Try Making The Unexpected
There are plenty of classic dishes youll end up constantly using the Instant Pot for, but there are also a wealth of items that you wouldnt necessarily think of. You can cook dried chickpeas within an hour, prepare your own baby food, make your own wine, and brew your own vanilla extract. See 11 unexpected things to make in your Instant Pot.
If I Already Have A Slow Cooker And A Rice Cooker Do I Really Need Another Appliance
Well, we cant dictate what you need. However, the Instant Pot is more functional than a slow cooker and a rice cooker combined because it can also pressure-cook. The word instant in the name gives it away: You can cook things astonishingly fast in a pressure cookereven notoriously slow-cooking or labor-intensive foods, such as risotto and brisket.
We think rice cooked in the Instant Pot is fine for most people, though the grains dont come out as fluffy and light as they do from a high-end rice cooker like our top pick, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10. Rice aficionados might want to keep their rice cookers, especially for cooking sushi-grade grains.
If youre worried about clutter, you can donate your old appliances to a charity, or hand them off to someone in your life whos just starting out. Were sure theyd appreciate them.
Using Saute Function After Cooking
The Sauté function is also useful for finishing the dish after pressure cooking is done. Once the pressure has been completely released, open the lid and then press Sauté button again. Press the button again to cycle through Less or More for lower or higher temperature.
Use it for:
- Simmering the sauce or broth in the dish that needs to evaporate and reduce or thicken.
- Adding more fragile or no-cooking-required ingredients like baby spinach, fresh tomatoes, fruit, cheese, milk or cream.
- Thickening sauce with butter, cream or flour.
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Instant Pot Multigrain Setting
This setting is best suited to cooking tougher, whole grains like brown and wild rice, farro, millet and steel-cut oats it can also be used to cook dry beans and a mixture of grains and legumes. We find that this is one of the most confusing functions for people because some of the recommended manual cooking times for grains dont match the pre-programmed setting times, so its hard to know when to use this function. Below is how to use the Multigrain setting on the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add the grains, liquid and seasoning if you wish. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Multigrain button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 40 minutes. If you press the Multigrain button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More.
If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.
If cooking dry beans, ensure they are completely submerged in water the same if youre making a mixture of grains and beans.
Average Price For An Instant Pot
The price of an Instant Pot depends mainly on the model. Since all Instant Pots come in 6-quart sizes , we’ll use this size for comparison.
A 5.7-litre Instant Pot Lux costs around $80.
A 5.7-litre Instant Pot Duo costs around $100.
A 5.7-litre Instant Pot Duo Plus costs around $120.
A 5.7-litre Instant Pot Ultra costs around $150.
A 5.7-litre Instant Pot Smart costs around $160.
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Ranking The Different Instant Pot Models
While people may rate each of the Instant Pot models differently, this is how I like to think of them.
High-End: Pro , Pro Plus
Specialty: Duo Crisp or Pro Crisp , Duo Max , Smart Wifi
Upgrade 2: Duo Plus, Duo SV
Upgrade 1: Duo Nova , Duo Viva
Standard Model: Duo
Budget Model: Lux
* * *
At this point, I want to include a brief introduction for new Instant Pot shoppers and a quick guide to the different Instant Pot models:
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Once You Get Your New Instant Pot Out Of The Box What Should You Cook First
Obviously, if youve only done a water test, you havent cooked anything except water.
So, now, its time to get to the really fun part! What to cook first in your new Instant Pot?
This is easy, inexpensive, and requires no prep work.
There is GREAT debate on the best way to cook hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot in the Facebook groups and online. Many folks swear by the 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 methods. The eggs pressure cook for 5 minutes, naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, followed by a 5-minute bath in ice water.
Personally, I found that those methods ALWAYS over-cooked my hard-boiled eggs. Then, I realized it was likely because I was using non-refrigerated, farm fresh eggs.
Of course it takes less time to cook a cold egg than to cook a room temperature egg!
So, I came up with my No-Fail Method for Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot specifically for farm fresh eggs that are stored at room temperature.
Regardless of the temperature of your eggs, I recommend beginning your Instant Pot journey with hard-boiled eggs. Use my method for farm-fresh eggs use the 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 method for refrigerated eggs.
