Cooker School on Facebook Live and here on the blog with a free Instant Pot Meal Plan. And it was about a year ago that we did an entire series on cooking meats and proteins for the freezer using your electric pressure cooker.

Are you seeing a theme here? Electric Pressure Cookers, and specifically “insta pot” aka the Instant Pot, have become wildly popular in the past few years. As we’re learning how to use them, we’re realizing all the things they can do!

And some of these magical functions require a few accessories. Let me just tell you, there are lots of accessories out there. Which begs the question … which ones do I really need? And why do I really need that accessory? And in what order should I make my wish list?

No need to fret over all the questions because today I want to share my top 10 “Insta Pot” accessories + 3 more, just because I figure a little free information is always a good thing.

My top 10 Instant Pot Accessories Picks + 3 extras

Back to the plethora of Instant Pot accessories, you can find with a quick internet search: there are so many it’ll make your head spin. You’ll find everything from extra rings (something I think is a must-have!) to the more unique and even odd. The most “personalized” thing I’ve seen is some 90-degree vent cover that looks like a dragon or wolf.

If you’re wanting a peek at my wishlist, lumped into tiers of priority purchases, then let’s chat!

My Top Five Must-Haves

1. Silicone Sweet & Savory Rings

These are definitely a must-have as you begin to use your Instant Pot for more and more recipes. I love using mine for soups, hard-boiled eggs, rice and even oatmeal and desserts. But I do not love that some foods can leave a rather pungent odor on your ring. I’m looking at you stinky onions. Once that happens, oatmeal is never the same. These particular rings are the ones I would recommend for two specific reasons. One – using unofficial Instant Pot Sealing Rings can void your warranty, and that’s typically not a good idea. Two – the different colors make it easy to remember which one to use for which type of recipes, blue for sweet and red for savory. 

Regardless of how many sealing rings you have, you’ll want to do some routine care and maintenance on them, but that’s way easier than it sounds. After each use, simply remove the ring and wash it in soapy water or run it through a dishwasher cycle with the rest of the dinner dishes. Then you just position it securely back in the lid and you’re good to go. It’s also a good idea to check the rings for cracks on a regular basis because a tight seal is what allows the pressure cooker to work in the first place.

2. Stackable Steamer Pans

These are obviously the perfect pan for steaming veggies, but they do so much more than that. You can use them to reheat leftovers, bake a lasagna or even make a cheesecake. And since there are 2 pans you can actually make an entire meal with meat or fish in one and veggies or rice in another, or any other combination that you can think of. You know if it’s a way to make dinner quicker and easier and with less clean-up, then I’m all in!

A little side note here, about the whole PIP or Pot-in-Pot cooking thing. This is one of the more self-explanatory abbreviations in the Instant Pot world, meaning that your cooking in a pot, inside of the Instant Pot. Things like reheating a meal in a small round casserole dish, steaming veggies in a steamer pot, or baking a cheesecake in a springform pan – these all require a separate pan inside of the Instant Pot. These versatile stackable steamer pans are the first of the PIP options that I have on my list.

3. Tempered Glass Lid

This is money well spent for several reasons. You can use it with the sautee feature so you don’t have to dirty another pan and you can keep splatters off your counter. Cue the angel chorus for easier dinner clean-up! The other time the glass lid is really handy is for the slow cooker setting. You can use the slow cooker function with the traditional lid, but if you’re like me, you want to see your food to know if any time or temperature adjustments need to be made. I’ve readily admitted to being a control freak when it comes to seeing my food in a slow cooker.

4. Extra Cooking Pot

Yet another handy accessory for more than one reason. An extra pot allows you to cook your meat, while you prep your side dish and then quickly switch pots when your meat is done. You can even store leftovers in one pot and still have the extra pot available for another meal. It also gives you an opportunity to have both a stainless steel pot and a non-stick pot, because choices are always a good thing!

