I Put The Instant Pot To The Test: Here’s What Happened

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

The Instant Pot is a multifunctional pressure cooker that speeds up cooking without compromising flavor or quality. With so many ways in which to use this pressure cooker, one might wonder if it lives up to its promises.

Prior to the Instant Pot, I had never used a pressure cooker, so this was a brand new experience for me. The Instant Pot cooks food rapidly, rather than slowly, but it still has a slow cooking function for those who want to start cooking their dinner before heading out for the day.

The Instant Pot can also be used as a rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and can even sauté ingredients. With so many uses packed into one machine, it’s an ideal appliance for the home cook with a busy lifestyle.

Set-Up

The Instant Pot comes with a manual that walks you through the set-up process. I found it very easy to follow along with and was impressed by how simple it was to get the machine ready to use. Before putting it together, you should wash the cooking basin and lid in warm soapy water. Let it air dry or dry with a paper towel.

Once the Instant Pot is assembled, you need to do an initial run of it to disperse any residue and ensure it works properly. To start, I filled the pot with water up to the ‘3’ line, as directed by the manual. I recommend using 3 cups of water instead so that it will the test run will go quicker. When using the Instant Pot, the less liquid it has to heat, the less time it takes.

Once the water has been added, the lid needs to be locked in and the steam valve needs to be turned to seal. Then, you turn on the machine and press ‘Steam’ and set the time to 2 minutes. The manual says within a few minutes, steam will be released and the overall process should take 10 minutes maximum. Personally, this part of the set-up was much lengthier for me.

It took about 15 minutes for my Instant Pot to start releasing steam and 30 minutes for it to shut off, cool down, and be able to be opened. So when you go through the initial run, be patient and expect for it to take a bit longer than 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Review

Initial Use

I found programming the Instant Pot extremely easy. I love the digital display and the preset cooking functions. Unfortunately, my first time cooking with the Instant Pot did not produce ideal results, though.

For my first time using it, I decided to steam veggies for a quinoa curry bowl. I added the veggies with 1 cup of water as suggested by the manual and then set the time to 8 minutes. After the steam had been released from the valve, I opened the Instant Pot to discover my veggies were overcooked.

Upon a second try with the same recipe, I had similar results. I cut the cooking time down to 4 minutes but it still came out overcooked, albeit less so than last time. I then learned that most veggies such as zucchini and squash, which are what I used, actually only need a couple of minutes.

The Takeaway

My takeaway from using the Instant Pot is patience is key. I would advise first time users to try out their Instant Pot on a weekend when they don’t have much going on. If you have a completely free day, it’s the perfect opportunity to set it up, go through the initial test run, and try cooking with it for the first time.

I would also advise to always underestimate cook time rather than overestimate it. Make sure you read the manual thoroughly for suggested cook times on the type of food you are cooking. I would say ideal foods to start out with would be firm foods that won’t cook too quickly.

Soups and stews would be great for the first time cooking with the Instant Pot. Dried beans are also really great to cook in the Instant Pot since normally they take over an hour to cook. But in the Instant Pot, it will only take 30 minutes, maximum. Plus, you’ll end up with a large volume of cooked beans you can use throughout the week in other recipes.

Overall, I think the Instant Pot is a great appliance to have on hand. The more I use it, the easier and more encouraging it becomes. My favorite part of the Instant Pot is how straightforward it is to use and how it doesn’t require supervision. It’s rare that I can start dinner and walk away from the kitchen without returning to burned food. But with the Instant Pot, hands-off cooking can be delicious.

Try one the recipes below to get started cooking with your Instant pot!

Instant Pot Starter Recipes

Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

Burrito Bowls in Instant Pot
Image via Detoxinista

Pressure-Steamed Artichokes

Instant Pot Artichokes
Image via Flavorrd

Red Lentil and Kale Curry

Red Lentil Kale Curry
Image via Detoxinista

Vegan Mac n’ Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Image via Detoxinista

Vegetarian Chili

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
Image via CookinChanuk

Related on Organic Authority
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Make this Vegetarian Chili Recipe in an Hour with a Pressure Cooker
7 Kitchen Gadgets Every Nutrition Nerd Needs

Images via Karissa Bowers

While the manufacturer did provide a product for review purposes, all opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own. 

Karissa Bowers
Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.