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What Is An Instant Pot And Why Is Everyone Obsessed With It
Imagine having a slow cooker that also functions as a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer, and a yogurt maker. Thats the Instant Pot. Its simply an electric pot that lets you cook fast or slow. People love it because its a convenient, time-saving device that lets them quickly cook dinner without having to keep an eye on the stove.
The Classic Duo Model
If you are looking for a model that has all the great functions of an Instant Pot without any extra bells and whistles, opt for the best-selling Duo. It comes in the 3-, 6- and 8-quart sizes and has 13 one-touch programs including soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, slow cook, sauté, rice, porridge, steam, yogurt, keep warm and pressure cook.
If the yogurt button doesnt appeal to you, the Lux is the most basic Instant Pot model, offering all the functionality of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer and warmer without the yogurt-making feature. We do not recommend making yogurt in the Lux model.
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The Best Instant Pot Models Of 2021 According To Kitchen Appliance Experts
Our side-by-side comparison of Instant Pots makes it super simple.
If youre thinking of jumping on the Instant Pot bandwagon but feel intimidated by the number of multi-cooker models available, we don’t blame you. While most Instant Pots are similar in terms of size options and wattage, the built-in heat and pressure levels along with the smart program settings vary from model to model.
Luckily, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchen Appliance and Technology Lab is here to help parse through those differences so you can find the best option for your household. We evaluate these multi-cookers for how well they pressure cook and slow cook a beef stew. We also evaluate their ability to evenly brown meat and make rice, including how quickly they came up to pressure and released pressure both quickly and naturally. We check each multi-cooker’s ease of use, including how intuitive and easy-to-read the controls are, the variety of settings offered, how easy it is to clean the cooking insert, and the clarity of the owner’s manual. Overall, our top Instant Pot recommendations are:
- Pressure cooks on low and high for more control
- No settings for sterilizing or making eggs or cakes
Best Instant Pot for Beginners
Is An Instant Pot Really Worth It
Theres no denying an Instant Pot is a great kitchen appliance but you may be wondering if its really worth it? Or will it simply end up as another kitchen gadget that languishes on your countertop gathering dust.
Its important to remember that while Instant Pots offer a multitude of cooking methods, many of which mean you no longer need to use an oven or a hob, they cant cook everything. For example, theyre not an option if you regularly prepare pasta, noodles or stir frys. And while some do come with lids that can air fry, we found making fries in an Instant Pot wasnt as good as using one of the best air fryers.
At the same time, you cant just pop the lid off and check the dish youre cooking, as you would when using the hob, the oven or a slow cooker. Youll need to release the pressure, effectively stopping cooking, and detach the lid. Then if the dish isnt ready, youll need to start cooking again.
Similarly, an Instant Pot can certainly shave a few hours off cooking stews, ribs and other dishes that usually take the best part of a day to cook, however with dishes like rice or steaming vegetables the time saving is minimal, which may mean an Instant Pot isnt worth the investment.
However, if youre looking to save space in your kitchen by replacing several gadgets with just one, or you are looking to broaden the repertoire of dishes you cook, without having to research and learn new cooking skills, an Instant Pot will more than prove useful.
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Best For Singles: Instant Pot Duo Mini 3
Capacity: 3 quarts | Dimensions : 11.8 x 10.5 x 11 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Programs: 11
With the larger sizes, buyers planning to cook primarily for themselves may wind up with more leftovers than theyd prefer. Thats why the Instant Pot 3-quart Duo Miniwhich packs all of the perks of the standard Duo into a compact packageis such a phenomenal choice for solo diners.
Since it’s less than a foot tall and weighs about 8 pounds, the small size makes it simple to store no matter what size kitchen you have. But it doesnt hold back on functions. It has all but two of the same program features as the larger Duos, and its just as easy to clean.
Capacity: 6 quarts | Dimensions : 13.2 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches | Weight: 11.5 pounds | Programs: 13
The benefits of smart technology center around convenience. With the push of one app icon or a verbal command to Alexa or Siri, you can accomplish a wide swath of tasks. And, if you decide to purchase a smart multi-cooker like the Instant Pot Smart WiFi model, then you can add cooking a satisfying meal to the list of easy-to-complete necessities.
