It comes as no surprise that the Instant pot has become the weapon of choice for busy homeowners to semi-pro home cooks alike.
As one of the most popular pressure cookers available on the market today, it makes preparing daily meals so much easier, especially for those who dread coming back from work only to think about what to make for dinner tonight.
However, it can be quite a challenge to achieve a perfect texture for your meat when it comes to cooking in the Instant Pot. For example, if we take boneless chicken breasts, undercooking them may result in a rubbery texture, while overcooking them makes them bone dry and unappetizing to eat.
Indeed, the answer here is marinade – the secret to having juicy, flavorful chicken, beef, or any other meat that you cook in your Instant Pot.
But while making a good marinade is one of the basic skills a home cook should have, cooking it in the Instant pot is another thing altogether.
Here’s how you can prepare and cook your marinated meat to perfection in your Instant pot without worrying about ruining your dinner.
Here’s how to use marinade in an Instant Pot:
- Prepare your marinated meat for the Instant Pot.
- Add 1/2 cup water and your ingredients to the Instant Pot.
- Pressure cook the meat for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Release the pressure for around 10 minutes.
Using Marinade In An Instant Pot
As its name suggests, the Instant Pot makes quick work of any meat you use it for cooking with. It is perfectly safe to place your marinade ingredients along with your (thawed!) meat, such as boneless chicken breast.
It is wise to thaw any frozen meat first before placing it into the instant pot with your marinade ingredients, if you are looking to achieve a more succulent texture.
To prepare instant marinated chicken breast in your Instant Pot, place your chicken breast together with your marinade ingredients straight into your Instant Pot and secure the lid, setting it to ‘sealing’ mode.
Pressure cook your thawed boneless chicken breast together with the marinade ingredients at high-pressure mode for 10 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts.
Ten minutes is just enough for regular-sized chicken breasts. If smaller, cook for 8 minutes, and if larger, cook for 15 minutes but no longer than that.
If you’re really in a pinch and don’t have enough time to thaw your chicken breasts, you can still cook the frozen marinated chicken.
Make sure that the frozen chicken breasts are not frozen to each other. This will cause your chicken to cook unevenly and not reap the benefit of marinade – which is never a nice thing.
Then – this is a vital step – pour a ½ cup of water into the instant pot, and add your marinade ingredients into the Instant Pot based on the amount of meat you’re cooking, and cook for about 12 minutes. Skipping the ½ cup of water may result in a dryer texture for your chicken breast.
For both methods, always ensure that you release the pressure naturally for about 10 minutes before removing the lid.
This ensures that your marinated chicken breast remains juicy and is cooked thoroughly – and also makes it safer to operate your Instant Pot, too.
There is also a quick-release function on the Instant Pot that releases the pressure inside the pot quicker, so you can use that also if you’re in a hurry.
Preparing Your Marinated Meat For The Instant Pot
You can always prepare your chicken breasts beforehand in your preferred marinade and keep them in freezer bags for more accessible storage in the fridge or the freezer, depending on when you’re going to use them.
It’s worth remembering that chicken breast marinated for over 24 hours or more will always taste better than being marinated in the Instant Pot itself.
So if you have time on the weekend or a slow weekday evening, prep your chicken breast marinades and free up some leisure time for yourself in the week or days ahead.
Considerations When Cooking Marinated Meat In The Instant Pot
Some users of the Instant Pot have reported that cooking meat with high sugar content marinades such as orange juice and teriyaki have resulted in a scorched Inner pot in their Instant Pot.
This is unfortunately true, as sugar, when cooked under high temperature and high pressure, makes any liquid it’s mixed in burn considerably hotter than its boiling point. This results in a higher risk of having a burnt surface on the inner pot, which can be troublesome to clean.
One of the tricks you can use to get around this is to use a trivet, which comes together with your Instant Pot. The Trivet is a stainless steel rack that holds your meat above and away from any surface of the Inner Pot, so it remains virtually suspended in your Instant Pot while being pressure cooked.
This reduces the risk of scorched surfaces in your Instant Pot if you use high sugar content marinades.
Though the Instant Pot makes cooking a breeze, it can be a challenge to those who still aren’t used to the functions of the Instant Pot and swear by the frying pan or other classic cooking utensils.
In the case of marinated chicken breasts, the Instant Pot can definitely whip up some tasty protein provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid heavy-duty cleanup of scorched surfaces by using the Trivet or the Pot-in-Pot method.
Both methods allow you to avoid your marinated chicken breast touching any surface while keeping the pressure required to cook your meat thoroughly intact.
You can cook both instant marinated and pre-marinated chicken in your Instant Pot. If you choose to prepare an instant marinated chicken breast in your Instant Pot (cooking raw chicken breast together with the marinade ingredients at the same time), it may not be as juicy or tasty as you’d like.
To avoid this, you can thicken your remaining marinade left in the inner pot by adding some cornstarch and water and whisking the mixture while setting your Instant Pot to the ‘saute’ function to keep the marinade juices hot while you whisk.