The instant pot is an amazing kitchen appliance. If you don’t have one, make that your next purchase. You will not regret it! It is, in my opinion, one of the most versatile kitchen gadgets out there. You can use it as a frying pan, sauce pan, steamer, Dutch oven, rice cooker, slow cooker, egg cooker, yogurt machine, and of course, a pressure cooker, just to mention a few.
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Why Should I Buy An Instant Pot?
The simple answer is: Why not?
I have yet to find one stovetop dish that the instant pot is unable to handle in less time, with more flavor and less mess.
Depending on the function you use on the instant pot, all of the liquid is contained in the pot when cooking under pressure. So, more of the flavors and nutrients are maintained within it.
Moreover, you can quickly go from sautéing your tempering ingredients to pressure cooking the main vegetables or meat with the press of a button.
You can effortlessly steam any type of vegetable that can fit into the pot while maintaining all of the flavor and tenderness.
In addition, you will save time! Not only do you save time cooking the recipes, you also save time cleaning up after.
Take for an example lasagna. Traditionally you would need a frying pan to brown the meat, a sauce pan to preboil the noodles (unless you use oven ready), and a baking pan to cook the lasagna in. After cooking the lasagna you need to clean the pan and pot and scrape and wash off the burned-in cheese from the baking pan. We all know how much work that is!
Introducing the instant pot: simply brown the meat in the pot using the sauté function, layer in the noodles, sauce and cheese and set it to pressure cook. Voila! The entire dish is done in one pot, and there’s only one pot to clean (in it goes to the dishwasher!).
What Type Of Recipes Can You Make In An Instant Pot?
As mentioned earlier, it seems that the sky is the limit when it comes to what the instant pot can make. Our instant pots (yes plural — we have two) are used daily. Since we purchased the first instant pot, we have not used regular pots and pans more than a couple times per month. The instant pots do all of the work for us.
Almost all stovetop meals we cook are now done in the instant pot.
Almost all stovetop meals we cook are now done in the instant pot. We use it to make all of the recipes you can find in our instant pot section.
As well, any vegetables that need to be steamed are cooked in the instant pot, such as broccoli, sweet potato, bell peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, to name a few.
We cook all types of pasta in it, from penne to farfalle, from rotelle to tagliatelle, from macaroni to… okay, you get the picture.
What Cook Time Should I Use In Comparison To Stovetop?
As a general assumption, for pasta, the pressure cycle should on average be set to half that of a regular stovetop recipe, with another half of that of natural release.
For example, if the stove top cook time for al dente spaghetti is eight minutes, the instant pot should be set to high pressure for four minutes with two minutes of natural release (quick release the remainder).
You may find that you like your pasta more or less cooked and can adjust accordingly the next time you make it. It can take a little trial and error, but once you know your preferences it is a super convenient method that can’t be beat.
This is a general guideline, so if there is a defined cook time in the instant pot recipe, use that. As well, if cooking meat in the instant pot, always use a food thermometer to check that the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.
List Of Common Instant Pot Words And What They Mean
- Deglaze — to remove any food items that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is usually done by adding a 1/4 Cup water to the pot and using a spatula to clear the items from the pot. If the recipe has enough liquid already, the water is omitted.
- Natural Release — to let the pressure reduce without moving the vent cap to venting. This usually takes between 10 – 15 minutes, but can take up to 30 minutes depending on the recipe.
- Quick Release — to release the pressure in the instant pot quickly by moving the vent cap from sealing to venting. The pressure is usually released within one to two minutes, but some recipes (such as soups) may take four to five minutes to release all of the pressure.
- Pressure Level — many instant pots have two pressure settings, low and high. These settings are accessed by pressing the [Pressure Level] button on the control panel. However, most recipes use the high pressure setting, which is also the default level on the instant pot.
- Temperature Level — the temperature of the instant pot can be controlled at three levels – (Less | Normal | More). Most instant pots don’t have a separate button for the temperature setting. Instead, the temperature is adjusted by pressing the selected cook button a few times. As an example, by pressing the Sauté button four times, the temperature is cycled through from Normal, to More, to Less, and back to Normal again.
- Cook Time — the cook time is predefined by each cook setting button, but can be adjusted using the [+] plus and [-] minus buttons on the control panel. You can also press and hold the buttons to automatically increase or decrease the time, although this is a slow process. After the cook time on a cook cycle has been adjusted it will become the default cook time when selected again.
- Keep Warm — this function basically maintains a low heat temperature on the instant pot and can only be turned on or off before or during the cook cycle. When the instant pot has finished the cook cycle and has entered the “keep warm” cycle (the display reads “L0:00”) this button is deactivated. To turn off the Keep Warm function at this point you will have to press the Cancel button.