Is An Instant Pot Better Than A Slow Cooker
Instant Pot is a good slow cooker, but not as good as a dedicated slow cooker.
In the end, I have to admit that I kept my old Crock Pot. I dont use it as often, but when nostalgia hits, I fire it up and let it do its job. The Instant Pot is a fantastic kitchen appliance and I dont think I can live without it , but its not perfect.
S For Cooking Frozen Chicken Breasts In The Instant Pot
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- An Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker
- Frozen chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Other desired seasonings
Instant Pot Bean/chili Setting
The Bean/Chili setting button can be used to cook larger dry legumes such as beans and chickpeas in liquid or to cook chili or another type of stew that uses dry beans. The program settings use High pressure and result in different doneness of beans. When cooking beans, always use NR to release pressure after cooking is done. Below is how to use the Bean/Chili setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add dry beans, liquid and salt to the pot. Secure and lock the lid. Select the Bean/Chili button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 30 minutes. If you press the button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More .
- Less mode 25 minutes at High pressure for a firmer bean texture or to cook black beans, dry lima beans, Navy beans, black-eyed peas, Adzuki, anasazi, dry peas.
- Normal mode 30 minutes at High pressure for a softer bean texture or to cook red kidney beans, white kidney beans , Pinto beans, black-eyed peas .
- More mode 40 minutes at High pressure for a very soft bean texture or to cook harder legumes like chickpeas and soybeans .
Ensure dry beans are completely submerged in water. Dried beans double in volume and weight after soaking or cooking. To avoid overflow, please do not fill the inner pot more than to the ½ mark to allow for expansion.
Note: You can also use the Multigrain setting to cook most beans.
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Compare Slow Cooker To Instant Pot Time
The instant pot works well for me because I have a hard time planning ahead! It enables me to start dinner at 4 pm and still be fine. The slow cooker can be a problem when you dont even think about starting it until noon!
I do think the slow cooker does make meat more tender. So, while I generally will choose speed, when it comes to a roast, I prefer the slow cooker.
Dont Throw Out That Crock Pot
Does this mean my Instant Pot is a failure? No, of course not. I bought it as a pressure cooker, and I love it. Ive owned an Instant Pot of some sort for going on six years, and since I got my Instant Pot, my slow cooker has been gathering dust. My biggest use of the slow cooker was for potlucks using it as a warming dish, essentially. Nowadays, when I take a pot of chili to a potluck, I bring it in the Instant Pot. I reheat with Saute mode, then set it to Keep Warm until it is time to serve. I have to stir more I dont want to scorch the chili on the bottom of the pot but it does the job well.
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How To Use The Instant Pot Slow Cooker Setting
Do you want to use the Instant Pot slow cooker setting? Heres exactly what you need to do to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker
First, let me say that I got this info from reading a couple of Instant Pot user manuals online and from my own personal trial-and-error. I own the 7-in-1 Instant Pot and several different slow cookers.
What Slow Cookers Are Good At
To be fair, there are a few tasks that slow cookers perform better than either Dutch ovens or pressure cookers, and not just on convenience but in terms of actual performance. There’s no better device for keeping things like stews, soups, chilies, dips, and cheese sauces hot at a potluck picnic table, where guests are going to be dipping repeatedly over the course of several hours. There’s very little reduction going on, and because of the slow, even heat dispersal of ceramic, there’s virtually no chance that your sauces are going to burn or brown.
Slow cookers are also great for making large batches of caramelized onions. It takes a long time, but it’s essentially a set-it-and-forget-it technique. Fill up the crock with sliced onions, add a few knobs of butter, season with salt, turn it on, and leave it alone until the onions are as dark as you like. You won’t develop quite the same flavor as you’ll get with onions caramelized the traditional way, and you won’t get the speed of pressure cooker caramelized onions, but as far as the convenience-for-results ratio goes? It’s tough to beat.
I also quite like the uniquely moist and custard-like texture you achieve when cooking stuffing or bread pudding in a slow cooker both are recipes that don’t rely on intense browning or reduction of liquid for their flavor.
After all, as anyone who has played can attest: Good things come to those who try to find shortcuts.
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Smart Program Pressure Cooking
If you choose to use one of the pre-set smart program options, the steps are even simpler. Please refer to our post on Smart Program Instant Pot Buttons Explained for how to adjust each setting.
Step 1. Start the Instant Pot. Insert the inner pot into the cooker base.
