Instant Potts are often designated as kitchen equipment to finish others. But is it really the truth? Should you believe the hype, or should you skip the Instant Pot?
What can Instant Pots do?
As you probably know, Instant Pots are capable of cooking just about anything, from chili to roast beef. But they are really just pressure cookers with a few extra features. The only new thing about Instant Pots is that they are affordable and safe to use.
Instead of releasing all of the Instant Pot features and functions as a user manual, we will run through a quick and dirty list of what Instant Pot can do:
- Pressure Cooking : Again, Instant Pots are pressure cookers. They are excellent for recipes that require a pressure cooker, such as roast beef or tender chicken.
- Sauteing / Pan Frying : Instant pots have a saute feature, which means you can use them instead of a pan or pan when something needs to be sautéed. This is useful for recipes that require sautéed ingredients, such as sauces or casseroles.
- Slow Cooking (Kind Of) : Instant Pots have a slow boiling function that releases more steam than the typical pressure boiling function. This option is not really a substitute for dedicated slow cookers (more on that later), but it is a useful feature worth mentioning.
- Cooking Frozen or Dry Foods : Direct pots are good for quickly preparing frozen foods, such as frozen peas or frozen chicken breasts. They are also great for quickly preparing dry foods, such as beans, boiled peanuts or brown rice.
- Oil-Less Cooking : Because Instant Pots cook with steam, they are good for people who want to avoid cooking with butter, fat or vegetable oil. Instant Pots are also a great stand-in for veggie steamers, in case you are wondering.
- Preparing Ingredients : Instant Pots are excellent for preparing ingredients for other recipes. You can use an instant pot to cook potatoes before roasting them, for example.
- They are safer than pressure cookers : People are afraid of pressure cookers and for a good reason. A mute error can turn your average pressure cooker into a bomb. But Instant Pots are super safe to use as they digitally monitor the pressure and prevent accidents from happening.
OK, so now you know what an Instant Pot is capable of. But that brings us to the next logical point ̵
Instant Pots Can't Do Everything
You can't make everything in a frying pan, and you can't make everything in an Instant Pot. Here's a quick list of things that an Instant Pot can't do:
- Slow Cooking (Kind Of) : Yeah, we just said that Instant Pots have a slow cooker feature. But it's not perfect. We will return to this, do not worry.
- Some Crispy : Instant Pot cannot be used as a fryer or a fryer. You can get crispy food by using Instant Pot to cook foods, but if that's the goal, it's better to use a pan.
- Pressure Canning : To do some kind of canning, you need a pressure cooker with a temperature gauge. Instant Pot does not measure temperature.
- Stir Frys : Due to Instant Pot's lid and limited surface, it is terrible for all kinds of stir fry, even in the saute setting.
- Pasta and Noodles : Some people may want to make instant noodles, but that's a bad idea. Pasta and noodles are best prepared uncovered. Not to mention, you have to turn the pressure off and on before you can check if your pasta or noodles are cooked properly.
Instant Pots (and pressure cookers in general) are specialized units. They can't do everything but they can do a lot. It's worth thinking of Instant Pot as an oven, but with steam. Ovens can do a lot, but you probably don't use the oven to cook everything. The same goes for instant pots.
Can instant pots really replace other kitchen utensils?
Instant pots are equipped with a multitude of pre-programmed buttons, ranging from "slow cooker" to "yogurt." The long boiling option allows Instant Pot to let off some steam (do not build up pressure), but the other settings do nothing special, they are just preset pressure cooking times. In fact, most Instant Pot chefs suggest avoiding these buttons in favor of the simple "pressure cooker" button.
Knowing this, it is worth asking if an Instant Pot can replace your other appliances or not. And the answer is a solid maybe . It depends on what you cook and what you cook with.
An instant pot can replace your rice cooker, veggie steamer or hard-boiled egg maker a little better than it can a slow cooker. In some cases, Instant Pot can slowly replace your stove.
In our experience, slow cooker recipes do not always transfer to Instant Pot. This comes down to the fact that while slow cookers release a decent amount of steam, instant cookers hold steam, preventing reduction (even in the slow cooker setting). Even if you want to be fair, you may want to change the recipe to fit Instant Pot.
The other great advantage of a dedicated slow cooker is that it is easy to drain the lid to stir things or add new ingredients over time. It's a little more complicated with an Instant Pot.
On the downside, Instant pots require some programming, they do not have glass tops, and they are vertically oriented (there is less surface area for cooking than on a horizontally slow cooker). If you are used to using a slow cooker, you probably won't replace it with an Instant Pot. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you won't enjoy an Instant Pot for its pressure cooker capabilities.
Finally, an Instant Pot is not quite as good at slow cooking as a dedicated slow cooker. Cooking is not as good as a dedicated rice cooker. And it's not as good to relax as just using a regular pan. If you already own and use these things, you will be disappointed with how Instant Pot compares.
However, Instant Pot is reasonably good at all tasks. If you don't already own the other things (or you just want to replace several things with a single one), Instant Pot is worth a look.
Instant Pots Are Fast, Not "Instant"
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"Instant" in Instant Pot is a bit misleading. You can't make five-minute meals in Instant Pot. If anything, spend at least five minutes waiting for Instant Pot to press before roasting.
But when it comes to substantial, time-consuming dishes, Instant Pot is extremely fast. Dry beans, for example, only take between 30 minutes to an hour to cook in the Instant Pot (and you don't have to suck them in advance). On a stove or in a slow cooker, that process can take three hours or more (plus often soaking the night before). The same goes for meat, casseroles and fiber-rich cereals (like black rice).
This is not to say that you cannot use Instant Pot to make relatively fast meals. You can easily make potatoes, white rice or mac and cheese in an Instant Pot in under half an hour. But for those quick meals, you really only benefit from Instant Pot's ease of use, not the speed.
Just keep expectations in check. An instant pot can shave off a few hours of your pork recipe, but it can't cook five minutes of meals.
There Are A Tone Of Easy Instant Pot Recipes
Even if you are happy to cook your meals on the stove or in a slow cooker, an Instant Pot can be worth your money just for the simple recipes. There are plenty of resources to get you started with an Instant Pot – even the most inexperienced chef can follow an Instant Pot chili recipe, and experienced chefs can appreciate simple Instant Pot curry recipes.
So if you're trying to explore new recipes without putting in much effort (or you don't know how to cook at all), an Instant Pot might be worth your money. But if you are happy with what you have, there is a chance that your Instant Pot will only sit in a cupboard under the sink after one or two uses.
Buy an Instant Pot for Its Strengths
Instant Pots are just inexpensive, easy-to-use pressure cookers that have many recipes. If it appeals to you, then buy an Instant Pot, you won't regret it. But don't buy an Instant Pot just to replace your rice cooker or slow cooker, or you may end up disappointed.
We're not trying to downplay the fact that Instant Pots are really amazing, super useful and definitely worth $ 60 if you actually want one . In fact, just about every writer owns and loves the Review Geek Instant Pot. We're just trying to say that you shouldn't buy an Instant Pot just because it's been hyped up as a replacement for every kitchen utensil you've ever touched, that's all.