I love my Instant Pot!
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The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that has been kicked up a notch. It does so much more than a traditional pressure cooker and has exponentially more features than a crock pot (although I use that too!).
The crockpot in our home is referred to as “The Wife” and she cooked meals multiple times a week in our home. Since I used a crock pot regularly, I had a tendency to break them due to temperature changes and regular wear and tear. My last one broke in the sink after I got done washing it.
I was very frustrated.
I may have cried.
I had meals planned for that week that needed a crockpot, but I was tired of purchasing a new crockpot every year. I needed something more durable. After posting on Facebook about my dilemma, a friend mentioned that she used an Instant Pot. I had never heard of it before, so I started researching.
I was amazed at all the things an Instant Pot could do! What really sold me was how quickly a pressure cooker could make tasty food! Time is a hot commodity in my house and I am always looking for ways to save time without sacrificing our health or taste buds.
The Instant Pot can
keep food warm
Make stews and soups
Make yogurt and kefi
In addition to the amped up functions and features of an Instant Pot, safety is number one.
Traditional pressure cookers are heated over a stove. Since an Instant Pot is electric, it is easy to walk away while your food is being prepared. You don’t have to worry about something catching fire in the kitchen if you leave your cooking unattended since there is no open flame or heat. The Instant Pot locks during cooking and has a valve to control the release of the pressure when cooking is finished. These “set it and forget it” features are a must for a busy, multi-tasking household. I can toss dinner into the Instant Pot, lock it, and get in a workout, load of laundry, or read a book before I even have to think about dinner again. If I don’t hear the beep that my pressure cooker is finished, the Instant Pot will continue to warm my food for up to ten hours.
I can now make a roast in less than 30 minutes. In a traditional crockpot it takes all day. This really helps on days when I am running late in the mornings and cannot get the roast in the crockpot. In fact, earlier this week, I quickly browned a FROZEN roast, (yes, the inside was still frozen), tossed in some veggies, homemade BBQ sauce,and broth. I sent the Instant Pot for 45 minutes.
Healthy and delicious!
The Instant Pot also sautes food. I find this one of the most valuable features. I like to brown my meat before making stews and soups. With the Instant Pot, I can toss the meat right into pot, brown it, and then add my other ingredients before cooking. Doing this without dirtying another pan is a plus! In addition, I get all the yummy browned extras in the pot to season the rest of the meal. These extra bits of flavor can really kick your food up a notch.
At the end of cooking, I can use the saute feature to make gravy after I have removed the meat and other ingredients. Making the gravy in the same pan also cuts down on the amount of dishes that are washed, which is a HUGE win for this lazy cook.
Steaming or making hard “boiled” eggs was another selling point for me. For the life of me I cannot get the peels off easily with traditional boiling methods. I’ve tried salt, vinegar, cold water baths, keeping the lid on, taking it off, leaving fresh eggs in the fridge for two weeks, using heavily processed eggs instead of organic eggs, etc.
Nothing has worked for me! Now, in about 6 minutes, plus time to come to pressure, I have amazing hard “boiled” eggs. This is going to be HUGE for our family this Easter when we go to dye eggs.
Rice, oatmeal, quinoa and other grains can be made easily with the Instant Pot. Growing up we had a rice cooker and I swear I always burnt the rice. The Instant Pot has a thicker bottom to help evenly distribute heat. I love adding different broths and seasons to my grains when I cook them and the Instant Pot ensures even heating and more flavor absorption. It’s so easy and safe, my kids can do it on their own!
The soup I make the most often in the Instant Pot is bone broth. The beauty of making bone broth in an Instant Pot is that instead of leaving the crock pot on for twenty-four to thirty-six hours, I can make a quick batch of broth in ninety minutes. The longer I cook the broth in the Instant Pot, the more nutritious and gelatinous it becomes. As a result of the broth being cooked under pressure in an Instant Pot, I do not have to add additional water as I do to the crock pot. The flavor profile of broth cooked under pressure is so much richer than a traditional crock pot.
In full disclosure, I have not made kefir or yogurt in it yet. It is on my list of things to do when I am not teaching this summer. I will update you when I have made it!
