The Hearty Stew Experiment
Match-up: Instant pot vs. stovetop
Instant PotTotal time: 35 min
Assessment: In the Instant Pot, the chicken breasts browned in the same time as in a frying pan. But it took about 10-15 minutes longer to cook them through, yielding slightly dry chicken .
Verdict: Hard to beat a frying panits easier and achieves better results.
The Steamed Veggie Experiment
Match-up: Instant Pot vs. vegetable steamer
Test Recipe: Steamed fresh broccoli florets, from the Instant pot recipe manual
Instant potTotal time: 12 min
Assessment: The directions for steaming are simple and the broccoli had a bright green colour and was perfectly tender-crisp.
Verdict: Honestly, we could go either way.
Which Instant Pot Is The Best For Beginners
Instant Pot first-timers may want to keep it simple at first, with clear and easy-to-use presets front and center. We recommend the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus for beginners. It’s got an amped-up design to make steam release even safer, which is ideal for those who are intimidated by the thought of pressure cooking. The new plastic cover will prevent any splatters of steam from leaving the lid, and it also makes the process less noisy.
Even for beginners, you’ll want an Instant Pot that will allow you to experiment once you get to grips with it. The Duo Evo Plus is great for this. It has the classic settings such as Slow Cook, Sous Vide, and Pressure Cook available with buttons that line the display, so you won’t have to get involved with the more specific presets for rice, stews, and even cheesecakes until you’re comfortable.
The Duo Evo Plus has 48 settings in total, and the digital display will keep you up-to-date with how your recipe is coming along. If you do want to get more experimental, there’s also the Instant Pot app, although we did miss the inclusion of a recipe book when we tried it hands-on.
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Huge Variety And Selection
The online platforms around the world are growing exponentially in size, and that applies to the selection of products as well. As they get more popular, more and more brands sign up to sell their products on online platforms.
They have a wide range of products across many categories, divided and organized well. This helps you find exactly what you are looking for easily. You may even get software-generated recommendations for products you may need. This includes instant pot cookbooks and many more.
Having a huge variety means that you can assess your preferences and choices. You can choose from a range of alternatives before purchasing. This is often not the case in most physical stores, where there is a limitation to the number of brands.
What’s The Difference Between An Instant Pot A Pressure Cooker And A Slow Cooker
Even though an Instant Pot can function as a pressure cooker, they’re different. To help clear the confusion, our Kitchen Appliance Lab experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute broke down the differences between these terms:
- Pressure cookers offer an easy way to get food on the table fast. Whether it’s an electric pressure cookers or stovetop pressure cooker, a pressure cooker drastically reduces cook time by raising the boiling point of water and trapping the steam. Once your food is done cooking, you can either release the pressure manually with the knob or wait for the steam to naturally release.
- Slow cookers are great for people who want to come home from work to a hot dinner waiting for them. They’re called “set it and forget it” appliances for a reason: Just throw ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and it’ll cook on low heat throughout the day. You can often set them to cook for a certain number of hours and then have it switch to a keep warm setting.
- Crock-Pot is a popular slow cooker brand. People often use its name interchangeably with “slow-cooker,” but the brand also makes multi-cookers.
- Instant Pot is themost popular multi-cooker brand, and basically all of the above!
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The First 10 Meals You Should Make
So, you just got an Instant Pot. Whats next? Dont be that person who bought the pot but hasnt opened it, letting it sit in the box for months. Part of this is lack of time or just the intimidation factor. It can be a little scary when you keep hearing about the first time someones released the pressure valve.
Which Instant Pot Should I Buy On A Budget
If you do want a more budget-friendly model, the Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker is usually the best bet. It’s got 14 cooking modes, which will be a little less complicated for Instant Pot beginners, and it’s also a little lighter, which makes it perfect for lifting in and out of storage.
There is no backlit display or touchscreen controls with this Instant Pot. It has buttons either side of the display for soup, beans, poultry, meat, rice, multigrain, porridge, and steam. The other programs include slow cook, pressure cook, yoghurt, and sauté.
You can choose between a range of capacities when shopping: either three quarts, six quarts, or eight quarts. The price will go up with the size, but when we tested the six-quart model, it was the perfect size for batch-cooking.
