If you’re thinking about buying an Instant Pot – or you’re a new IP owner scratching your head – here are a few things you need to know up front.
An Instant Pot is NOT Instant
This was the first lesson I learned very quickly. The recipe said, “30mins total time” when in actuality it took about 45mins. The Instant Pot cooking time is indeed faster than almost any other appliance I own. BUT, most recipes don’t take into account the time it takes for the pot to come up to pressure. Let me explain…
The pot works by building up steam and without a way for that steam to escape, it builds up pressure. Cooking times typically start from the time the pot has reached full pressure. Depending on how much liquid you have in the pot, that can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes!
For some recipes, like my favourite melt-in-your-mouth ribs, this is a huge time saver. But for some others it might make more sense to just use the stovetop.
If you’re interested in doing a deeper dive into the mechanics of your IP, here’s a great article you can read.
Timing Isn’t Everything
Don’t let the timing thing get you down because at the end of the day – or your meal as the case may be – you’ll absolutely LOVE the results. Unlike a Crock Pot, the IP doesn’t add additional moisture to your dishes. Unlike the stove top, you don’t need additional oils. And unlike the stove, it won’t heat up your kitchen!
For the most part, recipes are faster with your Instant Pot but it’s not the timing that keeps me pulling it out. It’s the nutritious, healthy and delicious meals it produces!
Forget the Fancy – Go Manual
Depending on the model you have, you’ll notice an array of buttons on your pot, which could be anything from “steam” to “cake” to “yogurt”. But without a word of exaggeration, “manual” is the one I use most. When in this mode, you’ll automatically be cooking on high pressure. All you need to do is set the time. I haven’t come across a recipe yet that didn’t use this cooking mode within their directions.
What I’m really saying is that you don’t need all those fancy buttons… save yourself the money and go with the one on sale. The only time you’ll want to splurge (in my opinion) is if you’re interested in using your IP as a Sous Vide. In this case, you will definitely want to check out this video on how to Sous Vide Steak in an Instant Pot and get the 10-in-1 or Deluxe IP model.
Salute the Sauté!
The best part about Instant Pot cooking is that it’s all in one! My favourite function – and the only other one I really use aside from “manual” – is “saute”. I use this mode for browning meats or veggies before cooking and I also use it to simmer after cooking if I need to thicken the recipe.
On nights I use my Instant Pot, I rarely have any other pots to scrub and clean. WooHoo!
Know Your No-Nos
Unfortuantely, the Instant Pot is not a perfect appliance and there are some things that just don’t work. I’ve gathered up some of these no-no tips and tricks in my blog post, 5 Thing You Should Never Put in Your Instant Pot. Give it a read and save your future self some headaches 😉
Do you have a tip to share? Please do in the comments below! And for those of you who are just starting out, you might find this Quick Start video by Paint The Kitchen Red handy.
Have fun and enjoy!