Reasons The Instant Pot Is Pretty Darn Magical:
Because foods cook more quickly, they retain more of their nutrients.
Because nearly all of the foods that can be cooked in an Instant Pot are WHOLE foods, we eat better.
Its energy efficient.
The kitchen stays cool when cooking during the hot summer months.
It saves time when it comes to preparing meals and getting dinner on the table.
Because the cooking is done all in one pot, theres much less dinner clean up involved.
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What Is An Instant Pot
An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It is a multi-use appliance that can cook foods quickly at high pressure. Steam pressure builds up inside the pot, which creates a higher temperature environment that cooks foods faster. Unlike old fashioned pressure cookers, the Instant Pot has many safety features that make it safe and easy to use.
An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, sauté pot, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker and warmer all in one. Ive been amazed at the versatility of my Instant Pot and the flavor and texture of the foods that I am able to cook in it. The high pressure inside the Instant Pot can tenderize even tough cuts of meat. It creates rich, complex flavors seriously, Ive never had better chili than Instant Pot chili!
If you are not sure which Instant Pot to buy, check out my guide to the Best Instant Pots. Ive also tested out many Instant Pot accessories so that I can share my favorites with you.
How To Use Your Instant Pot: Everything You’ve Wanted To Know
It’s not just a supercharged pressure cooker — it’s a way of life.
Like a microwave or an electric kettle, the Instant Pot has become a kitchen staple.;This versatile pressure cooker;replaces so many countertop appliances, from rice makers to slow cookers. It’s introduced a new generation to pressure cooking, and shown us just how quickly it can cook a healthy meal.;
Whether you’re a new Instant Pot owner or it’s long been stored away in a cabinet, this guide is for you. A longtime Instant Pot owner myself, I’ll guide you through the basics, including explaining those strange buttons and some basic recipes.
To kick things off, let’s walk through Instapot basics. Even if you’ve owned yours for a while, there’s something here for you, too. Let’s get started.
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How To Make Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot White Rice
White rice is SO quick and easy to make in your pressure cooker. However, this recipe will work in ANY brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, and Mealthy MultiPot.;
This is the recipe Ive made the most in my pressure cooker. In fact, I havent cooked rice on the stove since I tried this recipe.
I adapted the recipe for the electric pressure cooker from the Three-Minute Spiced White Basmati Rice recipe in the Veggie Queens ebook ,;The New Fast Food. The pressure cooker really is the best way to make fast food.
This white rice recipe works well with basmati, jasmine, short and long grain white rices.
Now Its Time For A Test Run
Before you do a test run, quickly wash the steel insert and the lid with warm and soapy water. ;ALWAYS dry the steel insert completely before inserting it in the unit.
This completes the test. Press the Keep Warm / Cancel button or unplug the unit. ;In about 20 minutes or so, you can try opening the lid.
Learn more: Watch a video on how to do the water test and understand why it needs to be done.;
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Are Instant Pots Safe
This is the biggest question I think many have, is it safe? Some threat and danger have followed the pressure cooker over the years. But what you have to remember is times have changed. Old pressure cookers were a pan with a lid; this is an electric pressure cooker. There are fail-safe mechanisms in place to protect you and your kitchen. The most significant thing is to read your manual and make sure you know how to work your pot correctly for safety reasons.;
How To Use An Instant Pot: What You Need To Know To Get Started With Instant Pot Cooking
There are a few basic things that you need to know when using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Once you use yours a few times, these will be like second nature. Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the buttons may be labeled slightly differently. Consult the manual that came with your Instant Pot.
Minimum Liquid Required: As a general rule, you want to use at least 1 cup of liquid in your Instant Pot every time you cook with it. The Instant Pot uses steam and pressure to cook food, and you need liquid to create the steam and pressure. Some recipes may call for more or less liquid. I recommend following recipes from a trusted source while you are learning to use your Instant Pot.
Fill Level: Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marked. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 line with food or liquid . If you are cooking food that will expand during the cook time such as rice, quinoa or beans, do not fill the Instant Pot higher than the 1/2 line.
Pressure Cook or Manual Button: Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the Pressure Cook button is sometimes labeled Manual and sometimes Pressure Cook. This is the button that you will press to start a pressure cooking cycle. Its your basic pressure cooking button.
+/- Buttons: Use these buttons to adjust the cook time.
Keep Warm/Cancel Button: Use this button to end a cooking program or turn on/off the keep warm function.
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Health Benefits Of Using Pressure Cookers
Believe it or not, there are health benefits to using Instant Pots. Registered dietitian Kyle Bogden, RD, suggests that they are ideal with those who are living with sensitive guts and autoimmune conditions as they break down lectins inside grains, nuts and beans.
Lectins are controversial proteins that bind to carbohydrates, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And since they resist being broken down in the gut, this can link them to stomach upset and diarrhea.
“Instant Pots use high pressure to break down lectins found in grains, nuts and beans, thus making these foods more tolerable,” Bogden says.
And yes, there is speculation that cooking in a pressure cooker may decrease the nutrient value of your food. But this is usually true for all forms of cooking, according to Poon.
“As with all methods of cooking, pressure cooking may reduce the nutrient value of heat-sensitive nutrients ,” she says. “However, it can increase the bioavailability of some nutrients, such as proteins, fibers and starches because the method increases the digestibility.”
In fact, an October 2010 study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology showed pressure cooking to be preferable to boiling or sautéing for nutrient retention in black-eyed peas, a type of legume.
How To Cook With The Instant Pot
How you use your Instant Pot depends on what you’re cooking. But, many recipes — especially those involving meat — tend to follow this formula:
The above steps can vary quite a bit, depending on the recipe, but most of what I cook in my Instant Pot follows that sequence.;
Here, the Instant Pot’s valve is in Sealing position.
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What Is A Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker is a tightly sealed cooking pot that cooks food with high pressure.
Pressure cookers have been around for over 300 years, but it was only after World War II that they became super popular.
But what happened? Is it because people dont know how to use a pressure cooker? Why isnt everyone using them now?
One word: Greed.
Many businesses started manufacturing faulty pressure cookers fulfilling the soaring demand. Eventually, exploding incidents happened over and over again until homemakers were too scared to use them.
However, its starting to have a big comeback because the new generation of pressure cookers are so much safer to use.
Getting Started: How To Use An Instant Pot Or Electric Pressure Cooker
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Wondering how to use your new Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Crockpot Express, Power Pressure Cooker XL, or other brand of electric pressure cooker? Let me help you get it out of the box and into your meal plans with this Getting Started Guide! I have all the details you need to get you cooking and loving your machine!
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A Few Final Important Tips
- Remember to use COLD water in your Instant Pot. If you use warm water, the amount of time that it takes the IP to come to pressure may change and that will result in a different cooking time.
- The rice function cooks at LOW pressure, not high pressure. Therefore if you are cooking a recipe that cooks at High Pressure for 12 minutes , do NOT be tempted to hit the rice function.
- What if your recipe does not have liquid in it? What if you want to bake a dessert or custard in your Instant Pot?;This is when cooking Pot in Pot, or PIP, is necessary. To cook pot in pot is basically placing another pot inside the instant pot on a trivet to cook.;Here are the Step by Step directions for Cooking Pot in Pot in the Pressure Cooker.
- Check out all my Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for a perfect place to start cooking recipes for your pressure cooker.
Get To Know The Design
Electric pressure cookers come with an inner pot and an outer pot , as well as a lid that creates an airtight seal.
The airtight seal is what creates the pressure, which will eventually need to be released, and to do so safely, youll need to read the directions that come with your pot. But generally speaking, youll either use the quick-release method , or the natural-release method .
Test Kitchen tip: A cool, wet towel placed on the lid can help speed up the release process.
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How To Safely Open Your New Pressure Cooker
Instant Pots are much safer to use than traditional stove top pressure cookers. The lid locks and stays locked until the pressure is released. This process eliminates the safety concerns many previously had with using pressure cookers.