It’s a cheaper model, but the Duo V2 7-in-1 will still let you master the art of one-pot cooking. You can sauté your onions and then add in meat and vegetables to pressure cook, locking in flavor in a short time.
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Cons To Consider Before Buying An Instant Pot
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Instant Pot Pro Crisp + Air Fryer
After seeing the success of the Duo Crisp, Instant Pot came out with another model that air fries. The Instant Pot Pro Crisp + Air Fryer is an 11-in-1 pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan, food warmer, sous vide, air fryer, roaster, mini oven, broiler, and dehydrator. It comes with two lids one for pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming, and functions that use liquid, and another lid for drying functions like air frying and dehydrating.
Available in 8 quarts, the Pot is large enough to fit plenty of ingredients. You can make French fries, chicken tenders, and even baked goods. The inner pot is stovetop friendly, while the upgraded lid helps prevent burns. The Pro Crisp looks great, too, with a sleek design and a clean-looking display.
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Its Not Saving That Much Space
Part of the lure of the Instant Pot for me, and for others, is that it replaces a ton of other gadgets. It can serve as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and yogurt maker. Some folks even say it replaces a sauté pan. That sounds like a whole lot of extra space on the counter, right?
Except did you own a rice cooker, yogurt maker, or steamer? I didnt, and after about a month with this new gadget taking up space on my counter, I realized I hadnt save myself any space at all. Id just added yet another gadget.
I already had my Crock-Pot. I already make rice and steam veggies in the same sauce pot. My oven has a warming function. And I cant think of a single time Ive ever been tempted to make my own yogurt.
So has the Instant Pot changed my life? Well, no, not unless you count that I now have an extra thing to trip over in my kitchen.
Im not sure how many disgruntled Instant Pot owners are out there, but I guess only time will tell whether this gadgets popularity will wane, much like the George Foreman Grill .
The Costco Exclusive: Instant Pot Nova Plus
While searching around for Instant Pots, you may have come across mention of the Nova Plus. The Nova Plus was a Costco exclusive that is no longer sold. The Nova Plus had the same functionality and smart programs as the Duo but had the blue LED screen of the Duo Plus. That screen is a small but important detail that provides a superior user experience without the price tag of the Duo Plus. It was originally sold through Costco, but you can find it on Amazon as well.
Instant Pot just got delivered? Put it to use with one of these Instant Pot recipes:
What Is An Instant Pot Exactly
The Instant Pot is simply an electric pressure cooker with multiple functions, which sets it apart from many kitchen appliances with a single purpose like a rice cooker or slow cooker.
If youre brand new to the concept, a pressure cooker electric or stovetop version creates a pressurized environment inside the pot, which cooks food much quicker than the oven or a regular pot on the stove. You can learn about how the Instant Pot works in more detail here.
The Instant Pot is also multi-cooker so in comparison to a gadget like a rice cooker, it has multiple functions instead of a single function. There have been dozens of models since it was first introduced, but they all possess similar features that make the Instant Pot what it is.
So, what does this multi-cooker entail? Well, it has functions of a simple pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and yoghurt machine in one. While previously all of these appliances were sold separately, you can now have them all in one. You can also sauté foods in the Instant Pot, which is done without pressurizing and uses a heating element that sits just underneath an inner pot. It will even keep your food warm once it stops cooking.
The Instant Pot is a self-regulating machine in many ways. You dont have to be watching over it to make sure it turns off when its done cooking. Gone are the days of exploding pressure cookers on the stovetop! The Instant Pot is super safe, efficient and economical.
What Instant Pots Are Available For Black Friday
Personally, I own an Instant Pot Duo. It works great for most things and is one of the cheapest versions available today. Of course, there are more models to choose from now than when I purchased mine. Each option has slightly different features and settings. You can even get a version that acts as an air fryer too if you want an all-in-one kitchen appliance. Here are a few of the different Instant Pots currently available right now.
- < strong> Instant Pot Duo60 6-Quart< /strong> : This is your standard model with some easy to use settings. Its great for soup, stew, meat, rice, and yogurt. Whether you want to pressure cook, slow cook, or saute, its got you covered.
