The Short Answer
Yes, you can absolutely use your Instant Pot as a soup pot! The Instant Pot is an incredibly versatile electric pressure cooker that can be used for making all kinds of soups, stews, chilis, and more. The sealed pot allows ingredients to cook quickly under pressure, extracting lots of flavor. Just be sure to adjust cooking times when using it as a slow cooker rather than pressure cooking.
How an Instant Pot Works for Cooking Soup
The Instant Pot is designed to be an all-in-one cooking appliance that serves as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and more. Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
– It has a stainless steel inner pot that holds up to 6 quarts. This is the main cooking vessel.
– The pot seals tightly with a locking lid that prevents steam and heat from escaping. As ingredients cook, pressure builds up inside.
– High pressure allows liquid to boil at temperatures above 250°F, much hotter than normal boiling point of 212°F. This high heat cooks food very quickly.
– The pot includes sensors and microprocessors that monitor temperature and pressure. You choose cooking functions and times.
– For pressure cooking, the pot builds up high pressure. Once cooking is complete, it depressurizes safely.
– For slow cooking, it holds temperature over time like a regular slow cooker. No pressure builds up.
– Functions like browning/sautéing, steaming, and warming can be done without the lid locked.
This functionality makes the Instant Pot perfect for soups! You can brown meat and veggies, then add broth and spices to pressure cook a flavorful soup in minutes. The sealed environment prevents evaporation so full flavor is retained. It’s also great for simmering bone broth or chili all day.
Tips for Cooking Soup in an Instant Pot
Cooking soup in the Instant Pot is easy, but there are some basic tips to follow:
– Cut all solid ingredients into 1-inch chunks or smaller so they cook evenly.
– Add enough thin liquid like broth, water, or tomato juice to create steam and pressure. For most soups, cover solids with at least 1 cup liquid.
– Adjust cooking time based on quantity. Soups with lots of large dense veggies, beans, or meat need more time than lighter broth-based soups.
– For creamy soups, avoid foaming by thickening after pressure cooking. Quick release pressure, then blend and add cream or pureed veggies.
– When slow cooking, always use the lid but leave vent open. Check halfway and adjust time as needed.
– Add tender vegetables only during the last 5-10 minutes so they don’t overcook.
– Let pressure fully release naturally, about 15 minutes, before opening lid. Quick release can cause splattering.
– After cooking, use pot-in-pot method or oven mitts to lift out inner pot for easier pouring and serving.
Tips for Getting the Most Flavor From Soup
The Instant Pot is great for extracting maximum flavor from soup ingredients quickly. Here are some tips:
– Brown meats, onions, carrots, and celery first. Maillard reaction creates rich browned flavor. Deglaze with broth.
– Sauté aromatics like garlic, ginger, herbs at the end for freshest flavor.
– Use Umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, soy sauce, wine.
– Add acids like lemon juice, vinegar, or tomatoes at the end to brighten flavors.
– Use whole spices and herb sprigs then remove after cooking.
– Cook bones, meats, and vegetables with water for homemade broth.
– Reduce thin broths after pressure cooking to concentrate flavor.
– Finish with a swirl of olive oil or fresh herbs before serving.
Do You Need to Adjust Recipes for the Instant Pot?
When cooking traditional soup and stew recipes in the Instant Pot, the cooking times will need to be adjusted. Here are some tips:
– For recipes calling for stovetop cooking, reduce total time under pressure to 1/4 to 1/3 of the recommended time.
– For slow cooker recipes, cook under pressure for about 1/2 the time but check doneness during release.
– Add quick-cooking vegetables only in the last 5 minutes under pressure.
– Reduce amount of thin cooking liquid by half since little evaporates.
– Release pressure naturally for soups with higher starch (beans, grains) or dairy to prevent foaming/clogging.
– Check seasonings after cooking and adjust salt, acidity, herbs/spices to taste.
With a little trial and error, you’ll find the perfect Instant Pot timing for all your favorite soup recipes! The time savings are worth the small adjustments.