Step 2. Add ingredients and liquids to the inner pot. Stir if needed or leave layered.
Step 3. Secure and lock the lid. Make sure everything feels well sealed.
Step 4. Select one of the Smart Program buttons. Pre-set cooking time and pressure level will display. You can leave it as is or adjust things like the pressure level from HIGH to LOW. You can press the Smart Program button again to cycle through the Less, Normal and More time options or use the and + buttons to adjust the cooking time further. If you make any adjustments to the selected Smart Program, they will be remembered next time you use it.
Step 5. Preheating & pressurizing stage begins followed by cooking under pressure as per program settings. Once the Instant Pot beeps again and the timer has reached zero, the cooking process is done.
Step 6. You can do a quick release or allow the built-up pressure to release naturally , or do both depending on the food/recipe.
Step 10. Once pressure is released, open the lid and stir or remove the contents.
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Omit A Few Ingredients While Cooking Under Pressure
There are a few ingredients that dont work well under pressure. The Instant Pot gets too hot too quickly for dairy which means they can scorch. Modify your recipe so youre adding these ingredients after youve finished the pressure cooking setting.
Similarly, thickening ingredients also cause problems by preventing the Instant Pot from building pressure correctly. If your recipe calls for flour-coated chicken , saute the chicken without the flour to avoid any problems. You can add any thickening agents at the end and simmer them in using the Saute function.
Finally, since liquid doesnt evaporate under pressure, avoid adding wine or beer to Instant Pot recipes. The alcohol vapors wont burn off like they do in the slow cooker, so youll end up with an incredibly tart, acidic or malty flavor in your dish.
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How To Crisp The Outside Of A Pork Roast
One drawback of the Instant Pot is that its a wet cooking method, which means that you dont get a crisp crust on the outside of your roast, even if you seared it at the beginning. The steam in the pressure cooker has made that not crusty. For sure.
Now, if you like a crisp crust on your roast youll need to use the oven after the Instant Pot has done its work I have instructions for that in the recipe below. Or you can read about it in my post How to Roast Pork Perfectly.
Basically, you let the pork rest for a bit. Then put it into the oven at a very high temperature for just 10 minutes. This will make the crust nice and dark.
FYI, if youre planning to shred the pork you really dont need to crisp it up in the oven first.
Instant Pot Slow Cooker Conversions
- Low on the Instant Pot Slow Cooker Function is like keep warm on a traditional slow cooker.
- Medium on the Instant Pot Slow Cooker Function is like low on a traditional slow cooker.
- High on the Instant Pot Function is more like medium-high on a traditional slow cooker.
To further explain:
- The low setting on a crockpot is about 190-200 degrees and the high setting on a crockpot is between 225-275 degrees,
- For the slow cooker function on your instant pot, the low is about 170 degrees, normal is 200 degrees, and the high is 210 degrees.
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Whats The Difference Between Chili And Chili Con Carne
The Spanish phrase chili con carne means chili with meat, but both chili and chili con carne can refer to the authentic spicy dish of meat, chili peppers, beans, tomatoes, seasonings and spices. For a chili with no beans try my best chili recipe. If your chili has no beans its usually called Texas Chili.
Tips For Using Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker
- Always be sure that there is at least 1 cup of liquid in the recipe.
- Hit your Slow Cooker Function on your Instant Pot and then hit the adjust button to change the setting to “normal” or “high.”
- If you want to cook a recipe like you would on low in a slow cooker, adjust your slow cooker to “normal” on the slow cooker function and cook for as the recipe calls to cook on low.
- If you want to cook a recipe like you would on high in a slow cooker, adjust your slow cooker to “high” on the slow cooker function and cook for as long as the recipe states PLUS an additional 15 minutes for every hour.
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When Can You Use A Slow Cooker Liner In An Instant Pot
You can use a slow cooker liner in an instant pot only and only if the slow cook feature of the pot is turned on. Otherwise, it is not recommended from the manufacturer to use the liner on other settings in an instant pot.
The slow cooker liner perfectly cooks the dishes that need slow cooking. Because the liners are made to control the temperature inside the dish despite cooking in high heat for a longer period of time.
The slow cooker liner can tenderize the dish perfectly and will be able to add flavors to the dish.
