I’m so excited to see how many people grabbed Instant Pots on Black Friday. It’s seriously the best small kitchen appliance I have…and I have a lot. Some of the time it isn’t even quicker, but it’s so much more convenient so I use it anyway. I love set it and forget it cooking, especially on week nights after 10+ hour work days.
I use my Instant Pot the most for making bone broth. Broth is one of the most nutritious and healing foods on earth, but it’s also is the perfect way to add great flavor to any dish…and breakfast soup…BREAKFAST SOUP! If you haven’t had breakfast soup it’s quite simple, just eat soup for breakfast. I know, it seems weird. One of the best things I did when I transitioned to paleo was removed the ‘shoulds’ of meal types. No more ‘breakfast’ foods and ‘dinner’ foods, food is food. It really helped to open up the possibilities and not feel deprived without the ‘normal’ foods I would go to at each meal. This can be really helpful on an autoimmune protocol or elimination diet as eggs are usually out of the lineup for a while. Incorporating broth into breakfast is a great way to start the day.
Bone broth is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to add super nutrition to your diet. It’s a healing food; helping to overcome food intolerances and autoimmune disease by healing leaky gut. The collagen, minerals, and other nutrients help to improve hone, joint, skin, and immune health. Most importantly, it just warms the soul.
If you’ve ever made broth the traditional way – on the stove or in a crockpot for 24-48hours, you may have noticed the smell. Some say it wakes them up in the middle of the night craving soup, others, like me, find it absolutely putrid. It’s one of those smells that sticks to everything and I can’t shake it for days on end. Being that I can go through at least a pot or two of broth a week, spending half the week cooking and smelling it just wasn’t happening for me. It was so bad that I stopped making it all together and noticed considerable differences in my digestion and gut symptoms. Then I got my Instant Pot. The Instant Pot has NO SMELL while cooking. It’s seriously amazing. I can also make multiple batches in one afternoon, just reusing bones until they start to disintegrate.
There are tons of recipes on the web for making broth, many of them using herbs and vegetables for different flavors. While these are great, I prefer my broth as simple and universal as possible. Water, apple cider vinegar to help extract the nutrients, and bones. That’s it. Most of the time I don’t even salt it. I prefer to add salts and herbs to my final dishes and not the broth itself. This allows me to season my dishes normally without having to compensate for the salt or flavors in the broth. Sometimes I forget the ACV, which makes me sad, especially when it was that pastured organic turkey carcass that I dreamed about for months. Yup, I forgot the ACV this week. Fail. Apple cider vinegar is this wondrous addition that helps to extract all the great goodies from the bones. Sometimes it means the difference between a super gelatinous collagen rich broth, and watery broth. Gel is good, it means more collagen.
Tips for making instant pot broth
- Don’t over do it on the water. Too much water is one of the main reasons why broth won’t gel – it’s not concentrated enough. If your broth doesn’t gel it’s still full of nutrients, but doesn’t pack the same punch.
- Use the right kinds of bones. Broth won’t gel if there isn’t enough collagen in your bones. Chicken will work best with a whole carcass, necks, backs, and feet. I usually use a carcass, an extra back or too, and whatever thighs, drumsticks, and wings we’ve accumulated. I throw in whatever innards I have as well. Beef works best with marrow/soup bones and at least one big jointy bone.
- Quality matters, but broth is broth. Bones from grassfed, pastured, or wild animals are your best bets for quality, nutrition, & sustainability; followed by organic. But don’t skip out on broth just because you are using conventional bones. Broth is better than no broth! If you are using conventional, remove the fat layer from the top of the broth as that’s where toxins accumulate.
- All the bones! Keep bags or containers in the freezer ready to be filled with bones so it’s easy to do after every meal. It’s a great way to get the most out of your buck. If you need more bones talk to your butcher. My Whole Foods sells chicken parts for 99 cents/lb and some local butchers and farmers are known to give them away for free. I always pick up some extra chicken parts or marrow bones to throw into the pot with whatever bones we saved during the week. If nothing else, I think it’s good luck!
- Reuse your bones. You can reuse bones until they start to disintegrate when you pick them up. I usually get 2-3 batches out of a single set of bones depending on the size. If you aren’t making multiple batches at once just stick them back in the freezer. I always add a fresh back when using reused bones for some extra collagen.
- Gel is golden. If your broth is more watery or clear than you were hoping for you likely used too much water. Evaporate off some of the water at a very slow boil to concentrate it and richen the flavor. You can also roast your bones prior to putting them in the Instant Pot for added flavor and color.
- Don’t get caught up on measurements. Fill your pot with as many bones as possible, you want that sucker packed. Add enough water to cover the bones, but not higher than 1.5-2 inches from the fill line. I don’t measure the ACV either, I just give it a swig. It doesn’t need to be exact, you just don’t want so much water that your broth is diluted.
Instant Pot Broth Storage
- Silicone muffin pans and ice cube trays are really convenient for storing frozen serving size and cooking size portions of broth. Pour broth into molds, freeze, and move them to a freezer bag or container for easy access. I use muffin pans for 1/3 cup portions (perfect for individual sipping servings) and ice cube trays for 2TBS or so. I use the ice cubes to easily add moisture (and flavor) to whatever I’m cooking. It’s great for braising greens or dropping into sauce.
- I use mason jars for the majority of my storage. Some warn not to use any mason jars other than the Bali widemouth for freezing, but I’ve never had a problem with either type breaking. Always be sure to leave enough space for the broth to expand when it freezes. If you prefer not to use glass, freeze in freezer bags. Fill and lay them flat until frozen for space saving storage. Nothing is more fun than a bag of broth frozen around the grates of your freezer basket because you were too lazy to lay it flat.
- Broth will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days. Reboiling resets the clock, giving you another 5 days to use it or freeze it.
- Freeze at least one jar from every batch to have a stash on hand when you need it most. If you start to develop a cold, catch a stomach bug, or go into an autoimmune flare having broth ready to go makes a world of difference. Those muffin size servings are great for this too. I’m scheduled for surgery at the end of the month and have been stocking up 2 jars each time I make it to have ready to go during my recovery.
Grab an Instant Pot on Amazon. They are on a steep discount right now!
- Enough bones to fill instant pot, approximately 2-3lbs
- 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt *optional
- Toss your bones into the instant pot. Fill with water just enough to cover the bones, but not higher than 1.5-2 inches from the max fill line. Add vinegar and salt.
- Make sure the seal ring is in place, close, and lock the cover. Turn the pressure knob to the sealed position.
- Push the manual button. Using the -+ buttons set time to the max of 120 minutes (using - to go down to max time is fastest). The machine will beep and screen change to ON notifying you that it is building pressure. Once pressure is built the display will change to a countdown timer. When finished the machine will beep and switch to the warm setting.
- Wait for the machine to release the pressure naturally, this takes anywhere from 40 minutes to one hour. Speed up the process by draping a towel over the instant pot. Alternatively you can force release the pressure by turning the pressure knob to vent, but be very careful of the steam and possible liquid that could escape. Drape or hold a towel in the area to protect any kitchen cabinetry. Once pressure is released open the pot. You can not open the pot if there is still pressure as a safety feature.
- Remove the bones and meat using a slotted spoon. You can save any bones that haven't softened to the point they have started to disintegrate.
- Using a mesh strainer over a large stock pot, strain broth of any remaining debris. You may repeat this step for a clearer broth.
- Pour broth into containers and freeze or refrigerate. Broth will keep refrigerated for 5 days. If you have a thick layer of fat on top acting as a seal your broth will keep for at least 2 weeks.
You can reboil your broth every 5 days to reset the shelf life.