What is an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is a 7-in-1 multifunctional pan that replaces many appliances in your kitchen. You can use it as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, casserole, pressure cooker, warming container, and even as a yogurt maker.
You know the feeling when you come home after a long day at work and don’t feel like cooking at all? I then quickly put a pizza in the oven or make fries in the air fryer. At those moments I don’t make the healthiest choice. Does that sound familiar? Then the Instant Pot offers a solution.
Who is the Instant Pot intended for?
As early as 2009, a number of Canadian techies noticed that people are leading increasingly busy lives, which means that they spend less time cooking healthy meals. “There must be another way,” they thought. Thus the Instant Pot was born.
The Instant Pot is designed to make cooking faster and easier. It is therefore ideal for those who do not have much time to spend in the kitchen. Nevertheless, the Instant Pot is also a good addition to the kitchen for the real hobby chef.
It works as 7 appliances in 1: slow cooker, rice cooker, frying pan, pressure cooker, steam cooker, warming container, and as a yogurt maker.
The lid of the Instant Pot
Before you get started with an Instant Pot, it is important to understand the lid. This lid is the secret of the Instant Pot. Designed with a silicone ring, it snaps securely onto the pan allowing the pressure and temperature to increase rapidly.
The lid itself has a valve that you can set to “venting” or “sealing”. Your recipe always indicates which setting you need.
The ” venting ” position allows the steam to escape a little. Make sure you never hang your body above this, because that steam is red-hot!
With the “sealing” position, no air can escape. This creates a high pressure in the pan, which means that many ingredients are cooked in no time. In this position the metal pin next to the valve also shoots up. This means that there is a high pressure on the lid. Is the pressure easing? Then the pin drops back down.
After cooking with the lid on “sealing”, there is always a high pressure on the pan, causing the metal pin to stick up. You have to lower this before you can remove the lid. This can be done in two ways:
- Natural release: This means that you just wait for the pin to drop back down by itself. Depending on the recipe, this can take 10 minutes to sometimes even 45 minutes.
- Quick-release: With this technique, you push the valve as quickly as possible from the “sealing” to the “venting” position. You have to be very careful here because the steam shoots out quickly in one go. If this touches your hand, bandage yourself, so be extra careful if you choose this.
How do you use an Instant Pot?
Are you curious about what the various functions of the Instant Pot do for you, and how you can get started with them? Read more about the 7 main functions below.
A slow cooker is all the rage these days and it is, therefore, one of the most used functions of the Instant Pot. Due to the operation of a slow cooker, you allow a dish to cook at a low temperature over a longer period of time.
Do you want to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker? Then follow these steps:
- Fill the Instant Pot with all the ingredients from your slow cooker recipe
- Close the lid and set it to the “ vent” position
- Press “slow cook”; the machine will now indicate a time of 4 hours
- Click on plus or minus to adjust this time to your recipe, after which the device starts automatically after 10 seconds
- When the time is up, the Instant Pot will automatically switch to “keep warm ”. You can disable this by pressing “cancel”
If you don’t use the other functions of the Instant Pot, it might be better to buy a separate slow cooker. The best slow cooker can even cook sous vide!
Many people underestimate the convenience of a rice cooker. I did that myself, but now that I bought one I never want anything else. With a rice cooker, you no longer have to worry about the water boiling over or the rice sticking to the bottom of your pan.
The rice cooker function on the Instant Pot has an additional advantage: the cooking program is adjusted to the weight of the contents! This way you can create airy rice in no time.
How to use the Instant Pot as a rice cooker:
- Fill the pot with the recommended amount of rice and water; for most white rice, the water-to-rice ratio is 2:1.
- Click on the “ rice” button, now the rice is cooked under low pressure by default for 4 to 12 minutes
- When the device is ready, it also automatically jumps to “keep warm”
Because the pan in the Instant Pot is made of stainless steel, it actually works just like a frying pan. You do this with the “sauté” button. This feature is especially useful for searing meat before adding it to your slow cooker recipe. 🤤
To use the sauté function, follow these steps:
- Put some butter or oil in the Instant Pot
- Click on the “sauté” button, the time will automatically jump to 30 minutes
- You can no longer adjust this time, but you can use the plus and minus to change the temperature
- After 30 minutes, it automatically switches to ‘keep warm
A pressure cooker (also called a pressure cooker) is ideal for quickly getting a meal on the table. Due to the high pressure in the pan, water boils at a higher temperature, so that ingredients are cooked faster.
