In my cozy German apartment, I’ve found a fresh way to put my Instant Pot to good use: hot pot!

There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of Chinese hot pot to warm you up on a chilly winter day.

Instant pot hot pot

Can the Instant Pot be used for hot pot?

Definitely! Though it’s a bit deeper than your typical hot pot, the Instant Pot works wonders for simmering up that savory broth.

As someone who likes to keep my kitchen efficient, the Instant Pot is my top choice. It’s quick, effective, and exactly what I need when I crave hot pot.

A handy trick is utilizing the “Sauté” mode on the Instant Pot.

Instructions for instant pot hot pot

What is Hot Pot?

Hot pot is a beloved culinary tradition throughout East and Southeast Asia. It’s a communal meal where a bubbling pot of broth sits atop a heat source, inviting everyone to dip and dine together.

Around the pot, there are various food items that each diner can cook in the broth. After cooking, the food is typically dipped in sauces to enhance the flavors.

Hot Pot

Hot Pot has different names in different countries.

  • In China, it is known as “Huo Guo” (火锅) or “Fire Pot”.
  • In Korea, it is called “Jeongol” (전골).
  • In Japan, it is referred to as “Nabe” (鍋) (it’s worth noting that Shabu Shabu is a specific type of hot pot and not a general term for hot pot).
  • In my home country, Vietnam, we call it “Lẩu”.

To me, hot pot is more than just a meal—it embodies the communal spirit ingrained in Asian cultures, much like Vietnamese spring rolls.

It’s a gathering where everyone contributes to cooking their own food, fostering connection and camaraderie as we share the joy of dining together. It’s a delightful tradition that brings people closer while savoring a delectable feast.

Equipments

  • An Instant Pot (or any specialized Electric Pot designed for Hot Pot): This will serve as the main cooking vessel for your hot pot.
  • Chopsticks: Essential utensils for picking up food items in the hot pot (I’ve experienced eating hot pot without chopsticks and it’s a nightmare lol).
    • I recommend to use wooden chopsticks as they are heat-resistant, unlike plastic chopsticks, and they do not conduct heat like metal chopsticks.
  • Bowls: You will need bowls and plates to hold the cooked food items and dipping sauces.
  • Ladles: If you plan to have noodles in your hot pot, having ladles will come in handy for scooping the broth and serving it alongside the noodles.
Instructions for instant pot hot pot

Vietnamese Hot Pot vs. Chinese Hot Pot

This recipe features Chinese-style hot pot since their soup bases are easy to find at any Asian market. My dear friend Annie from Beijing taught me how to prepare Chinese hot pot at home.

In Vietnam, people rarely use instant soup bases. When making hot pot, the older generation, like my mom, prepares bone broth in advance and combines it with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, pineapple, and lemongrass to create the soup base.

However, as a student abroad, whenever I leave Vietnam for Germany, I always try to bring as much Vietnamese hot pot soup base and seasonings as I can since they’re hard to find here.

Vietnamese seasonings

If you travel to Vietnam and love dishes like Phở, Bún Chả Hà Nội, Bún Bò Huế, or Hot Pot, I highly recommend these seasoning packages as worthwhile souvenirs.

Ingredients

Broth:

Soup base for instant pot hot pot

My favorite Chinese hot pot soup base brand is Haidilao.

For a spicy broth, choose Sichuan spicy hot pot and tom yum broth. If you prefer a milder flavor, go for tomato broth, mushroom broth, or sea food broth.

Food items:

When preparing a Chinese hot pot, you can select ingredients from three categories (choose at least 3 from the protein and vegetable categories and 1 from the noodles and dumplings category):

Protein (choose based on your dietary preferences):

Ingredients for Instant Pot Hot Pot
  • Meat: thinly sliced beef, lamb, and pork specifically for hot pot.
  • Seafood: sliced fish fillets, shrimp, cuttlefish, beef balls, pork balls, fish balls, fish tofu, fish cake
  • Tofu and soy products: tofu puffs, frozen tofu, dried bean curd rolls, fresh or dried tofu skin (Yuba).

Vegetables:

Ingredients for Instant Pot Hot Pot
  • Leafy greens: napa cabbage, bok choy, baby bok choy…
  • Asian Mushrooms: oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, wood ears, button mushrooms.
  • High-carb vegetables: sweet corn, lotus root, potatoes, sweet potatoes.

Noodles and Dumplings:

  • Noodles: sweet potato glass noodles, wheat noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles.
  • Dumplings: homemade or store-bought dumplings or wontons.

Dipping Sauce:

Here are some recommended ingredients to create hot pot dipping sauces:

  • Flavor: soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar
  • Richness: Chinese sesame paste, peanut butter
  • Aroma: Chinese chili oil, sesame oil
  • Herbs: minced garlic, chopped scallions, chopped cilantro

My simplified version of dipping sauce with what I have in the kitchen:

  • 2 tbsp Japanese sesame sauce (Goma Dare)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1tsp Lao Gan Ma chili oil

Instructions

  • Wash and cut all the food items: Clean and prepare the ingredients for your hot pot. Arrange the items from each category on separate plates for easy serving.
  • Prepare dipping sauces: In individual bowls, mix your preferred ingredients to create flavorful dipping sauces. Customize them according to your taste preferences.
  • Add hot pot soup base and water: Place the hot pot soup base and water in your Instant Pot. Use the “Saute” mode on high heat to bring the broth to a boil.
Instructions for instant pot hot pot 2
  • Begin cooking: Once the broth is boiling, start adding the prepared food items to the pot. As you eat, the water in the broth will evaporate. Ensure you have extra hot water on hand to top up the broth when needed.
    • If you’re using an Instant Pot like me, opt for the “Sauté” mode.
  • Adjust the temperature: If the broth is boiling too vigorously, reduce the temperature to low heat. This will maintain a gentle simmer and prevent the broth from boiling too rapidly.

