What Is An Instant Pot And What Is It Used For?

What Is An Instant Pot And What Is It Used For?

Discover the revolution in the modern home kitchen with the Instant Pot: the small multifunction appliance that will forever transform the way you cook.

Since its introduction into the market, the Instant Pot has quickly gained market share thanks to its versatility and easy handling. But what exactly is it and how is it used? Instant Pot is actually a brand of kitchen appliances and its flagship appliance, known by that same name, is a pressure cooker that has become very popular in modern kitchens.

What is an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is an easy-to-use multifunction and programmable electric pressure cooker. Its name comes from the brand that invented it, Instant Pot, founded by Robert Wang in 2009. This appliance arose after Wang’s search for a device to prepare healthy and tasty meals in a short time. This is how he was inspired by the traditional pressure cooker, devising a device that combined the efficiency of pressure cooking with the convenience of modern technology.

The operation of an Instant Pot is based on different technologies: the key is the increase in pressure that is generated inside the container, made possible thanks to the heater to generate heat and steam in the pot and the hermetic closing system of its lid. superior. The device has a digital control system and different security systems.

How does an Instant Pot work?

The first thing, once the device is connected to electricity, is to place the food and liquids to be cooked in the internal stainless steel pot. Then it is necessary to use the lid to cover the pot, which works with a simple opening and closing system by turning the lid left and right.

You can now use the front controls of the appliance to select the cooking mode. The Instant Pot will begin to heat up and generate steam inside. As the steam increases, so does the pressure, which is the main reason why food cooks faster.

With the controls, we can adjust the temperature and pressure levels. It has different sensors to internally regulate these parameters, monitoring and adjusting their values ​​at all times.

The Instant Pot has several safety systems that make it safer than a normal pressure cooker, and it is not a trivial issue. The Instant Pot has 10 different safety systems: a steam release valve with an anti-blocking system to prevent food from entering and collapsing, the lid system with position detection that prevents the start of any program if it is not closed properly, internal temperature and pressure control, overheating protection, electrical and thermal fuses or the leak detection system among others.

Once the food is cooked, the internal pressure must be released through the depressurization valve. It can be done by waiting or opening it manually, always with care. A red button next to the valve serves as an indicator to know when it can be opened. The button has two positions: if it is raised, the lid should not be opened. If the button goes down, it means it can be opened.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Features

The most important feature of an Instant Pot is that it is multifunction, electric, and programmable, so it is plugged into the light as if it were an appliance instead of being placed on the fire and it also allows you to do many more things. It has a flexible and precise control system, offers its own safety systems, saves time and energy, is very easy to use, and can be easily cleaned.

The Instant Pot is mainly used to cook dishes more quickly. The main functions of a standard model include slow cooking, ideal for stews, stews, soups and other slow-cooking dishes that require cooking at a low temperature for an extended period of time; pressure cooking that allows food to be cooked much faster than using a conventional cooking method; steam cooking, to steam various foods such as fish, seafood and vegetables in the healthiest way; stir-fries, to brown and seal foods before pressure cooking or stewing; the rice cooker function, ideal for cooking any variety of rice evenly without the need for constant supervision or the yogurt maker function with which to maintain a constant temperature and ferment yogurt at home easily and safely. These are just some of the functions that we will detail later.

How is an Instant Pot different from a conventional pressure cooker?

The main differences between the Instant Pot and the pressure cooker are found in their functions and design: everything is automated and it is almost impossible to make a mistake. Also in terms of security, the differences are notable.

The Instant Pot can cook like a pressure cooker but also do many other things that we cannot do in the conventional pot, acting as a slow cooker, rice cooker, or yogurt maker for example.

Furthermore, the technologies they use and how they are used are very different: while the pressure cooker is put on the heat and controlled completely manually, which may require a lot of experience and attention, the Instant Pot is electric, It generates heat from electricity and has preset programs and digital controls to cook all types of ingredients and recipes without worrying about anything, so we are talking about a more modern and easy-to-use appliance.

