Are Aluminum Pressure Cookers Healthier Than Stainless Steel Cookers
As you plan the purchase of your pressure cooker you will most likely come up with questions such as
- Do I want an electric pressure cooker or a stovetop model?
- How big should it be?
- What material should it be made of?
I get these questions on a regular basis. Today, in this post, Ill answer the last one.
Theres a wide selection of different pressure cookers on the market and knowing which one to get isnt always easy, unless youre extremely specific about your needs.
Both electric and stovetop pressure cookers are usually made of one of the following
- Stainless steel
When it comes to stovetop pressure cookers, the material is used to create the entire vessel.
The same is not true for electric pressure cookers. Here, when we talk about the pressure cooker being made of stainless steel or aluminum, were actually talking about the insert, which is located on the inside of the pressure cooker and used to place food in during a cooking cycle.
The primary difference between these materials is the durability, second to that comes price and weight differences. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to health, they are both perfectly safe to use as long as you use them as the instruction manual suggests.
Aluminum is cheaper to produce and more lightweight. In addition, aluminum is also a great heat conductor, which contributes to even shorter cooking times. The downside is that aluminum isnt as durable as stainless steel.
Instant Pot Vs Slow Cooker
The Instant Pot also has one heat source at the bottom. However, the inner pot is too thin to retain heat in its walls for long. Also, the heat is generated by the steam thats trapped in the pot, which is fantastic for quick cooking, but not so great for slow cooking.;
The uneven heat distribution will have an effect on the final texture of the food and a slight impact on its taste. So professional chefs and foodies may know you cheated and used an Instant Pot instead of a traditional slow cooker.
But you and me, probably wont be able to understand the difference. So for us, Instant Pot is a great option for slow cooker recipes :]
How Long Does Instant Pot Take To Preheat
Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that got popular over the last few years.
One of the most common question is how long does it take to preheat?
Well, that depends on your pot. The instant pots design is very similar to other electric pressure cookers on the market, so the time that it takes for your cooker to reach pressure will depend on the size of the pot and the amount of food that youre cooking. Typically, smaller pots take longer to reach pressure.
Instant Pot is a game changer in the kitchen.
Since it is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker and much more in one, its become a staple of busy home cooks everywhere.
Did you know that the Instant Pot takes more than ten minutes to preheat?
Depending on your Instant Pot model, it will take between 13 and 20 minutes to heat up.
So, youll need to add ten to fifteen minutes to your prep time if you dont want to wait.
Have you recently purchased a new instant pot?
Are you wondering how long the instant pot takes to preheat? You have come to the right place.
Recommended Reading: Converting Recipes For Instant Pot
Instant Pot Vs Slow Cooker: Which One Should You Invest In
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Now that the viral craze surrounding the Instant Pot has quieted down a bit, lets look at whether it really is an appliance you should add to your kitchen, or whether the classic slow cooker will do just fine.
Instant Pot is the most popular brand name for a fairly new breed of programmable, electric, multi-function cookers.
There are a number of them made by other manufacturers too. Instant Pots are pressure cookers, slow cookers, rice cookers, yogurt makers, steamers and warmers, all in one. They also can brown foods, so you can sear or sauté in them.
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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Functions Of An Instant Pot
As I mentioned earlier, the instant pot is multifunctional. It provides a whole lot of services within very little time.
- You can use your instant pot as a slow cooker, to make delicious, flavorful food.
- You can use it as a pressure cooker. This is the most common usage of an instant cooker. The pressure created inside the instant pot cooks your food in a very short time.
- Instant pots are great for cooking rice. You can set a timer and get done with your chores. You dont have to stand by the cookers side to check if the rice is cooking properly. After the timer goes off, the process of cooking will automatically stop.
- Another important function of an instant pot is that you can use it as a steamer.
- If you are thinking that an instant pot can only boil and steam your food, you are highly mistaken. You can use the sauté mode to caramelize your veggies before cooking.
- You can make yoghurt in an instant pot.
- You can also use your instant pot to keep food warm for longer hours.
