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Presto Pesach: Passover Cooking with an Instant Pot

March 18, 2018 | by Julie Hauser

Using an Instant Pot to accelerate your Passover preparations.

You may have read my article, Making Passover While You Sleep, that introduced methods of cooking ahead for Passover with your eyes closed...with the help of slow cookers.

This year, I purchased an Instant Pot. While I still used my trusty and productive slow cookers to stock my freezer, I do have some Instant Pot recipes that accelerated my method into what may be next: Pesach While You Put the Kids to Sleep, or, Pesach While You Drive Carpool. That’s literally how quickly these recipes cooked. This machine is so quick you can produce tons of Passover food in half a day! I’m still working on how to make potato kugel in there (as I do in the slow cooker!).

These two appliances are also great for cooking dinners during Chol Hamoed when you may be spending family time away from home but want delicious, warm food waiting for you without spending more than a few minutes in the kitchen.

Disclaimer: please first read your manual and learn how to open, close, seal, vent, and operate your Instant Pot on your own. I take no responsibility for safety measures not followed!


  • 3.5 lb brisket
  • ¼ cup chicken soup stock (made previously in instant pot or slow cooker, or water!)
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • Onion powder
  • 1 cup, can, or container of mushrooms, to your taste
  • 4 snack bags of pre-done onions**
  • 4 carrots
  • 5 garlic cubes
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 tsp apricot preserves
  • 1 onion, sliced in rings
  • 2 TB ketchup
  • ½ cup water

Place everything in the pot. Shmear meat with the liquid and spices, moving everything around. Add sliced onions on top. Close lid, set to sealing position. Set MANUAL for 65 minutes. Release pressure. Let cool a bit to slice. If freezing, freeze with liquid.

~In some of the leftover liquid, I cooked 4 potatoes, 2 turnips, and 2 parsnips on MANUAL for 20 min to freeze to serve along with it. Really, they could have fit in there in the first place, but I forgot.

~Tip: You could also save some of the liquid for future cooking flavoring. Freeze a few tablespoons each in snack bags and then plop them into chicken or soup recipes for added flavor!

(**TIP:I dice a whole bag of fresh onions, cook them on low with a TB olive oil in the slow cooker overnight, then package into snack size zip bags to freeze)

Matzah Balls

Regular Recipe

Put water with 1 tsp salt in Instant Pot. Close, set to machine to sealing. To get the water hot, program to SOUP for 2 minutes. Let steam release. Meanwhile, form balls, and let sit a few minutes in fridge. When the machine is ready, open lid and place balls in water. Set MANUAL for 7 min. After steam is released, remove balls with slotted spoon to store in freezer, or serve in chicken soup (see book for soup recipe).

Sweet Potato Pie

This one is very simple and could be made more complicated or “kugelish” if you want to add an egg and some potato starch and sugar. Well, then maybe it would be dessert. (Then you’d need to bake it before freezing.)

  • 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch cinnamon, if desired

Set to venting and cook everything in Instant Pot on MANUAL 10 minutes. After steam is released, take out the sweet potatoes with a slotted spoon and mash it into 9x9 pan. Add crumble on top.

For crumbly crisp (which can also be used as a crust):

  • ½ cup oil
  • 6 TB brown sugar
  • 8 heaping TB almond flour or almond meal
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon if desired.

(Turn machine to SAUTE all ingredients in Instant Pot with lid off for 1-2 minutes, mixing constantly. Remove and keep in a pan or container until ready to crumble on top. Save xtra for a pie crust or for apple crisp.)

Chinese Style Dark Chicken Chunks

  • 2 packages dark chicken chunks (approx. 2 lbs.)
  • 2 cans KFP water chestnuts
  • 4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 snack bag sautéed onions (pre-done in the slow cooker!)
  • 2 cans mushrooms
  • 3 frozen garlic cubes
  • 2 squirts ketchup
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1-2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB apricot preserves
  • Pinch pepper
  • 4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 shakes ginger

With machine open, turn on SAUTE and place mushrooms and frozen onions with pepper right in the pot to sauté. (If using fresh onions, use 1 onion and you will need to add oil.) Add chicken chunks for 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. Add all other ingredients, mixing it all around. Close lid, turn to sealing position, and set MANUAL 12 minutes. Release pressure before opening. Freeze with liquid or serve fresh! Optional: serve with broccoli and cashews for and extra touch. You can sautee the nuts and broccoli briefly in the leftover liquid after removing the chicken from the pot. Just turn to SAUTE for 2 minutes before serving.

Click here to buy Julie Hauser’s book Pesach While You Sleep: the easy way to cook ahead for Yom Tov…no Pesach kitchen necessary

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