How to Use an Instant Pot

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic
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Want to know how to use an Instant Pot? Here are our tips for getting the most out of this magnificent machine!

Want to know how to use an Instant Pot? Here are our tips for getting the most out of this magnificent machine!

If you've just bought or received an Instant Pot - or have been thinking about getting one - then you have probably heard that it's the BEST tool for creating tasty meals quickly and easily.

Instant Pot Jambalaya Photo

At the same time, you may be a little nervous about using it. After all, its main function is as a pressure cooker - and we've all heard horror stories about pressure cookers being difficult to use.

But never fear - if you follow a few simple instructions, the Instant Pot is completely easy - and safe - to use.

And once you discover just how quickly you can make dishes that typically take ages on the stove-top (we're talking risotto here!), then you're going to wonder how you ever managed to get by without it!

Instant Pot Jambalaya Picture

Using the Instant Pot as a Pressure Cooker

This is probably the most useful function of the pot, as it allows you to cook food in less time than it would take in the oven. 

Cooking isn't as 'Instant' as its name might suggest, but the real advantage with the Instant Pot is that you can put your raw ingredients inside, press a few buttons, then go and do something else as your food cooks to perfection. This 'hands off' approach is what saves you time. 

Instant Pot Applesauce Image

Remember that risotto we mentioned? 

Cooking risotto typically involves stirring. A LOT of stirring. With the Instant Pot, you put everything inside, set it, wait for it to work its magic, then give it a quick stir at the end. The result is the best, most creamy risotto you've ever had in your life!

The Pot comes with a manual that provides specific instructions for cooking different types of food. But, in a nutshell, cooking involves:

  1. Adding your ingredients to the pot
  2. Adding extra water/liquid if the existing ingredients aren't 'wet' enough (the liquid is essential for producing steam)
  3. Setting the cooking time and sealing the pot

The Pot will then heat up, producing steam that will raise pressure inside it. 

Instant Pot Applesauce Pic

Once the cooking time is up, the Pot sounds an alarm. 

Then - depending on what is being cooked - you either release the pressure in the pot manually, using a lever (this is called QPR or Quick Pressure Release). Or you allow the pressure to drop by itself, which generally takes around 15 minutes (this is called NPR or Natural Pressure Release). 

The food will now be cooked, although some recipes might require further steps before serving.

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes Image

What else can the Instant Pot Do?

It can be used to sauté food, which is very useful if an ingredients needs sautéeing before pressure cooking (no extra pans to wash up). 

It can be used as a rice cooker - in fact, it's the EASIEST, most fool-proof way to cook rice we've disovered. 

It can also be used to proof bread, make yogurt or make cake. It can even be used as a slow cooker!

Instant Pot Italian Sausage Bell Pepper Sauce Picture

We have a few great Instant Pot recipes on our site that you can use to get practicing with this amazing appliance.

This Instant Pot Tahini Cashew Curry Recipe is ready in a flash, whilst this Instant Pot Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe is super easy to make. Or if you fancy something a little spicier, try this Instant Pot Cajun Chili Recipe.

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