I guess I should explain a bit here for those of you who are curious about the Instant Pot but don’t yet own one. The cooking pot is basically like the crock of a slow cooker. It’s the removable pot that your food (or PIP pan) goes in when using the Instant Pot. While you really never need an extra crock for a slow cooker, the Instant Pot is so quick that it could come in handy for 2 different dishes in one meal. And beyond being handy, it’s pretty affordable too!

5. Silicone Lids

Yes, lids, not lid. We already talked about why an extra pot is on my top 5, so a lid quickly becomes lids. Why a lid? Because as handy as an extra pot is for storing leftovers, soup or sauce that spills if you only used foil or plastic wrap for that lid is messy. And life already has enough messes to clean up! Have I ever mentioned that I’m a “lazy” cook. In this case, it may be more brilliant than lazy because it alleviates another cleaning project. You’re welcome!

The Super Handy Fab Five

It’s kind of like the fab four, but different. These are the five items that will come in really handy to make your Instant Pot even more versatile and user-friendly.

6. Double Egg Steamer Pack

I’ve mentioned several times on Facebook live how much I love using my Instant Pot for hard-boiled eggs. They come out perfect. Every. Single. Time. And, I don’t have to stand there and monitor them at all. And the best part is that peeling them is a breeze. The shells come off without leaving craters and losing half the egg here and there. This double steamer pack is really nice because you can do a dozen eggs at a time! They’re a great protein for busy days – waking up late, after-school snacks, an evening at the ball field or the court or …

You may wonder why you can’t just set them in the pot with water to hard-boil like you’ve done on the stovetop. Technically, you can, but wherever the egg touches the bottom or sides of the pot, you’ll have a brown spot. It won’t change the taste of the egg at all, but who wants a brown spot when you’ve finally found the method for a perfectly peeled egg?

7. Silicone Cupcake Liners

Okay, these are just such a fun and festive item for my planner-sticker-loving heart! And they’re great for making cheery little cupcakes and saving on paper waste too. How can you use these colorful cupcake baking cups in your Instant Pot you ask? Obviously, they work for cupcakes and muffins, but they’re also perfect for individual cheesecakes. I’m thinking one of the benefits is that it’s quicker than a traditional cheesecake. I think they’re a little healthier too since I won’t feel the need to finish off an entire cheesecake! They also work great for poached eggs. I’m thinking about setting it in the morning, and they should be ready by the time I get back to the kitchen. A poached egg in one of these bright little liners just has to make Monday mornings a little easier to face!

8. Mesh Strainer

A mesh strainer that fits in your Instant Pot is another versatile little accessory. One of the common uses is for hard boiling eggs if you don’t have a rack that you like to use. They’re also great for making a delicious and super-healthy bone broth. And the thing I need to try this fall is loading one up with fresh apples, oranges, and a few other classic ingredients to create hot spiced cider. The cooking time should be somewhere around 15 minutes (plus heating & pressure release time) but that’s much faster than the slow cooker recipes I’ve used. The beauty of the mesh strainer is that when your food or cider or broth or whatever is done, you can easily remove the floating ingredients that you really don’t want to serve. Some people even use these with a cheesecloth lining to strain yogurt. And there’s no reason why you can’t use it outside of your instant pot too! Anytime you can opt for one gadget that does double-duty, then I say go for it!

9. Gripper Clips (because I already have mini mitts)

I wasn’t quite convinced when I first saw these gripper clips. It’s probably because I already have some Mini Mitts that are perfect for the Instant Pot and for handling all sorts of other hot items in the kitchen. But as I read more about them, they do seem like a more secure and effective way to pull out a loaded and hot inner pot, especially if there is very much liquid in that inner pot. Many times we just serve directly from the inner pot, but not if I’m using my Instant Pot for more than one dish for dinner.

 

And again, because one product with several uses is always nice, they’re also great for removing hot pans and trays from the oven or microwave or grill.

10. 7” pan in a variety of options

Technically this is really a collection of 3 different pans, but they’re kind of the same so I’m going to clump them together.