There are a few things to be aware of when deciding to use or purchase an Instant Pot. Believe it or not, there are a couple of things an Instant Pot cannot do. It does not brown or crisp foods. If you are making chicken and want a crispy skin, you will have to bake or fry it. The same is true for vegetables. If you are looking for a roasted texture on your vegetables, you will have to bake them in the oven.
Something else to be aware of when cooking with an Instant Pot is that cook times listed in recipes don’t include the time it takes for it to come to pressure.
Most recipes will state “cooks in ____ minutes.” However, you may have to add five to fifteen minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
The length of time it takes the Instant Pot to come to pressure is dependant on how much liquid is used. I typically use ½ cup of liquid although the manual states 2-3 cups. It is faster to steam vegetables over the stove then the pressure cooker. However, the beauty of the Instant Pot is that I can walk away while it does all the work. When I have something pressing to do, but I don’t need the vegetables immediately, I steam them in the Instant Pot. When I need them right away for dinner, I use the stove. Personally, I prefer the flavor profile of the veggies in the Instant Pot because of the way the spices I add are infused into the food under pressure.
The inner silicone ring of the Instant Pot will absorb the smells of the food which is cooked. This is a very natural occurrence. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. The silicone ring prevents the steam from escaping and is also under high pressure. The smells would naturally be absorbed by the silicone under such intense pressure. This silicone ring is easily removed for cleaning and is dishwasher safe. I have even soaked the silicone ring in vinegar if the smell becomes too strong. To help dissipate the smell, I store my Instant Pot with the lid upside down.
This allows air to circulate so the smell isn’t trapped in the pot. If you store the Instant Pot with the pressure lid secure (which you can do), you will smell what you cooked last when you open the lid the next time. I have no problem storing the lid upside down to let the smell dissipate. You can purchase a replacement seal at any time.
Many people purchase two. One for savory foods and use the other for sweets. Yes, you can cook breads and desserts in the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is a complete game changer in the kitchen.
I am very thankful my husband purchased me one for Christmas. The Instant Pot comes with two white plastic ladles, a straining rack, and a cup for adding liquids. In addition to the Instant Pot, he gifted me with a few extras not included. Based on online reviews, he purchased the Instant Pot silicone baking mitts. At first I was skeptic because we already owned a thick black pair and I didn’t want to waste the money. However, these cute red ones are a bit thinner which makes grasping the inner pit for removal easier. He was correct to purchase the Instant Pot gloves. I tried to take the inner pot out with our thick black ones and with traditional hot pads, it was very difficult.
He also purchased a clear lid specifically for the Instant Pot. I love that he did this. This was an accessory I didn’t even know I needed. I use this lid all the time when I am sauteing meats. It enables me to check on the meat without taking off the lid. If I used the black locking lid, this process would be a bit cumbersome. I also use the clear lid if there are left overs and I want to store them in the fridge. I just take out the inner stainless steel pot, pop on the clear lid, and bam. storage container. Thank you honey for making my life easier.
Another fabulous accessory he purchased for me where Bear Paw shredders. These handy little guys shred my roasts and chicken much quicker then when I used to use forks. These Bear Paw shredders are amazing and shred the meat in much finer strands then I was able to get before. We use them when we make pulled pork in the smoker too!
The last accessory we use is the silicone strainer. This was actually something I purchased for my husband for Christmas. This simple little strainer clips to the side of any pot and makes straining your foods much easier. We have used this on our smallest sauce pans to our largest soup pot. The beauty is that the strainer conforms to the size of the pan creating a perfect seal. There is also an indentation which makes pouring easier. This is a huge plus for me when I am straining my broth into mason jars. I no longer need a funnel to help get the liquid into the jars. I am able to pour my broth easily without spillage. We actually use this strainer so often and love the benefits that we purchased an extra silicone strainer for my parents to keep at their lake house. This way I can cook up there with comforts of home.
The Instant Pot is the one kitchen gadget I wouldn’t want to live without and I haven’t even explored all of its features. To recap how amazing it is, sautes, steams, cooks rice and other grains, makes stews and soups, yogurt and kefir, browns, and keeps food warm for hours.
Most crock pot and many stove top recipes can be cooked in the Instant Pot. In our family, we eat very Paleo and Keto focused foods. The Instant Pot has helped us turn many traditional foods into healthy, nutritious, variations! The recipes that can be made with an Instant Pot are only limited by your imagination!
Have you used an Instant Pot? What is your favorite thing to make in it?