Heres how to safely open your Instant Pot:
- When you release the pressure, the steam will be hot enough to burn you. Make sure the steam release is facing away from you before you press the release button.
- Do NOT remove the lid until all of the pressure from the pot has been released. When the floating valve in the lid drops, youll know it is safe.
- If the lid does not easily twist off, it is not ready to come off. Dont ever force it.
Best Instant Pot Recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Soup;Thick, creamy, and healthy soup prepared in only;15 minutes!
- Cincinnati Chili The perfect medley of unexpected spices served over spaghetti with piles of cheddar cheese
- Cilantro Chicken;Tender, seasoned;cilantro chicken;with a;creamy, lime sauce
- BBQ Pulled Chicken Takes;two simple steps, five minutes to prepare an effortless dinner or party food
- Buffalo Chicken Chicken Chili Award winning with the perfect amount of spice, a smooth creamy base, lots of tender chicken
- Corned Beef and Cabbage;Corned Beef brisket flavored with;brown sugar, mustard, and apple juice
- Beef Stroganoff Tender, fall apart beef in a creamy, comforting sauce.
- Zuppa Toscana Better than Olive Gardens, made in minutes!
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Are Instant Pots Safe To Use
We’ve all seen those cooker-horror-story Reddit threads, where users have shared their accounts of messy explosions of food going everywhere, including the kitchen ceiling.
But before you begin to ponder returning the pressure cooker you received for your birthday, know that many modern Instant Pots have safeguards and power cutoffs in place to avoid pressures or temperatures that may pose danger to your home.
Instant Pots have built-in sensors that regulate the cooker’s pressure and temperature based on the program you choose and the cooker shuts off automatically when it detects an unsafe temperature.
And although there have been some reports of certain Instant Pot models melting back in 2018, these units have since been recalled, according to Consumer Reports.
With this in mind, there’s no reason to feel discouraged to buy a pressure cooker, as they are generally considered safe to have on hand in the kitchen.
Don’t Own an Instant Pot?
The Three Most Important Instant Pot Buttons
There are really only three buttons you need to know when you are just starting out with pressure cooking:
Manual/Pressure Cook. This button is where the magic happensif a recipe says to cook at High Pressure, this is the button you need. Just press it, then use the and buttons to change the cook time. After a brief pause, the Instant Pot will beep to tell you its beginning the pressure cooking process. Some Instant Pots, such a the Duo Evo Plus have a start button that youll need to press to start the cooking process.;
Sauté.;Press the Sauté button to brown meats, sauté vegetables, and simmer ingredients in the pressure cooking pot. Adjust;Sauté to less for simmer, normal to sauté and more for browning.
Keep Warm/Cancel.;Use this button to cancel a function or to turn off your Instant Pot.
Honestly, thats it! I recommend beginning with some easy, tried-and-true recipes before branching out into converting your old favorites. Since I write my recipes so they can be made in any electric pressure cooker, I rarely use the preset Instant Pot buttons.
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What Is Pressure Cooker Quick Release & Natural Release
During cooking extreme pressure builds up inside the Instant Pot, which makes the food so tender, yummy, and delicious in such a short time.
In order to safely screw the lid off, the pressure needs to be released. The float valve comes down by either quick release or natural release, depending on the recipe and preference.
Quick Release When the cooking time ends press or turn the button to release pressure. You do not need to hold it down. Some people use the handle of a wooden spoon to press it down and avoid risk of potential contact with hot steam.
Foods that can easily be overcooked will use quick release, such as vegetables, pasta, fish.
Natural Release Use natural release when your Instant Pot is very full , cooking meats, beans, or grains till tender.
After cooking completes your unit will either go to KEEP WARM, CANCEL, or turn off. Any of these are fine. The recipe will say, Natural release for X minutes, then quick release or it will indicate to just naturally release all the pressure.
Natural Release is leaving the pressure valve alone and letting the unit gradually release the pressure as it sits there. This can take 5-40 minutes, depending on the contents. Youll know when its done because the lid will be able to screw off.
The more full the pressure cooker is, the longer it will take to come down to pressure.