The Instant Pot is all the rage this year and it seems everyone is getting one. But, what is an Instant Pot? Below, you will find out what it is, what it does, and all the basics you should know before getting one!
What is an Instant Pot
An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It works in much the same way as a traditional pressure cooker except it comes with sensors and self-regulating features for temperature and pressure. So, you can basically dump in your food, set it, and forget about it until the timer goes off.
What Does It Do
These pressure cookers do more than just pressure cook. In fact, an Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that you can use for a variety of different things. It can be:
● A slow cooker
● Pressure cooker
● Rice cooker
● A steamer
● A stove top with the saute/browning feature
● Yogurt maker
Additionally, most electric pressure cookers have preset buttons for pressure cooking such as poultry or stew.
Are Instant Pots Safe
Many people have expressed fear that their pressure cooker could blow up, or that it isn’t safe. Unlike a traditional pressure cooker that has to be watched so it doesn’t reach dangerous pressure levels, an Instant Pot has 10 different safety features to help prevent any type of mishap. Here are just a few of those safety features:
● Temperature control
● Safety Lid Lock
● Anti-blockage vent
● Pressure control
With these safety features in place, your pressure cooker is very safe.
How do You Operate a Pressure Cooker
Electric Pressure Cookers are actually really easy to use and operate. However, operating it depends on what you are using it to do. For most recipes, you will either use the pressure cooker feature or the slow-cooker feature.
To pressure cook, you must make sure you have at least a cup of water in the bottom of the inner pot. You want to make sure the valve on the top of the pot is set to sealing. Then, you either use the preset buttons to begin the process, or you can manually set the time. Push the button, set the time, and wait for the timer.
To slow-cook, you use it just like you would a crock pot. Push the slow-cooker button, set the hours you would like it to cook, and leave it be.
What is Natural Release
There are two ways to release the pressure from your pot once it is done. You can quickly release it or naturally release it.
Quick Release: This is letting the pressure out quickly or immediately. To do a quick release, you will move the valve on top of the pot to venting instead of sealing. The pressure is released through the valve and the pot will unlock in just a couple minutes.
You must be extremely careful using quick release as it forces the hot air out of the now open vent. Do not put your hands or face near the vent when it’s releasing the built up steam.
Natural Release: This is where you allow the pressure to remain in the pot for a certain amount of time or release completely on its own. You do not move the valve. To naturally release, you just let the pot sit after it is done. The pressure will gradually release from the pot in about 15-20 minutes. Then, the lid will unlock. You would use this method for foods that may need additional cook time such as with meat.
What Can You Cook in an Instant Pot
The question is not what can you cook in your multi-cooker, but what can’t you cook? You can cook meat, stews, soups, rice, yogurt, eggs, pasta, and the list just keeps going. In fact, you can even cook cakes such as cheesecake in your Instant Pot.
If you are wondering if it can be cooked, type Instant Pot (whatever you want to cook) into the Google search engine and you will most likely find a recipe for it.
How to Clean Your Instant Pot
According to the Instant Pot website, all parts of the pressure cooker except the cooker base should be cleaned. In fact, every part is dishwasher safe which includes the stainless steel inner pot, the lid, the sealing ring, and the steam rack. Once the pressure cooker is washed, it must be dry before storing. Be sure to wash the anti-block shield after each use and reinstall it.
How to Store Your Instant Pot
You can store your Multi-cooker on the counter, in a cupboard, or anywhere that you can find space for it. The only important thing to remember when storing it is to store it with the lid upside down on the inner pot so it can air out. If you put the lid on it, you may have some funky smells. Also, make sure you unplug the pressure cooker after every use.
Easy Instant Pot Dinners to Try
If you already have an Instant Pot, but aren’t sure what to make in it, try some of these easy Instant Pot Dinners:
- Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
- Original Mississippi Roast (slow-cooker setting)
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Chicken and Potatoes
- Instant Pot Steak Honey Garlic Bites
- Curry Chicken and Rice
Or, sign up for our newsletter on Easy Instant Pot Dinners, and be the first to know when new recipes are posted!
Do you have any other questions about the Instant Pot? If so, share them in the comments below!