Wide variety of recipes
Good info about the Instant Pot
Paperback, so it’s not as durable
Book tends to flip pages if not held down
Information on specific buttons may be outdated
We put The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals by Laurel Randolph to the test in our kitchen. To see how accommodating the Instant Pot cookbook was, we made recipes in a variety of electric pressure cooker models and sizes. We made breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert, abandoning our other appliances until we were sure we knew what this book was all about.
Audience: A general-interest book with wide appeal
This is a good, all-around book for Instant Pots and other electric pressure cookers, with information in the front of the book about how the Instant Pot works, how to care for and clean the appliance, and even how to convert conventional recipes to pressure cooking. The section about the specific buttons on the Instant Pot may now be outdated, though, since there are many models available and they have different controls.
The recipes cover a wide variety of meals, including breakfast, side dishes, main dishes, and even desserts. Most are all-American foods with favorites like chicken pot pie, pot roast, and wings, with a smattering of familiar ethnic dishes like fried rice and enchiladas.
Production Quality: Paperback, but durable enough
This is a paperback book, so it’s not quite as durable as a hardcover book, but the spine seems to be sturdy and less likely to break than some books we’ve owned. However, this means that the book tends to want to flip pages if it’s on the kitchen counter and there’s nothing holding it down. It behaved well on a book stand, though. Aside from the cover, the only photos in the book are at the beginning of each chapter. While this helps keep costs down, it can be hard to visualize some of the recipes.
One very handy part of this book is the cooking chart at the end, which gives cooking times, suggested pressure, and type of pressure release for a variety of basic foods.
Recipe Results: We ate them all up
Our very first recipe was the Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Bake, but we subbed homemade plain bread for the fancy stuff, and we’re not sorry. With a drizzle of maple syrup, it was perfect and easy to make. Probably easier than actual French toast.
We’ve made cheese grits in the Instant Pot more times than we want to admit, so we decided to try that recipe, just to see if it stacked up with others we’ve made. While it wasn’t something that we raved about—let’s face it, cheese grits are usually the base for something more flavorful—the recipe worked well, the grits were cooked perfectly, and the seasoning was on point.
Another flavor winner was Beets with Goat Cheese. Realistically, this recipe was mostly about cooking the beets in the Instant Pot, then garnishing the cooked beets, so it wasn’t terribly complicated. However, the presentation was pretty, and the flavor was very good. A slightly more complicated dish was the Brown Butter and Asparagus Risotto. The variation tip at the end of the recipe suggested using peas, so that’s how we made it, and it worked perfectly with no fuss.
We were able to cook a number of recipes without even going shopping, and we didn’t notice any ingredients in the book that couldn’t be found at our local grocery store.
Probably the least successful recipe we tried was the One-Pot Pasta Bolognese. Perhaps it was because cooking pasta along with the sauce left all the pasta’s starch in the sauce, giving it a different texture. The flavor was good, though, and we ate every last bit of it.
Cheesecake is one of our favorite things to make in a pressure cooker, so of course, we had to try the Key Lime Cheesecake, just to round out the adventure. We loved the recipe and can imagine making it with lemon or just plain when we’re not in the mood for citrus.
One way we judge how much we like about cookbook is by how many bookmarks we have in the book. After cooking so many meals, we still have bookmarks waiting for us to come back and cook some more.
Despite this book’s relatively slim size, it has over 100 recipes, so there are plenty to choose from. The cooking time covers a pretty wide range, from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours or more. The long-cooking recipes tend to be tough cuts of meat that would take much longer on the stove, and the cooking time is completely hands-off. Still, it’s a good idea to check the total cooking time to make sure dinner won’t be late. The majority of recipes, though, were in the 30-45 minute range, so they’re perfect for weeknight dinners.
Instructions: We loved the extra tips
The recipe instructions in this book were clear and easy to understand, but we do have to give a special nod to the tips at the end of each recipe. Sometimes these are about ingredients, sometimes they’re about Instant Pot usage, and sometimes they’re cooking tips. Many of them were quite useful—probably especially so for new Instant Pot owners.
The section about the specific buttons on the Instant Pot may now be outdated since there are many models available and they have different controls.
One very handy part of this book is the cooking chart at the end, which gives cooking times, suggested pressure, and type of pressure release for a variety of basic foods like dried beans, different types of meat, vegetables, and grains. While those cooking times can be found in the recipes, the charts are handy when you just want to make a pot of plain rice and you don’t need any information aside from cooking time.
Ingredient Availability: We started in the pantry
We were able to cook a number of recipes without even going shopping, and we didn’t notice any ingredients in the book that couldn’t be found at our local grocery store. The more difficult items might be tahini, dried chickpeas, fresh Mexican chorizo, or star anise pods that might be less available in some areas. However, those aren’t used often, and most recipes require very simple ingredients and spices.
Price: It’s a bargain
This is a very low-cost book, so it should be affordable for anyone who has an Instant Pot. Even if it’s not the go-to book for every meal, it would be a good addition to any bookshelf that includes Instant Pot cookbooks.
The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook vs. The Instant Pot Bible
Following their other popular pressure cooker books, authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough wrote The Instant Pot Bible, a comprehensive book for every current version of the Instant Pot. It even has instructions for the new Instant Pot Max, which cooks at a higher pressure and has a sous vide setting. This book is more expensive than The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook that we reviewed here, but it also includes more recipes. For anyone who owns a Max or who has multiple Instant Pots on their kitchen counter, the Bible could be a good choice, but we’re still happy to have The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook on our shelf.
- Product Name The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals
- Product Brand Rockridge Press
- ISBN 1623156122
- Price $14.99
- Author Laurel Randolph
- ISBN-13 978-1623156121
- Material Paperback