Chances are, your friends and acquaintances have been raving about the Instant Pot. According to the manufacturer, this handy gadget functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, saute/searing pan, and warming pot all in one. If you’ve just added this multi-purpose appliance to your kitchen arsenal, you may still be learning how to maximize its benefits. Read on for tips on getting the most out of your Instant Pot, and it will soon be your best friend in the kitchen.
13. Initial Test Run
Before you use your Instant Pot for the very first time, you will need to do an initial test run to make sure your appliance is working properly. After filling the inner pot with three cups of water and following the manufacturer instructions for inserting the sealing ring and anti-block shield, add a few eggs to the water. Five minutes later, you will be done with your test run. In addition to an appliance that is ready to go, you will also have some hard boiled eggs to show for it. Congratulations! You just cooked in your Instant Pot for the very first time!
12. Steam Valve Release Settings
When pressure cooking, there are three different ways to release steam from the cooker. Natural release means the pressure releases on its own after the food is cooked. This can take from five to 40 minutes and is good for soups and other liquids. Quick release of steam occurs when you turn the steam release control to the venting position. This is ideal for abruptly ending the cooking of vegetables, fish, or pasta. Avoid burns from the quick release of steam by using a pot holder or silicone oven mitt. Some recipes will instruct you on a combination of natural and quick release venting. Never open the pot until the contents have been safely depressurized.
11. Use Liquid for Pressure Cooking
To harness the power of pressure cooking, you must use water or broth. Pressure cookers work by heating liquids to form steam. In the sealed environment of the pressure cooker, the steam is not allowed to escape. The pressure created in this environment heats the temperature beyond boiling, and the food can cook faster than it otherwise would. This means you can cook food in less time. For a more in-depth explanation of how pressure cooking works, check out this video from Martha Stewart.
10. Slow Cooking
You may love your slow cooker, and the idea of multiple appliances taking up space in your kitchen doesn’t appeal to you. In that case, know that the Instant Pot can handle your slow cooking needs as well. The slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot means you can add your ingredients in the morning and let them cook all day for a delicious slow-cooked meal.
9. Pot in Pot Cooking Method
While pressure cooking requires water, not all meals cooked in the Instant Pot need to be broths and soups. After placing the water in your Instant Pot, add a steam rack and another pot above it, and you will be able to bake a cheesecake or lasagna, steam some veggies, or bake a cake. You can use your metal trivet and oven safe container in your pressure cooker. Alternatively, you can order Instant Pot brand accessories such as an egg steamer rack, springform pan, or steamer basket. Don’t worry about dripping water on your kitchen counter when removing the lid of your pot. Slide the handle of the lid into the grooves of the outer pot handle for clean and easy use.Related: Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers: How Do They Stack Up?
8. Cleaning the Instant Pot
Cleaning up is a breeze with your Instant Pot. After each use, your inner pot and lid can be run through the dishwasher. Purchase an extra inner pot, and you will be able to use your Instant Pot to cook multiple foods consecutively quickly. The Instant Pot company recommends placing small parts like the steam release valves and float valve into a mesh dishwasher bag for cleaning. These parts and the sealing ring are safe to wash on the top rack of your dishwasher after every few uses.
7. Cooking Frozen Food
There is no need to thaw your food before cooking when using the Instant Pot. It is no longer a problem to arrive home from work and realize you have nothing thawed for dinner. Place frozen ingredients directly in your pressure cooker, and you will have a hot meal before you know it. Check out these recipes for delicious Instant Pot meals at the Food Network.Related: 4 Mistakes When Cooking Frozen Vegetables
6. Sauteing Food
You may wonder when to use the saute setting on your Instant Pot. This setting on your appliance means you can sear meat and saute veggies. The bonus is that you can do this in the very same pot you will be using to pressure cook them. Use the saute feature to brown your meat before pressure cooking. If you are making a soup, use this feature to saute your onions, garlic, or mushrooms before adding them to the broth. Using one pot means easier cleanup!
5. Making Stocks and Broths
Use your Instant Pot to make chicken stock, beef stock, and even bone broth. Cook up batches of broths or stocks to use in future recipes and avoid the extra salt and additives found in store-bought broths. Click here to check out Bon Appetit’s recipe for Instant Pot Vegetable Stock.
4. Making Wine
You already know you can use your Instant Pot to sear a steak, steam some veggies, and bake a cheesecake. It only makes sense that you can also use your Instant Pot to make some wine to round out your meal. David Murphy shares his recipe for Instant Pot Wine at foodnservice.com. Murphy works his magic with just grape juice, sugar, a funnel, red wine yeast, clear tape, an Instant Pot, and patience.
3. Popping Popcorn
Pop up some hot, buttery popcorn in your Instant Pot using the saute feature, coconut oil, and butter. Melt the butter and coconut oil using the saute button adjusted to hot. Add popcorn kernels and cover with the glass lid. In about five minutes, the kernels should stop popping, and you can remove the lid to enjoy your snack.
2. Make Rotisserie-Style Chicken at Home
Your Instant Pot can help you cook up a chicken reminiscent of those mouth-watering rotisserie chickens available at the local grocery store. A 2 ½ pound chicken, one lemon, olive oil, seasonings, and chicken broth combine to make a juicy Instant Pot Lemon Rotisserie Chicken from Allrecipes.com. Instant Pot provides a recipe for a “Faux-tisserie Roasted Chicken Dinner” on their website.Related: 20 Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Chicken
1. Get the Recipe App
The folks at Instant Pot are so dedicated to making sure you get the most out of your appliance that they are always looking for ways to make it easier. Be sure to check out their free recipe app containing more than 850 recipes to try. Log on to their website for more recipes and links to approved Instant Pot cookbooks for more tips on using this versatile appliance.Related: Why You Should Pound Chicken Breast Before Cooking