How Instant Is An Instant Pot
I wouldnt lie to you. Instant Pot is a misnomer. It does not cook food in an instant.
Here’s the catch: It takes time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
If a pot roast cooks for 30 minutes at pressure, the total time from start to finish might be more like 45 minutes or more. An Instant Pots heating element has less juice than the burners on your range, so it takes longer to heat food enough to get to pressure.
BUT! The ease of use frees you up to do other things. With most recipes, Instant Pots truly are set it and forget it. Lets say youre making a stir-fry, and youd like brown rice to go with it. Before you start prepping the stir-fry, put the rice and water in the Instant Pot, program it to cook for 22 minutes at pressure, then go about your business.
By the time youve chopped and stir-fried everything , your rice will have finished its cooking cycle, the pressure will have come down naturally, and the cooker will automatically switch to its Keep Warm functionso your perfectly cooked rice is waiting patiently for you at the ideal serving temperature.
You Won’t Believe What Could Be Growing In Your Instant Pot If You Don’t Regularly Clean This Part
The Instant Pot is without a doubt one of the most convenient appliances in modern cooking. But it could quickly become the most unsanitary appliance if proper cleaning practices are not implemented. It should go without saying: If a piece of culinary equipment is removable, it should be thoroughly cleaned regularly.
You’re Not Making Foil Handles For The Trivet
Sticking your hands in the hot Instant Pot to fish out the trivet can be a dangerous task, but this useful hack lessens the risk considerably. All you need is some foil, and boom, you’ve got handles. Simply loop folded foil through the handles and lay them inside the Instant Pot, over the food, as it cooks. When you’re done cooking, use the handles to remove the trivet without burning your fingers.
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You Wont Save That Much Time
The Instant Pot is not instant. Between allowing for the stainless steel inner pot to heat up, the food to come to pressure, the time needed for natural release, having to hand-clean the outer pot, and the actual cooking time, you might not end up saving as much time as you anticipated. Weve found that the ‘instant’ part of the name is very misleading. Preparing foods in the Instant Pot consistently took 45 minutes longer to prepare than the recipe called for. The time it takes for the device to come up to pressure and the time added for a natural release of pressure meant that recipes only needing 10 minutes of cook time took well over an hour, says David Gafford of The Barbecue Lab.
You’re Adding Thickeners Too Soon
Because of that lack of water evaporation, you might find that you need to thicken your finished dish, even if you didn’t use too much liquid. This should always be done after cooking as the thickened liquid can cause a loss of steam, which slows the overall cooking process. One option is to turn the machine to “sauté” once the pressure cooking is finished, then stir in your thickening agent and simmer to desired consistency.
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What Kind Of Cutting Board Should I Use For Meat
When it comes to cutting meat , you want to use a chopping board that prevents bacterial growth and is easier to clean and sanitize. The USDA’s Food and Inspection Service recommends using a chopping board made with wood or nonporous material for meat and fish . It’s also a good idea to keep separate chopping boards for chopping vegetables and your meat products to prevent cross-contamination. Bottom line: Use a chopping board that is either wood or plastic, easier to clean and sanitize, and preferably dishwasher-friendly.
The Worst Part About Using The Instant Pot
Over the next few days, I tried two more recipes and found myself coming to the same conclusions. All told, the time savings for each recipe I tried were negligible, and just not impressive enough for the worst part of it all: cleaning the contraption.
Learn how: How To Clean an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
At least with a slow cooker you have the liner and the lid. And if you cook with, you know, pots and pans, you just clean your pots and pans. But the Instant Pot? Oh buddy.
First theres the pot. Then theres the float valve with the little silicone bit on the end, just itching to take a trip down the garbage disposal. Then theres the anti-block shield thats just hard enough to remove that I feel Im going to bend it. Then theres the little plastic drip catcher on the back. And then, finally, theres the damned silicone ring that still, after a trip through the dishwasher, smells no reeks of corned beef and cabbage to this very day. Yes, I could soak it in vinegar, but havent I done enough already I just want to put the thing away. Sure, you dont have to clean the lid so thoroughly every time, but I cant be the only one who gets the heebie jeebies over the thought of not washing it after every use. Oh, and lets not forget the little container on the back that catches all the drips from the steam after you release the pressure. Oy vey.