Round Cheesecake pan with a removable bottom

My third choice here is the 7” pan with a removable bottom. And the first recipe I would use it for? Well, some sort of cheesecake, of course!

Non-stick Springform Pan

My second choice would be the 7” springform pan. In some ways, I can also see that clip on the outside getting banged around and messed up in the cabinet. It’s just the way things are when everyone helps put dishes away, one of those family activities I like to encourage! But I can also see how this might be easier to remove a cheesecake from because you don’t have to push it up from the bottom. Can you just imagine that going sideways and dumping a cheesecake on the countertop instead of gently pushing it up and out of the pan? Not that I wouldn’t strongly consider scooping it back into a pan and serving it with some sort of garnish!

And clinching the first choice title … Bundt Pan!

It’s the combination bundt/cheesecake/cake pan. I’m guessing there’s no need to explain this option because it can function as all three of the above with minimal storage. This particular model has some great reviews and ideas for recipes beyond cakes – like lasagna and meatloaf. And I just love the color of this one too!

Most of us may be able to survive just fine without a bundt pan, but when you can get all three in one, then why not?! Or if you’re the type who would definitely opt for all 3 of these pans, then you can free up a little storage space in your cabinet for some other kitchen gadgets.

And a few extras just because a girl can dream right?!

11. Yogurt Maker 

I have to admit that I had not really considered making yogurt in my Instant Pot until several of y’all mentioned how easy it is to make yogurt in yours. I definitely enjoy yogurt, especially on low-carb days, so why not give it a try?

The yogurt maker is technically a greek yogurt maker that you use to drain the yogurt after you take it out of your Instant Pot. Some people simply use cheesecloth to drain most of the liquid out of their yogurt. But, you’ll also find quite a few reviews that talk about how much smoother and creamier their Greek yogurt is using this little accessory. It seems like it could pay for itself pretty quick depending on how much yogurt you can go through in a week.

And there’s a stainless steel model too

There are two versions to choose between for my wish list – the regular yogurt maker and the stainless version that costs a little more. I’ll probably shoot for the stainless one because I’m thinking it might last a little longer. And then the real experimenting will begin, with the list of possible add-ins for yogurt. I may start with fresh fruit or all fruit preserves and granola. And then maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with some savory spices on top of Migas! If you have some favorite add-ins or toppings, I would love to hear those in the comments below.

12. Silicone Egg Bite Molds

These egg bite molds made the “a few extras” list because they could make fun treats for a party, or maybe even a Tuesday afternoon. A lot of people use them for egg bites, but they will also work for mini-muffins and even mini cheesecakes or chocolate lava cake. Now I’ve got your attention, right? Wouldn’t that be fun for some bite-sized fuss-free party food that looks extra special?

13. Quick & Carry Bag

I’ve gone back and forth on this one, but it does seem like this tote bag for the insta pot could be a pretty handy accessory. When we go to the beach with the family we love to do freezer cooking to dramatically reduce the eating out budget line. Honestly, this accessory would pay for itself with the first meal that we ate in instead of eating out too! Some people use theirs for taking food to a potluck in the same way that many of us have toted slow cookers for years. And the extra storage compartment on top and pocket on the front help ensure that nothing will get left behind. 

Now that I think about it, if the Instant Pot is used as a slow cooker, and then fitted with the pressure cooker lid just for transport, it’s probably just as easy as toting my slow cooker to the next potluck. For some of us, that could mean replacing the slow cooker with an Instant Pot that has a slow cooker function. That leaves more space both on the shelves and in the budget to use this appliance to its fullest capacity.

So that’s the list – My top 10 Instant Pot accessories Picks + 3 extras

Just in case you’re like me and prefer an easy to read list, here’s my recap …

  1. Sweet and Savory Rings
  2. Stackable Steamer Pans
  3. Tempered Glass Lid
  4. Extra Cooking Pot and the non-stick version
  5. Silicone Lids
  6. Double Egg Steamer Pack
  7. Silicone Cupcake Liners
  8. Mesh Strainer
  9. Gripper Clips
  10. 7″ Bundt / Cheesecake / Cake Pan
  11. Yogurt Maker
  12. Silicone Egg Bite Molds
  13. Quick & Carry Bag

How about you?