Helpful Tips

  • Add food items when the broth starts boiling: Wait for the broth to reach a boil before adding your food items. This ensures that they cook properly and maintain their desired texture.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pot: Do not put too much food into the pot at once, as it can drastically reduce the broth’s temperature. Add ingredients in small batches to keep optimal cooking temperature.
  • Cook ingredients for the appropriate time: Different ingredients require different cooking times.
    • Delicate items (meat, fish, seafood…): should only be cooked for a short period to avoid becoming tough or chewy.
    • Starchy ingredients (sweet corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet potato glass noodles…): take take longer to cook fully.
  • Maintain hygiene with your chopsticks: To ensure hygiene, briefly dip the tips of your chopsticks into the boiling broth for a few seconds after handling raw food. This helps kill any bacteria and keep your hot pot experience safe.
  • Lazy single hot pot: Sometimes, when I feel like enjoying hot pot alone and don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a full hot pot table, I create a hot pot-inspired noodle soup. All I need is the hot pot base and a few ingredients from my fridge.
Instructions for instant pot hot pot

Thanks a bunch for giving my recipe a shot! If you enjoyed it, I’d truly appreciate a 5-star rating or a comment to let me know your thoughts.

And don’t forget to stay in touch with me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and YouTube 🥰.

Instant pot hot pot

Easy Instant Pot Hot Pot At Home

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This Instant Pot Hot Pot is a game-changer for me. It's a smart and convenient way to whip up a delicious Chinese hot pot meal without leaving the comfort of my own kitchen.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot (or any specialized Electric Pot designed for Hot Pot)
  • wooden or bamboo chopsticks (for picking up food items in the hot pot)
  • bowls (for holding the cooked food items and dipping sauces)
  • Ladle (for scooping the broth to serve alongside the noodles)

Ingredients
  

I. Broth (Instant hot pot base, up to your preference)

  • Spicy Sichuan flavor, Tomato flavor, Mushroom flavor…
  • Water (according to the instructions on hot pot base's package)

II. Food items (Choose at least 3 ingredients from the protein and vegetable categories and 1 ingredient from the noodles and dumplings category)

Protein (based on your dietary preferences)

  • Meat: Thinly sliced beef, lamb, and pork specifically for hot pot.
  • Seafood: sliced fish fillets, shrimp, cuttlefish, beef balls, pork balls, fish balls, fish tofu, fish cake…
  • Tofu and soy products: tofu puffs, frozen tofu, dried bean curd rolls, fresh or dried tofu skin.

Vegetables

  • Leafy greens: napa cabbage, bok choy, baby bok choy…
  • Mushrooms: oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, wood ears, button mushrooms.
  • High-carb vegetables: sweet corn, lotus root, potatoes,sweet potatoes.

Noodles and Dumplings

  • Noodles: sweet potato glass noodles, wheat noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles…
  • Dumplings: homemade or store-bought dumplings or wontons.

III. Dipping Sauce (personalized based on your preference)

  • Soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar
  • Chinese sesame paste, Peanut butter
  • Chinese chili oil, Sesame oil
  • Minced garlic, Chopped scallions, Chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

Wash and cut all the food items (Arrange them on separate plates according to their categories for easy serving)

  • Bok choy and baby bok choy (thoroughly washed)
  • Napa cabbages (thoroughly washed, cut into 2.5 – 5 cm or 1-2 inch pieces)
  • Enoki mushroom (end removed and torn into smaller bundles)
  • King oyster mushroom (end trimmed, thinly sliced)
  • Oyster mushroom (separated into small parts)
  • Shimeji mushroom (end removed, separated into small parts)
  • Button mushroom (thinly sliced)
  • Shiitake mushroom (soakd to reconstitute)
  • Wood ears (soaked to reconstitute, removed any woody parts)
  • Potato, sweet potato, lotus root (cut into 0.5 cm or 1/4 inch thick slices)
  • Sweet corn (cut into 2.5 cm or 1 inch thick slices)
  • Dried tofu skin (rehydrated)
  • Sweet potato noodles (pre-soaked for 1 hour)

Prepare dipping sauces

  • Customize the sauces to suit your taste preferences.
  • My recipe:
    – 2 tbsp Japanese sesame sauce (Goma Dare) or Chinese sesame paste
    – 1 tbsp soy sauce
    – ½ tbsp Chinese black vinegar
    – 1 tsp Lao Gan Ma chili oil.

Add soup base and water

  • Place the hot pot soup base and pour water into the Instant Pot.
  • Use the "Saute" mode on high heat to bring the broth to a boil.

Start cooking

  • Once the broth is boiling, add the prepared food items to the pot.
  • As you enjoy the meal, the broth will gradually reduce. Keep extra hot water nearby to refill the broth when needed.

Notes

  • Add food items when the broth starts boiling. Wait for the broth to reach a boil before introducing your food items. 
  • Avoid overcrowding the hot pot to maintain the proper temperature.
  • Adjust cooking times for different ingredients.
  • Ensure the hygiene by dipping your chopsticks into boiling broth after handling raw food.
  • If you want to enjoy the hot pot alone, you could make a quick single-serving hot pot noodle soup instead of the full setup.
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