All About: The Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)

The instant pot. It’s the latest and greatest. What is it?

This cooking appliance is on the rise. I started hearing about it and waited, thinking it would be a flash in the proverbial kitchen trend pan. It’s here to stay, and here’s why I’m a walking, talking, advertisement for it!

How does it work?

  • The instant pot is a pressure cooker. The electric heating unit in the bottom has a heating element, there’s a metal pan inside and the lid contains a rubber gasket and sliding lid with a pressure release valve.
  • Basically, when heat is applied to the contents of the pressure cooker, the liquid turns into gas vapors and becomes trapped (thanks to the fancy pressure holding lid.) The vapors force food to cook very quickly (and flavors to develop!)

 

What does the Instant Pot cook best?

  • Anything you can cook in a crock pot, you can cook in an Instant Pot. Only faster thanks to the pressure. Soups, stews, roasts, fruits, vegetables, purees, one pot meals.
  • Some instant pots have yogurt maker settings or rice settings!
  • The Instant Pot can also sauté. All those recipes that ask you to sauté or brown something before you place it in a slow cooker just got a lot easier (with less clean up.)
  • Guess what: You don’t have to defrost meat before putting it in the instant pot. That’s right! You heard me! Just whack it in and have a fully cooked meal in about an hour.

What are the drawbacks?

  • Getting used to the Instant Pot can be intimidating. There’s a lot of settings and sliding the lid on correctly can be tricky for those who are technically challenged.
  • Loud Steam escapes once you release pressure using the valve on the lid. This can be scary for some people. (A lot of us grew up hearing stories of how pressure cookers exploded, there’s even a picture floating around of an Instant Pot having exploded a kitchen. I’ve never, ever, had problems. Just follow the recipe and you’ll be just fine.)
  • The Instant Pot gets very, very hot to the touch and can burn you. So long as it’s back on the counter away from any curious hands, it’s safe.
  • If you don’t use enough liquid, the bottom of your pot will burn leaving you with a heck of a mess to clean. I recommend getting an Instant Pot with a stainless-steel insert for this reason (easier to scrub and you won’t damage a nonstick coating.)
  • People that misuse their Instant Pot and don’t follow the directions can have hot liquid spray all over the place when using the release valve of their Instant Pot. (Read the directions, never use a quick release for soup.)
  • You can’t open this, stir the lid to check, and continue cooking. Once the timer’s set, you have to wait.
  • This is not a good gift for people who are not …technologically savvy. I watched a YouTube video and that was all I needed to get cooking.

Should I buy this?

  • If you are too busy to defrost and need dinner in an hour (and can reset the time on a microwave- technologically savvy), yes!

Need Recipes?

Here’s my entire Instant Pot section! https://cooking1handed.com/tag/instapot/

You’ll find all my recipes for the Instant Pot are also for the Crock Pot. Your cooking options are endless.

Want a quick tip for converting Crock Pot recipes to Instant Pot?

Crock pot recipe instructs 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low= Instant Pot cook on manual pressure, pin set to sealing for 30 minutes. Allow to natural release.

Thanks to Amy from Cooking 1 Handed for all her help with the Instant Pot.  She wrote an equally helpful article on crock pots here.

 

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Post Author: The Food Brood

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