Have you jumped on the “Insta Pot” bandwagon? If so, what’s your favorite feature or recipe to make in yours?

And if you have any of these accessories, I would love to know what your thoughts are on it. It’s always great to hear the pros and cons of others before making a purchase. Or maybe you’re in the process of compiling your own wish list. In that case, what are your top 5?

Email3

May Meal Plans are Available!

May Meal Plans are Available!

May Meal Plans are Here!

If you’ve got school-aged kids, you know that May is an insane month. The number of field trips, awards ceremonies, school plays, concerts, recitals and other events can make even the calmest parent feel frantic.

Add to that spring sports, graduations, and birthdays.  Not to mention the changing season which means figuring out what your kids have outgrown or need for clothes and it can all make you want to crawl in a hole for the next month!

Trying to put weeknight dinner on the table to bring some calm to the chaos is a great idea, but how to do it when everything is moving so fast?

One thing’s for certain – dinner at home will not happen without a plan.  But who has time for meal planning on top of all the other things?

I know that sinking feeling because I’ve been there with my own family and responsibilities!  That’s how I came to create Eat at Home Meal Plans.

I poured all my time-saving tricks into the meal plans so that dinner can be done quickly.  I included slow cooker recipes, pressure cooker recipes, sheet pan meals, freezer cooking plans and more. Anything and everything to save time. Save money. And get dinner done.

Save your sanity this month by becoming an Eat at Home Meal Plan member. We’ve got new plans up for May!

No matter how you get dinner on the table this month, I wish you many nights of connecting with your family over dinner!

Click here to find out more about Eat at Home Meal Plans

Email3

Cover Reveal for Eat at Home Tonight Cookbook!

I’m so excited to show you the cover for Eat at Home Tonight!

I’ve been working on this cookbook for a very long time now and it’s getting so close to moving from my kitchen into your kitchen!  Each chapter is designed to solve a different dilemma surrounding family dinner.  You’ll find recipes for when you only have fifteen minutes, you’ve got no time for dishes, the pantry is empty, everyone needs to eat on a different schedule and more.

The thing about dinner is that we all want to eat it, but finding the time to cook it when we’ve got a million other things to do can be hard.  In fact, sometimes it feels impossible!  How to make dinner when we aren’t in the kitchen, but are driving a pre-teen across town to soccer practice instead?

This book has the solution for that!

The book releases on September 11, but it’s available for pre-order now on:

If you know you’d like a copy, pre-ordering is a great way to go. It’s like sending a gift to your future self. And it makes a big difference in how many actual books will be stocked in stores too.

I truly hope you love the book as much as I loved writing it! I’ve found myself turning to these recipes a lot for our family dinners and I can’t wait to share them with you.  I’d love nothing more than for your copy to be dog-eared, flour dusted, marked in and used!

No matter how you get dinner on the table, you’re part of a tribe of women who value family and connecting at the end of the day.  I don’t know about you, but that fills me with hope in this crazy world!

Email3

April Meal Plans are Here!

April Meal Plans are Here!

April meal plans are ready!

Spring really is coming, even if winter seemed to hang on this year.  And spring means eating lighter foods, fewer soups and stews and more salads.  Eat at Home Meal Plan members can login to download their grocery lists and recipes.  Members have access to four different meal plans – Traditional, Wholesome Traditional, Slow Cooker and No Flour/No Sugar.

If you’re looking to save a ton of time and a lot of money, our meal plans are for you!

Think more main dish salads and raw veggies

Like this favorite of mine, Summertime Tuna Salad, packed with fresh veggies, some good protein & loads of flavor!

And flavorful veggies piled on top of fresh veggies, like in this Sweet Potato Peanut Salad!

