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The Instant Pot that has been around for years and years. It's not just a slow cooker, it does much more than that. The Instant Pot can cook rice in less time than the microwave and even make yogurt with no hassle! This post will explore some of the ways you can use your InstantPot to create delicious dishes.
Table of contents
Instant Pot Sauté Function
The sauté function is one of the most popular features on Instant Pots because it can be used to brown food or vegetables. It starts low and gradually builds up heat until you have reached your desired level (usually after a couple minutes).
The sauté function works by using hot oil in order to sear meats before they are pressure cooked, but not for long periods of time where it will burn. The sauté feature is also good for recipes like French onion soup that require sautéing the onions prior to cooking the soup.
The sautéing process allows users to use just one pot during the cooktime which is perfect if you have a small kitchen space with limited cabinet storage spaces as well as being great for recipes that require multiple pots such as risotto, stocks, borscht or soups.
There are six temperature settings on this feature (low-medium-high) so you can make sure to cook at the heat level the recipe requires because sautéing preserves more of the natural sugars found in foods when compared with boiling.
For those who want an even higher level of control over how they cook soups, sautéing makes it easier to brown the meat before adding any liquid or flavoring, and sauteeing vegetables will allow them to maintain their flavor as well as some nutrients that might otherwise be lost in a quick boil.
Crisping is also possible with sauté function as long as you use a low to medium heat setting and keep stirring to prevent burning.
Sauteeing veggies such as onions, carrots, garlic cloves is great for bring out the flavor of the vegetables.
Instant Pot Sous Vide Function
Sous vide cooking is a new concept that has been gaining popularity. With sous vide, the food can be cooked at a precise temperature for an extended period of time and will come out perfectly every time without overcooking or undercooking it.
It's perfect for recipes like ribs because they need low temperatures in order to break down collagen into gelatin which tenderizes the meat.
Other food that can be cooked with Sous Vide are eggs, sausages and vegetables.
The Instant Pot uses a sous vide function that is only available on the premium model of this appliance which normally sells for $199 USD but can be found discounted to as low as $150.00 USD.
It has two settings: one for if you want your food cooked at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) or 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degree Celsius). The other setting allows you to adjust by half increments from 120-180°F (50-80°C), perfect for cooking eggs where some people prefer them cooked harder than others.
There are also recipes online that use the Sous Vide feature such as boiled eggs with tomato sauce, bacon wrapped meatloaf or chicken breasts.
Yogurt Setting on Instant Pot
The yogurt setting is one of the most popular uses for Instant Pot users because it saves time and energy that would be needed to maintain a temperature below 40 degrees Celsius.
In order to make yogurt, you need two ingredients: milk (or some type of dairy) which will provide the protein source and live active cultures. The other ingredient is heat so this can be done in just about any pot or container with enough space for heating up water like saucers from coffee cups or mugs, glasses, small bowls etc.
Not all Instant Pots have the Yogurt function, so you need to make sure that the Instant Pot model you purchase has this setting.
How To Make Yogurt In An Instant Pot
The process involves a few simple steps: start by filling half of your pot with whole milk and then set it on sauté mode at medium-low temperature until bubbles begin popping on top of the surface before adding sugar, salt and an active culture like plain yogurt or a packet of yogurt starter.
You can also add flavorings like vanilla extract, dried fruit and saffron to make your own specialized flavored yogurts which are great for those who don't have the patience to wait eight hours before they get their first taste.
When you reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) on the temperature probe, turn off sauté mode since it's no longer needed and then let cook for two more minutes while stirring every 30 seconds until thickened.
The Instant Pot will beep when done so that indicates that it has entered "Keep Warm" mode which is not necessary but recommended if you want to keep your dairy hot without cooking further in order to preserve the beneficial bacteria.
You can also cook your yogurt on sauté mode but this requires more stirring and attention, as if you're cooking a roux or any other sauce that needs constant monitoring in order not to burn it.
Porridge is a great breakfast or dinner dish that can be eaten cold, hot or even at room temperature.
The Instant Pot porridge setting allows you to saute and then cook your oats in order for them to get soft enough for the consistency of porridge making it perfect when you need an easy meal on-the-go such as before work.
For instance, if I'm preparing this recipe in the morning and I don't have time to eat much else with my cereal, I'll make some oatmeal from scratch.
Instant Pot Steam Setting
The Instant Pot steam setting is used to cook vegetables, fish, seafood, tofu or other proteins.
What I normally do is cook my Instant Pot steamed vegetables with just enough water and add salt and pepper to taste along with fat free cooking spray if needed (usually not).
I then set my timer for three minutes at high pressure followed by 30 seconds natural release time period. Depending on the vegetable or protein, the high pressure time might be more or less.
Slow Cooker Setting
The slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot is perfect for cooking soups, stews or a roast.
This could also be done in your oven but it takes more time and energy to keep the temperature low enough.
You'll have total control of how long you cook what's inside since this function will automatically switch over to "Keep Warm" mode when finished with its set timer period - making it a great way to save energy while not having to worry about overcooking food even if there are no one around home!
While the Instant Pot slow cooking function can be used in place of a traditional slow cooker, the brand hasn't quite nailed this functionality as well as it has pressure cooking.
Keep Warm Setting
What I like about the keep warm setting is that it will automatically switch to this mode after your Instant Pot has finished cooking and wait for you instead of keeping on sauté or high pressure.
You can also set a timer with this function so if you forget, there's no problem because it'll just do what you need anyway!
Cooking beef stew in your Instant Pot is easy with the stew setting.
All you need to do is saute the onion, garlic and vegetables in order (or at least some of them) before adding your beef or pork.
The stew setting will pressure cook everything all together for a certain amount of time based on what kind meat you're using and whether it's tenderized beforehand.
You'll know when it's done because there will be a little bit of bubbling happening around the edge but not popping yet - this means that the food inside is still retaining its juices instead of drying out which can happen if let cook too long.
The chili setting on the Instant Pot is great for sauteing onions and ground beef together before pouring in a mixture of tomato sauce, beer and spices.
I recommend leaving it to cook at high pressure for 20 minutes with natural release time. Once done, you can leave this pot on sauté mode which will maintain its temperature without overcooking any ingredients.
- Make sure the pot is cool before you clean it.
- Soak any parts in hot, soapy water and then scrub with a toothbrush or sponge if needed.
- You'll want to add two tablespoons of baking soda on top of your detergent for tough stains too!
- Give everything another good wash after soaking and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Yes, as long as you use them with caution and set the saute to low instead of high.
The Instant Pot is a great kitchen tool for sauteing, pressure cooking and slow cooking. With so many settings on the Instant Pot, it is also good to remember that while the Instant Pot has a pressure cooker setting, it is not a traditional pressure cooker. But, the pressure cooker function is the most widely known functions the Instant Pot is popular for.
There's more than one function that makes this appliance worth the buy!
You can buy the Instant Pot on Amazon.com right now for $99.
Jessica McCoy is a seasoned food blogger with 14+ years of experience in the industry. As a self-taught home cook, she enjoys creating and finetuning easy recipes that are fool proof and simple for anyone to make. Her expertise is in all things kitchen: cooking tips, air fryer recipes, Instant Pot and other pressure cooking recipes, and slow cooker recipes. Jessica was the previous owner of AllSheCooks, where she focused on easy every day recipes including budget friendly dinner recipes and desserts.
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