A reader asks about Instant Pot conversion times and liquid adjustments, and I give my best advice for learning to use a pressure cooker for favorite family recipes. I also link to several existing Instant Pot goulash recipes for inspiration.
I’ve been following your website since the beginning and I love it. I like the variety of advice. Some works for me and some doesn’t, but that’s what makes it so great. Something for everyone!
I actually bought an Instant Pot partly based on your rave reviews. I’ve made a few things so far and really like it. The cheesecake was AMAZING! But, alas, we can’t live on cheesecake alone….or can we? But that is not my question!
What I have been wondering is: how do I convert my own family recipes to pressure cooking times and proper liquid amounts? I have a goulash recipe that my family has made for years but you cook the noodles separately and there is no water added to the actual sauce in the recipe. I’d love some tips on how to go about converting my own recipes or even learning how to make up things as I go along that work for the pressure cooker. I am usually pretty good at this for the stove/oven but am a newbie to the Instant Pot world and really have no clue!
Thank you so much for your help!
Umm… I want to live on cheesecake alone? Please, may we?!?
I’m pleased to hear that you are enjoying this site, and that at least some of my advice has been helpful. I’m also happy to know that the collection of Instant Pot groupies grows. (Instant Pot, you really want to sponsor, me, I swear. I can’t stop talking about your fabulousness.)
To begin, did you catch my previous post about Instant Pot pasta making? We made this again last night, and I think it might have the keys you need to do the meat/noodle combo necessary for your goulash.
Using this as a template, I’d first pressure-cook braise the meat/sauce for the goulash, then once that is completed and the pressure is released, remove it. Add meat and veg back to the bottom, pour in water, pour in dry noodles, then top with the remaining goulash sauce. I’m guessing egg noodles would take much less time than rigatoni, so maybe try 3–4 minutes to start? That is my best guess at a conversion strategy.
I wish I could tell you that I had a tried and true method for consistently converting recipes, but most of it has been research (in the moment) and trial and error. I can say that:
- Usually, you only need one cup of extra liquid to make the Instant Pot pressure-cooking function work well.
- The more I practice a recipe, the lower the cook time tends to be—roasts that I started out cooking 50 minutes (instead of 3 hours via traditional methods) now only take 30 minutes, but then I always allow for the extra time of natural pressure release.
- Keep notes. Really! This is basically just a set of lab experiments, so go back to your days of a lab notebook, and make notations each time you give something a try. (Proportions + cook time + results) x As many trials as necessary = success.
For a really useful chart, check out this gem from Hip Pressure Cooking. I also suggest joining some Instant Pot groups on Facebook—quick searches in these groups can answer the majority of your questions, and if something hasn’t been addressed, you could be the member who helps solve the mystery by reaching out to the group with your query.
Unlike with most of the letters I receive, you don’t need me to give you a recipe—you have one! I will give you a list of links, though, to Instant Pot-specific goulash recipes. Hopefully, by reviewing the pasta method I supplied, checking out the cooking time chart, and reviewing these goulash recipes, you will have enough information to make your family’s goulash recipe a pressure-cooking success.
I can’t wait to hear your results! Good luck, friend!