So you know how to use your Instant Pot like a microwave to reheat leftovers, but…
…what if your food is a frozen brick?
Can you reheat frozen foods in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker?
Can you “cook” your pre-prepared freezer meals in the Instant Pot?
I’ve got the answer for you on today’s #AskWardee. 🙂
I broadcast #AskWardee live each Wednesday at 10am Pacific (1pm Eastern) on Periscope and Facebook Live. Both the podcast and video replay of this week’s show are below. Enjoy!
Subscribe to #AskWardee on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, or the Podcasts app.
The Question: How To Reheat Frozen Food In The Instant Pot
Allison S. asks:
First, I love your blog and site! So much great info! I’ll cut to the chase, you have talked about converting crock pot recipes for the Instant Pot but what about if it is a prep ahead “freezer meal”? How do you calculate the time if it’s still a frozen block? Thanks!
My Answer: It’s Easy!
I know we all love to cook in our Instant Pots on the spot — like my FREE Instant Pot Sourdough Cornbread Recipe.
However, we also like to batch cook and cook ahead. The Instant Pot makes freezer cooking (or reheating of frozen leftovers) easier than ever!
Here’s how to do it, Allison… It’s super easy. 🙂
Step 1. Make Sure You Freeze In A Cube Shape
Instead of freezing your foods flat in a freezer bag (most often recommended for freezer cooking), use a round container for freezing your food.
Be sure to use one that would fit inside your Instant Pot, so the shape and size of the frozen “brick” are right for later. Either freeze the food right in the bowl, or freeze inside a freezer bag that you put inside the bowl.
I like the round 4-cup and 7-cup Pyrex bowls to minimize our use of plastic. They make it on my list of 5 must-have Instant Pot accessories.
Step 2. Sauté 5 Minutes
Plop your food out of the container or bag — which may involve a bit of thawing and/or cutting. If it’s frozen in a glass bowl, put it in a bowl of warm water to soften until it “plops” out.
Put the frozen food in the Instant Pot on Sauté function for 5 minutes to begin thawing it, and then…
(By the way, I learned this pre-cooking 5-minute Sauté tip from the delicious Instant Pot freezer menus at Once a Month Meals!)
Step 3. Steam Or Pressurize To Finish
Now choose #1 or #2 — already cooked or not yet fully cooked to get your dish table ready.
1. If your dish is already cooked… use the Steam function for 5 to 10 minutes (with the lid locked and sealed) to reheat the dish. Quick release pressure and check if it’s done, adding more time as needed. This is very similar to how we reheat non-frozen foods as I showed you in #AskWardee 047 and you’ll find more particulars at that episode.
Keep in mind that if your cooked dish contains cheese or dairy, it’s best to reheat it in a glass or heat safe bowl, covered, on a trivet, with a few cups of water in the Instant Pot insert pot.
2. If your dish is not already fully cooked… (a la Once a Month Meals prep ahead freezer meals), follow the original recipe’s pressure setting and timing, without adjustment. Yes, without adjustment — including the pressure release method and timing.
Example: the original recipe calls for 30 minutes on high pressure with a natural release of 5 minutes. You would do that with frozen contents as well, after adding the 5 minute Saute from Step 2.
How is this possible? Well, it’s because all the frozen food does is make the Instant Pot take longer to get up to pressure. During that time, it thaws. By the time it’s up to pressure, you’re then dealing with thawed foods — so the timing should be the same, right? Pretty easy!
What If It’s Not Done?
Your reheating time could be more (or less) and it usually comes down to the amount of food you’re reheating. If you’ve doubled a recipe, you might need to add more time to reheat/cook it. In that case, after releasing pressure, add more time if you need to.
Want More Instant Pot Freezer Meals?
Once a Month Meals is my favorite place to get them!
In fact, click here to check out Once a Month Meals’ awesome line-up of 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals. You might have to do a little tweaking to make them traditional-food friendly, but they’re generally whole foods at least — making it pretty easy to sub out ingredients! (My favorite menus are the Paleo, Real Food, and Instant Pot.)
And just FYI: at the Once a Month Meals blog, you’ll find lots of recipes available free.
Yet if you want help putting the menus, shopping list, prep steps, prep day instructions and cooking day instructions, sign up for a free trial mini-menu at this link (scroll down to the bottom).