The New Instant Pot Smart Multi
I had never used an Instant Pot or any pressure cooker before. I’m a tried-and-true slow cooker fan who thought everything good in life had to be cooked low and slow. So the idea of great meals being cooked in mere minutes felt too good to be true. But the Instant Pot Pro Plus changed my view on cooking forever.
The new multi-cooker from Instant Pot is a 10-in-1 appliance that acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, warmer, canning pot, sous vide, and NutriBoost. But what sets the new Instant Pot Pro Plus apart from other Instant Pots is its smart cooking functionality thanks to the new Instant Brands Connect app.
If you’re thinking, “Who needs a smart multi-cooker?” you’re not alone. I had the same thoughts. That was, until I used it.
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The Best Instant Pot For You: A Comprehensive Guide To Every Size And Model
All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Youve heard the hype, read the articles, perused the recipes, and come to the conclusion that you absolutely need an Instant Pot . But finding the best Instant Pot model for your unique cooking needs is a more involved task than it may seem. This buying guide for the beloved kitchen appliance has the answer to every anxious Instant Pot question you may have and will help you determine which of the many varieties is right for you.
Though every Instant Pot model has the same basic multi-cooking functionality that made it a household favorite, some are more versatile than others. Most of the models are very similar in terms of pot size, wattage, and voltage where they differ is mostly in the softwarehow many smart programs are built in with preset heat, time, and pressure levels.
Best Instant Pot: Instant Pot Duo 8
Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo 8-quart:
When people think of an Instant Pot, the Duo is usually the model that comes to mind. The 8-quart Instant Pot Duo stands out for its features and affordable price point. Thats not to say other models arent solid devices, because many other Instant Pots are excellent multifunctional pressure cookers. However, the Duo strikes a perfect balance between affordability and the features it offers.
The Instant Pot Duo combines a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer into one convenient package. It boasts a variety of user-friendly features, ranging from a slot on the handle to place the lid to a steaming rack with handles so you can easily remove it from the pot.
The 8-quart Duo can hold a lot of ingredients. You can easily fit a whole chicken into this Instant Pot, brown 3 to 4 pounds of frozen ground beef, or cook a large roast. If you like making stews, this pot can hold enough to feed eight to 12 people. For dessert lovers, the 8-quart Duo can easily fit an 8-inch springform pan and some 9-inch round pans.
Check out our full review of the Instant Pot Duo
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Are Instant Pots Really Instant
Although referred to as an instant pot, the kitchen device doesn’t cook foods in a flash like a microwave would. Multi-cookers do significantly reduce cooking time when you choose the pressure-cook setting but still often require at least 20 minutes of cook time or longer.
When working with a recipe that calls for the multi-cooker to cook something for 15 minutes, for example, you’ll need to add time for the pot to heat up and build pressure. Most multi-cookers take five to ten minutes from the time you switch them on to preheat and start cooking. Therefore, adjust the recipe cook time to include the time the pot takes to build pressure.
Instant Pot 3 Quart Vs 6 Quart
There is no question about Instant Pot being a useful device in your kitchen. But if you are planning to buy it, confusion will arise in your mind regarding its size. Also, will the size affect the taste and quality of the food cooked in it? All these similar questions make it difficult to choose the perfect size for your needs. In this article, we will discuss every aspect and differences between the two pot sizes. So, without any further wait, lets dive into it,
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Best For Slow Cooking: Instant Pot Ultra 10
The Ultra series offers upgrades from the previous models. You can cook delicious dishes like chicken breasts, instant pot mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and more with high and low pressure for up to six hours, two hours more than the Lux and Duo series. It’s available in 3-quart , 6-quart and 8-quart sizes and is the best Instant Pot for slow cooking.
The Ultra name comes from the added option to fine tune parameters like temperature. You can specify temperature to a single degree from 104 to 208 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also dial in specific values for cooking time, pressure level and delay time.
Programs included: Rice, Bean/Chili, Meat/Stew, Multigrain, Porridge, Soup/Broth, Cake, Sterilize, Steam, Egg, Manual or Pressure Cooking, and Ultra
What it doesn’t have: Poultry and Canning