With a few time-saving hacks thrown in for good measure

It can be as simple as starting with a gluten-free crust to whip up this BLT Pizza in under 15 minutes. That’s less time than delivery & you get complete control over how much you add of each ingredient!

This Grilled Ham and Apple Sandwich with cheese and a bit of chutney makes for a quick and light spring dinner.

And the ever-popular Freezer Week

The week every month when you can freeze 6 dinners in one hour. It’s perfect for those spring sports, recital practice nights when you get home later than usual, and you’re just too exhausted to cook. I would love for you to join me on Facebook Live this month when I bag up all six of these meals in one hour and answer whatever questions might pop into your head in the process!

And Oh My! The Spring Desserts!

Nothing says spring like fresh fruits!

These Balsamic Strawberries may sound a little odd, but they’re amazing! And when you add whipped cream, oh my!

You just can’t go wrong with this tried and true Blueberry Cobbler!

Or how about Zucchini Carrot Cake, with its sweet take on fresh veggies?!

Just in case those aren’t enough, we’ve included a variety of cookies, brownies & bars that are perfect for impromptu picnics.

If you’re a Weekly Meal Plan Member then you’ll find all four plans and your color-coded shopping lists on the Member Login Page. And if you’re not a member yet, but you’re a bit curious, you can watch a quick video and check out all the details on our Weekly Meal Plans Page. For any questions that somehow we’ve not answered, then feel free to email us at help@eatathomecooks.com.

Whatever your weather outside, I know I’m looking forward to some springy dinners and desserts and saying a big hearty hello to April! What are you looking forward to this month?

The Basic Chicken Skillet – Seven ways

A few years ago I shared a recipe for a basic Chicken Skillet. It’s the dinner equivalent to the little black dress at the most affordable of prices. And you know how you can dress up a LBD with pearls and heels or go casual with a jean jacket & sandals? Chicken Skillets are just as versatile. You can dress it up with some feta a black olives for a swanky Mediterranean dinner or add rice and just the rice for a more casual Cajun flavor. You can even mix in corn, beans and some serious spices for a lively fiesta. It’s the perfect go-to dish for those evenings when you want something familiar with the possibility of exotic.

The Basic Chicken Skillet

It won’t take long at all for you to toss together the Basic Chicken Skillet, but to get you started I’ve included the ingredients and directions for you. And from there, it’s kind of like a culinary world tour. And this month on Facebook Live we’re doing just that – a little world tour Chicken Skillet style!

Want to make your own dinner, starting with the Basic Chicken Skillet

Click here to grab your FREE eBook 7 Skillet Dinners

All the recipes start with the Basic Chicken Skillet and go from there.  You’ll find 7 recipes to try, plus get encouragement and inspiration to find your own combos!  Enter your email over here to grab your own copy.

 

basic chicken skillet

Be sure to catch me on the Eat at Home Facebook page on Wednesday mornings around 10 am for some Basic Chicken Skillet recipes in the coming weeks and you can add lots of new twists to this go-to recipe.

And in the meantime, I’m curious as to which skillet recipe you’ll start with?

Join the Countertop Cooking Challenge 2018!

Get your slow cooker ready!  Pull that new Instant Pot that you aren’t sure what to do with out of the box, because we’re going to be using both of these appliances this month!

I’m really excited to partner with Laurie from Passionate Penny Pincher to bring you Countertop Cooking Challenge.  Laurie and I are both going to be cooking from Eat at Home Meal Plans (you don’t have to be a member to follow along though).  The Countertop Cooking Challenge officially starts Feb. 26!

She’s going to be focusing on the slow cooker recipes and I’m going to be cooking Instant Pot recipes.  You can catch both of us cooking on Facebook Live videos.  Laurie will be on the Passionate Penny Pincher page and I’ll be on the Eat at Home page.  Be sure to go like both of our pages.

All of the Eat at Home Meal Plans feature some Instant Pot and Slow Cooker recipes.   You’ll find both types of recipes in Traditional, Wholesome Traditional, No Flour/No Sugar and Slow Cooker plans.

