The Foolproof Method For Perfectly Cooked Shrimp In An Instant Pot

The advent of the Instant Pot has made many cooks' lives easier. Pressure cookers and slow cookers are kitchen counter veterans, but the consolidation of the two? Genius. Throw in sauté and steam functions and a star is born (via Good Housekeeping). Warming and rice cooking too? There's no going back to your food prep fossils once you have your hands on one of these.

Whatever it is you're looking to make, one of the Instant Pot's many functions will have it covered. The obvious options, like soups and bone broths, are meals made for the multi-cooker, but many unconventional dishes can also find their proper setting. Evenly baked cheesecake and flan, not-too-hard hardboiled eggs and omelets, and even notoriously finicky dishes like properly pink shrimp and risotto are all tricks up the kitchen powerhouse's sleeve (via America's Test Kitchen).

According to Food and Nutrition, out of all seafood, shellfish cooks the fastest, so shrimp are an easy addition to any meal. If you're looking to add a portion to your next plate of pasta or rice, consider using an Instant Pot to make the process even faster. The only questions remaining are: What's the best way to cook the small shellfish in the Instant Pot? Does one of its many functions trump the others?

Utilize residual heat in your Instant Pot

Standard stovetop directions for shrimp call for about two to three minutes on one side, followed by a flip and a minute or two on the other (via Jessica Galvin). Cooked and heated through in under five minutes, there's a fine line between tender and tough when it comes to the fragile crustacean.

Shrimp are notorious for this brisk transition and their size and protein structure are to blame. Fish and shellfish have smaller connective tissues and shorter muscle fibers than beef (via Go Restaurants). Their flesh also contains more water. The combination of higher water content and shorter muscles allows for heat to move through quickly; and when you add the diminutive stature of shrimp to the equation, it travels even faster.

Since an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, you can only imagine how fast the delicate diver can go from raw to ready. However, there's no need to pull out a pan and light your burner instead. While you can sauté and steam shrimp directly in the Instant Pot, there's an even easier method if you already have a dish underway. Per America's Test Kitchen, simply add the shrimp after your dish is done cooking. Turn the machine off, toss them in and give it a stir, then let the carryover heat do its thing until they are opaque — about five to seven minutes.