Have you heard about the new way to pressure cook foods in record time? The Instant Pot is a handy new appliance that is gaining a lot of press. It may sound like a new gimmick in the culinary world but there are owners of the appliance that will tell you how much it's improved their lives. While there are pros and cons associated with the Instant Pot, and not everyone is equally thrilled with it, here are 20 interesting facts about it.
1. You can saute like a pro
The Instant Pot has a truly amazing saute feature. From its looks, you wouldn't think that something that looks like a Crock Pot would do a good job of sauteeing foods, but looks can be very deceiving. Many people overlook this feature because they think of the appliance as you would a Crock Pot, but it's really capable of much more. The saute feature is so easy to sue that all you need to do is press the saute button and the bottom of the pot heats up so you can saute any food you would like just as if you were using a traditional saute pan.
2. The cooking time can be a little off
The cooking time for the Instant Pot isn't precise. The reason for this is that it takes time for the device to build its pressure. When you have a recipe that calls for 10 minutes of pressure cooking time, you must allow a few extra minutes for the pot to build its pressure so this must be calculated into the total time that you set for the Instant Pot. There are many people using the pot who don't realize this and they may be undercooking their foods by a couple of minutes. When you take this factor into account, you can achieve precision cooking time, but it's one of those small but important details that a lot of people do not take under consideration when they are in a hurry to prepare a meal.
3. Liquid is required to cook with the Instant Pot
One of the most important things that many people don't know is that you must use liquid with your Instant Pot in order to successfully cook foods with it. The reason that liquid is a necessity is that it uses the liquid to build steam for pressure cooking. If you put a roast in the instant cooker, remember that you must add a minimum on one cup of liquid along with it or it cannot build the steam to cook and you'll have an epic failure on your hands. The liquid doesn't need to be water. It can be broth or other types of liquid.
4. The Instant Pot tends to curdle milk
One of the downsides of cooking with the Instant Pot that so many are not aware of is that along with all of the fantastic things that it is capable of, the high heat that it uses has a tendency to curdle any milk that is used in the recipe. Curdling is caused when the proteins in the milk separate. High-pressure heat offers the ideal environment for curdling it. The foods are still safe to eat, but they may not have the wonderful texture or taste that you were expecting. It works well when using recipes with cheese in them, but other things that call for milk or cream have ended in an undesirable result, so it's important to know which recipes are suitable for use with the Instant Pot and which are not.
5. Pasta should always go on top
With most cooking methods, the pasta is totally immersed in the liquid for even cooking. While you must do it this way when you're boiling or baking a dish that contains pasta, it's just the opposite in a pressure cooker. You should always put your pasta on top in the Instant Pot and any other pressure cooker for that matter. If you don't, your noodles are going to be very mushy. Don't worry about them getting done because the liquid that turns into steam will perfectly hydrate your noodles.
6. The Instant Pot cooks frozen meats
If you forgot to set meat out of the freezer to defrost, it really isn't a problem. While this might be a nightmare if you're using a slow cooker, it's not a big deal with the Instant Pot. Even if you take frozen meat out for the last minute dinner idea, you don't have to defrost it prior to cooking it in the Instant Pot. If you increase the regular cooking time for the meat by fifty percent, it will cook frozen meat to perfection. One word of warning though, it's not a good idea to use large roasts or thick cuts of meat that are frozen. We're talking about chicken breasts, steaks, meatballs and other thinner cuts of meat.
7. The Instant Pot is not a steamer but it might as well be
The Instant Pot is capable of steaming vegetables even though it's not a steamer. It does come with a basket that makes it easy to steam your favorite foods though. The steam that is used for pressure cooking does a wonderful job on steaming veggies, but it is important to remember that the force of the pressurized steam can break foods down very quickly so care must be taken when using it to steam vegetables so they do not get overcooked. Always remember that no matter what you're cooking, this is a pressure cooker above all else.
8. You must cook meat at the bottom
While it's important to put the pasta at the top of the Instant Pot, it's the opposite for meat. You should always place the meat at the bottom of the pot. This is the proper way to cook it in the Instant Pot. The reason why it's important is that the meat isn't likely to scorch, but because of the heat, other things such as vegetables and seasonings might.
9. The Instant Pot can't be used for canning
There are quite a few people who assume that because the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that it can be used to can foods as well, but this just isn't the case. The reason for this is because the Instant Pot has not been safety approved for the home canning of foods. The Instant Pot simply isn't designed for this type of use, so it's best not to even try it. Stick with the traditional canning methods because there's a lot of other things that the Instant Pot can do.
