How to Use Your #InstantPot for Quicker Gumbo

Sunday, November 10, 2019



This post is sponsored by Instant Pot. The content and opinions are mine.

Two years ago around this time in November, I made my first pot of gumbo to practice for a catered Friendsgiving event. It was more than a full day's work to coax the characteristic rich, smoky flavors out of a stew that started with flour and oil, turkey, sausage, and okra. I've made plenty of pots of gumbo since then, swapping in whatever ingredients that happen to inspire me at the time, and the laborious process is always worth the end results. But I knew there had to be a faster way to satiate my gumbo cravings on days that just wouldn't allow for hours on end standing at the stovetop. As luck would have it, Instant Pot asked me to partner on a recipe for the holiday season using the new Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus! As I've shared in previous posts, I am a huge fan of Instant Pot multi-cookers, which allow you to cook foods as much as 70% faster than traditional methods. I was definitely excited to get my hands on the latest generation, which also functions as a rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, cake maker, stock pot, and sous vide machine!


Immediately upon receiving the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, I got to work on a quicker version of the gumbo recipe I've grown to love. Thanks to the sauté feature, it's possible to do tasks like making the roux and browning sausage before switching to the pressure cooker function for stewing the chicken and okra. After simmering long enough to let the shrimp cook towards the end, the Instant Pot's warming feature will keep your gumbo steaming hot for service. For the sake of truly making this an easy recipe, I used commercial chicken stock fortified with unflavored gelatin to mimic the mouthfeel of homemade stock. But if you have an extra hour, you could definitely use your Instant Pot to also make chicken stock to use for your recipes.


This holiday season, I am committing to finding balance in my kitchen. I'm beyond grateful to be booked and busy, but it's nice to find ways to feed my family some quality comfort food -- even when I don't have all day to spend in the kitchen cooking it! I'm so excited to share this Instant Pot gumbo recipe below and for all of the future recipes that I'll be developing using its new features. In even better news, the Instant Family now includes the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven and the Instant Ace Plus Blender. Stay tuned as I give these brand new products a try!


#InstantPot Gumbo

12 oz andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp peanut oil
3/4 cup flour
1 onion, diced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, diced
Kosher salt, as needed (to taste)
6 cloves garlic, minced or grated
8 oz fresh okra, chopped (or a bag of chopped frozen okra)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 cups unsalted chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 packets unflavored gelatin (optional)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
12 oz peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 bunch of scallions
1 tsp filé powder (optional)
Hot sauce, for serving
Cooked rice, for serving

Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 90 minutes or up to 2 hours
Yield: Serves 8
Special Equipment: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus (6 qt or 8 qt) 

Note: Before getting started, make sure you've familiarized yourself with the Instant Pot setup guide and important safeguards. If you're using the appliance for the first time, follow the "Cleaning Before First Use" instructions in the product manual. The instructions below are specific to the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, but the functions used are available on older models.


Use good quality smoked pork andouille for this recipe. Smoked turkey or beef sausage can be substituted, but you may want to increase spices to compensate.

Step One: Brown the Sausage

Press Sauté to select the Sauté Smart Program. When the cooking time flashes, press the dial to confirm the default time. When the temperature level flashes, turn the dial and press to select High heat. Press Start to begin. The progress bar will display Pre-Heating until it reaches the selected temperature, then it will change to Cooking once ready. Do not use the lid while using the sauté feature.

Once the inner pot has fully heated, drizzle the bottom with two tablespoons of peanut oil. Cook the sliced andouille rounds until browned and caramelized around the edges. This should take about five minutes, stirring frequently. Adding a small amount of water (1/4 cup) to the pot after the sausage cooks will help to deglaze and scrape up any crusty bits. 

Press Cancel once done.

Transfer the contents of the pot to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the inside of the pot clean with a paper towel before proceeding to the next step. Return the inner pot to its position. 


Step Two: Make a Roux

Press Sauté to select the Sauté Smart Program. Press the dial to confirm the default cooking time. For the temperature setting, turn the dial to select Custom and choose LE 3. Press the dial to select, and then press Start.

Once the display indicates that the target temperature is reached, you can start making the roux. In most recipes, we use a white or blonde roux for its thickening power. For gumbo, we'll be making a darker roux that loses its thickening power but adds a deep toasty flavor to the gumbo instead. The roux requires constant attention so as not to burn, so this part is no different than cooking gumbo on the stovetop. 

Whisk together the flour and remaining peanut oil in the pot until no lumps remain. Allow the roux to continue cooking, giving it a good stir every minute or so, until it is a sandy blonde color.


