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Taking The Pressure Out Of RV Cooking

“Who knew that the hardest part of being an adult would be deciding what to cook for dinner every single night?” 

RV cooking can be challenging for some and feel impossible for others. Even so, unless you’ve had no contact with the outside world for the last few years, you’ve heard of the popularity of electric pressure cookers; particularly, the best-known brand called Instant Pot.  

Aren't Pressure Cookers Dangerous?

I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first heard of electric pressure cookers.  My skepticism wasn’t due to my lack of cooking skills, because I love spending time in the kitchen and especially trying out new gadgets.  The uncertainty stemmed from the memories of my childhood where my mother had a stovetop pressure cooker that had a lid that clamped down, with a regulator that sat on top and emitted a constant “sh-sh-sh” once it reached the proper temperature and pressure.

I remember that ominous sound along with my mother’s dire warning to stay out of the kitchen and not to be rough-housing, because the mere jarring of the house may cause the cooker to blow up.  Now to a child’s mind, and certainly one that grew up during the Cold War era, any explosion immediately brought to mind a mushroom cloud effect that would devastate neighborhoods. While there were some dangers in the operation of the stovetop pressure cookers, I’m fairly sure that it was nothing similar to what my young mind imagined. Then again, have you seen some of the photos of stovetop cookers gone awry?

It stands to reason that when I first started reading of the “new” Instant Pot and other similar pressure cookers, I had my doubts. What I discovered about the electric pressure cookers, though, were the many safeguards and improvements that made them more appealing to modern cooks.

Dipping My Toe Into the Instant Pot

My first purchase was not the Instant Pot brand, and lacked all the bells and whistles of many cookers.  At least it was easy to use and my misgivings were swiftly wiped away.  This led to the purchase of my second pressure cooker, which is an Instant Pot and then a third, also an Instant Pot.

If you’re asking yourself why in the world I would want three pressure cookers, you’re not alone- my husband wondered the same when I lugged home the third.  I’ll admit that I don’t travel with all three pressure cookers.  One remains in the RV all the time and the other two remain at home base, unless I need to swap them around for perhaps a big gathering or event.

Electric Pressure Cookers In The RV

For any RV owner, storage is always a consideration. Trying to decide if the cabinet and counter-space a pressure cooker occupies is worth the convenience is a tough decision for some. There were several points that led me to decide I would make room within our RV for one of these cookers.

  • First of all, the size of these cookers aren’t massive, and with the number of options available, you can choose one that will fit your needs and cabinet.  Each of our pressure cookers are 6 quarts and would be the size I would recommend for most, unless you are feeding a very large family.
  • Depending on the model that you choose, it can take the place of many other kitchen appliances that most RVers would not have room to store.  For example, my favorite Instant Pot provides the same features as the following:  rice cooker, egg cooker, bean pot, yogurt maker, cheesecake maker, pasta cooker, sauté pan, slow cooker, steamer and more.  That’s a whole lot of appliances in one.
  • Thirdly, the new electric pressure cookers use less electricity by preparing meals rapidly.  This is important, especially if you’re boondocking and relying on a generator or solar power, because you don’t want to run an appliance all day to cook a meal.

Other positive factors of the Instant Pot and like cookers are that they are portable, allowing you to use them outside as long as you have a power source.  They prevent splashes and splatters from cooking on the RV stovetop.  You can set them and go about your other tasks without having to baby-sit the cooker.  The RV doesn’t heat up from the use of the cooker and, if left to naturally vent, humidity is minimal.  Many foods can be cooked from frozen, beans take a fraction of the time, perfect rice, easy to peel boiled eggs… and I could go on and on.  Can you tell that I love my pressure cookers?

Potential Downsides of Instant Pots

One thing that I hear some people comment about regarding a pressure cooker is being unaware of the time it takes the appliance to come to pressure.  For example, when cooking rice, I set the timer for 20 minutes.  It takes approximately 10 minutes for it to come to pressure, making it about 30 minutes until the rice is ready to eat.  This is a deal-breaker for some, because they theorize that they could have cooked it in half the time on the stovetop.  While this is true, by using my Instant Pot, I don’t have to watch over it to make sure there are no boilovers, no humidity, nothing burns and it consistently delivers the perfect rice time after time.  For meals that require extended cooking time, such as beans, there is no question that the pressure cooker is a wonderful time saver, along with all the other positives.

In my opinion, there is no question regarding making space for my pressure cooker within my RV.  It allows me to prepare everything from appetizers to sides, entrees to desserts.  The portability lets me take it to social gatherings and having all the capabilities within one small kitchen appliance is priceless for me.  

