Don’t leave your pressure cooker at home when you hit the road this summer! Your Instant Pot is the perfect travel companion. Let me tell you everything you need to know about how to use an Instant Pot in your RV. Plus, snag a FREE download of a 7-day Instant Pot RV dinner menu and shopping list.
Whether you’re camping in the mountains or exploring new cities, a pressure cooker is a MUST-HAVE on your travels!
Using your Instant Pot or pressure cooker in your RV helps you make GOOD food quickly. Plus, you get consistent results, and you don’t have to babysit your food while it cooks. With a little planning, it’s just as easy as cooking at home.
I grew up camping in the Rocky Mountains. For decades, my siblings and I have been bringing our families together for big family campouts in the mountains.
Food has come to play a central part in these get-togethers over the years. We’d cook breakfasts and lunches for our own families, but dinner was always a big potluck affair with lots of sides to share. Using an Instant Pot in our RV makes it easy for sharing sides like potato salad and baked beans.
My husband and I planned and saved for years for our RV. Since he retired last year, we’ve enjoyed exploring. The Instant Pot makes it easier to eat on the road for less money—plus we get to enjoy, healthy “home cooked” meals.
What’s the Best Instant Pot to Use in a Trailer, Motor Home, or RV?
So many people assume that the small space in an RV means they have to use the 3 quart Instant Pot Mini.
While I’ve used the Mini in my RV and it works great, I still prefer to use a 6-quart pressure cooker when I travel. I believe the best pressure cooker to use in your RV is the one you use at home.
The 3-quart can cook everything a 6-quart can because you can easily size down your recipes to cook for two. However, using a 6-quart gives you the flexibility to make a big dish for a trailer club or large family get-togethers, or to have leftovers to eat later on in your trip.
A few other things to consider when deciding what size pressure cooker to use in your RV. Most pressure cooking accessories—like a steamer basket or silicone trivet—are more readily available in a 6-quart size.
Plus, most pressure cooker recipes are written for 6-quart size, so it’s less likely you’ll need to change anything.
In my RV, the dining benches fold up and are the perfect height to store the Instant Pot while travelling. I like to store my Instant Pot with a padded cover to keep it safe while traveling.
When I’m cooking in my Instant Pot, I don’t need to use my stovetop. I use this stove cover for extra counter space to prepare vegetables or slice bread to go with the meal.
How to Use an Instant Pot in Your RV
Wondering how to use a pressure cooker (Instant Pot) in your trailer, motorhome, or camper?
Cooking in your RV is different than cooking in your kitchen at home. With the smaller fridge and less storage, it’s smart to plan your meals before you leave and to prep your ingredients before you hit the road. Planning ahead and making a meal plan will make your trip easier. I like to plan quick and easy meals so I spend as much time as possible enjoying the trip.
Many quick pressure cooker meals use diced meat, since it cooks faster than whole roasts or chicken breasts. A day before we leave, I dice up all of my meats and store them in flat, ziplock bags in the freezer. That way I can easily pull out what I need to defrost and cook the next day.
Since storage space is at a premium in RVs, I don’t pack an extensive stock of spices. I only keep the basics like salt and pepper. For everything else, I pre-measure what I need and place them in labeled containers for each meal.
For liquids, like chicken broth or soy sauce, I often measure and mix what I need in mason jars to place in the fridge.
With everything measured in advance, it’s easy to just dump the spices and liquids into the pressure cooker and reduces my time in the kitchen.
For items I do need to bring with me, like onions or vegetable oil, I like to keep them in small baskets that fit in the cupboard, this allows me to easily pull them out and find what I need.
I also like to keep a “pantry” of broths, pasta, and rice in a shallow wrapping paper tub. It is the perfect height to fit right under the couch.
For quick meals, I’ll make soups in advance and freeze them in flat in individual portions in the freezer. Just heat it up and lunch or dinner is ready!
When I’m exploring a new city, I love to stop at local farmers markets for fresh produce. I also like to get locals’ recommendations for artisan breads, meats, breakfasts, and (of course) desserts. (Links to my favorites from my recent trip to Silver Strand state beach.)
What Are the Power Requirements
Thousands of full-time RVers use an Instant Pot/pressure cooker in their RVs daily. It’s a great time and space saver. In order to use your Instant Pot/pressure cooker in your RV, you’ll need to be connected to power or use a generator. Electrical outlets in your RV will not work unless you are connected to power or are running your generator.
If you’re wondering about the wattage of each pot, most 6-quart Instant Pots are around 1000 watts, while the 3 quarts average about 700 watts and the 8 quarts average 1200 watts. You can find the specific wattage of your model of Instant Pot at the bottom of this table.
Your pressure cooker/Instant Pot needs an electrical outlet, just like at home, to cook. If you’re concerned about overloading a circuit, limit the number of appliances you have running at the same time. Linda, a Pressure Cooking Today reader, suggested using a heavy-duty extension cord to plug directly into the pedestal and cook outside her RV—eliminating any worry about blowing a circuit.
As for extension cords, it’s up to you if you want to use them. The Instant Pot Lux user manual says
An extension cord may be used if care is exercised in its use. If an extension cord is used, the electrical rating of the cord must be at least 12 amps and 120 volts. The extended cord must be arranged so that it will not drape over edge of table or counter where it can be pulled by children or tripped over accidentally.
While the Instant Pot Duo user manual says:
Never drape cord over edge of counter, never use outlet below counter, and never use with an extension cord.
(It seems to me that they discourage the extension cords because of the tripping hazard. We have readers who use heavy duty extension cords with no problems.)
FREE Instant Pot RV Meal Plan
To show you how I use my Instant Pot, I’ve put together a week’s worth of quick and easy RV Instant Pot recipes, along with my shopping list.
This is the exact meal plan and shopping list my husband and I used on our recent RV trip. Even though I’m eating away from home, I like to plan meals with a wide variety of flavors. However, I also like to double-up on ingredients when I can. This meal plan does both!
I cook often from my cookbook, The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. These are my go-to recipes, and all of the recipes I planned are in my cookbook. I’ve linked to the recipes that are available on the blog as well.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (page 66)
Shredded Beef Burritos (page 72)
Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (page 80)
Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta (page 163)
Southwestern Taco Bowls (page 171)
Bruschetta Chicken (page 172)
Beef & Broccoli (page 174)
Are you going on any adventures this summer? Will you be taking your pressure cooker with you? I’d love to see pictures in the comments!