Therefore, slow cooker liners are made to use in a slow cooking setting. In fact, you can use the liner on the oven too, however, the oven also needs to be set up in slow cooking mode. Also, make sure that you dont boil water or rice on the liners, or else it will melt.
Overall Instant Pot Cooking
This is a breakdown of the most used Instant Pot accessories in my kitchen. These are great for general, every day cooking in your Instant Pot.
The glass lid makes a great addition when using the Saute, Slow Cook or Keep Warm function. It has a steam release vent to prevent too much condensation on the underside of the lid and was designed to fit the 6QT LUX, DUO or Smart models.
I especially like it when sauteing onions, but you can also use it to cover the pot when making yogurt or fermenting batter or dough.
As an added bonus, it is Dishwasher Safe and can be used on the stainless steel inner pot in the oven up to 425 degrees F.
The silicone lid is great when you want to store leftovers or soup in the fridge. It also makes an easy transport to parties and potlucks when I dont want to bring my entire Instant Pot.
It creates an airtight, spillproof, watertight seal that is both BPA free and Dishwasher safe.
These heat-resistant mini mitts are more flexible than the full-on silicone gloves, so it makes it much easier to pop them on and off. I honestly did not think I would use them as much, but it turns out, I use them every day even for oven cooking!
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Which One Is Better It Comes Down To Your Routine
Part of what so many people find confusing about slow cookers and Instant Pots is that both of them work really well for making the same kinds of dishes those with lots of moisture and long cooking times. Beans, large cuts of meat, soups and stews are all great candidates for both devices. But the big difference is time. Would you rather plop everything in a pot before heading to work, and then return to a warm dinner? A slow cooker is for you. Are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cook who doesnt mind waiting an hour before dinner? The relatively quick-cooking Instant Pot may be more your speed.
And if youve got plenty of storage space and a flexible budget? You dont have to choose. Weve got recipes for both.
Chili Made In The Instant Pot/pressure Cooker
Once the ground beef is cooked, all the ingredients are essentially placed in an Instant pot and then cooked for a mere 10 minutes, and this chili is ready to eat. I just love pairing this dish with a fresh piece of my homemade bread or a soft roll or even some delicious cornbread to slurp up all that amazing tasty liquid.
Chili freezes very well and its great for making up individual microwave-safe dishes for lunches, or whenever you want to have a quick meal on hand. Give it a try and this will become one of the best meal preps.
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A Quick Note On Pressure Cooker Type
Over on the Cooking Issues blog, Dave Arnold has noted that results can vary greatly depending on the type of pressure cooker you use. See, older models of pressure cookers have what’s called a “jiggler”: a weight that sits on top of a steam vent. As pressure in the pot builds up, that steam pushes up on the weight harder and harder, until it finally lifts it just enough to vent a bit of steam out, releasing pressure and allowing the jiggler to settle back down. This happens at quite a rapid rate, leading to the weight “jiggling” up and down . What this means is that in an old-school pressure cooker equipped with a jiggler, the liquid inside actually simmers slowly as pressure builds and is released. This leads to cloudier broths and stocks, and soups and stews with ingredients that tend to fall apart a little more.
The results are pretty drastically different. See the batches of chicken stock here:
Here’s what’s in each cup:
- A) Stock cooked in a spring-valve stovetop pressure cooker
- B) Stock cooked in an electric pressure cooker
- C) Stock cooked in an older stovetop pressure cooker with a jiggler
- D) Stock cooked on the stovetop in a Dutch oven
- E) Stock cooked in a slow cooker
You can see an obvious difference in the color of these stocks. What you can’t see is the flavor, which, to a large degree, correlated with color. Batches A and B were by far the most flavorful, with the best body. Batches C and D were next , trailed by batch E, at a distant fifth.
Cleaning In The Dishwasher
While the sealing ring is dishwasher-safe, your best bet is to use the steaming method outlined above regularly to keep the ring clean and odor-free. If its been a while since you last cleaned the sealing ring , the dishwasher will certainly give it a good cleaning, but it might not completely get the odor out.
More About the Instant Pot
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Can I Use Frozen Beef
You might be wondering if you can use frozen beef for pot roast. Technically, the answer is yes, the cook time will just be longer .
That said, for the best results, we highly recommend following our method which calls for thawed beef thats seasoned with salt and been left on the counter long enough to take the chill off. This extra time creates the most flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast. Using thawed beef also allows us to brown the outside of the meat before braising it, which adds a lot of extra flavor to dish.