- Instant Pot Viva 6-quart This is your more advanced model and comes with a few extra features worth mentioning. On top of the normal functions, it comes with three new programs: Cake, egg, and sterilize.
- < strong> Instant Pot Duo Crisp:< /strong> If youre looking for the ultimate experience, the Duo Crisp is the way to go. Beyond all of the other functions, this beauty also works as a fully functional air fryer.
You Can Use The Instant Pot To Reheat Food For Real
I was kind of skeptical on how you could reheat food in the Instant Pot at first. I mean, if youre reheating stew or soup or something else thats okay to touch the cooking surface, I can see how it would work. But what if it was a casseroleor shredded chicken wouldnt that make a mess? Or ruin the leftovers?
Solution steamer insert pans. These pans fit in 5, 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot and allow you to put food inside while putting water or something else on the outside. The Instant Pot heats the water, and the water reheats your leftovers. Done!!
Pressure Cooking Is Healthy
Pressure cooking is such a healthy way to cook your family meal. An Instant pot is able to cook foods quicker meaning less time for nutrients to leave the food.
Using a pressure cooker allows a meal to retain a greater percentage of nutrients and vitamins than when you boil vegetables of use a every day streamer.
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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.
How To Use An Instant Pot
As a pressure cooker
Choose a recipe to suit pressure cooking. If cooking meat or chicken, choose cuts that have plenty of fat and connective tissue lean meat and chicken breasts to do not cook well under pressure and will come out stringy. Anything with bones in it will cook well, from whole chickens, wings and thighs, to beef and pork ribs.
Grains and pulses do well but do check the fill line rules if you are starting with dried ingredients. Vegetables cook very quickly in a pressure cooker but will become very tender. We tried it with red cabbage and while the flavour was excellent after five minutes cooking, once wed bubbled off the excess liquid the texture was very soft.
As a slow cooker
You can use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker by cooking with the steam vent open and not using pressure. If you do a lot of slow cooking you might want to buy a glass lid for this function. The Duo has a good base heating element and strong lid seal but you do need to make sure it has got hot enough to cook things through.
As a rice cooker
This function works efficiently for basmati rice but you do need to be careful not to overcook it. We took 2 minutes off the recommended time and soaked the rice for 15 minutes first.
When you take the lid off, the rice will all be at the base and needs fluffing up straight away. If you are a fan of fried rice then youll find this the perfect way to cook it as the rice dries very fast and wont stick at all when fried.
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Instant Pot Is Not Instant
One of the most common questions I see in the Instant Pot communities is: What brand of Instant Pot should I buy? This question actually does not make sense because Instant Pot is a name of a brand.
What people actually mean is: What brand of an electric pressure cooker should I buy? However, Instant Pot brand is now one of the most popular on the market so it became almost synonymous to saying electric pressure cooker.
Now, is Instant Pot instant? No! BIG NO! But naming the brand Not too quick but faster than average cooking pot wouldnt be a good marketing decision so its called Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Recipe Cookbooks Which One To Get
Are you the type a person who likes paper? Or rather a book to hold in your hand. There is a growing library of books solely dedicated to the subject, Instant Pot. So where do you begin? Especially when you are spending money on purchasing these books that take up valuable space on your shelves. Check out our Cookbook Reviews.
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Why Buy An Instant Pot
Instant Pot has become one of the most popular choices in kitchens and with good reason. Its more than just a pressure cooker, giving you access to a range of different cooking methods all from one device. That means you dont need a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer because you can have one device that will do everything.
The combination of pressure and heat can speed up cooking times, so cuts of meat that may take a long time in a slow cooker to get them really tender may cook up to 3x faster in an Instant Pot. There are loads of recipes for Instant Pot too, so youll never be short of inspiration for something to eat.
You can also get your meal cooking without having to worry about leaving the stove on. Just make sure you buy the model that will have a capacity that suits the family youre feeding. If theres only two of you, you might be fine with going smaller, but if theres a lot of hungry mouths or big cuts of meat you want to get into it you might need something larger.
Instant Pot are also easy to clean when youre finished.