10. The Instant Pot can replace a Crock Pot
Crock pots are slow cookers and the truth of the matter is that the Instant Pot can do anything that a slow cooker can do and more. This is why it can totally replace the traditional slow cooker. There are actually seven useful features that the Instant Pot has to offer and slow cooking is one of them. It is also an amazing rice cooker, so this is a second appliance that it can replace. You may be able to make some room in your cupboards with this one handy appliance.
11. The Instant Pot can be used to make break
Who would have ever imagined making bread with a pressure cooker? It's true! You can use the Instant Pot to bake a loaf of bread. You can find hundreds of different and interesting bread recipes online that are all designed specifically for use with this kind of pressure cooker and they turn out great.
12. The Instant Pot is easy to clean
People who own an Instant Pot remark about how easy and convenient it is to clean. There's little maintenance involved. There are so many benefits associated with the Instant Pot. It practically wipes clean and this is because it uses hot steam pressure to cook. What a wonderful advantage when it comes to cleaning up.
13. Pressure cooking can be fast or time-consuming
The Instant Pot has a reputation for cooking meals very quickly, but one thing that everyone needs to be aware of is that it can cook some foods very quickly, but others can take a while. The cooking time can range between 4 and 40 minutes, depending on what you're cooking, the density and the temperature of the food when you load it into the cooker.
14. It's not always easy to use
The principles behind the Instant Pot are not difficult to master but there is a learning curve involved when you use it for a variety of different foods and recipes. You do need to take a little time to figure out how to modify the cooking times when you use meat or other ingredients that are frozen or if there is a difference in the quantity of the foods put into the pot prior to cooking. It's not at all like conventional cooking where you can just open it up and visually check on the progress or the texture of the food inside. It's a little more difficult to use when you have a recipe that calls for you to add ingredients partway through the cooking process. It's pressurized so there is going to be a wait time while you wait for it to depressurize before you open the lid and add the other ingredients, so this will add to the overall cooking time because of the time it takes to depressure and then allow the pressure to build again when you commence with the cooking process.
15. The Instant Pot has 2 types of venting
All pressure cookers are required to have a venting system to prevent explosions. The Instant Pot has two types. First, there is a venting switch on the top of the pot. You set it to sea. so the pot can build pressure. When cooking is finished, you need to vent the pot and you have two options for doing so. There is a quick release that allows you to turn the dial to the venting selection, but you should always use an oven mitt when doing so. Simply let the steam out. It will take one to two minutes. The second is the natural release. You just let the pot sit on thee sealed selection and the pressure will slowly diminish on its own. This is the preferred method of venting for soups or stews.
16. Pressure Cooking with the Instant Pot doesn't need to be dangerous
There was a time when the first pressure cookers created a hazard for anyone around. They could explode from improper venting and there was always a risk of injury when using them. Times have changed and so has the technology. So long as you use common sense and good judgment and refrain from opening the cooker until it has been properly vented, the risks of danger are minimal.
17. There are a lot of buttons to learn about
Some Instant Pot users claim that your best friend in the Instant Pot is the manual mode. The reason that this claim is being made is that there are a lot of buttons on the pot and it can take about two weeks to really learn what each of them is for. It's a really good idea to read through the instructions and the user's guide to find out what each one of these buttons is for whether you think you'll use them or not.
18. The lid can protect you
The lid of the Instant Pot has been known to be used as a shield in vulnerable moments when the lid is mistakenly removed before the steam has fully depressurized. A shot of hot steam to the face can end in a nasty and painful scald to the skin. If you use the lid the way that it was intended to be used, you'll unlock it and then slowly open it and tilt it to allow a little of the steam to exit away from you to more quickly vent the steam.
19. You can make yogurt in the Instant Pot
Here's a fun and useful fact that most people do not know about the Instant Pot. You can actually use it to make your own homemade yogurt using milk. While it tends to curdle most dairy products if you follow the instructional guide precisely and you use the button that is intended for making yogurt it will turn out perfectly every time.
20. It Comes In Different Sizes
If you don't have an Instant Pot and you've decided that it's time to get one, you're in for a pleasant surprise. They come in several different sizes. You can purchase them in sizes that range between 3 and 8 quarts. The most popular size is the 6 quart.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker