Make Your First Meal in Your Pressure Cooker

Get your new pressure cooker out of the box and get cooking! In this post, I break down a standard pressure cooker recipe and include all the details you need to make your first meal in your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Crockpot Express, Power Pressure Cooker XL, or any other brand of electric pressure cooker!

Make Your First Meal in the Electric Pressure Cooker - Shredded Barbecue Chicken from the Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook page 64

Welcome to part 4 of the Getting Started Guide. You’re ready to get cooking in your new electric pressure cooker!

One of my favorite things is how quickly meals come together in the electric pressure cooker. Many recipes on my site can be made in under 30 minutes. For this post, I’ve adapted one of my 30-minute meals, the Shredded Barbecue Chicken recipe from my cookbook, The Electric Pressure Cooker CookbookI often use this chicken for both sandwiches and salads—it’s one I often have on hand.

The recipe below expands on the steps in the cookbook recipe and includes specific details for the top brands of electric pressure cookers. You can refer to this post when making other recipes in the pressure cooker.

Make Your First Meal in Under 30 Minutes

1. Plug in and turn on your new pressure cooker. Check that the pressure cooking pot is in place inside the housing and that the silicone ring and float valve are installed correctly.

2. In the pressure cooking pot, stir together 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, and 3 smashed cloves of garlic. Add 1 large onion, quartered, and 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts. 

Ingredients for Shredded Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches, page 64 in the Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook

3. Lock the lid in place, and verify that your pressure release switch is in the Sealed position. While the terminology and icons vary slightly among brands, the process is identical. Here are instructions for the top four brands:

  • Instant Pot Duo: Turn the pressure release handle from Venting (steam icon) to Sealing (triple-S icon). 
  • Ninja Foodi: Turn the pressure release valve from Vent to Seal.
  • Crockpot Express: Turn the steam release valve from the Open/Release position (steam icon) to the Closed/Seal position (X over the steam icon).
  • Power Pressure Cooker XL: Turn the pressure valve from the Open position (steam icon) to the Lock position (bulls-eye icon).

4. Select High Pressure and 6 minutes cook time. Again, the process is similar among brands; here’s how to do it in the top four brands:

  • Instant Pot Duo: To select High Pressure, use the Pressure Cook button, then use the plus and minus buttons to set the cook time to 6 minutes. (Older models of Instant Pot should use the Manual button in place of the Pressure Cook button.) No need to press start—after a few seconds, a beep will sound and it will start cooking according to your selections.
  • Ninja Foodi: To select High Pressure, press the Pressure button, then use the up and down Temp arrows to choose High. Then, use the up and down Time arrows to set the cook time to 6 minutes. Then press the Start/Stop button to begin the cooking process.
  • Crockpot Express: This pressure cooker doesn’t allow you to set a Manual cook time; therefore, you’ll need to choose the button with the closest cook time. For this recipe, select the Steam button and use the plus and minus buttons to adjust the cook time to 6 minutes. Press the Start/Stop button to begin the cooking process.
  • Power Pressure Cooker XL: Since this pressure cooker doesn’t allow you to set a Manual cook time, you’ll need to choose the button with the closest cook time. For this recipe, select the Rice/Risotto button and, if necessary, use the Time Adjust button to set a 6 minute cook time.

Control panels for the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, and Crock Pot Express Electric Pressure Cookers

5. When the cook time ends, turn off your pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.

6. After 5 minutes, use a quick release to manually release any remaining pressure. (Be sure to keep your hands and face away from the steam.) Here’s how to do it in the top four brands:

  • Instant Pot Duo: Turn the pressure release handle from Sealing (triple-S icon) to Venting (steam icon).
  • Ninja Foodi: Turn the pressure release valve from Seal to Vent.
  • Crockpot Express: Turn the steam release valve from the Closed/Seal position (X over the steam icon) to the Open/Release position (steam icon).
  • Power Pressure Cooker XL: Turn the pressure valve from the Lock position (bulls-eye icon) to the Open position (steam icon).

You’ll see and hear a jet of steam emerge from your pressure cooker. Wait until the steam subsides and the float valve drops.

7. Turn the lid to the unlocked position. Carefully remove the lid, pointing it away from your face. 

Pressure Release Switch and Float Valve of many common pressure cookers

8. Remove the chicken from the cooking pot to a plate. Dice or shred the chicken, as desired. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the onion solids. If you like maximum BBQ sauce flavor, stir together up to 1 additional cup of barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup of the cooking water and combine with the chicken. 

9. Serve the barbecue chicken while it’s hot and ready!

For barbecue chicken sandwiches, toast some sandwich rolls and top with additional barbecue sauce.

Or make a wonderful barbecue chicken salad with chopped romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and shredded cheddar cheese, along with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and ranch dressing. 

Yield: 8 servings

Pressure Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

Pressure Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

I’ve adapted one of my 30-minute meals, the Shredded Barbecue Chicken recipe from my cookbook, The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. I often use this chicken for both sandwiches and salads—it’s one I often keep on hand.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 3 smashed cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Instructions

  1. In the pressure cooking pot, stir together 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, and 3 smashed cloves of garlic. Add 1 large onion, quartered, and 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  2. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 6 minutes cook time.
  3. When the cook time ends, turn off your pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, use a quick release to manually release any remaining pressure.
  5. Turn the lid to the unlocked position. Carefully remove the lid, pointing it away from your face.
  6. Remove the chicken from the cooking pot to a plate. Dice or shred the chicken, as desired.
  7. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the solids. If you like maximum BBQ sauce flavor, stir together up to 1 additional cup of barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup of the cooking water and combine with the chicken.
  8. For barbecue chicken sandwiches, toast some sandwich rolls and top with additional barbecue sauce. Or make a wonderful barbecue chicken salad with chopped romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and shredded cheddar cheese, along with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.

Notes

I freeze any leftovers in individual servings for quick lunches.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 412mg Carbohydrates: 17g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 13g Protein: 19g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

>> Your first meal is complete! You’re ready to move on to the next section

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches from the Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook, page 64

Part 5 in our Getting Started Guide suggests some easy pressure cooking recipes for you to make in your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Crockpot Express, or other brand of electric pressure cooker.

Before you know it, you’ll be making fabulous pressure cooker meals and wondering how you ever cooked without it!

Pressure Cooking Today's Getting Started Guide—get to know your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Crockpot Express or other brand of electric pressure cooker

The Getting Started Guide Series

Other How To Guides