How to Cook in an Instant Pot

instant pot

Many challenges come with trying to cook a family meal after a long day. However, the biggest hurdle parents face is a lack of time. Meal prepping and leftovers have become a mainstay in many homes today. While there’s not necessarily anything wrong with making meals ahead of time, there’s nothing quite like a fresh, home-cooked meal. Luckily, there’s a kitchen gadget that can help you whip up home-cooked meals every night of the week if you want.

The instant pot cooks many meals in less than an hour. Plus, it comes with a variety of settings so that you can make beans, poultry and even yogurt. The gadget cooks your food under pressure at extremely high temperatures, producing delicious, flavorful meals every time.

If you’re ready to give this increasingly famous device a try, learn how to cook in an instant pot like a pro.

1. Choose a Model

Purchasing an instant pot can be a bit overwhelming. You’ll find many different makes and models on the market today. Sizes range from six to eight quarts, and each one comes with various features, buttons and accessories.

Choosing the right option requires analyzing your cooking habits, what kinds of foods you like to make and how many people you typically cook for. These answers will help you determine which setting you might use and how large of a pot you’ll need.

2. Unpack and Assemble

Once you’ve chosen and purchased the best model for you, unpack that baby and set aside all the attachments, such as the soup spoon, steamer rack and rice measuring cup. You’ll also find an inner pot in which you’ll cook your food. Unwrap this item and place it inside the outer pot. Pro tip — never line the inner pot with a liner as the intense temperature may melt it. Stick to using liners in your crockpot, instead.

3. Check the Sealing Ring

After setting up your instant pot, you may be ready to toss in some chicken breasts and veggies and get cooking! However, if you want your food to cook properly, it’s essential to check the sealing ring and knob first. Locate the sealing ring under the lid and make sure it’s in the rack of the lid correctly. Then, turn the knob on top to sealing. These two steps will ensure steam and pressure don’t escape.

4. Fill With Food and Liquid

Now, your instant pot is officially ready to cook delicious meals. Place whatever food you’d like to cook in the inner pot. Just be sure not to fill it above the line labeled max limit. Otherwise, too little or too much pressure may build up and cook food improperly. Additionally, unless a recipe states otherwise, add one cup of water or broth to the pot. This fluid will generate enough steam to pressurize it.

5. Use the Right Button

Depending on what you’re making, you might choose to press the yogurt, sauté, bean, meat or another button. However, the simplest and most accurate way to cook your food is to use the manual button. This selection allows you to enter the cook time. The other buttons are presets that come with suggested cook times. By entering the time manually, you can follow recipes directly and get perfect flavors.

6. Try to Wait Patiently

Once you twist the lid into its locked position, allow your instant pot to heat up and pressurize. The process takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Once the pot has reached peak pressure, the timer on the display will begin to count down, and your food will start to cook.

While the wait may seem like an eternity, remember that your device works much faster than your traditional crockpot. Plus, the flavor will be even better, making the wait worth it.

7. Release Pressure and Open

When you’re ready to open the lid, turn the knob to the venting position. This step will release steam and pressure from the pot, so it may be best to use a wooden spoon in case the valve sprays a bit. How do you determine if you’ve released all the pressure? Many new models come with a floating valve, which will drop when the pressure is gone. Then, you may remove the lid, using it as a shield to point the steam away from you.

8. Try New Recipes

It may take a few tries to perfect your instant pot craft. However, once you get the hang of it, cooking with a pot is incredibly simple. All you have to do is throw the food in and forget about it — and what parent wouldn’t love that? While all the buttons and valves and knobs may be a bit overwhelming at first, using it is pretty straightforward, making it a great time-saver.

As a bonus, your family will love how quickly dinner will hit the table each night. Impress them further by trying out some new meals. The internet has hundreds of instant pot recipe ideas if you need inspiration. Your kids — and you — will enjoy the variety your new kitchen gadget has to offer.

Cook in an Instant Pot Like a Pro

Are you ready to make daily meal prep quick and easy? If so, it’s time to invest in an instant pot. You’ll find making dinner more relaxing than ever — plus, you won’t have to wait as long for your meal to cook!

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