Slow cookers are great. You can make just about anything in them. However, there is a kitchen appliance that is sure to take the place of your slow cooker in that prominent area of your kitchen. The Instant Pot is that kitchen gadget. You probably won’t need anything else when you have the Instant Pot. It is seven appliances in one. Yes, you read right. It’s seven kitchen appliances in one gadget. This is a kitchen workhorse. It is easy to use, functional and easy to clean.
You are not convinced? This is what you need to know:
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What is an Instant Pot?
The quick answer the Instant Pot is seven kitchen appliances in one. It’s a:
- Rice cooker
- Pressure cooker
- Slow cooker
- Yogurt maker
- Saute pan
Yes, the pressure cooker builds steam to cook food. Just in case the pressure cooker part of the Instant Pot has you worried, it has 10 safety mechanisms. So, as long as you use it correctly, there’s no risk of any fire or explosion. Another thing about the pressure cooker is you need at least one cup of liquid in your Instant Pot when using it. Always check that the lid is properly closed and the steam release handle is in the sealed prior to cooking.
When using the Instant Pot, you have two options to release the steam pressure. The first option is the “natural pressure release” feature. To release the steam naturally, keep the steam handle in the sealed position and wait about 8 to 25 minutes. The number of minutes needed to release the pot’s steam depends on the amount of liquid in the pot.
The second option is the “quick release” feature. To employ the “quick release” feature, turn the steam release handle to the vent setting. The steam is quickly released. Wear a silicone mitt on your hand so you do not scald your hand while the steam is released.
Never fill the pot over? full. Any time you overfill, you risk the vent pipes in your Instant Pot clogging because of too much pressure. Leave the pot at least half full when cooking food such as beans and rice. These foods need plenty of space to expand.
You are Going to Love the Accessories that Come with the Instant Pot.
Guess what your Instant Pot comes with? Plenty of accessories. It includes a:
- Stainless steel rack with handle
- Rice paddle
- Measuring cup
- Soup spoon
The purpose of the steam rack is to prevent the water from soaking your food. The steam rack is perfect for foods like hard boiled eggs, corn on the cob and potatoes. The steam rack can also be used to hold non-liquid food above the water.
Using Your Instant Pot
You have about nine settings on your Instant Pot you should know about. These are:
Slow Cook: This slow cooker works like any other slow cooker with features like warm, normal and high. The cooker reverts to normal after four hours of cooking.
Manual and Pressure: The manual button on the Instant Pot means you can input the minutes you want to cook your food. You also have pre-set buttons for different foods to save time inputting numbers.
To start your Instant Pot, pressure the manual button and pressure button to select low or high pressure. Press the timer and use the up or down button to program the cooking time. Your Instant Pot will start in 10 seconds. You will hear three beeps.
Sauté: The feature is used for pre-cooking garlic or onions and browning meat. To sear, increase the heat. To simmer, use less heat. When using this feature, keep the lid off the pot.
Adjust: The adjust feature allows you to move the temperature between normal, less or more.
Steam: Use the steam feature by pressing the steam button. Use the steam rack to prevent food from coming in contact with the bottom of the pot.
Keep/Cancel: You can stop the Instant Pot from cooking at any time using the cancel feature. Keep food warm using the same button. You can keep the food warm from 133 to 167 degrees.
Rice: The rice feature is completely automatic. The ratio of rice to liquid is 1:2.
Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Multigrain, Porridge: All these buttons are pre-programmed into your Instant Pot to make cooking easier.
Soup: soup button cooks with high pressure for 30 minutes. You can move the button up or down to decrease or increase the cooking time.
Ready, Set–Let’s Cook
What do you want to cook first? Is it spaghetti squash, hard boiled eggs, whole chicken or baked potatoes? The following is some little inspiration to get you started. The following are the Instant Pot models available. Most are the most popular models:
Instant Pot IP-DUO 60 7-in-1 Multifunctional Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt
The most popular model is the Instant Pot IP-DUO60. This is a 7-in-1 appliance. It combines the features already discussed. It also has 14 programs ranging from poultry to soup. Also, this Instant Pot cooks at low and high pressures. This gives you the option of cooking food slowly or quickly.
Instant Pot IP-DUO Plus60 9-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt
This model is the amped version of the original. The Plus60 is slightly more expensive. It has some additional features like ways to bake a cake. The Instant Pot has other features like blue LCD screen display and the inner bowl has max/min lines.
Instant Pot Ultra Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt
The Ultra Instant Pot lets you set custom cook your times, pressures and temperatures. It also has cake, egg and sterilize functions. The model also includes an automatic altitude adjustment and cooking indicator screen. The screen shows you are you are in the cooking process.
Instant Pot IP-DUO80 7-in-1 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt
If you have a large family or love to cook large meals, you definitely want this Instant Pot model. You’ll pay more, but you get a lot more space too. This has all of the basic features, but in a bigger size.
Instant Pot IP-Smart Bluetooth-Enabled Multifunctional Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt
You want virtual control over your Instant Pot, then this model is for you. It has all the basic functions but connects via your smartphone or Bluetooth. This allows you to monitor and program your cooking without constantly going to the kitchen. This is done by using the Instant Pot app.
Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt
This updated model, the IP-LUX60 V3, is the most affordable of all the Instant Pot models. It is updated to add egg and cake cooking programs. It doesn’t have the programmable settings to cook poultry and other dishes. This means you’ll have to manually program your cooking times. Also, it doesn’t have accessories like a cord rack and condensation collector.