An Analysis Of The Most Useful Functions On The Instant Pot And Other Multi
The Instant Pot’s ascendance has been so sudden, so swift, so far-reaching, and so utterly dominating that it’s hard to think of another kitchen product in recent history that has so thoroughly cornered the market.
Before the Instant Pot, when I tried to convince people that a pressure cooker was worth buying, their eyes would glaze over. Now that the Instant Pot has taken off so explosively, it seems nearly everyone owns a pressure cooker, even if half of them don’t seem to realize it.
And that, really, speaks to the power of the Instant Pot. People own them, people love them, and people often have no idea what they even are. So let’s set this straight: “Instant Pot” is a brand name for a multi-cooker, and a multi-cooker is basically an electric pressure cooker with a few bells and whistles thrown in for good measure.
Can You Put Glass Jars In A Pressure Cooker
In short, you can put a Mason jar inside of a pressure cooker without facing any problems, although it can also depend on the jar in question. Make sure that the type of jar youre using is of high quality. Your jar will be able to easily handle pressure canning if it is authentic and of high quality.
Good Luck Nailing That Zero Minute Cook Time
Who doesnt want a meal ready in zero minutes? Thats what some Instant Pot models promise to do with your broccoli and salmon. On paper, this sounds life-changing, but achieving it takes paying attention to the details. According to this Reddit thread, youll have to stand and wait for the pot to achieve pressure and turn it off right away and allow for another 10 minutes of natural release. Hesitate and add 30 seconds or a full minute to this whole process and you may have to throw the whole meal out before taking a bite.
Recommended Reading: How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In Instant Pot
Instant Pot Is Not Instant
One of the most common questions I see in the Instant Pot communities is: What brand of Instant Pot should I buy? This question actually does not make sense because Instant Pot is a name of a brand.
What people actually mean is: What brand of an electric pressure cooker should I buy? However, Instant Pot brand is now one of the most popular on the market so it became almost synonymous to saying electric pressure cooker.
Now, is Instant Pot instant? No! BIG NO! But naming the brand Not too quick but faster than average cooking pot wouldnt be a good marketing decision so its called Instant Pot.
Cold Ingredients Or Room Temperature Ingredients
If you talk to Instant Pot enthusiasts then the first thing they tell you is how fast cooking food in Instant Pot is. Well, we just discussed that very often they dont take into account the time to build the pressure and release the pressure. And although releasing pressure time depends on the amount of food and liquid only, building pressure depends on the temperature of the ingredients.
Having room temperature liquid and room temperature meat would mean that everything will come to pressure faster than if the ingredients were cold. If you are rushing home from work then most likely you wont have time to spend two hours getting everything to room temperature and this is another of my pet peeves with using this appliance.
So, if you know youll be making a big pot of stew on the weekend, then get your ingredients out ahead of time and fill a jug with water or broth an hour or two before you start cooking.
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It Isn’t The Easiest Thing To Clean
Everyone loves to cook, no one enjoys cleaning up. And because the Instant Pots main unit cant be chucked into the dishwasher, some of the time you save cooking will now be spent cleaning its cracks and crevices, which is suboptimal. There are also a few fiddly bits that make the chore even less enjoyable and even the most thorough clean wont get rid of certain smells. There’s the anti-block shield, which is just difficult enough to remove that I’m afraid I’ll bend it. Then there’s the back’s small plastic drip catcher. Finally, there’s the dreaded silicone ring, which, even after a trip through the dishwasher, still stinks, says Laura Ritterman of Recipe Fairy.
Insider Tip: If you are going to cook with the Instant Pot, do yourself a favor and get some extra sealing rings.
What Should You Not Cook In An Instant Pot
However, keep in mind that instant pots may not be ideal for every type of dish.
For example, certain forms of meat, including burgers or steak, may not achieve the same caramelized texture or outside sear in an instant pot.
Theyre also not ideal for baking pies, cookies, or bread, as the final texture will likely be altered.
Additionally, its best to avoid cream-based sauces made with dairy, as the high temperatures can cause milk to curdle or separate. Therefore, if youre adding milk or cheese to a recipe, only add it after the pressure cooking cycle is complete.
Also Check: Tin Foil In Instant Pot
Why Do Different Size Instant Pots Take More Time To Come To Pressure
The difference in times it takes to build pressure and release pressure in electric pressure cookers are significantly different between the 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart models. This is not surprising because they are all different sizes . The 8 quart pot will take the longest to build and release pressure because there is more space to fill and empty.