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How Do I Get Into This Thing When Its At Pressure
Now you need to release the pressure. There are two ways:
- Natural release: That means you do nothing but wait. The more food in the Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the pressure to come downas long as 30 minutes if you have, say, a big batch of chili. In a lot of recipes, this time is actually part of the cooking time, and the recipe will specify natural release in the instructions. Think of it as carryover cooking. Youll use natural release with dried beans, a lot of soups and stews, most meats, steamed desserts, and long-cooking vegetables.
- Quick release: With this method, you use the quick release valve and steam shoots up out of it. Once again, the more food in your Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the steam to release. Youll use quick release for quick-cooking foods like tender vegetables and seafoods.
How To Assemble Your Instant Pot
First youll want to hand wash each of the parts of your new pressure cooker. Be sure you do not immerse the outer base in water. Before assembling, thoroughly dry every piece. Pay extra attention to the outer base and the heating element within it make sure these are completely dry.
If youre using a model that comes with a drip catcher, slide this into its spot on the back of the cooker. Place the inner pot into the outer base and attach the power cord.
Snap the rubber gasket into place under the lid. Then, practice lining up the arrows and snapping your lid in and out of place.
Some Instant Pot models will make a little beeping sound when the lid has been sealed correctly. Confirm your steam release valve is in place on the lid. Take note of the pressure indicator and its location.
Your Instant Pot is now assembled and ready to go!
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You’re Not Cleaning The Anti
If you’ve never pulled off the anti-block shield located on the underside of the Instant Pot lid, stop what you’re doing and clean it now. This component should be removed and cleaned with every use , to avoid clogging and blocking the vent with debris. A clogged vent is not a pressure cooker’s friend.
What Types Of Food Should You Cook In Your Instant Pot
Pressure cooking is water-based as steam is needed to create pressure. No liquid equals no pressure. As such, you can only pressure cook food with liquid. You can only use your instant pot pressure cooking function for boiling, steaming, and braising.
Boiling foods include beans, soups, pasta, grains, stocks, and broths. While steaming foods include vegetables, seafood, and custards. Finally, braising foods include meat stews and curries.
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Replace The Sealing Ring Regularly
The sealing ring is the lifeline of the pressure cooker. Without it, the pot will not be adequately sealed. You should replace the Silicone Sealing Ring every 18-24 months, sooner if you use it frequently. You should also have an extra one around.
Always clean it and ensure food is not suck on it before use as it may create a gap for steam to escape.do not buy third-party sealing rings as they may be sub-standard and not perform like an original Instant Pot sealing ring. Instant Pot advises against the use of generic sealing rinds for safety reasons.
Too Little Liquid In The Pot
If you use less than 1 cup of liquid in your instant pot, the steam will not be enough to pressurize the instant pot. As a rule of thumb, you should always use 1-1.5 cups of liquid in the instant pot depending on your pressure cooking and whether you use the high or low-pressure setting.
To remedy this issue, release the steam built up and add another cup or half a cup of liquid to the pot. Do not stir the liquid when you add the extra fluid. Then close the lid and let the pot pressurize. When you stir, the liquid pools in the middle and may fail to pressurize due to uneven steam distribution in the pot.
When cooking grains, beans, or pasta, ensure they are under the cooking liquid as they expand and absorb all the liquid. An extra inch over the food is necessary since these foods will absorb fluid. Also, remember that the pot should not be more than two-thirds full when accounting for the additional liquid or the expanding food.
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Lets Try The Quick Release
Back to our pot of water: Activate the steam release valve to the venting position. Keep your face and fingers away from the top of the knob where the steam vents.
The steam will come shooting up and be a little noisy.
Releasing all of the steam can take a minute or more. The more liquid in the cooker, the longer the release will take.
Steam Is Coming Out Of The Instant Pot In A Sealing Position
Check to see if the sealing ring is installed correctly. You should also check to see if it is damaged and replace it as needed. Lastly, ensure there are no food bits stuck under the ring, creating a gap, thus allowing the steam to escape.
Note: release steam first before attempting to open the instant pot.
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You Cant Tweak A Recipe Halfway
Theres a reason theres no shortage of Instant Pot recipes online, every IP owner is looking to find the recipe for that suits their taste buds perfectly. The cons of an Instant Pot is, it doesn’t magically make things seasoned perfectly. So be sure to taste and re-season before serving, as pressure-cooker recipes can be hard on herbs and spices and may need a boost, says Kathy Hester of Healthy Slow Cooking and Plant Based Instant Pot.