- Some instant pots come with additional features as well, such as different modes for baking cakes and boiling eggs.
Can I Cook Slow Cooker Meals In An Instant Pot
Yes, the Instant Pot does have a slow cooker feature as well. There are subtle differences in a traditional slow cooker and the slow cooking feature on an Instant Pot. For example, with my Crock Pot model , the low setting gets slightly warmer than the comparable normal setting on the Instant Pot slow cooking setting. Ive noticed food lightly bubbling after 6-8 hours in the Crock Pot when it doesnt in an Instant Pot.
That being said, I dont think there are enough differences to change cook times or quantities when making a slow cooker recipe in your Instant Pot. Every ;slow cooker recipe Ive tested cooked appropriately in the Instant Pot in the same amount of time. Just know it might not be quite as warm when serving . One minor exception Ive found is when tossing any grains in your pot at the last minute for cooking. For example, I made chicken and dumplings using my Instant Pot and the biscuit dough I added at the end wouldnt cook on the Instant Pots normal slow cooking setting. I just used that easy fix of turning on the saute feature for about 5 minutes and, voilaproblem solved.
So yes, in short, you can make slow cooker recipes in the Instant Pot!
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The Slow Cooker Setting On The Ip
Most electric pressure cookers have not only the slow cook function but and a whole suite of buttons on the interface. Were only going to dig into the slow cook button in this blog post. While this function is great, there are a few differences that will trip you up if youre not careful. With the Instant Pot, the slow cooker function has a set of temperatures ranging from low to high. These temperatures are NOT same as the ones which are on a typical slow cooker. Here are a couple of conversions to make a note of to ensure optimum cooking in an instant pot:
Slow Cooker WARM setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook LOW settingSlow Cooker LOW setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook NORMAL settingSlow Cooker HIGH setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook HIGH+
*The Instant Pot HIGH setting never gets as hot as the slow cooker HIGH heating setting. If you are using a slow cooker recipe which calls for HIGH heat in a slow cooker, put your Instant Pot slow cooker function onto high and then add an extra 15 minutesof cooking time for every hour of that the recipe calls for. The longer cooking time is needed to compensate for the difference in temperature between the two appliances and make sure your food is fully cooked all the way through.
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.
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Instant Pot Saute Setting
The Sauté is another non-pressure cooking program that can be used in place of a frying pan or flat-top grill. For recipes that call for browned onions or garlic, its important to sauté them before adding liquid to the pot as you will release a lot of flavor this way. Another reason to sauté first is for browning meat. Lastly, sautéeing before cooking is a great way to increase heat and reduce the amount of time your pot will take to come to pressure.;
A New Lid Is The Secret To Slow Cooking In The Instant Pot
Unless youve read the Instant Pot manual cover to cover, you might not know that one of the most important considerations when using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker is the Instant Pots lid. In fact, Instant Pot sells an additional glass lid to aid with slow cooking. The Instant Pots standard lid is designed to tightly seal and keep moisture in, which is great if youre pressure cooking pork shoulder but less so if youre trying to slow cook fruit butter.
Before you use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker, find a replacement lid. You might be able to use the lid of another pot that you have at home or you may need to order one of Instant Pots glass lids, depending on your Instant Pot model. Another tip, taken from an Instant Pot Facebook group, is to open the valve all the way on your Instant Pot lid when slow cooking. This allows some moisture and steam to release and keeps the Instant Pot from overcooking your slow cooker recipes.
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Tips For Using Instant Pot
We have a few expert tips that you can utilize to make the most of your instant pot.
- Your instant pot comes with a wide array of functions. Make full use of these features to make scrumptious one-pot recipes. For example, instead of using a different utensil to sauté vegetables, you can use your instant pot for the same purpose.
- You can adjust the temperature of the instant cooker according to your need. Different recipes demand different temperatures, and you can choose according to your recipe.
- While boiling, steaming or pressure cooking, make sure that the food is submerged in the water. Use at least half or one cup of water, depending on the amount of food you are cooking. However, dont pour too much water inside the pot, it can result in soggy, overcooked food.
