Have you heard about the Instant Pot? This new kitchen device is taking the culinary world by storm, at least when it comes to home chefs. The device itself retails for about $99, so for the frugal at heart, it can be tricky to know whether this newfangled gadget is actually worth the investment. But with so many super-easy and ultra-cheap recipes available, the Instant Pot can be a great time-saver and money-saver for your family.
If you’re looking to get started with your new Instant Pot, here are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your machine. Be sure to use these to maximize your savings when it comes to whipping up delicious meals in a fraction of the time.
Keep the Manual Handy
The Instant Pot is super-fast when it comes to cooking your meals, but it does take a little practice to master the many functions of this multi-tasking machine. It will definitely help if you keep the manual close by, especially for the first few weeks of using the Instant Pot. You’ll quickly learn the differences between the many buttons and memorize the settings for your favorite dishes. Just be sure to stash it somewhere within reach once you’ve done that; you may want to reference it as you experiment with new functions and recipes later on.
Complete Multiple Tasks in One Pot
Learning the many functions of the Instant Pot is a must because it will minimize the time and the effort needed to create a wide variety of dishes. Plus, it cuts down on the number of pots and pans you need to wash after cooking. With the Instant Pot, you can do it all in one pot and simply toss the stainless steel insert in the dishwasher for easy clean-up.
One example of how you can combine tasks with the Instant Pot is cooking meat. When you first put the meat in, you can brown it using the saute function. You can then cook the meat with the pressure cooker or slow cooker functions. Afterwards, you can deglaze the pot by removing the meat and then pouring cold liquid inside while it’s still hot. This allows you to scrub the browned bits off of the bottom of the pot, which can be used to add flavor to a sauce, gravy or other addition to your meal.
Open it up Safely
The Instant Pot is designed with lots of built-in safety features to keep you protected while cooking. That being said, it’s still important to practice caution, especially when using the pressure cooker functions on your Instant Pot. First, you’ll need to release the pressure in the pot slowly according to the directions in the manual. The steam that escapes will be very hot, so don’t get too close while this is happening. When you’re ready to open the pot, release the lid slowly and then tilt it away from you as you lift it up and off the pot. This guides any leftover steam away from you and allows the lid to shield you from excess heat.
Keep Altitude in Mind
High altitude locations are considered to be anything over 3,000 feet above sea level. If you happen to live at a high altitude, you may need to adjust your cooking times to get the desired results from your Instant Pot. Use these basic guidelines can help you figure out how much to increase your cooking time:
Altitude: Increase cooking time by:
3,000 feet 5%
4,000 feet 10%
5,000 feet 15%
6,000 feet 20%
7,000 feet 25%
8,000 feet 30%
9,000 feet 35%
10,000 feet 40%
11,000 feet 45%
12,000 feet 50%
Consider Getting Instant Pot Accessories
You can certainly use the Instant Pot with only the pieces that come included with your purchase of the device. However, there are some Instant Pot accessories available which you may find increases your ability to whip up delicious dishes quickly and easily. Here are a few favorites to consider:
- Silicone sealing rings: Your Instant Pot comes with a silicone sealing ring to keep steam inside. However, that will slowly degrade over time, allowing steam to escape. You can replace it by buying one of these cheap replacement rings. Another option is to get an extra ring to use for specific types of dishes. The rings can absorb some food odors over time, so some users like to use one ring or savory dishes and one ring for sweet dishes.
- Glass lid: If you are using the slow cooker option and would like to use a glass lid similar to that of a traditional slow cooker, you may enjoy this glass lid. It’s easier to take on and off that the standard Instant Pot lid and also allows you to keep an eye on your food while it cooks.
- Silicone pot cover: You can place this cover directly over the inner pot to store leftovers.
- Mesh basket: Use this as a steamer basket or strainer with your Instant Pot.
- Cheesecake pan: There are Instant Pot-compatible cheesecake pans for making this delicious dessert in your machine.
Use this guide to get the most out of your new Instant Pot. Happy cooking!