Instant Pot 101


In an effort to answer the increasing amount of questions we are getting about Instant Pots, we thought we’d create a resource page. Hope this can help answer some of those burning questions about the Instant Pot!

A great resource page for Instant Pot beginners! This post answers basic questions you may be asking about the newest craze, The Instant Pot.

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Home cooks are loving the ease and versatility of the Instant Pot. Any appliance that allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your people is a win in our book. We especially love that the Instant Pot can cook freezer meals straight from frozen! This means if you forget to thaw your meal out the night before, no sweat! Pop it in the Instant Pot, set the machine and walk away.

Instant Pot 101

What is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot a single electric cooker that does multiple things. It can work as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, saute pan or warming pot. You plug it in and press a preset button for what you are making — like rice or soup — or you can use the manual setting button, which allows you to adjust the time and pressure level. And you can buy add-ons like a silicon strainer and a custom cheesecake pan.

Which Type of Instant Pot Should I Get?

Wait, there is more than one type?

Well, yes. There are actually many Instant Pots. Some are just slightly more or less multi-purpose than their brothers and sisters. Most of the models are very similar in terms of pot size, wattage, and voltage.; where they differ is mostly in the software—how many “smart programs” are built in with preset levels of heat, pressure, and time. Hang tight. We’ll walk you through some of the options.

The “Bang for Your Buck Classic” (the one we use!): Instant Pot DUO60-6Qt

This model is the Instant Pot we use and recommend to anyone who asks. It has all the functions you probably need. It’s not too big (although you can snag and 8 quart if you’re feeling crazy) and it’s not too small like it’s little sister, the 3 quart (who works great for a small space like a dorm room).

 

The “Just Give Me The Basics” Instant Pot LUX60 V3

This one is similar to the “Bang for Your Buck Classic” mentioned above, but with a few exceptions: 1. This one doesn’t have one-touch yogurt-making capabilities. 2. This one can’t toggle between low and high pressure cooking, whereas the model above can. This one IS however, about $20 cheaper.

 

The “I Like Bells and Whistles” Instant Pot DUO Plus 

If you’re taking this Instant Pot thing VERY seriously, you will love all of the bells and whistles on this model. You’ll love its big blue LCD screen and additional cooking programs (egg cooking, cake-making, and sterilization) to name a few. This model is also more fingerprint-resistant than other models. A small perk but never hurts, right?

 

The “I Just Got a Raise” Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth 

This model is no joke. It sports an impressive 14 “smart programs,” plus two programs you can customize and save yourself. It is Bluetooth-enabled which means you can start cooking and watch the cooking progress from afar on your phone. I love the idea of being able to play outside with my kiddos and not popping my head in to monitor how much cooking time is left. This model has got it all.

 

 Why are There So Many Buttons?

At first glance, an Instant Pot can be a bit overwhelming. But, all of those buttons are there to help you. They take the guesswork of figuring out the ideal amount of heat, pressure, and time your food needs. Of course, all of the Instant Pots can be programmed manually, too—which is especially useful when following an Instant Pot recipe or cooking something from frozen.

Where do I Find Recipes?

 When we started tinkering with our Instant Pots, this was our biggest struggle. There didn’t seem to be one solid resource available. It has been a lot of trial and error and practice to getting the hang of what types of recipes work well in the Instant Pot. We do have a 2nd cookbook in the works that will have loads of delicious Instant Pot recipes (sign up for our email list to be kept in the loop on the book’s progress). Until then though, we’d recommend searching Pinterest for recipe ideas. We have also found the Instant Pot Community on Facebook to be a great resource on where to get recipe ideas and questions answered.

How Do I Cook a Freezer Meal in the Instant Pot?

While there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula, we have found that adding 10-15 minutes to the original cooking time does the trick when cooking a frozen meal in the Instant Pot.

 

I Just Got My Instant Pot. What is the First Step?

The first step is to do an initial test run. Practice makes perfect! There really is a learning curve to this contraption but keep at it. You’ll grow more and more comfortable with it the more you use it. 

 Do I Need to Buy Any Accessories?

In addition to the stainless steel insert pot, you may want to consider these additional accessories:

  1. Glass Lid: Great to have if you plan to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker. It’s also helpful for storing leftovers in the fridge. No need to dirty another dish-just put this lid on the pot and refrigerate!
  2. Steamer Basket: This basket makes it easy to hard boil eggs or steam vegetables. 
  3. Containers to freeze meals in: One of the tricks of making freezer meals for the Instant Pot is to freeze them in the correct container. The meal needs to be able to fit into the pot while it’s frozen. Using plastic containers like these make this super easy! 

 

Hopefully this helps answer some of your basic questions about the Instant Pot. Like I mentioned above, we have found that the Instant Pot Community on Facebook has been really helpful when asking specific questions about recipes or cooking methods.

Have fun!


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