7 things I learned while cooking with the Instant Pot pressure cooker
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7 things I learned while cooking with the Instant Pot pressure cooker

Simon Balissat
30.10.2023
Translation: Eva Francis

Pressure cookers have an aura of danger about them. When I was at school, our home economics teacher used to warn us – handle the pressure cooker wrong and it’ll explode like a bomb. Over 25 years later, I’m cooking with pressure again. This time with the Instant Pot.

The bulky thing’s been sitting on my kitchen floor for almost a year. Why’s that? Well, I just don’t have enough storage space for this 11-in-1 appliance. That’s why I’m reminded of the pressure cooker every week when I vacuum the floor. Over the last year, I didn’t only gain experience vacuuming around the Instant Pot, but also cooking with it. Here’s what I learned.

1. You won’t need all functions

Pressure cooking, slow cooking, sous vide, air frying – the Instant Pot even prepares yogurt. However, I used it mainly as a pressure cooker, slow cooker or air fryer. A couple of times, I cooked spaghetti in it, too. But more on that later. The eleven functions are marketing blah-blah. In reality, you’ll only use a few of them.

2. The Instant Pot is particularly great for stews and broths

Stews take forever – and require quite some planning. With the Instant Pot, however, I can decide I fancy pulled pork for dinner on my way home from work at 5 p.m., buy a pork shoulder there and then and bite into a juicy pulled pork sandwich by 7 p.m. I also use the Instant Pot to make ramen broth, as boiling bones in it is much quicker and the quality is just as good.

3. The Instant Pot cooks rice, but isn’t a rice cooker

Xiaomi’s induction rice cooker is my most used kitchen appliance. The Instant Pot doesn’t change that, even though it cooks rice in a fraction of the time it takes with my Xiaomi appliance – ten minutes instead of an hour. However, the pressure-cooked rice isn’t as fluffy and has less bite. The same applies to pulses, which quickly turn to mush in the Instant Pot.

4. The pot can be used on an induction cooker

I only discovered quite late that the actual pot within the Instant Pot works on my induction cooker. So, without further ado, I boiled spaghetti and cooked Ragu Bolognese in it. Thanks to Kuhn Rikon, there’s a lid to go with the pot.

Kuhn Rikon Smart (28 cm, Plastic, Metal)
–15%
only 6 of 6 remaining on sale
34,86 EUR was 40,90 EUR

Kuhn Rikon Smart

28 cm, Plastic, Metal

Kuhn Rikon Smart (28 cm, Plastic, Metal)
Cookware accessories
–15%
only 6 of 6 remaining on sale
34,86 EUR was 40,90 EUR

Kuhn Rikon Smart

28 cm, Plastic, Metal

5. The air fryer’s okay, but nothing more

In addition to the lid for pressure cooking, there’s also an air fryer lid. The air-frying function allows me to fry oven fries or chicken thighs in a basket. I don’t think much of air fryers (they’re simply small air circulation ovens and have nothing to do with frying), so this function doesn’t matter to me.

This valve on the lid serves to let off steam.
This valve on the lid serves to let off steam.
Source: Simon Balissat

6. The Instant Pot can be programmed

You can use the «Delay Start» button to time the start of a programme. This is handy if you get home late and want a plate of fresh goulash straight away. In this case, you prepare and fry everything in the morning, select the programme and delay the starting time. It takes a bit of calculating, but it works like a charm. Should the Instant Pot start too early, don’t worry. Once the cooking time is completed, it automatically switches to the Keep Warm function until you get home.

7. Don’t forget the time for heating up and cooling down

Finally, here’s a practical tip I learned while using the Instant Pot: when they say it only takes one minute to cook rice, that’s not quite true. The minute only starts when the Instant Pot has heated up and is pressurised. Cooling down also takes up to 15 minutes, unless you release the steam manually. This isn’t recommended for most recipes, as the food is affected by the abrupt drop in pressure. Ever had boiled potatoes in skins that had burst? That’s because the steam in the pressure cooker was released.

The preheating time is displayed on the left.
The preheating time is displayed on the left.
Source: Simon Balissat

I hope these tips take away your fear of the Instant Pot. Had other experience? Let me know in the comments.

Header image: Simon Balissat

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When I flew the family nest over 15 years ago, I suddenly had to cook for myself. But it wasn’t long until this necessity became a virtue. Today, rattling those pots and pans is a fundamental part of my life. I’m a true foodie and devour everything fromjunk food to star-awarded cuisine. Literally. I eat way too fast. 


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