What is an Instant Pot? Here’s everything you need to know

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

At some point in your life, you have probably seen or heard of an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Multi-cooker. The small kitchen appliance is a versatile multi-cooker that can do the job of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and more, and also saves you counter space and money. If you’re only just now hearing about the Instant Pot, you may be a little skeptical. How can one appliance be a rice cooker and cake maker at the same time, you ask? That’s the magic of the appliance, which comes with preset programs that are specifically designed to cook your food to perfection, whether it be a cheesecake, a stew, or porridge. Still not convinced? Here’s everything you need to know about the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

What does the Instant Pot do, exactly? 

If this programmable countertop multi-cooker earns a spot in your kitchen, you’ll probably start relying on it more than any other cooking appliance. The specific functions of your Instant Pot will vary based on which model you purchase, but these are the basic programs that will be present in most models:

Slow Cooker
Pressure Cooker
Rice Cooker
Steamer
Sauté/Browning
Yogurt Maker
Warmer

Many models also come with additional programs, including egg maker and cake maker. Depending on the size and type of your model, you can insert certain types of dishes directly into the appliance, including cupcake molds or springform pans. There are lots of different recipes to be found online.

The device also features a timer and various settings for whether you want to set to cook on low, medium, high, or keep warm.

Meat still frozen? No problem.

The Instant Pot is definitely as capable as you might have heard from enthusiastic owners of the powerful kitchen appliance. Not only can it handle all the methods of cooking listed above, but it also just makes your life easier when it comes to preparing that special meal. Don’t worry about thawing vegetables or even meat — the Instant Pot is high-powered enough to defrost and then cook. Baked potatoes are soft within minutes, and your bone broth is ready to consume in just a couple hours as opposed to a couple days, if you’re using a traditional cooking method. You’ll get fluffy rice that isn’t burned, gummy, or boiled over. Eggs get hard-boiled to perfection, without the need to constantly monitor a stove. Meat stews come out tender and flavorful with just the right consistency. You can cook an entire meal in one pot and save yourself valuable time and effort during clean-up.

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

Will Food Lose Nutrients During Cooking?

While some people equate the high temperatures of pressure cooking with loss of nutrients, this is actually opposite of the truth. Pressure cooking allows heat to be distributed evenly and quickly, so you don’t need to immerse foods like frozen vegetables into water — just enough water to generate sufficient steam will be adequate. Because food isn’t getting immersed in water, vitamins will not be dissolved away and will instead be retained for consumption. Furthermore, the steam that surrounds the food will prevent it from being oxidized by exposure to air. You’ll notice that your green vegetables will emerge from the Instant Pot looking just as green as they were when they went in, and retaining their natural flavors as well.

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

Is it Safe?

Stories about pressure cookers exploding, coating the walls with mashed potatoes, or hurting someone have certainly made their way into the news cycle before. Even a model of the Instant Pot was in the news recently due to instances of the device overheating and melting. But the Instant Pot is not the pressure cooker your grandmother cooked with back in the 1980s, and the pressure cooker versions of the device have had no such issues with melting or overheating. The Instant Pot has several safety features designed specifically to ensure that nothing except your taste buds will explode by using the appliance. Thanks to the automatic lid lock and lid detection features, it’s impossible for users to open the lid of the cooker until pressure has been released. An anti-blockage vent also ensures that food particles don’t block steam from being released during the cooking process. The Instant Pot comes with automatic temperature control, which keeps the inside temperature of the pot within a safe range at all times.

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

Once cooking is complete, users can release the pressure either naturally or manually. Both options are safe, but one is usually advisable over the other depending on the kind of food you’re cooking. For example, opt for the natural-release method when cooking liquids like soups and porridges, or choose the manual method for delicate foods like fresh vegetables and seafood.

Pressure cookers heat food to a temperature higher than the boiling point of water, which helps kill almost all harmful micro-organisms. For example, raw kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, which is a harmful toxin that gets destroyed after being boiled at a high temperature for several minutes. This sterilizing function is why some people even use the Instant Pot to clean things like jam jars and baby bottles.

Buy one now from:

Amazon