But even if you aren’t a meal plan member, you’ll want to join us in this challenge.  We’re going to making dinner simple and delicious using both the slow cooker and Instant Pot.  You’ll get new recipes and cooking tips and have your dinner done too!  (If you are interested in becoming a member, you can use the code COUNTERTOP at check out to get a discounted price.)

You’ll also want to sign up for the Countertop Cooking Challenge emails.  I’ll be sending out links to the FB live videos and other tips for you through email.

Sign Up Here:





I’m so excited to have you join us for this Countertop Cooking Challenge!

FREE Pressure Cooker School

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the Instant Pot, aka. electric pressure cooker. I’ve heard from several of you who recently received one as a gift and are feeling a little intimidated by it. That’s exactly why we’re offering Free Pressure Cooker School!

Free Pressure Cooker School

We kicked it off by covering: [Read more…]

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of College Inn®. The opinions and text are all mine.

I love Ham and Bean Soup, but it typically takes quite a few hours to make.  Enter the Instant Pot or any brand of digital pressure cooker.  This appliance makes it possible to have fantastic Ham and Bean Soup in less than one hour!

And this recipe is healthy too. Beans, ham, vegetables and a generous portion of College Inn® make this recipe simple and nutritious.

If you haven’t tried using your Instant Pot yet, this is an easy recipe to test it out.  Everything gets added to the pot at the same time.  The lid is sealed and the cook time set, then you can work on other things – maybe fix a big salad and some cornbread – while the soup cooks.

Once the timer goes off, the soup is ready to serve.  It doesn’t get any easier than this.  You don’t even need to soak the beans before cooking.

Want more delicious instant pot dinners? Sign up to download the FREE menu and color-coded grocery list so you can enjoy one of these great instant pot meals tonight.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup:

Do be sure to rinse and pick through the Great Northern beans before adding them to the pot. Dried beans often of small stones or other debris that needs removed before cooking.

There’s just a small amount of chopping for this recipe, but it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and probably less than that.

If you decide to try it, share your results using #CollegeInnBroth!

This is truly a recipe that anyone can make!

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried great northern beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-5 small carrots or 2-3 large, chopped
  • 1 pound ham cubes
  • 6 cups or 48 oz. College Inn® Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pick through the dried beans to remove any small rocks or debris
  2. Place rinsed beans, onion, garlic, celery, carrots and ham in Instant Pot.
  3. Pour College Inn® Chicken Broth over all the ingredients in the pot. Stir in the salt.
  4. Seal lid and set cook time for 35 minutes.
  5. Do a quick pressure release.
  6. Serve in bowls.

EasyRecipe

 

The Simple Recipes You Need to Master for Easy Dinners + Free Download!

I’ve got a new video for you and a free download too!  In the video I share about four types of meals you need to learn if you want to have simple, easy weeknight dinners.

And I’ve given you recipes for 8 dinners that fit those categories!

I think you’re going to love these recipes and I promise if you use these types of meals, dinner will be a cinch!

To see the video go to this page and enter your email address.  Once you do that, you’ll be taken to a page with links to the first and second videos in this series, along with the downloads for each.

And be on the lookout tomorrow for a GREAT deal!

Watch the Video and Get Your Copy of Let’s Eat! by clicking here

Free Download! 85 Easy No Sugar/No Flour Snacks!

I’ve got a lot of good stuff for you in the next few days, including this free download of 85 Easy No Flour/No Sugar Snacks!

We’ve put together simple ideas to solve the question of what snacks you can eat and still be healthy.  I think you’ll love these ideas.

I’ve also got a new video series for you and the first video released today.  I cover how to overcome the dread of cooking, cleanup and complaints from family members.  These were some of the most common things people say they dread about weeknight dinners.  If you deal with these too, be sure to check out the video series.

You can sign up for the free download of 85 No Flour/No Sugar Snacks and the video series by clicking here.

Sign up here!