Translating Instant Pot Pressure Cooking

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It’s been a week since The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook was released. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know (like many of the other contributors) I’ve been cooking recipes from it all week.

But I don’t have an Instant Pot.

*record scratch*

Translating Instant Pot Pressure Cooking | Enjoying this Journey...

How do I do it?

I translate recipe instructions and experiment a bit. All but one recipe (the Coconut Yogurt, if you’re curious, which requires the 7-in-1 Instant Pot) in this cookbook uses the Instant Pot pressure cooking features. That means if you have a stovetop pressure cooker (along with basic pressure cooking knowledge) you can prepare most if not all of the recipes in the cookbook.

Translating Instant Pot Pressure Cooking | Enjoying this Journey...


I fully admit quick release freaks me out. Hell, pre-paleo, opening those Pillsbury tubes of dough would make me jump. So it’s no surprise that up until a few days ago I had seldom used “quick release” (read: the method in which one releases the pressure/steam quickly). Keep in mind, I also have two curious kids with me in my small kitchen. Even more of a reason to be cautious.

But when faced with the option of possibly overcooking livers (blech) or taking the steps outlined in my Fagor Duo‘s user manual… I opted for being mildly freaked out for a moment and having delicious, smooth pâté as a result. And I lived to tell about it! 😉

My pressure cooker has two quick release methods outlined in the manual. Quick release is helpful so you don’t overcook the food.If you’re unsure how to quickly release pressure from your pressure cooker, read your manual. If you lost it, chances are you can find it online in .pdf form and brush up on the quick release steps again.


Check your pressure cooker’s user manual to verify the pounds per square inch (psi) settings. I have a 10 qt Fagor Duo pressure cooker, its high-pressure setting (marked 2 on the dial) is 15 psi and low-pressure (1 on the dial) is about 8.5 psi (this is fairly standard). Your pressure cooker’s psi settings may differ, depending on the manufacturer. The Instant Pot has a high cooking pressure setting of 10.2 – 11.6 psi and its low is 5.8 – 7.2 psi.

Regardless of stovetop or electric, the basic idea of pressure cooking remains the same: The time needed for pressure cooking depends on the food’s density and size. Similar to one who lives in higher altitude would need to adjust cooking time, these differences in electric vs. stovetop pressure cookers’ psi means we have to experiment a little and possibly adjust cooking times.

My notes and experiences so far.

The recipes in The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook were written for the 6-quart models; since my pressure cooker can hold more food I’ve doubled a couple of recipes with great success.

The Instant Pot requires more liquid to operate than my Fagor Duo (1 cup compared to the 1/2 cup I need on the stovetop). It’s important to be familiar with the amount your pressure cooker needs to reach pressure. Of course, high moisture foods will require less.

Stovetop pressure cookers cook faster (because of the psi difference) and they typically maintain their pressure after lowering the stove element’s temperature (e.g. mine will maintain high pressure on a med-low to low heat once it has reached high pressure).

Now, I’ll go over some common Instant Pot pressure cooking functions mentioned in the cookbook and walk you through them.

  • Sauté. This is where you brown meats/caramelize onions as you normally would before adding liquids to bring to pressure.
  • Close and lock the lid. Press manual… This is the same as closing and locking the lid and bringing your pressure cooker up to pressure. Usually high pressure.
  • Steam. This setting may take some more experimenting, depending on the recipe. So far, I’ve had success with the Chicken Liver Pâté recipe and using my pressure cooker’s low-pressure setting, lowering the cooking time, and doing a quick-release method.
      However, some recipes that use the STEAM setting (e.g. Steamed Crab) will require a steaming basket. If your pressure cooker did not come with one, you can buy separate inserts online (measure to be sure it will fit your pressure cooker).

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What have I cooked?

Swedish Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy (you can get the recipe here), Thyme Scented Fennel & Asparagus Soup, Coconut Curried Chicken, Peach Cobbler, Quick Onion Soup, Chicken Liver Pâté, Cranberry Apple Chicken with Cabbage, Caribbean Plantain Lamb Stew, Pomegranate Poached Pears, Asian-Inspired Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup, and Fall Off the Bone Chicken.

Translating Instant Pot Pressure Cooking | Enjoying this Journey...

What about desserts?

Of the 10 desserts in The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook, six recipes require either a jar/ramekin/special pan AND a trivet or rack to keep said container(s) off the base of the pressure cooker. If your pressure cooker doesn’t have a trivet or rack, you can order one online. I have a small rack to use for pressure canning, but I noticed with the jars (for the mini pie recipes), I was better off cooking two at a time (instead of four). Take heart though, four dessert recipes are made without additional equipment or containers.

Have fun!

I hope this helps clear up some questions you may have about whether or not those with a stovetop pressure cooker should even bother with The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook. I’ll continue to update this post with additional notes as needed as I “test” more recipes with my Fagor Duo. I already have so many favorites from this cookbook! I’m sure you will, too.

Translating Instant Pot Pressure Cooking | Enjoying this Journey...
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