At the security level, the differences are also considerable. Although pressure cookers are safe if used correctly, the Instant Pot, being more modern and having a digital control system and sensors, adds many more safety systems.

What is the Instant Pot used for?

The Instant Pot is used to cook with different cooking methods. It is mainly aimed at pressure cooking food as if it were a modern pressure cooker, but thanks to its characteristics it allows many other cooking techniques to be applied. It all depends on the model: the so-called “7 in 1” ones replace up to 7 different household appliance functions, while the “9 in 1” models add the sterilizer and sous-vide functions. In the most recent models there is already talk of “10 in 1” equipment since they incorporate a new function. We tell you what those main uses are, you won’t believe what you can cook in an Instant Pot.

pressure cook

Pressure cooking basically consists of cooking food by subjecting it to higher pressures than normal, which allows it to be done faster. For pressure cooking, so-called pressure cookers are used, containers with an airtight seal and an exhaust valve that allow high pressures to be generated inside where the food is placed. As a general rule, what we achieve with this technique is the cooking of food faster, for this reason, it is usually used to prepare stews and stews that would otherwise take more time.

slow cooking

Thanks to the digital temperature and pressure control system offered by the Instant Pot, it is possible to use it to apply the slow cooking technique, which consists of cooking food at a constant low temperature for long periods of time. Different Instant Pot models have a button dedicated to this function on the control panel. Ideal for stews, stews, soups, and other slow-cooking dishes.


With this function, you can brown and seal foods before pressure cooking or stewing them. At the end of the day, the Instant Pot works like a normal pot and you just have to press the button in this way, which also has several intensity settings depending on whether we want to cook over low heat and reduce liquid, brown in a pan or sauté and directly fry. In this mode, the pot is not covered.


Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking techniques that exist and the Instant Pot is perfectly capable of putting it into practice. The only thing you need is to use one of the accessories that come with the device, the steam cooking rack. Add a little water, place the food on the rack and select the corresponding program to steam whatever you want.

rice cooker

Ideal for cooking any variety of rice evenly without the need for constant supervision. With this function it is possible to get rice with the perfect point easily, you will only have to worry about measuring the ingredients correctly.

yogurt maker

It will allow you to maintain a constant temperature to make yogurt and other fermented foods at home easily and safely. Thanks to the heat and steam, all you will have to do is select the corresponding function and put the ingredients inside the pot.

Heating food

The keep-warm function allows you to keep food warm once cooked and is useful if you have finished cooking but it is not yet time to eat. You can adjust the parameters of this function so that it works automatically when cooking is finished or to start it manually.


The Instant Pot can also be used as a sterilizer. Glass, silicone, metal… It is valid with common household items. Simply add water, place the steam rack and the objects you want to sterilize on it, close the lid, and press the corresponding button. In models that do not have this function, something similar can be achieved using the pressure cooking mode.

Sous-vide cooking

Sous-vide cooking consists of vacuum sealing food and placing it in water at a certain temperature so that it cooks in its own juices, and the Instant Pot is perfectly capable of doing this. The only thing you should keep in mind is that you need a vacuum sealer and sealing bags suitable for this type of cooking.

What can you cook in an Instant Pot?

Thanks to its various functions you can cook a wide variety of dishes. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind are dishes that require long cooking. We are talking about stewed meats such as shredded pork or beef stew, and slow-cooking dishes such as soups and vegetable and meat stews.

The possibility of steaming all types of ingredients makes it ideal, for example, for cooking vegetables and fish. You can also make different pasta recipes such as bolognese or carbonara pasta, all types of rice recipes, both dry and creamy or brothy, and you can even make homemade desserts such as flan or rice pudding, not to mention the yogurt function that It allows you to prepare fermented recipes such as yogurt.

If you also get a Crisp model, you can prepare all types of frying without oil as if it were an air fryer, from fried legs to chicken nuggets.

Advantages and disadvantages of cooking with Instant Pot

This kitchen robot has both advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account before purchasing one.