Handy Table – Instant Pot Soup Cooking Times
|Food||Prep Time||Cook Time||Release Method|
|Chicken broth||5 mins||20 mins||Natural 10 mins|
|Beef broth||5 mins||60 mins||Natural 15 mins|
|Vegetable broth||10 mins||30 mins||Quick|
|Minestrone soup||10 mins||6 mins||Natural 10 mins|
|Potato leek soup||15 mins||10 mins||Natural 10 mins|
|Butternut squash soup||15 mins||10 mins||Quick|
|Split pea soup||5 mins||20 mins||Natural 15 mins|
|Chicken noodle soup||10 mins||6 mins||Quick|
|Beef chili||15 mins||20 mins||Natural 10 mins|
|Lentil soup||10 mins||10 mins||Natural 15 mins|
Handy Substitution Rates for Common Soup Ingredients
When cooking soup in an Instant Pot, you may need to reduce or substitute some ingredients. Here are some common substitution rates:
|Broth – Use water or stock||1 cup broth = 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon broth paste|
|Cream – Use evaporated milk||1 cup cream = 1 cup evaporated milk|
|Potatoes – Substitute other veggies||1 medium potato = 1 cup cauliflower or 1/2 cup white beans|
|Meat – Try extra beans/lentils||1 pound meat = 2 cups cooked beans or lentils|
|Thickener – Use a roux||1 tablespoon cornstarch = 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon flour|
Common Problems and Easy Fixes
Cooking soup in the Instant Pot is simple, but there can be a few hiccups along the way. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting tips:
Problem: Soup is very thin and watery. Fix: Simmer with lid off after pressure cooking to reduce and thicken broth. Stir in a little cream or pureed veggies.
Problem: Vegetables are undercooked or too crunchy. Fix: Cut veggies smaller or cook under pressure longer. Add tender veggies at end.
Problem: Soup is burns/scorches on bottom. Fix: Don’t brown on sauté mode for too long. Add a little more liquid.
Problem: Broth is foamy or blasts out when releasing. Fix: Skim foam before pressure cooking. Use natural release method.
Problem: Soup tastes bland. Fix: Season again after cooking and adjust to taste. Add more herbs, acid, spices as desired.
Maintenance Tips to Keep Instant Pot in Soup-Making Shape
Here are some tips for keeping your Instant Pot in great working condition so you can use it worry-free for soups:
– Follow manufacturer instructions for recommended care and cleaning.
– Wash removable inner pot, lid, and sealing ring after each use by hand or dishwasher. Don’t immerse base in water.
– Check that float valve and steam release pipe are not blocked or clogged.
– Replace sealing ring every 18-24 months when it becomes loose or deformed.
– Remove mineral deposits by filling pot with water and white vinegar then simmering for 5-10 minutes.
– If any error codes appear, unplug and check user manual troubleshooting steps. May need to reset.
– Store Instant Pot with lid open or sealing ring removed to allow interior to dry thoroughly between uses.
– Don’t overfill inner pot past max fill lines indicated. This can risk clogs or overflow.
Top 10 Soup Recipes to Try in the Instant Pot
Ready to start cooking up some delicious soups in your Instant Pot? Here are 10 great recipe ideas to get you started:
1. Classic Chicken Noodle Soup – Tender chicken and noodles in an herb infused broth.
2. Hearty Beef Stew – Chuck roast transforms into fall-apart tender chunks in rich gravy.
3. Quick Posole – Southwestern hominy and pork soup ready in under an hour.
4. Creamy Tomato Basil Soup – Fresh tomatoes and cream with a hint of basil.
5. Potato Leek Soup – Smooth, velvety potato soup flavored with sautéed leeks.
6. Lentil and Sausage Soup – Smoky sausage and protein-packed lentils.
7. Loaded Baked Potato Soup – All the toppings of a baked potato in creamy soup form.
8. Shrimp and Corn Chowder – Sweet corn and tender shrimp in a boldly-seasoned base.
9. Curried Butternut Squash Soup – Sweet squash and warming spices like turmeric and curry.
10. Cioppino Seafood Stew – Classic Italian-American fisherman’s stew brimming with clams, shrimp, and fish.
The Instant Pot is an incredibly handy kitchen tool for making quick, flavorful soups, stews, chilis, and more. While it works differently than a standard stovetop soup pot, it’s easy to adjust traditional recipes to cook under pressure. The closed environment locks in steam and flavors. Just be sure to cut ingredients small, adjust cooking time, and properly release pressure. With a few simple tricks, you’ll be whipping up homemade soups in your Instant Pot in no time!