If you’re into some freezer cooking but don’t necessarily want to cook for the whole month at a time (like me!) you’ll still get a lot of value out of Once a Month Meals freezer menus. Pick and choose or go for the whole shebang… the service is really wonderful. I absolutely love it and it’s quite affordable! 🙂
- FREE Instant Pot Sourdough Cornbread Recipe
- 6-quart Instant Pot
- 8-quart Instant Pot
- How To Convert Slow Cooker Recipes To The Instant Pot #056
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals
- Once a Month Meals FREE freezer cooking mini-menu
More Helpful Instant Pot Articles:
- How to Use Your Instant Pot (+ Easy Instant Pot Instructions)
- Which Instant Pot Should I Buy? Which Size And Model Is Best For My Family? #AskWardee 048
- Is The 8 Quart Instant Pot Ever Too Big? #AskWardee 126
- How To Clean Your Instant Pot — Naturally & Easily! #AskWardee 087
- How Do I Reheat Food In The Instant Pot? #AskWardee 047
- How To Convert Slow Cooker Recipes To The Instant Pot #056
- 11 Surprising Things You Can Make In The Instant Pot
- Is Pressure Cooking Healthy? #AskWardee 019
What Is The #AskWardee Show?
The #AskWardee Show is the live weekly show devoted to answering your niggling questions about Traditional Cooking: whether it’s your sourdough starter, your sauerkraut, preserving foods, broth, superfoods or anything else to do with Traditional Cooking or your GNOWFGLINS lifestyle.
I share tips and resources, plus answer your questions about Traditional Cooking!
When: Wednesdays at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
Where: Traditional Cooking School on Facebook Live
What If You Can’t Make It?
Don’t worry. You can catch the replays or listen to the podcast!
- Come back here to AskWardee.TV; all replays will be up within hours of airing live; the print notes are always posted at the same time I go live.
- Go to Traditional Cooking School on Facebook to view the Facebook Live replay.
- Subscribe to the #AskWardee podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, or the Podcasts app. While you’re there, be sure to leave a rating and review!
Want To Get YOUR Question Answered?
Here’s how to submit your question. If we answer it on #AskWardee, you’ll get a gift!
Or, you can…
- Tweet your question to @TradCookSchool on Twitter; use hashtag #AskWardee
- Send an email to wardee at AskWardee dot tv — add #AskWardee to your email so I know it’s for the show
Please do NOT add future questions for #AskWardee to the comments of this post because they might get missed!
Do you use your Instant Pot for freezer cooking? What timing/methods do you follow?
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Dianalynn Maggard Fong says
I don’t get here very often, as I am so busy as we all are. But when I do and I click on something so far I’ve liked but I’ve seen. Thank you
Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site!
God bless you,
Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Emmajean Hicks says
I am so in love with the Idea of once a month meals I will be joining on payday… Thanks for sharing the info!!!
Helen Martin says
One thought… if your container is glass, you might want to run some cold water over it it, then adjust it to warm water (over about 5 seconds) before you place it in the bowl of warm water rather than placing the freezing cold Pyrex directly into warm water and potentially cracking the glass. Pyrex is tough, but not indestructible and in my experience this is a good tip to follow.
Can you reheat from frozen with the contents still in the frozen container (i.e. glass mason jar)? If I freeze soup in mason jars can I just reheat pot in pot from frozen? This would utilize containers I already have (and not use plastic) as well as save a step. Thanks in advance.
We have not reheated directly in glass jars from frozen.
I reached out to Trish at Once A Month Meals for her opinion. Here’s what she said:
“We don’t recommend reheating from frozen with the contents still in the frozen container because you run an extremely high risk of the glass cracking due to the sudden change in temperature.”
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
I appreciate the information you are providing here. One thought: you’ve made it so that readers have to search through ALOT, reading pages and pages of journal entry to try to find the information you linked to. Your readers are more likely to come back if you make it easier for us.
Thank you very much for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated. I have passed your note onto Wardee.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Would disposable aluminum cake pans be a suitable option for freezing and reheating in? As long as they fit in the instant pot, of course!
We do not mind freezing food in aluminum but reheating your food in it is not a healthy option. Please see Wardee’s post here: https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/kitchen-tools/rethinking-aluminum-foil/
What I have done, because aluminum wraps so much better than parchment paper, you can use parchment paper as a barrier between the food and aluminum if you are wanting to reheat using aluminum.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team