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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

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Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker?

Instant pots are pressure cookers, but pressure cookers aren’t instant pots. You see, it’s more of a “all squares are rectangles” situation. An instant pot is the swiss army knife of pressure cookers. It slow cooks, pressure cooks, steams rice, and can make yogurt too. Unlike an instant pot, pressure cookers can ONLY pressure cook.

There’s some brilliant magic to the whole thing too. Usually you have to babysit the stove, but the instant pot is designed to jive with the 9-5 lifestyle (or any odd hours where cooking is a difficult option). Because of its versatile nature it can be hard to imagine what it can cook.

Just about anything. Seriously! It defrosts (and cooks) meat or other frozen food. If you mix in the ingredients, you can make just about any meal. Set it and forget it is methodology of an instant pot. Pulled pork is a cinch. Interested in black bean soup? It can do that too. Chicken adobo is a no brainer. And for the holidays, you can even make delicious mulled wine.

How does it work?

Putting it simply: airtight container + water + heat + food = fully cooked meal. But how that actually works is pretty cool. Usually, water/liquid can only boil at 100 degrees celsius, because most pots are not airtight, so steam escapes. This means that food can only get up to that temperature, increasing cooking times considerably. Instant pots and pressure cookers create a situation where steam and heat cannot escape, increasing the boiling heat of liquid and food to 120 degrees celsius (about 250 degrees fahrenheit). Essentially, your food is cooking considerably faster at higher degrees.

But what does it do about heat regulation? Instant pots don’t let your food burn because they have a pressure sensor inside the outer pot. The inner pot with deform slightly at such high temperatures, and touch a pressure plate. When this happens the pressure cooker turns off the heating element. This allows the heat to cycle so your food cooks evenly, and shouldn’t burn. Interestingly, ovens work a similar way. They’ll shut off the heat to maintain the temperature inside.

In order for an instant pot to not just be a fancy pressure cooker, the internal computer can adjust temperatures and heat cycles to different foods in different ways. That’s how an instant pot can achieve all those different settings.

Instant Pot Accessories

The instant pot is capable of so much… but what if you could make it do more? You bet your bottom dollar that with the right accessories you can take your seven-mode pot and turn it into a fifteen-mode pot (so to speak).

Glass lids are a great place to start if you want a simple, functional accessory. These are designed to work with the instant pot’s non-pressure settings. Definitely handy to have around when your meal calls for a more subtle approach.

If metal pots aren’t really your thing, you can substitute it for a stick resistant ceramic pot. These are handy especially if you’re used to using a crockpot for most of your cooking.

Need to reheat some leftovers? Pick up a stacked steamer so that you can efficiently reheat in about five minutes. Each tray can hold different parts of your meal, and this means the flavors won’t bleed together like they would in the microwave.

You can prepare eggs in an instant pot too. One or a dozen, there’s an egg steaming rack. Load it up, place it in the pot, set it to low pressure, and let it auto release the pressure. Another way is to pick up an egg bites steamer. It’s designed to hold eggs and other ingredients, and makes breakfast bites in a jiffy.

That’s a lot of accessories! But wait, there’s some more to consider: cake pans. That’s right, you can make cake in your instant pot. Sick of dealing with the oven? Skip it and make the perfect cake that will be evenly cooked.

Last but not least, if you want some tasty recipes, check out these handy recipe books!

The Air Fryer

One thing to remember is never try to “fry” in your instant pot. That’s unfortunately something that won’t turn out well. Instead check out some air fryers to help take care of some of the fried meals you love. While the instant pot will make your meat wonderfully tender, it can’t make it crispy. Same with your veggies and potatoes, so plan accordingly.