How to Cook Frozen Meat and Fish in an Instant Pot for Easy, Healthy Meals
If you’re like us, your Instant Pot is your best friend, especially now that the temps have dropped. Whether it’s putting together a quick weeknight dinner or preparing a lavish weekend meal, your Instant Pot has your back. It’s a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, and a slow cooker all in one device. I mean, what’s not to love? And recently, we discovered that an Instant Pot is even handier than we originally thought — you can cook use it to cook meat right out of the freezer, too! Read on to find out how.
So you forgot to defrost your frozen meat for your chicken cacciatore recipe again. We’ve been there, but believe it or not, you can salvage your meal by cooking your frozen chicken in an Instant Pot, no thawing necessary! Whether you’re cooking legs, breasts, or thighs, with or without the bones, you can throw your frozen chicken in the Instant Pot as is.
Simply add about a cup of water or broth (in general, try to cover your meat in liquid!) to your Instant Pot and place the frozen chicken pieces inside. Set your Instant Pot to high pressure and cook frozen pieces for 15 to 20 minutes to thaw them!
Whether you’re a fan of store-bought frozen meatballs or you like to make up a large batch of your own and store leftovers for later, you can quickly prepare them in your Instant Pot straight from the freezer. The best way to do it is with a steam basket, but you don’t need one.
First, add your liquid (water or broth) to your Instant Pot. Then, If you have one, place the meatballs in a small steam basket in the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure for about five minutes, and voila! Pair your meatballs with pasta and some sauce for a quick, delicious meal.
I like to keep frozen fish packs stored in my freezer for easily preparing a healthy meal on days I don’t feel like standing over the stove. Luckily, you can use the steam basket trick mentioned above to defrost and cook your fish in the Instant Pot, too! If your fish has skin on it, it’s best to remove it for this hack. If you do leave the skin on, you can sear the fish in a pan skin side down after cooking in the instant pot to crisp it. Depending on the thickness of your fish, cooking time will vary between three and 10 minutes. For salmon fillets, set your Instant Pot to low pressure and cook for about five minutes, and that’s it!
Frozen Ground Meat
Ground meat is also safe to cook up in your Instant Pot. First, add a cup of water or broth to the pot, then you can either add the meat in a steam basket or place it directly into the pot. Set your Instant Pot to high pressure for about 20 minutes, then release the pressure. You’ll likely need to break the meat apart with a fork in a large bowl afterward, then add it to your recipes as usual!
So a whole rack of ribs isn’t going to fit in your Instant Pot, but if you divide them into two to three pieces you can cook em’ up in the Instant Pot no problem! Place your water or broth in the bottom of the instant pot, then add the ribs. Cook on high pressure for 20 to 25 minutes depending on their thickness, then release the pressure, slather them in sauce, and indulge!
In general, cooking large roasts in the Instant Pot isn’t recommended since they can prevent heat and pressure from circulating in the pot properly and result in uneven cooking. When freezing your meats, try to freeze pieces like chicken breasts individually rather than in large blocks to help them cook faster and more evenly.
As always, check the internal temperature of your meats before eating them to ensure that they are safe. For reference, check out this meat and poultry temperature guide from the Food Network!
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