That being said, I would always assume that recipes you see online are built for the 6 quart model unless its noted otherwise. That means you have to adjust for cooking times and the amount of liquid added in the other sized models: more on this below.
Is The Instant Pot Worth It
Besides the just-mentioned lead bit, people generally do consider their Instant Pots to be game-changers. If it doesn’t seem like your kind of thing, though, you’ve got options: though crock pots and pressure cookers might seem the same, they can yield entirely different results and might be more up your alley. Find some recipes utilizing those here.
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What Is An Instant Pot
While our mothers and grandmothers were comfortable using a stovetop pressure cooker, most women of this generation are intimidated by the hissing and potential safety issues. Because of this, pressure cooking fell out of favor for a while. All that has changed with the arrival of the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is a self-contained, electrical pressure cooker thats controlled through a digital interface and built-in safety features. It sits on your counter top and plugs into an outlet. It takes up about as much space as a rice cooker or slow cooker.
You tell it how long you want to cook your meal under pressure, set the timer and youre good to go. It automatically brings up and holds the pressure at a safe level and will not allow you to open the pot while its pressurized. This makes it as easy to operate as a microwave.
As an added bonus, there are dozens of things you can do with the Instant Pot. Its not limited to soups and stews. All you need is a few extra accessories and your Instant Pot can cook just about anything.
Can You Air Fry In An Instant Pot
For folks who already have an Instant Pot and don’t want to replace it just to buy the Duo Crisp, Instant Pot released a standalone air fryer lid that attaches to regular Instant Pots and turns them into an air fryer. This lid works on all existing models with the exception of the Instant Pot Smart WiFi, the now- discontinued Duo Evo Plus, Duo SV, or Max.
If you’re still confused about what air frying even is, read up about the best air fryers here.
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The Perfect Rice Experiment
Match-up: Instant Pot vs. rice cooker
Test Recipe: Perfect Instant Pot brown rice, from the Instant Pot manual.Total time: 38 min
Assessment: The finished rice was well-cooked with a nice bite to it, and was done in slightly less than 40 mins, the average amount of it takes a rice cooker to turn out a finished product.
Verdict: Again, the Instant Pot delivers.
You’re Not Taking Advantage Of The Saut Feature
One-pot meals are a busy cook’s best friend, and if you’re not using the sauté button on your Instant Pot, you’re missing an opportunity. If your recipe calls for browning meat, pre-cooking onions, or doing any prep work on the stovetop, you can do that right in your Instant Pot. Sauté the ingredients in the bottom of the pot with oil or whatever fat you normally would, then continue on with the recipe by switching to the pressure cooker feature. One less pan to clean!
Prepare For Pot Roast Overkill
Do you live off pot roast, brisket and shredded pork/chicken for dinner? Buy an Instant Pot and suddenly youll be eating a lot of it. These tried-and-true recipes are what Instant Pot die-hards swear by there are over 9 million pulled pork recipes alone online, but the quality is questionable depending on whom you ask. I know people cook brisket, pork shoulder, and baby back ribs in the Instant Pot and love the convenience. It just cant compare to the product that one gets using a pellet grill, offset smoker, or charcoal grill with the same recipe. In my opinion, the Instant Pot is all about convenience at the detriment of flavor and texture, and even then, its not very convenient, says Gafford of The Barbecue Lab.
Insider Tip: If youve got a smoker and fancy some Texas-style pulled pork, check out Davids recipe.
The Two Most Important Safety Instructions For Your Instant Pot
The Instant Pot manual is filled with safety instructions, but these two are the critical ones to remember:
First, never put your face near the steam release valve or float valve while the Instant Pot is on. When I toggle the steam release valve, I use a long handled wooden spoon so my hand and arm are not near the valve opening. Any kitchen utensil with a long handle will do. Alternatively, you can use an oven mitt to carefully turn the steam release valve to the “venting” position when you are ready to release the pressure in your Instant Pot.
Second, never open the Instant Pot lid until the pressure has been released through the steam release valve. You will know that all the pressure has been released when the float valve drops down.
Depending on which Instant Pot model you have, the float valve may be red or silver. It may pop up above the level of the lid when the pot is pressurized, or it may pop up to be flush with the level of the lid. In my 6 quart LUX, the silver float valve is below lid level normally and pops up to be flush with the level of the lid when pressurized. You will get to know how your Instant Pot model works.
These photos show my 8 quart DUO and you see that the float valve is above the lid level in the left photo, which shows a pressurized pot.
