The Instant Pot is an amazing combination of a pressure cooker and slow cooker. The best of both—all wrapped into one. Once you start using the Instant Pot, you will know that it’s a lifesaver. Food cooks in half the amount of time, and it can even be used for desserts too! It makes meal prep less of a hassle, and with a few tips and tricks, it will soon become your favorite!
Whether you’re new to the world of the Instant Pot, or have had one for years, it’s one of the most useful appliances you will ever have! We have a few must-know tips about this kitchen superstar!
The silicone ring inside the Instant Pot lid, can absorb savory flavors over time. So if you regularly make punchy stews (or curries), you want to avoid using the same silicon ring for sweet desserts (i.e. when baking a cake). It’s also convenient when you’re using your Instant Pot for two different recipes, then you can simply switch them instead of washing the ring immediately.
If you don’t want to invest in an extra ring, you can always freshen up the Instant Pot by using the “steam” function. Add one cup vinegar, one cup water, and a few lemon slices and steam for a few minutes. This should do the trick! If it doesn’t work, you’d need to buy the second ring for desserts.
As mentioned, the Instant Pot can easily be used to bake desserts, and it works great for cheesecakes (a notoriously difficult dessert to bake). Simply use a springform pan that will fit in your Instant Pot, it should be about 7 inches in diameter. Set the Instant Pot to “cake” and bake your cheesecake for 35 minutes, followed by a 10-minute natural release.
The whole reason why you’re using your Instant Pot, is because you want to save time and cook for conveniently. So remember then that the Instant Pot accessories can actually be washed in the dishwasher! The lid (yes, the whole lid), the sealing ring, and the inner pot are all dishwasher-safe. Which means dishwashing is a breeze!
When prepping meals ahead of time, plan out recipes and freeze them in such a way, that they can easily be added to the pot. Many times, folks prep their meals, but freeze the food in a large container. They tend have to first defrost it in order for it to fit. Prevent this by freezing the food in smaller containers.
Check inside you Instant Pot, and you will see that there is a waterline. For every recipe, you will need liquid, and how much will depend on the specific food type you’re cooking. Make sure to double-check every recipe and make sure (for optimal results and for safety reasons), to check what the required liquid amount is.
When using the Instant Pot, you have two options when the cooking time is over: natural release or quick release. Natural release means that once the timer goes off, the pressure is released slowly—meaning it will continue cooking as the time goes on. For meat, this is the preferred method—it allows the meat to rest, resulting in juicy cuts.
The Instant Pot can be used to brown, sear, or sauté foods, but it’s important to note that it simply won’t get as hot as your stovetop. If you want to brown foods properly (especially when adding a finishing sear on cooked meat), use the hottest setting on your Instant Pot to make sure you get the best results!
While the basic Instant Pot is already pretty cool, you should definitely invest in a few extras that will make your life SO much easier. For instance, they have a glass lid that means you can keep an eye on your cooking while sautéing foods. You also get stackable steamer baskets which allow to cook veggies and meat at then same time. And to top it off, you can even buy a ceramic inner pot that’s specially created for baking desserts!
As if it’s not enough that you can make desserts in the Instant Pot, you can also make popcorn! To make your own freshly popped homemade popcorn, simply add the kernels to your Instant Pot and set it to the “sauté” function. This will get them to cook slowly, and your house will soon smell (and sound) like the popcorn booth at the movie theatre!