Can I Use My Instant Pot Without The Condensation Collector
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Instant Pot is a great kitchen appliance that lets you cook up mouthwatering food in record time while remaining superbly flexible.
This multi-cooker comes with a range of indispensable accessories and attachments. Each is vital to pressure cooking the perfect meal.
A condensation collector sucks up the extra water released during cooking. Well be taking you through a closer look at this handy accessory, explaining what it does and whether you can use your instant pot without one.
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What’s The Best Way To Clean A Cutting Board
Gently scrubbing the chopping board with soap and warm water is the best way to clean a chopping board. If your chopping board is dishwasher friendly, then it’s best to run it through a dishwashing cycle after washing it under tap water to get rid of food stuck to the cutting board.
Heavy wood cutting boards also require oiling from time to time to keep the surface clean, filling the pores in order to prevent bacterial contamination, and keeping it from drying out and cracking.
You’re Underestimating The Time A Recipe Takes
Yes, the Instant Pot is fast, but you might be a little disappointed when the mac and cheese recipe that promises to cook in five minutes takes longer than five minutes. This is because the time needed for the machine to come to pressure isn’t taken into account but there is a way to shave a few minutes off the process. Just turn on your Instant Pot right as you begin your recipe, even if you’re not ready to close the lid yet. Make sure you have whatever cooking liquid in so you’re not heating an empty pot, then finish the remaining prep. The pot will start to heat up while you’re working, and won’t have to start from cold once you do close the lid. Now you’re that much closer to cheesy pasta goodness.
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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!
Or Replacing The Sealing Ring
If you haven’t been keeping up with the cleaning process and your ring is a smelly lost cause, it’s probably time to replace it. Aside from odors, you should also keep an eye on its integrity cracks or other damage can lead to leaks. Thankfully, the sealing rings are inexpensive and, as of February 2018, won’t set you back more than $9 .
Note that rings sold by unauthorized dealers have not been tested or certified by Instant Pot, and according to their website, “the use of third party sealing rings may have unexpected effects on your product, and would void the Instant Pot warranty.”
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Cooker Base And Heating Element
You can wipe this down with a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel–after unplugging it, please–but don’t get it wet. I hope it goes without saying that this piece should never ever go into the dishwasher, but just in case: Don’t put the base and heating element into the dishwasher.
Use a small brush or a toothbrush to clean food particles stuck around the lip of the cooker.
A post shared by Mercedi on Nov 30, 2016 at 6:27am PST
My Final Straw With The Instant Pot
The last recipe I intended on trying was to fire off a big batch of sweet potatoes as part of meal prep for the week. But then I also had to make quinoa and turn on the oven to roast Brussels sprouts, so what was the point then of also turning on the Instant Pot as well?
I hear the thing makes great rice, but if Im already cooking a meal that could use a side of rice, whats the trouble of just putting some water and rice in a pan and setting it to heat? Id much rather do that than summon the behemoth from its resting place.
Which brings me to my final point: The Instant Pot is just not sexy. Theres no romance to cooking with it, and I dont look forward to using it. Perhaps the thing I am most grateful for with this whole experience is that its made me realize just how much I love the act of cooking itself. When Im instructed to just lock everything into the Instant Pot and walk away, cooking begins to feel somehow more like a chore than a pleasure.
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The Instant Pot Is Too Full
An overfilled instant pot cannot become pressurized as its inbuilt features will prevent it from pressurizing. It will also cause your liquid to overflow as it starts to boil. Ensure you only fill the pot up to the maximum recommended section for pressure cooking. Be sure to account for expanding foods and boiling liquids.
Releasing Pressure Once The Pot Is Done Pressure Cooking
At the end of the cooking time, you will need to release pressure before opening your instant pot. There are two methods for releasing pressure.
That means waiting for the pot to release pressure naturally. The time it takes to release pressure naturally depends on the amount of food in the instant pot. It can take as long as thirty minutes. Do not attempt to open your instant pot before the pressure pin drops.
This method entails turning the pressure valve to venting, so the steam is released rapidly. Beware of the hot steam the will start shooting out immediately you turn the valve. The quick-release time also depends on the amount of food in the instant pot.
Use a long-handled spoon to push the steam release valve to the venting position. The test above will take roughly 40 seconds to release pressure from two cups of water.
Note: do not place your Instant Pot under your wooden kitchen cabinets. Steam condensation will damage the cabinets over time. You can place a towel tent over the valve as it releases steam to muddle the steam.
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