An Instant Pot is a multi-functional cooking pot. It can be used in many ways but is most often used as a slow-cooker or a rice-cooker. Many Instant Pot recipe books have instructions on how to cook everything from steak, chicken, and vegetables, to pancakes and mac & cheese, making this a very versatile kitchen appliance.
The Instant Pot is a worthwhile investment for your kitchen, especially if you regularly use crock pots and pressure cookers, as the Instant Pot can do all this and more in one appliance. The Instant Pot will definitely save you time and provide you with the means to expand your cooking repertoire all in one pot!
If you are familiar with using a crockpot or a pressure cooker, you will love the Instant Pot. If you are a dedicated user of either of these two cooking appliances, then you will be very impressed by the versatility of the Instant Pot. Even though the cooking methods may seem similar, the result is completely different. The Instant Pot will offer you much more flexibility in the kitchen than what a stand-alone crockpot or pressure cooker can.
What Is An Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is an electric cooking pot with numerous built-in features that not only help you to prepare wonderful meals but also help to reduce the time that you spend in the kitchen. The Instant Pot effectively replaces seven well know kitchen appliances. If you buy an Instant Pot, you will no longer need a conventional pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer, a yogurt maker, a warmer, or a sauté pan.
The Instant Pot has a one-touch control pad on the front which controls the appliance. Many Instant Pots have up to 15 pre-set cooking programs that take away all the stress of having to work out how long to cook your favorite meal – the Instant Pot does all the thinking for you.
The Instant Pot is the ultimate convenience cooking pot! It may require an extra 15 minutes of cooking time for the machine to come up to pressure for fast cooking, but once the heat is correct, the actual cooking time is reduced by about 70 percent.
The original Instant Pot is a brand all on its own, but many manufactures offer their own similar style pots under different brands. These appliances do vary in what they have to offer; for example, the Instant Pot has a slow-cooker function, while many other brands do not.
This multi-cooker is designed to cook almost anything that you and your family like to eat. It can produce tasty slow-cooked stews as well as tender, perfectly cooked meat.
Some Instant Pots have the features to bake cakes, cook eggs, sauté vegetables, and make yogurt, all in one electric pot.
An added function to the Instant Pot is the pre-set timing function. Pre-set your Instant Pot to start cooking your food at a certain time of the day and have a tasty, warm meal ready for you when you get home at the end of a long day – it has sensors and a self-regulating feature for temperature and pressure, which reduces the likelihood of overcooked or burnt food.
The Instant Pot has an automatic keep-warm setting, which aids in food safety by keeping your food warm and out of the danger zone of between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, which is where bacteria breeds.
The Instant Pot range includes various size models with different features:
- Duo Classic 7 in 1 – Pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and warmer
- Duo Nova 7 in 1 – Best for beginners
- Duo Evo Plus 10 in 1 – Most innovative
- Duo Crisp 11 in 1 – Includes an air fryer
- Ultra 10 in 1 – Best for the Home Chef
- Max 9 in 1 – Best for home canning and sterilizing
- Duo Plus 9 in 1 – Best for parents
- Lux 6 in 1 – Best basic
- Smart WiFi Chef 9 in 1 – Best for the Tech Chef
Sizes And Materials
The Instant Pot was designed by Canadians and is extensively used throughout North America and Europe. The electrical configurations are found in the 110v and 220v markets.
There are many different size Instant Pots, each with different features and designs. They range in size from 3-quart to 8-quart Pots.
The 6-quart size Instant Pot was recently voted the best overall Instant Pot by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Although it does not have settings for sterilizing or making eggs or cakes, it was judged to be the most practical option for a decent-size meal without taking up too much counter space.
The Instant Pot is intentionally designed to replace at least 6 kitchen appliances so it will reduce clutter and not take up too much space on your countertop.
The Instant Pot has an outer pot or base, a stainless-steel inner pot, and a lid. Each lid has a silicone gasket, which prevents steam from escaping and which helps regulate pressure in the pot – the gasket can be replaced if damaged. All items have built-in safety mechanisms to prevent any accidents in the kitchen.
As an additional safety feature, the Instant Pot has a floating valve – this is an indicator that pops up while the food is cooking when it’s unsafe to open the lid. The lid will automatically lock when it is at a dangerous pressure level. The steam can be released using either the quick release feature, which ejects steam quickly from the pot, or the natural release feature, which releases steam slowly over time.
The Instant Pot’s small footprint does not take up a lot of countertop space. The 3- and 6-quart size pots should fit comfortably on any standard counter space. The 8- and 10-quart pots are taller and wider, so they may need a bigger space. If you have no available space other than standing the pot on top of the stove, make certain that your stove is switched off at the main plug, and stand the pot on a wooden cutting board for extra safety.
Cooking Methods Used By The Instant Pot
For conventional cooking, pots of various sizes are used on the stovetop, or pans are used for roasting and baking inside the oven. The Instant Pot combines these pots and pans into one easy to use appliance which can be simply plugged in, switched on, and ready to use in much less time than what it takes to heat up an oven.
To obtain the same cooking results as conventional cooking pots and pans, use the following guide to achieve the required results:
- Low-Pressure Valve-Closed Equivalent to Medium heat on the stovetop
- High-Pressure Valve-Closed Equivalent to High heat on the stovetop
- Low-Pressure Valve-Open Equivalent to medium heat with tight lid cover on the stovetop
- High-Pressure Valve-Open Equivalent to High heat with tight lid cover on the stovetop
- Sear Lid-Open Equivalent to Frying on high heat on the stovetop
While there several accessories available for use with the Instant Pot, there are some which are necessary to use all the accessible functions. The accessories include:
- Trivet – a pot stand for the inner pot
- Steamer Basket – for steaming vegetables
- Silicone lid – perfect for storing leftovers
- Spring foam pan – for Instant Pot cheesecake
- Egg steamer rack – boiling eggs
- Yogurt cups – homemade yogurt
- Silicone molds – for baking muffins
- Spring foam pan – for baking cakes
- Reusable silicone baking cups – poaching eggs, mini cheesecakes
- Stackable steamer pans
- Silicone kitchen tongs
- Silicone gloves
Instant Pots are energy efficient kitchen appliances because the cooking chamber, or inner pot, is completely insulated. This means that the cooker does not need to exert as much energy to heat up as a standard cooking pot would. This feature not only saves you time in the kitchen but also uses less power over a shorter time, thereby saving you money.
I would recommend the Instant Pot for any person who requires a quicker, more convenient mode of cooking.