Never attempt to open the lid of your Instant Pot while it is pressurized.
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When To Use A Steamer Basket In An Instant Pot
Any good recipe will tell you exactly when to use a steamer basket . But just in case youre making a meal on the fly and wanted to double check, here are a few foods and dishes that always benefit from a lift.
- Eggs: Because theyre so delicate, eggs benefit from being placed in a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. Since the eggs arent resting directly against the insert, theyre less likely to be jostled or damaged during cooking.
- Tough or firm vegetables: The pressure cooker function on your Instant Pot is also a smart solution for cooking tough or firm vegetables in a flash. Use a steamer basket to prevent the vegetables from soaking up too much of the water in the bottom of the pot. This is especially important when making potatoes.
- Meatloaf, whole chicken, and other meats: Using a steamer basket or rack to elevate meatloaf and whole chicken is a smart solution to prevent the food from getting soggy.
- Bread and cakes: Yes, you can even make things like bread and cheesecake in your Instant Pot, but do cook them on a steamer basket or rack so theyre not resting in the water at the bottom of the insert.
Instant Pot Recipes That Use a Steamer Basket
Is An Instant Pot Worth It
For me, our Instant Pot is worth every penny: it frees up space in our kitchen, minimizes our dirty dishes, and allows us to cook meals quickly and with less planning. However, for some people, it might not be.
If you prefer to do most of your cooking in the oven or barbecue and dont use a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, or any of the other appliances Instant Pots replace, chances are, an Instant Pot will just languish on your shelf, and you might as well spend the money on a great Dutch oven or a new cookware set. But for myselfand 23,000 5-star reviewers on Amazonthe Instant Pot is most certainly worth it.
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What Kind Of Liquid Should I Add To My Instant Pot
When we say that you need water or liquid for your pot to come to pressure, know that liquid can also come from the food in your pot. Vegetables usually release a lot of liquid when cookingthink about zucchini.
Also, frozen chicken releases a lot of liquid when its cooking, which is why its great to use when cooking dry beans and rice like in my Instant Pot Burrito Bowl Recipe.
But When You Do You Only Use The Rice Button
The “rice” button will only get you so far don’t ignore the “multigrain” button on your Instant Pot. You’ll need to use it for brown or wild rice, but the cooking times will vary because unlike the rice feature, the multigrain feature is not automatic. Unlike cooking these types of rice on the stove, the rice to water ratio remains 1:1. According to Instant Pot, that’s due to the pressure cooker’s nearly non-existent water evaporation which also makes it super easy to remember the “recipe.” You’ll just need to adjust the cook time to 22-28 minutes for brown rice, and 25-30 minutes for wild rice.
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What Instant Pot Accessories Do I Need My Top 5 Must Haves
The Instant Pot pressure cooker is phenomenally versatile and has been a massive hit with home and commercial cooks alike. And of course, the aftermarket offering of accessories to make your Instant Pot even more versatile seems limitless. But what instant pot accessories do I need? This is a question I had when I purchased my IP and one which I get from many owners of this must-have kitchen addition.
In reality, the IP is ready to go, straight out of the box, you dont need any additional instant pot accessories to get started, pressure cooking, slow cooking, sauteing, making yogurt, etc. But, if you want the world to be your oyster, there are plenty of great additions to your instant pot that can be bought cheaply, and add great functionality.
So here is a list of the instant pot accessories I could no longer do without, ones I use every week at least. Of course, this is a personal opinion, your needs may differ.
But firstly, to avoid buying stuff you dont need, lets quickly refresh our memories (assuming we already have an instant pot, of what is included in the box.
- Paddle spoon
Anyway, these are my faves
The Hearty Stew Experiment
Match-up: Instant pot vs. stovetop
Instant PotTotal time: 35 min
Assessment: In the Instant Pot, the chicken breasts browned in the same time as in a frying pan. But it took about 10-15 minutes longer to cook them through, yielding slightly dry chicken .
Verdict: Hard to beat a frying panits easier and achieves better results.
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Why Not To Buy An Instant Pot
Think about appliances that have been around proven themselves useful over time. Things like blenders, hand mixers, stand mixers and toaster ovens. Will the Instant Pot be one? Im not so sure. I remember a friend telling me Oh but its so easy to cook rice in it! Look, Im not trying to be a condescending jerk, but is it really that hard to boil water in a pot on your stove?
How To Adjust The Elevation Settings On Some Instant Pots:
Its a pretty simple process:
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