Some form of broth is used in cuisines from just about every culture around the world. In my family recipes I use broth or stock in everything from my Matzo Ball soup to my Chili. Usually the original recipes use cubitos (bouillon cubes) or store bought broth. I still like to use cubitos when I want very concentrated broth flavor with a small amount of liquid. However, I found that homemade broth is so much richer and of course you can control the ingredients like salt.
There are so many great reasons to make broth in the Instant Pot. First, you can make it in a fraction of the time that it takes on the stove, making it more feasible to make on a regular basis. Second, you can easily freeze it in different portion sizes that work for the recipes you typically use. Some of the containers I use are….
- Ice Cube Trays – 2 Tbls portions to use in sauces
- Muffin Tins – 1/2 cup portions for stews and rice dishes
- Gallon Freezer Bags – 4 cup portions for soups
You can also use glass jars, plastic containers, etc. to get just the right size portions you need.
The third reason I love making broth in the Instant Pot is because when using pressure to cook broth, you can extract much more of the nutrients and flavor from whatever ingredients you are using. This makes it very economical because you use scraps and trimmings. This is probably the main reason I love making broth, especially vegetable broth in my Instant Pot. I save all the scraps and peels from my onions, carrots, potatoes, fresh herbs, etc. in a labeled freezer bag. I keep this in my freezer and each time I cook and have scraps, I add to the bag. After a month I have a full bag and then I make the broth. There are some vegetables that don’t work as well in broths because of their bitter flavor. In the ingredient list I will share the vegetables I prefer to use and some I don’t. You can use any combination of these and I suggest you play around with the types and amount to make a broth that you enjoy!
How and What Vegetables to Freeze
Use a freezer safe Gallon Ziploc bag. Make sure to label it including the date. Make sure to wash the vegetables before peeling or cutting so the scraps are clean.
Some of the vegetable scraps I like to collect and use are…
- Carrots – peels and ends
- Celery – stalks and ends (leaves are ok but they can be bitter so don’t use too many)
- Onion – outside peel and ends (the peels will color the broth)
- Potato – just the peels and just 1 or 2 potatoes worth
- Garlic – I prefer the whole clove with the peel
- Pepper – 1 end (I prefer red or yellow because the green pepper has a strong flavor.)
- Leeks – ends
- Green beans – ends
- Fresh Herbs – insluding stems (this can be strong so don;t add too many)
- Do Not add broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts as they are very strong and bitter!
Instant Pot Vegetable Broth from Scraps
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez with tips from MSU Cooperative Extension website and America’s Test Kitchen Multicooker Perfection book
- Vegetable Scraps or pieces cut into 2 inch chunks or smaller
- 2 Tbls Vegetable Oil
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 8 Thyme Spring or 1/4 Tbl Dry
- 5 Fresh Sage Leaves (if you don’t have that’s ok)
- 1 tsp whole Peppercorns
- 2 Tbl Salt
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves, whole and smashed with peels
- 11 cups Water or enough to fill the 6 Qt Instant pot liner to the 3 Liter mark
Add 2 Tbl Vegetable Oil in the Instant Pot liner and press the “Saute” button. Press the “Adjust” button until the Instant Pot display says “Less”.
Add about 2 cups of the Vegetables from the bag or whatever pieces you are using and saute for about 10 mins. Make sure to scrape the bottom while stirring.
After about 5 minutes add the rest of the Vegetable Scraps or pieces and saute for another 5-7 mins until the vegetables are wilted. Add 1 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the liner to make sure there are no stuck on bits. Then add the rest of the Water until it reaches the 3 Liter line, which is about 11 cups of water total. Add Herbs, 3 Bay Leaves, Thyme, 1 tsp Peppercorns, 2 Tbls Salt, and any other seasonings you like in your broth. Stir.
Lock the Instant Pot Lid into place and make sure the valve is set to the “Sealed” position. Pressure Cook on High for 40 mins on High. Allow to Natural Pressure Release for 15 mins the Quick Release the pressure.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large stock pot. (For clearer broth I like to use a strainer with 5 layers of cheesecloth. However, if you don’t have cheesecloth, like I forgot to buy, you can use 2 fine mesh strainers.)
Use a spatula to press the vegetables in order to get the most broth out. If you don’t have 2 strainers you might want to skip this step because it will cloud the broth.
**Before portioning you need to cool down the broth. Food safety protocol calls for cooling broth as quickly as possible. I found the best way to do this is to place the pot in a sink of cold water. I even add a few cold packs. Stir occasionally and this should cool the broth down to room temperature in less than 15 mins.**
Portion the cooled broth in ice cube trays, muffin tins, Ziploc bags, or whatever works for you.
Portioning in Muffin Tins
Muffin tins make great 1/2 cup portions that are perfect for stews and recipes that just need enough liquid to come to pressure (1 cup is the least amount of liquid needed to pressure cook on high).
Once the broth is cooled, pour 1/2 cup of broth into each tin.
Place the tray into the freezer for about 2 hours until the broth is frozen solid.
To unmold the frozen broth, turn the muffin tin upside down on a sheet tray. Place a wet dish towel in the microwave for a few seconds until hot. Drape the hot dish towel over the muffin tin and tap on the tin. Do this a few times until all the cubes are released.
Place the frozen broth into ziploc bags and store for up to 3 months.
Portioning in Ziploc Bags
Stand an empty gallon ziploc bag in a pot. Pour 4 cups of cooled broth into the ziploc bag. Squeeze as much air out as you can before closing the bag. Lie the bag flat in the freezer.