For example, you can use a pressure cooker to quickly cook pasta or rice, but also to quickly prepare a delicious chili or curry. Here you will find some tasty instant pot recipes.
The setting is as follows:
- Place all ingredients in your Instant Pot, close the lid, and set the valve to “sealing”.
- Click on the button “pressure cook” (or “manual” on older models)
- If necessary, use the “pressure level” button to change the pressure from high to low or vice versa; always follow the recipe for this
- The Instant Pot will now display a time that you can adjust with the “plus” or “minus” button. The program will start automatically after 10 seconds
- When the time is up, the device automatically switches to the “keep warm” mode.
- Now you have to wait until the metal pin is no longer up or use the “quick release” technique. Scroll up to the explanation about the lid of the Instant Pot if you are not already familiar with this.
By steaming vegetables, you not only retain more nutrients but also more flavor. The handy thing about the steam function is that you don’t have to cut vegetables before you steam them. You can easily put whole broccoli in the pan!
Every Instant Pot comes with a special steaming rack. Here’s how you can get started right away:
- Fill your Instant Pot with a layer of water or stock (your recipe will tell you exactly how much you need)
- Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”.
- Click on the “steam” button. Now the appliance automatically jumps to high-pressure cooking for 10 minutes. You can change this with the “plus” and “minus” buttons.
- After 10 seconds the program starts and after it has finished the appliance switches back to the “keep warm” mode.
- Be careful when opening the lid so you don’t burn yourself!
A warming holder often comes in handy when you are cooking an extensive meal, and some things are ready earlier than others. We can be brief about this feature :
- Click twice in succession on the “keep warm/cancel” button. Do you only click once? Then the device switches off.
- After clicking twice, a time of 10 hours will appear on the screen. You can adjust this with the “plus” and “minus” buttons.
Not many people buy the Instant Pot especially for the yogurt maker function, but it is still a fun function to experiment with. In addition, yogurt is very healthy. According to the nutrition center, eating yogurt lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 15%.
There are many different yogurt recipes available on the internet. In general, it works like this:
- Add milk to the Instant Pot, close the lid and turn the valve to “sealing”
- Now click on the “yogurt” button and then on “adjust”. Now the word “boil” appears on the screen. Let the appliance run through this program and then carefully remove the lid
- Use a thermometer to measure the temperature. Wait for the milk to cool to about 40 degrees. Anything less than that doesn’t matter, but if the milk is warmer than 45 degrees, the good bacteria will die.
- Now you add the probiotics. Depending on your recipe, these could be capsules or just a little yogurt you buy at the grocery store.
- Now close the lid again but this time set the valve to “venting”
- Click on the “yogurt” button again. The Instant Pot will indicate a time of 8 hours and will start automatically after 10 seconds.
- After these 8 hours, your yogurt is ready to be put in the fridge. For best results, let the yogurt cool completely.
There are other buttons on the Instant Pot that we haven’t discussed now, such as “soup”, “porridge” and “poultry”. These are all Instant Pot presets.
It is not necessary to know them all by heart because you can read exactly on the screen what each button does.
For example, if you click on “soup”, you read 30 minutes and high pressure. With the button “pressure” you can adjust the pressure from high to low, and with the “plus” and “minus” you can change the time. This applies to any preset.
Disadvantages of an Instant Pot
For me, the biggest drawback is that the lid of the Instant pot is not transparent. I myself am someone who is constantly stirring the pan and always keeps an eye on whether everything is going well. So you have to learn to let go.
Another common problem is that the silicone ring around the lid retains odor, especially when you use a lot of herbs and spices in the kitchen. Fortunately, there is a trick that quickly solves this problem:
- Fill your Instant Pot with a large cup of vinegar
- Close the lid and set the valve to “sealing”
- Use the steam function for 2 minutes
- Let the Instant Pot cool down and rinse everything out with water
- Make sure the ring is completely dry before using it again
Finally, some users find that the Instant Pot doesn’t make cooking faster. This is because you often have to cut a lot of ingredients. That’s a time-consuming job – unless you have a handy food processor. So the Instant Pot has more advantages than disadvantages. Not convinced yet? Watch the video below to see how easy it is to prepare a meal quickly and easily with the Instant Pot!
In short, the Instant Pot makes cooking easier and maybe even more fun. It’s not always faster, but in general, you don’t have to worry about your dish once all the ingredients are in the pan.
The versatility of functions allows you to prepare all kinds of dishes, making the possibilities endless. So take the plunge, get started, and let us know your favorite recipes in the comments! 😉