What does an Instant Pot do? You may have seen this trendy kitchen appliance and wondered what all the fuss was about. Here is a quick overview of what an Instant Pot is and what it can do.
What Does an Instant Pot Do?
The basic Instant Pot is a multi-functional cooker that can quite literally do the work of 7 different appliances. Some models do even more! Here’s what an Instant Pot does:
The Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker. Using your Instant Pot as a slow cooker can help to retain nutrients and flavor, making it a healthier option than traditional slow-cooking methods.
The Instant Pot can cook rice quickly and easily. Just add the rice and water, set the timer, and let it do its thing. There are a variety of different rice cookers on the market, but with the Instant Pot, you don’t have to have another appliance.
The Instant Pot can be used as a steamer. This is a great way to cook veggies or seafood. When you buy an Instant Pot, that means you don’t have to buy a steamer.
The Instant Pot can be used to make yogurt. Just add milk and yogurt starter, and let it do its thing.
Sautees/ Browns Food
You can use the Instant Pot as a saute or browning pan. This is a great way to sear meat or saute veggies before pressure cooking them.
The Instant Pot can be used as a pressure cooker. This is its main function and how it is typically used.
Keeps Food Warm
The Instant Pot can be used as a warming pot. This is great for keeping food warm after it has been cooked.
This versatile kitchen appliance can help you create quick and healthy meals. With an Instant Pot, you get a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, steamer, and a warming pot all in one appliance. Some models do even more such as cooking sous vide, sterilizing, and air frying with an air fryer lid.
How Does an Instant Pot Work?
To put it simply, after you select one of the functions above, the Instant Pot will go through 3 cooking stages: Preheating and pressurizing, Cooking stage, and Depressurizing stage.
Preheating/ Pressurizing Stage
The first stage is the preheating/pressurizing stage. During this stage, the Instant Pot will heat up and build pressure. With an Instant Pot, you always put at least 3/4 a cup of liquid inside. When the liquid is heated, the liquid boils and turns into steam. Without an escape route, the build-up of the steam creates pressure.
The pressure inside of your Pressure Cooker reaches the perfect cooking temperature, and then the float valve pops up and locks into place. This triggers a silicone cap on its underside that seals in all potential steam before increasing even higher due to natural convection currents within liquid known as “thermally-driven circulation.” You might notice some escaping through this during preheating but don’t worry – just wait until everything gets going!
Once the Instant Pot has reached the correct temperature and pressure, it will begin the cooking stage. Once your pot comes to pressure, the timer that you originally set will begin counting down, thus the cooking time.
The pressure inside the pot pushes the steam into the food, which allows it to cook at a much faster rate. Depending on what you are cooking, this stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to up to 4-hours.
After the food has finished cooking, the Instant Pot will enter the depressurizing stage. This is when the pressure is released and the food is ready to be served.
Basically, the heating stops, and this triggers internal mechanisms that the trapped steam and pressure can start releasing. If you allow it to release on its own, this is called natural release. If you flip the steam release valve to venting, you are doing a quick release. Read my post Quick Release Versus Natural Release to find out more.
How Hot Does a Pressure Cooker Get?
A pressure cooker can reach temperatures of up to 232 degrees Celsius. This high temperature is what allows the Instant Pot to cook food so quickly. However, because it is using steam as its cooking method, it prevents the food from burning when at such high temperatures.
How Many Watts in an Instant Pot? How Much Power Does It Use?
An Instant Pot typically uses between 700 and 1,000 watts of power. The Instant Pot uses less power than a stovetop pressure cooker because it is electric. The Instant Pot is also more energy-efficient because it cooks food quickly, which means that it doesn’t use as much energy overall.
How Much Does an Instant Pot Weigh?
An Instant Pot typically weighs around 5 pounds. This weight can vary depending on the size and model of the Instant Pot.
Recipes You’ll Love
- Dad’s Favorite Ground Beef Chili
- The Best Instant Pot Asparagus Soup Recipe
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- The Best Instant Pot Crack Chicken
What other ways have you found to use your Instant Pot? Let us know in the comments below! If you are looking for tried and true recipes, don’t forget to join my Instant Pot for Beginners Facebook Group.