How To Start The Instant Pot
Step 1. Place the Instant Pot on a sturdy countertop or a table close to a power socket. Make sure there is plenty of open space above the pot as you will have steam eject from the lid up in the air if you quick release the pressure.
Step 2. Make sure the inner pot is inside the cooker base and is clean. Plug the power cord in. Instant Pot will switch on and the OFF status symbol will appear on the control panel. This is called a standby mode.
Step 3. Decide on which cooking method you want to use from the below scenarios. This will depend on what you want to cook. Usually, recipe instructions will guide you along here.
In general, your choices will come down to whether you want to Sauté food first and then whether you want to use a manual setting or one of the smart programs.
How To Convert Slow Cooker Recipes Into Instant Pot Recipes
Move over slow cooker. Instant Pot is stealing your gig.
There are two ways you can use an Instant Pot to replace a basic slow cooker. You can either put it in Slow Cook mode or you can pump up the speed and make the recipe using Pressure Cook mode. Here are some tips for doing both.
Tips For Slow Cooking In An Instant Pot
Slow cooking a meal to perfection in an instant pot demands that you have sufficient liquid in your recipe. One cup is enough for most recipes that are meant to be slow-cooked. To avoid undercooking food, ensure you have this full cup of liquid before you begin the cooking process.
Slow cooking in an instant pot needs to be done using the Slow Cooker function. If you use any other function, you will not achieve the desired outcome. You may end up pressure cooking or steaming your food unintentionally.
Adjust your pots settings to either high or normal on the Slow Cooker function.
The recipes prepared using Low function settings on a slow cooker require you to set the pots slow cooker to normal. This setting will enable you to prepare a similar or better meal like you would when using a traditional slow cooker.
For recipes that require the High settings on a standard slow cooker, set your instant pots slow cooker to High. Ensure you set your timer to the time demanded by your recipe. Allow an additional fifteen minutes for every cooking hour.
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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.
Whats So Great About The Instant Pot
Safety, speed and easy cleanup are just a few of the reasons for the rising popularity of these trendy kitchen appliances.
an Instant Pot isnt just an electric pressure cooker. As a true multi-cooker, it sears, browns and sautés food like a stove-top skillet. It also steams delicate items such as fish, eggs and vegetables. Instant Pots double as standalone electric rice cookers as well.
You can use them to bake bread, cakes and other sweets like custards, flan, even cheesecakes. Many Instant Pot models come with special yogurt modes. And yes, they function as slow cookers, too.
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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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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.
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When To Select Low Pressure
Low pressure should be used for delicate foods like eggs, fish, and vegetables. However, all of these foods can also be cooked using high pressure for a reduced amount of time. If you are confused about whether or not to use low or high pressure, its best to stick to high pressure. This should be specified in recipes.
Using The Instant Pot Buttons May Seem A Little Intimidating At First Because There Are So Many But Really Its Easy
Before you know it youll be whipping up fabulous meals and desserts that will impress your friends and family. Have fun!
For step by step instructions, watch my how to use an Instant Pot multicooker video.
For more information on using your new Instant Pot, come join my Facebook community at .
***Many thanks to my friend Sigrid for alerting me to the updated information about the latest versions of the Instant Pot buttons.***
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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.
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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Best Double Slow Cooker: Crock
When it’s time for entertaining, the Crock-Pot SCCPMD1-GR Hook Up Double Oval Connectable Entertaining System will come in handy. With two one-quart inserts, you can cook amazing appetizers or small dishes. You can also connect it to other similar devices for even more functionality. Consumers rave about how easy it is to cook and entertain with this convenient slow cooker.
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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How To Use An Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker
You cant use your Instant Pot as an Instant Pot Slow Cooker. It isnt as easy as you might think. This guide will show you how to use an Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker.
Its not as simple as setting the Instant Pots slow cooker to cook the same recipe as a slow cooker. This article briefly covers the Slow Cooker function of Instant Pot Functions. However, it delved into the subject more deeply and gave you the recipe to success when using the Instant Pot as a Slow cooker. Lets get started!
Other Concerns: Safety And Energy
Over on , I’ll often suggest that any slow cooker recipe will come out better if you make the exact same recipe in a Dutch oven with the lid slightly cracked, placed on a rack in a 225°F oven for the day, instead of cooking it in a slow cooker. This is okay for a weekend, when you’re around the house, but what about on weekdays? Surely it can’t be safe, right?
Let’s be clear about one thing here: Leaving any piece of cooking equipment on for the day, unattended, is a risk, and the National Fire Protection Association recommends against it, whether it’s an oven or a slow cooker. Unattended cooking is by far the most common cause of kitchen fires, accounting for 34% of them.
But given that you’re going to assume that risk and leave one cooking device on for the day, are ovens actually more dangerous than slow cookers?
I read through a very detailed annual report from the NFPA to shed a bit of light on the matter. According to that report, ovens account for about 13% of fires overall, while slow cookers account for only 4%. That said, your odds of starting an oven fire greatly increase when you leave the oven unattended at high temperatures, as opposed to the 200 to 225°F you’d use when slow-cooking or braising.
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Is It Better To Slow Cook In An Instant Pot On Low Or High
The low setting takes longer than the high setting. Once that temperature is achieved, the appliance stabilizes at that temperature to allow for the ingredients to be cooked. This means most recipes can be cooked in either setting. Or if a recipe calls for eight hours on high, it can be cooked for up to 12 hours on low.
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.
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The Practical Guide You’ve Always Wanted For Those Confusing Instant Pot Buttons And Settings
Your dreams have officially come true! You finally got that Instant Pot and its time to start whipping up a few delicious meals. Buthow, exactly, do you work this thing?
People rave about how easy and quick it is to use, but looking at all the Instant Pot buttons, it seems that only a genius could actually figure out what all of them mean. Which button do I choose for what? Whats the difference between the NormalMore and Less settings? And should I cook on Low Pressure or High Pressure?
These questions instantly come to mind, but dont sweat, we got you covered. Heres a full guide to all of your Instant Pots buttons. So make sure to bookmark this for later!
Slow Cooking In An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has a cult following for a reason one appliance can make perfect polenta , homemade yogurt and pork shoulder that falls apart the moment it meets your fork. It usually takes a fraction of the time of traditional cooking methods. Most electric pressure cookers include a slow-cook function, but werent they created to speed up cooking?
There may be times when slowing down fits your schedule better, allowing you to prep a homemade meal that your future self will appreciate. Read on for a guide to your Instant Pots slow-cooker function and some crucial tips to get better results.
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Why You Should Not Use Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker
Yes, there’s a setting, but your slow-cooker recipes aren’t going to work as well in it.
Editor’s Note: The Instant Pot is great for making a lot of amazing things, from perfect stuffed peppers, to delicious deviled eggs and more. But most of the time, we love it for its speedy pressure-cooking capabilities. So what about that other button, the one that says “slow cook” on it?
When To Use High Or Low Pressure On The Instant Pot
Electric pressure cookers can be surprisingly difficult to understand, thanks to the abundance of multifunction buttons and not a lot of explanation about what those buttons do.
Take the pressure settings. On some models, high pressure is the only option. Others offer both a high and low pressure setting. And one in particular even allows you to select a specific psi .
So whats a cook to do?
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