Comfort in an Instant: 75 Comfort Food Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot

Comfort in an Instant: 75 Comfort Food Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot

by Melissa Clark


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With 75 all-new recipes—50 of which can be made in under an hour start to finish—Melissa Clark brings her easy sophistication to comfort food classics for any electric pressure cooker, multicooker, or Instant Pot.

The electric pressure cooker makes getting meals on the table fast, convenient, and utterly delicious—and with less mess and stress than any other kitchen appliance. In Comfort in An Instant, Melissa Clark elevates the classics with her trademark deep flavors and special spins—without ever sacrificing ease:

• Sriracha Turkey Meatloaf
• Pesto Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes
• Classic Matzo Ball Soup
• Easy Weeknight Chili
• Lemon Chicken With Garlic + Olives
• Pimento Mac + Cheese
• Chipotle Pork Tacos
• Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

Innovative and practical, Comfort in an Instant sets the gold standard for flavor, quality, and convenience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525576150
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 106,358
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Melissa Clark is the author of Dinner and Dinner in an Instant and a staff writer for the New York Times Food section, where she writes the wildly popular column, "A Good Appetite" and stars in a complementary video series. The winner of James Beard and IACP awards, she is a regular on Today and NPR. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Read an Excerpt


A few years ago I was given the assignment from the New York Times Food section to explore why legions of passionate home cooks were falling hard for their electric pressure cookers. Was this gadget a mere fad? Or would it weave its way into the fabric of our kitchen and our lives?

The answer of course is the latter. Electric pressure cookers (also called multipots) are on the culinary upswing. Once you get the hang of it (and see pages 10 to 17 for a little help), they make getting dinner on the table a snap.   

They’ve certainly made my life easier. After using mine regularly for the past few years, there are some things—beans, braised meats, artichokes, bone broth, and brown rice—that I’d be absolutely bitter about having to go back to cooking in a pot on the stove. But with two multipots at the ready, I doubt I ever will.   

Here, I include only recipes that show off what the machines excel at—not so much what they can do, but what they can do as well or better than traditional methods, be it faster, more flavorfully, or more conveniently. The key to pressure-cooker success is choosing recipes in which softness and succulence is the goal, and which traditionally take hours to get there. An electric pressure cooker can’t cook a whole chicken very well, and it doesn’t do crisp or crunchy. So if you don’t ask it to do what it can’t, you won’t be disappointed.   

Instead, use it to make comforting dishes like turkey meatloaf spiked with Sriracha and served on a mound of buttered potatoes (page 74), or cumin-scented Cuban chicken and rice (page 63) on any given weekday. Cooking spaghetti and meatballs (page 46) in a multipot may seem counterintuitive, but the appliance makes a rather labor-intensive process perfect for a family-friendly after-work meal. And on weekends when you’ve got more time, try my take on David Chang’s Bo Ssam (page 100), a Korean dish of marinated pork shoulder; I pressure cook it until spoonably tender, and then broil it until it’s a glisteningly caramelized vision.   

There is, however, one thing to bear in mind with all multipots: Although the pioneering brand in the category is called the Instant Pot, you shouldn’t expect instantaneous meals. Faster, more convenient, and tasty meals, yes. But be prepared for the lag time it takes for the machine to reach and release pressure—10 to 30 minutes—as well as the usual prep time of cooking. That is why, for example, the luscious Lemon Chicken with Garlic and Olives on page 65 calls for a pressure-cook time of only 15 minutes, but the total time is closer to 45 minutes. It’s still much faster than using a traditional oven, but by no means “instant.” Read the title of this book with a knowing wink.   

That said, in putting together this collection, I did make sure to include over fifty of my favorite recipes that could be put together in under an hour: 50 under 60, as it were. Even better, most of that time is hands off. Throw everything in the machine and go for a run. Or have a glass of wine and help your kids with their homework. Dinner will be ready when you are.

Getting to Know Your Electric Pressure Cooker

If you’re an old hand at cooking with pressure cookers, you can skip this section. And, if you’ve read my first electric pressure cooker book, Dinner in an Instant, you can also skip this section, as the information is the same. Many new electric pressure cooker brands and models have hit the market since that book’s publication, but the fundamentals are unchanged. Novices, however, should read on for some crucial information that will help you avoid the pitfalls and get comfortable with all the functions of your device.   

Most electric pressure cookers are also multipurpose cookers, or multipots, meaning they can do many things beyond just cooking under pressure. Most models can steam, sauté, slow-cook, pressure-cook, and even make yogurt.   

The pressure function is one of the handiest because cooking foods at a lower temperature but higher pressure allows for a faster cooking time than you would need on the stove or in the oven. It lets you achieve certain shortcuts, like cooking dried beans without soaking them first or cooking polenta without stirring. And it is amazing for braising meats, which never dry out and always cook up tender and luscious.   

Because I’m always in a rush, and assume you usually are too, I’ve written most of these recipes to use the pressure cooker function whenever possible. But whenever the results are equally good using the slow cooker function, I have included directions for that as well (see “Cook It Slow” at the end of some of the recipes). This gives you options. Because sometimes you do need to slow things down to make them fit most easily into your schedule. 

These recipes will work in any electric pressure cooker on the market. In terms of developing the recipes, I tested them using three popular brands: Instant Pot, Breville, and Fagor, and found them all more or less the same in terms of functionality. They all cooked the ingredients pretty similarly. The differences were in their designs. Some models were more intuitive for me to use than others. This, however, is entirely subjective.

What Size Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?

This is one of my more frequently asked questions. I currently own two electric pressure cookers: a 6-quart that I use for most of my daily cooking, and an 8-quart I’ll pull out when I make my biweekly batch of bone broth or other stocks or large batches of soup or stew.   

I generally recommend the 6-quart model as the best size for most families, though if you’re often feeding a crowd, the 8-quart might be better for you. And if space is tight, you can make many of the recipes in this book in the 3-quart model, as long as you are careful never to fill the basin higher than the maximum fill line indicates (see page 17 for more information).

A Note on Adding Liquid

If you’ve read your instruction manual, you may have noticed that it calls for adding a minimum amount of liquid to the pot—anywhere from ½ cup to 1½ cups, depending on the brand. In many cases, I don’t do this because adding liquid to the pot is not always necessary. While it’s true that a certain amount of liquid is necessary in order to create pressure, often a few tablespoons is enough to get the job done. Or sometimes, the moisture already present in the ingredients themselves achieves this goal—especially in watery ingredients such as fish and many vegetables. Always follow the recipe the first time to get your bearings, then feel free to go rogue.

A Note on the Burn Indicator

There is some variation with different multipot brands and models, and one place that is very apparent is with the burn indicator light. I’ve never had mine go off but have heard reports that in other models, the burn indicator lights up and the machine turns itself off mid-recipe. While this is annoying, it’s nothing to worry about. The fact is, your electric pressure cooker can’t tell the difference between gorgeously caramelized and unappetizingly burnt. If your machine turns itself off mid-recipe, simply release the pressure, open it up, and add a tablespoon or two of water. Then turn it back on. That should fix the problem, and it shouldn’t affect the outcome.

A Note on Timing

Calculating the timing for the recipes in this book is not an exact science. To come up with the total time, I simply set a timer when I started cooking, then turned it off when the dish was completely done (rounding up to the nearest 5-minute interval). But it might take you slightly more or less time, depending on your model of multipot and your skill level with a knife. Use the times as a general guide rather than a strict set of parameters.

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