Author

Lockie Sailer

Lockie Sailer is a native of western North Carolina, with deep roots in Texas.  Her travels, both for recreation and employment, have carried her through many states and countries while full- and part-time RVing.

Married for 29 years and the mother of three sons, she has managed to juggle family and career, while still continuing her journeys that ultimately led her to set up a homestead in the beautiful Ozark mountains.

Lockie has been honored to be the Escapees Chapter/BoF Director since 2016.

20 Responses to “Taking The Pressure Out Of RV Cooking

  • Your mini-infomercial on Insta-Pot just didn’t make sense to me and I do about 95% of our cooking. We are fulltime RVers (for 17 years) and our RV galley/kitchen is fully usable and functional without one of these gadgets.

    Lockie said she had three electric pressure cookers and bemoans the “earlier” versions that many of us grew up with. She even states, “have you seen some of the photos of stovetop cookers gone awry?” Well, No, I haven’t. At least not in the last 30-40 years and that’s a guess. Years ago, in the rare instance of my hearing that a pressure cooker had “gone awry,” it was ultimately determined that it was misuse that caused the problem.

    Lockie mentions that one of these cookers will replace (and I quote) “rice cooker, egg cooker, bean pot, yogurt maker, cheesecake maker, pasta cooker, sauté pan, slow cooker, steamer and more.” I certainly don’t have all these gadgets in my kitchen now and no plans to get them. Plus, I can cook rice, eggs, beans, and pasta perfectly using the basics such as a pot, water, and the item.

    Plus, with one Insta-Pot, everything has to be cooked together—like a soup or stew. While we enjoy these occasionally, we do not want it for every dinner.

    It seems that promoting Insta-Pot as the ultimate in cooking enhancements is a bit of “overkill” and not an effective replacement for other skills.

    • Georgianne Austin
      4 months ago

      Hi there,

      We asked Lockie to write this article due to the numerous inquiries we get from RVers, asking about electric pressure cookers (such as an Instant Pot) and how they work for an RV kitchen.
      While you may not find purpose in some of the features she discusses, there are others who do. We’re happy you’ve found the approach that works for you! 🙂

  • Brad Mudgett
    4 months ago

    We rejoined Escapees earlier this year while in Quartzsite.
    We came across an outlet mall while we were heading into Las Vegas. While roaming around a Williams-Sonoma store, I spotted a display of Instant Pots. One followed us home.
    We have enjoyed using our Instant Pot a lot. We’ve cooked pork loin, carna guisada, beef roast, Anastasia & pinto beans, and sweet potatoes, for which, I am happy to report, they all came out tasting great.
    What are your favorite things to cook, either entrees or side dishes?

  • Kathy Masculino
    4 months ago

    One concern with Instant Pots/Pressure cookers is the humidity/steam released when opening the pot, even after the “natural” release. Easy solution we have is to take the Instant Pot outside to release the steam and the initial opening which releases still more humidity. It may sound inconvenient but it really isn’t a big deal and spares us the humidity. Ribs are amazing done in the Instant Pot, as well as tri tip, and takes less time and doesn’t use propane for the oven. Quick finish on a grill for those that like a little char and they taste like they cooked a long time. We have found it simplifies and quickens a lot of meals, especially after being gone all day doing things. Same results as a slow cooker without all the time.

  • I love my instant pot! I use it nearly everyday and sometimes more than once a day. It’s wonderful to cook a dozen hard boiled eggs in 5-10 minutes. The shells just fall off. A 6 qt will cook two racks of ribs in 25 min. I make yogurt at least every week…so much better than store bought (and you know what’s in it. Only using one cup of water rather than a pot full to cook eggs, pasta, etc is another plus. I’ve made sous vide steak several times and cheese cake…yum! You also can cook more than one thing at a time. It’s called pot-in-pot cooking. Anyway I love mine and wouldn’t want to do without it.

  • We’re full timers and appreciate Lockie taking the time to write this article. I carry a different brand of the electric presser cooker as I just liked that it appeared to be a bit easier for clean up than the Instant Pot. I was hoping for some recipes so maybe she would be willing to share some. I’ve heard that there is a Ninja version of the instant cookers that has a browning element in the lid so will probably be looking into this to replace the one I have sometime in the future. Thank you Lockie for sharing 😉

  • Jan Kuester
    4 months ago

    My husband and I are full time RVers. We love our Nonja Foodie as it has a wide variety of functions. I admit that I wa fairly skeptical but my husband follows some food bloggers who have wonderful recipes. Thank you for this great eticke

  • NANCY WHITE
    4 months ago

    I wouldn’t think of RVing without my IP. I use it a lot, mostly for rice as it comes out perfectly. I, however set mine for 4 minutes when cooking rice and have never had a problem. It’s great for pulled pork. As for the steam, I just throw a folded kitchen towel over it when I release the steam. Of course then I have a wet towel to deal with. I wouldn’t recommend it for cooking posole. The kernels turn to mush and don’t bloom. On another note: I just acquired the air fryer lid for mine and can’t wait to try chicken in it.

