Do you already have an Instant Pot? Take advantage of it now

This is not just an overloaded pressure cooker - it's a way of life.

The InstantPot-mania is far from over. The pressure cooker - which has become known as 'Instapot' - continues to attract a crowd of cult chefs and obsessive home chefs, who have long since forgotten their slow cookers. His name is fun, the meals are incredibly fast and, yes, the dishes are terribly delicious. It does not matter if you just bought your pot or have been with it for a while, this guide is for you.

To begin, let's analyze the basic principles of Instapot. Even if you have a lot of time with your pot, this will also interest you. Let's start:

What is the Instant Pot?

Do you already have an Instant Pot? Take advantage of it now

The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker - and something else. It also sauté, cook at low heat, make rice and cook vegetables and poultry. It is an all-in-one device, so you can, for example, season a chicken and cook it, all in the same pot. In most cases, the Instant Pot meals are ready to be served in less than an hour.

The fact that it takes so little time to cook a dish is by its function of cooking under pressure, which captures the vapor created by the liquid environment (including the liquid released by meat and vegetables), increasing the pressure and pushing the steam back to the food.

But do not confuse it with a traditional cooking pressure cooker. Unlike the pressure cooker that your grandparents used, the Instant Pot eliminates the security risks with a lid that is blocked, and remains blocked, until the pressure is released.

 Safety tips that everyone should know about the Instant Pot

Do you already have an Instant Pot? Take advantage of it now

What can you cook with your Instant Pot?

With Instant Pot, you can cook a meal for the whole family in less than 30 minutes. Dishes such as rice and chicken, beef stew, a sauce and even a baked chicken can be cooked between 30 and 60 minutes, from start to finish. And, yes, you can even bake bread with the Instant Pot.

Fans of the Paleo and Ketogenic diets love the Instant Pot for its ability to "grill" meats in such a short time, but it is also appreciated by vegetarians and vegans who can quickly cook dishes such as pumpkin soup, baked potatoes, marinated Chili, oatmeal creams and macaroni and cheese.

Even dry beans, which usually require cooking all night, can be ready in 30 minutes to make a spicy hummus .

How to cook with the Instant Pot?

The way you decide to use your Instant Pot depends on what you are cooking. However, many recipes - especially those that contain meat - tend to follow this formula:

Place your Instant Pot in the Skip mode. Add the oil (or other fat) and brown your protein, such as red meat or chicken. Aromatic herbs, such as garlic and onion, also brown in this step.
Press the Cancel button. Now choose the Manual option, followed by Pressure. Touch again to choose the High Pressure alternative (which most recipes require). And then use the plus and minus buttons to set the cooking time.
Place the lid on your Instant Pot and secure it in place. You will have to listen to a small and charming sound that lets you know that it is already blocked.
Make sure the valve that is built into the cap is in the Seal position.
When your Instant Pot achieves enough internal pressure, the red button will be thrown away. From this moment, the real cooking time officially begins.
The steps above can vary from one dish to another, depending on the recipe, but most of what I cook in my Instant Pot follows that sequence.

Natural vs. manual release of pressure

When the cooking time has ended in your Instant Pot, you still have to take an additional step - release the pressure.

There are two ways to release the pressure. With natural pressure release , the valve on the lid remains in the Seal position and the pressure dissipates naturally over time. This process can take from 20 minutes to something more than an hour, depending on what you have cooked. Low-liquid foods (such as chicken wings) take much less time than high-liquid foods, such as soup or marinade.

The other option is manual pressure release ( also known as quick release ). Here, you must move the valve carefully to the Ventilation position and observe how the steam rises slowly, releasing the pressure. This method is much faster, but foods that are high in liquid content, such as soup, can take approximately 15 minutes to manually release the pressure.

So, what option should you use? Consider, that with the release of natural pressure, the Instant Pot will still be full of pressure, which means that your food will continue to cook while the Instant Pot is in Sealed mode. Manual pressure release is useful - and necessary - when your saucer is sufficiently well cooked and you need to stop cooking as soon as possible.

If the goal is to prepare a meal quickly, set the cooking time in your Instant Pop well for the dish you are cooking and release the pressure manually when the time is up.

More Instant Pot tips 

After using my Instant Pot for a year, I made some mistakes and learned some lessons that I would like to share. Here are some tips to help you easily navigate the learning curve of your Instant Pot.

Your Instant Pot has a lot of buttons . And the best recipes require you to use more than one of them. You can review this guide to know what all the buttons on your Instapot do.

Always add at least 1/2 cup of extra liquid. Pressure cooking requires liquid to generate pressure in the pot. So, even if you try to keep things very simple with something like wings or nuggets, be sure to add 1/2 cup of seasoning broth, or water to the Instant Pot before you put it in Pressure mode.

Make sure that the valve on the lid is set to Sealed. The pressure will never accumulate if the valve is set to the Ventilation position. Make sure the valve is in a Sealed position when you put the lid in place to cook under pressure.

Clean your instant pot! After many delicious meals, your Instant Pot will start to acquire a smell, and maybe, even some food stains. Here is a guide to clean your Instant Pot and its silicone ring .

Cook the frozen food . The recipes that are not created by Instant Pot warn you that there are risks if you cook protein from frozen foods. This is because traditional cooking methods take too long to heat the protein, which means that they spend a lot of time in a temperature range that ruins them. However, with the Instant Pot, you can safely cook food in a frozen state. (Just make sure you add additional cooking time).

Convert traditional recipes that are slow cooking. Suddenly, you'll be able to cook a recipe that normally takes 8 hours in about an hour.

Know the "real" cooking times. Let's say that you program your Instant Pot in Pressure mode for 30 minutes. That time does not really start counting until you press the buttons indicated, which often takes about 10 minutes. You must also add to your time calculation 10 to 15 minutes for the pressure to be released. At the end, a recipe of "30 minutes" can take between 50 and 60 minutes.

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