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. 🙂
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.
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
- Which Instant Pot Should You Choose? (which model, 6- or 8-quart, etc.) #AskWardee 048
- How to Reheat Foods In The Instant Pot #AskWardee 047
- How To Convert Slow Cooker Recipes To The Instant Pot #AskWardee 056
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals
- Once a Month Meals FREE freezer cooking mini-menu
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.
I share tips and resources, plus answer your questions about Traditional Cooking!
When: Wednesdays at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
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Do you use your Instant Pot for freezer cooking? What timing/methods do you follow?
This post featured in 39 Nourishing Postpartum Freezer Meals To Prepare While You’re Pregnant.
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