    • Could you please let us know what you think about the air fryer lid?

  • Connie Qutami
    4 months ago

    I turn my pressure pot on before I do anything else. By the time I’ve got my ingredients around, the pot is hot. This reduces the amount of time it takes for the pot to come to pressure once I add my ingredients and secure the lid.

  • I attended an RVillage Rally where the PotHeadz ladies presented two different seminars. The huge room was packed both times and over a third of attendees were men. It was eye opening.

  • To avoid excessive steam/humidity in my small Lance 1475, I use my 8 qt outside. While it’s making dinner for my dog (yes, I spend more for her food than myself) or myself, I enjoy sitting outside and reading.
    I recently purchased a Mealthy CrispLid for my InstantPot (it fits both 6 & 8 qt), so now I have an air fryer (enjoying my sweet potato no oil fries) to add to the assortment of the other products I don’t need to purchase.

  • Prescott
    4 months ago

    Thank you Lockie for the information. I too went to the Instant Pot in my RV because of it’s multi use functionality in the RV. I loved it so much that I actually purchased the Ninja FoodI that has the function of air fryer and all the functions of the Instant Pot.
    These appliances do require a willingness to learn how to use them but once you do most people will love them!

  • We have the 6 qt. Instant Pot and love it. I have the double stack pots that I can use doing meat in one and veggies in the second pot. I also love making cheesecakes in my Instant Pot. I also have the Instant Pot Blender and have ordered the Instant Pot Vortex 7:1 air fryer . I bought the Air Fryer lid and fry basket, but I think we will like the vortex for its rotisserie even better.

    • I do love my IP when we are in our sticks and bricks but I find it not useful for our style of RV travel. We are mostly no hookup boondocking types so running the genny to use it just doesn’t work for us. I do enjoy its versatility but I not a daily user. I do think those who are with hookups would enjoy having the IP on board to save not heating up the rig in warmer months.

  • I purchased the Ninja Foodie because it does it all!! We use the Air Fryer function a lot! We love chicken wings, fish for fish tacos, zucchini chips, etc. By having the Ninja Foodie, I only have to bring one appliance and fewer pots and pans. I have baked banana bread in it and it came out wonderful. There is no food you cannot do in the Foodie! Making it a perfect appliance for the RV. As far as steam, when doing a quick release I hold a folded dish towel over the vent catching most of the steam. And while we’re in Texas, we can use a bit of humidity, due to the high heat and very low humidity.

  • I love my Instant pot but sure could use a good cookbook for it. Any recommendations?

  • Your article was right on target, Lockie. I loved your analogy of us Boomers growing up in the Cold War with visions of mushroom clouds when using our “manual” pressure cookers. My mother used her pressure cooker regularly and I was given the usual warnings. She gifted me my first pressure cooker along with more warnings. Then one day years later it happened. I blew up the beans. Beans everywhere – ceiling, hood vent, floor, counter, every crevice of the stove, down the side of the refrigerator, on the windows, curtains, cabonets, kitchen table, light fixtures. Yes, the whole enchilada. I cleaned up and kept using it. It’s that good. Then I discovered the electric pressure cooker. I bought a 4-quart Fagor that is virtually identical to the InstaPot before InstaPot became the household standard. This smaller size was all we two needed even before fulltiming and I wouldn’t be without it. It’s truly a space saver in our RV.
    For those who are perfectly happy without a pressure cooker, that’s terrific. I doubt we who have used and loved any version of the InstaPot would ever go back.

  • I bought the non stick insert for the IP. Much easier cleanup after browning stuff.
    Going to look at the ‘Mealthy Crisp Lid’ as I just did sweet potato fries in oven, when
    114 degrees in Tucson. HiHi

  • I’m a full timer and have owned an InstaPot for six years. I just bought a new InstaPot that has more amazing features than my first one. I use my InstaPot all the time and couldn’t imagine life without it. I’ve found many thousands of recipes online along with tips for using my InstaPot. I just had to begin using it and experimenting with recipes. It’s so easy to use and cuts meal preparation down.

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