Advantages of the Instant Pot

  • Time-saving: Thanks to its pressure cooking function, the Instant Pot will allow you to cook food much faster than following traditional cooking methods.
  • Versatility: Being a multifunction device, you can replace several kitchen appliances such as pressure cookers, rice cookers, steamers, and yogurt makers.
  • Safety: With its set cooking programs and safety designs such as pressure release valves and lid lock, the Instant Pot will be one of the safest kitchen utensils even if you have no prior experience.

Disadvantages of the Instant Pot

  • Size: Although the Instant Pot combines several functions in the kitchen, it takes up a lot of space and requires additional storage for accessories and utensils.
  • Initial cost: The price of the Instant Pot can be higher than other kitchen appliances, so it may be a drawback for tighter budgets.
  • Learning time: Although it is an easy-to-use device, it may take some time to become familiar with its settings and functions, requiring you to consult the instructions on several occasions.

Tips for cooking with the Instant Pot

We give you some tips to cook with the Instant Pot and make the most of all its functions safely.

How to cook in an Instant Pot

The first thing you should do is prepare the ingredients for your recipe, liquids are essential. Once ready you will have to put them in the internal container of the device and close it tightly with the lid. Then you will have to choose the cooking program or the corresponding time, temperature, and pressure settings. If everything is correct, the Instant Pot will begin to do its job by increasing the pressure to the indicated point and keeping it constant until the time is complete.

When the time runs out it is necessary to release the internal pressure, which you can do manually or by waiting until the pressure comes out on its own. The position of a red indicator next to the pressure release valve will serve as an indicator of when it is safe to open the Instant Pot.

How to use an Instant Pot safely

The Instant Pot is safer than the usual pressure cooker. All you have to do to use it safely is follow its instructions. In any case, the device is designed in such a way that it will not operate if there is any safety risk.

As we saw previously, the Instant Pot has up to 10 different safety systems, including the lid position detector that will prevent it from starting if the lid is not correctly closed, the anti-blocking system of the steam release valve, the leak detection system or the internal temperature and pressure control system. Furthermore, in case any problem appears, it can be unplugged directly from the power.

How to clean an Instant Pot

All Instant Pot components except the base are dishwasher safe: the stainless steel inner pot, the high-quality silicone sealing ring, the lid with its anti-blocking shield, and the steam rack. However, for the rest of the things you will have to do manual cleaning.

The most important thing is to make sure the Instant Pot is unplugged and has cooled before cleaning it. Afterward, you will also have to wash the condensation collector, in this case by hand. To clean the base, it is recommended to use a damp cloth and then dry it.

How to Experiment with Recipes in the Instant Pot

Whatever you want. Put your food mixed with some liquid and start experimenting. The most important thing is that there is liquid, it is essential for the Instant Pot to generate pressure. Make sure your recipe has enough liquid so that the food does not burn inside.

How to Choose the Right Instant Pot

Instant Pot offers many models and in different sizes to adapt to both the needs of the consumer and the different spaces in each kitchen. The most common models are those of the Duo, Nova, Pro, and Evo range . Depending on the model, sizes vary from 3 to 10 liters.

It is also necessary to consider the difference between the Crisp and non-Crisp models, which basically include an extra lid that offers 4 additional operating modes: air fryer, roast, bake, grill, and dehydrate, which basically turns the Instant Pot into an air fryer.

Which to choose? Everything will depend on the number of people you have at home or for whom you normally have to cook and whether you already have an air fryer at home or not. In case you are interested in having one at home, you can purchase the original Instant Pot in stores such as Leroy Merlin, Amazon or the official Instant Pot website.

The best recipes for Instant Pot

If you dare to get an Instant Pot, the first thing you can do is try a classic pressure cooker recipe such as a traditional homemade consommé, try how this type of cooking works for some legumes with some cooked chickpeas, for example, or prepare a cauliflower and carrot cream if you fancy a vegetable dish. Of course, you will have to explore the possibilities of steam cooking by preparing steamed salmon or steamed potatoes, try typical slow-cooking recipes such as pulled pork or enjoy the best stews and stews with meats of all kinds such as cheeks. in sauce. There are many recipes for Instant Pot and with a little experience, it is possible to adapt many others to cook in the device.

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