- You may think that you can put only water in the instant pot to cook your food. But hey, you can also use liquids like broth and juice to cook your food. Instant pot perfectly cooks your food and infuses it with the aroma and goodness of the liquid that you are using. So if you are in the mood for some flavourful dish, try this out.
Should I Buy A Pressure Cooker
These appliances can help you smash out dinner in under an hour. Lamb shanks that would take seven hours in a slow cooker or 2.5 hours on a cooktop will be melting off the bone in just 45 minutes. They use a small amount of liquid to fill the pressure cooker with steam.
Time-strapped parent Jason swears by his pressure cooker.;
“I find pressure cookers give a slow-cooker result in a fraction of time,” he says. “Risotto in 20 minutes, beautiful soft beef brisket in an hour, instead of 4 or 8 in a slow cooker. It’s slow cooking, fast!
“I’m never organised enough to put something on in the morning and don’t like to run appliances all day, but with a pressure cooker you can cheat and fast-track dinner.”
- Popular brands include: Philips, Breville, Kambrook, Tefal and Sunbeam.
- Price ranges from around $59 to more than $500.
- Good for: Last-minute dinners; time-poor cooks; impatient foodies; wannabe MasterChefs.
- Not suitable for: People who like to come home to dinner that’s already cooked; cooks who can’t stay in the kitchen while the pressure cooker does its thing; inexperienced home cooks.
The pros of pressure cookers
- You can cook a delicious meal in a fraction of the time of a slow cooker or using your cooktop.;
- You can turn out a slow cooker-style meal in under an hour.
- A pressure cooker won’t heat up the kitchen like using the oven.;
- They work well with inexpensive cuts of meat like stewing beef, shank and blade.;
The cons of pressure cookers
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Which Model To Choose
Deitrick notes that there are differences in the controls and the default settings, but these multi-cookers performed similarly in our tests.;
If you want to save $30, prefer easier cleanup from a nonstick inner pot, and dont mind a thinner yogurt, the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker SCCPPC600-V1 might be the better choice.;
There is one consideration that falls outside our testing: The massive Instant Pot community of users, including online and cookbook authors who share countless recipes that were developed specifically for the Instant Pot. These recipes can offer new users a lot of confidence, Deitrick says.
You Should Buy An Instant Pot If
You like to go fast. Instant Pots are user friendly, convenient and can cut cooking time in half for many time-consuming recipes. If you enjoy cooking large, tough cuts of meat into melt-in-your-mouth bliss , the Instant Pot does a superb job with very little effort. Its also a game-changer for homemade stock, which normally requires hours of tending on the stove, and impeccably cooked rice.
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Conversions Available In An Instant Pot
The first conversion on your instant pots slow cooker function is the Low function option. The purpose of this conversion is to keep food warm before or after you serve. In a traditional slow cooker, Low is equivalent to the Keep Warm function.
The second conversion is Medium. This conversion is usually on the slow cooker function of your instant pot. The equivalent of Medium in a traditional slow cooker is Low.
High is the last conversion available in an instant pot. To access it, set your instant pot to the slow cooker function. On the traditional slow cooker, Highs equivalent to Medium-high.
Faq For Slow Cooking In The Instant Pot
Below are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the ideal result when using your Instant Pot as a slow cooker:
- Do you still need to add 1 cup of liquid? No. Youre not using the pressurizer function. If the recipe already has liquid in it, add it. Otherwise there is no need to add an extra cup of liquid to the recipe.
- Do you use the regular Instant Pot lid? Yes.; You dont have to use the heavy lid but you can. Again, the pot is not being pressurized so you can use any lid that fits. Personally I use my Instant Pot tempered glass lid when I slow cook in my Instant Pot.;
- Can you use slow cooker liners? Yes. If youre using the slow cook function in the Instant Pot you can use slow cooker liners. If you are using your Instant Pot for any other function you can not use slow cooker liners.
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