The total time to achieve a peanut-butter-colored roux as shown below was approximately 25 minutes. As it darkens, it's really important to whisk frequently if not constantly towards the end. You can certainly take the roux to a darker chocolate color as I did in my previous recipe, but that will tack some additional time on.

If you feel more comfortable with this step, you can increase the heat to LE 6 or High to cook the roux a little faster. What I did appreciate about the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus model is that the heat seems to be more consistent and easier to control than in the past.

While the roux cooks, you can use the time to prep your veggies. Just stand close by so that you can keep an eye on the roux and stir frequently.


Step Three: Sauté Veggies

Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno to the roux. Stir to combine all the ingredients and then allow the veggies to cook for a few minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt.


Follow with the chopped okra. Cook the okra until the slime starts to release in the pot, which should only take a couple minutes. Stir in the paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, cayenne, and oregano.

(Here's an additional tip - if you love okra like I do, double the amount in the recipe. Add half now, then add half after the chicken is cooked. Pressure cooking will soften the okra considerably, so I like the mix of the stewed okra and some pieces that have more of a bite left.)


Step Four: Pressure Cook the Chicken

Pour in 5 cups of chicken stock, reserving the last cup. Stir to ensure there isn't any food stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add about a teaspoon of salt to season the broth, and give it a quick taste test. You can adjust the saltiness later so don't go too heavy now. Drop in the bay leaves, thyme, and chicken thighs. I used bone-in here (skin pulled off) because they're cheaper and the bones will add a little more flavor, but it's really no big deal if you prefer to use boneless skinless thighs. Breast meat will overcook, so you don't want to use that here.


Close the Instant Pot pressure cooking lid, locking it into place. Press Pressure Cook. Turn the dial to scroll to Custom, then press to select. When the cooking time flashes, turn the dial to adjust to 8 minutes. Press the dial to confirm, and then turn the dial to select High pressure. Press the dial again to confirm. Press Start to begin. The progress bar will display Pre-Heating until the cooker heats up and pressure builds. Once the target pressure is reached, the progress indicator will move to Cooking and the countdown will begin. 

When the cooking is complete, the cooker goes to Keep Warm mode. Press Cancel, then move the quick release switch to Vent. This will release a stream of steam until the cooker depressurizes. 

While my chicken cooked, I made a small pot of white rice on the stovetop. (You can use your Instant Pot to prepare rice, but it was obviously tied up!)

Once pressure has been fully released, the Float Valve will drop and you'll be able to open the lid. Remove the chicken thighs and set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaves. Pull the chicken off the bones and return the meat to the pot along with the sausage set aside earlier. (If you doubled your okra, add the rest now too.)


Step Five: Simmer and Add Seafood

Press Sauté to select the Sauté Smart Program. When the cooking time flashes, press the dial to confirm the default time. When the temperature level flashes, turn the dial and press to select High heat. Press Start to begin. 

Allow the gumbo to simmer for another ten minutes or so, especially if you added additional okra. Meanwhile, remember that remaining cup of stock? Pour it into a small dish and sprinkle the surface with the unflavored gelatin. Let it sit for five minutes, then pop it into the microwave for 15 seconds, or just long enough to melt. Give it a stir to ensure no clumps of gelatin remain and then whisk that into the pot of gumbo. Gelatin will add some additional body as if you had made it with a good bone broth.


Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, then give it a minute for flavors to meld. Taste test and make any adjustments to salt and spices. Fold in the peeled deveined shrimp. (It pains me not to add fresh oysters, but the ingredient list was long enough! Now would be the time if you are so inclined to include them, however.) The shrimp will only take a few minutes to poach in the hot gumbo broth.


Step Six: Finish and Serve

Press Cancel to end the sauté function, then press Keep Warm. Turn the dial to select a desired amount of time or press to accept the default, one hour. Turn the dial again to select Low heat, then press it again to confirm. Press Start to begin.

To finish off the gumbo, stir in the chopped parsley and half the scallions. Use the white and lighter green parts of the scallion now, and save the darker green ends to garnish plates when serving.


I love the Keep Warm feature because it makes it easy to serve right out of the Instant Pot. If you are using filé powder, add up to a teaspoon to the pot for added thickening. Otherwise, you can allow your guests to sprinkle it on their bowls individually, or just omit.


To serve, ladle gumbo into a bowl or deep soup dish. Pile a small mound of rice on top, then garnish with sliced scallions. Make sure to offer some hot sauce for those who need it!


To learn more about the new family of Instant Pot products, visit InstantPot.com. You can also follow the official Twitter feed and Pinterest. Find your new Instant Pot today at InstantPot.com, Amazon, and Walmart.

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