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I love one pot meals. I love recipes that don’t require tons or work, as well as those that don’t necessitate the use of lots of pots and pans. I recently learned of the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and was very intrigued. I was very excited to receive the opportunity to check out the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 first hand.
What is an Instant Pot?
Let me start out by sharing that the Instant Pot is the #1 best selling pressure cooker on Amazon.
With multiple sensors and a micro-processor, Instant Pot is an intelligent multi-cooker, capable of completely replacing pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, sauté/browning pan, steamer, yogurt maker and stockpot warmer. Most importantly, Instant Pot cooks meals faster with less energy while preserving more nutrients.
Instant Pot is manufactured by the No. 1 electric pressure cooker factory which has produced over 50 million units already in household use worldwide. The benefits of Instant Pot can be summarized in five aspects.
- Convenient: 12 turn-key function keys for the most common cooking tasks. Planning the meal with delayed cooking up to 24 hours, reducing cooking time by up to 70%.
- Cooking healthy, nutritious and tasty meals: smart programming for delicious healthy food, consistent every time.
- Clean & Pleasant: absolutely quiet, no steam, no smell, no spills, no excessive heat in the kitchen. 6-in-1 capability reduces clutter in the kitchen.
- Energy efficient: saves up to 70% of energy.
- Absolutely safe and dependable: Instant Pot is UL/ULC certified and has 10 fool-proof safety protections.
Typically an electric pressure cooker can reduce cooking time by up to 70% comparing with other methods. The idea of preparing tasty family meals in a fraction of the time is very appealing to me. It sounds like this appliance would be a wonderful resource for parents, particularly those who lead busy lifestyles and are often on the go.
I have never used a pressure cooker of any kind before. I had heard all sorts of things about pressure cookers when I was younger so I never rushed to use one. I have always been fascinated by multi-function appliances. I personally own several slow cookers, a rice cooker and a multi-cooker, as well as several saute pans and two stock pots. When the Instant Pot arrived I didn’t feel like I was miles out of my comfort zone, being as the unit looked similar to other small appliances I have owned, namely slow cookers. And, unlike the manual pressure cookers that I was never really wanting to try, the Instant Pot can actually be left unattended since it can drop it’s own pressure as well as turn off and switch to the warm cycle.
The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is a 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker. It is a 6 quart unit that operates at 1000W. Along with the Instant Pot unit itself, the box also contains a steaming rack, condensation catch cup, and spoons. The unit isn’t much different in size than many slow cookers, measuring 11.8″ H x 13.4″ W x 13.4″ D.
The Instant Pot isn’t as difficult to use as I was afraid it would be. It does come with both an instruction booklet and a recipe booklet. Once you’ve chosen what setting you are using and put the ingredients in, it’s time to place the locking lid on so the Instant Pot can heat up. The display will show the word “on” while the unit is heating. Once it’s reached the appropriate temperature, the amount of time required to cook will be shown on the display. Trapped vapors work to increase heat and decrease cooking time, while also allowing the food to retain nutrients, moisture and flavor. Both time and temperature can be adjusted quickly and easily with the press of a button or two. As the food cooks the time will count down. Once the food is finished the unit will automatically switch over to the warm function. Before you open the unit up you have to let the built-up steam out, You can either let it release naturally over time, or do a quick release. Do note that the unit cannot be opened until the steam has been released.
I really appreciate the heavy duty, 3-ply stainless steel cooking pot that comes with the Instant Pot. This pot is super sturdy and thick. The pot could be used on the stove if you like, but I haven’t taken or needed an opportunity to do that yet. It isn’t a nonstick pot, which to be truthful is what I generally prefer. That hasn’t proved to be a problem as I just use a little nonstick cooking spray for dishes I think will need it. Even when I had a little food stick to the bottom, it was easy enough to clean with a scrubber. The pot didn’t look scratched after using that.
Here’s a brief video showing some of the many great features of the Instant Pot.
I have tried a number of different types of foods in the Instant Pot since it arrived here a couple of weeks ago. The first dish I tried was Ziti With Ground Beef. Being able to brown the meat right in the pot where I was going to cook the meal was very convenient. Prepping our meal was super simple. Brown the meat and onion, add the pasta and sauce, cook and serve. And, aside from the Instant Pot itself, no extra pots and pans to wash! This dish tasted quite different than when I make it on the stovetop. The meat seemed a bit juicier, the pasta had great texture, and I found the flavor to be better in general.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with the Instant Pot, getting to know the functions and settings better and really putting it through its paces. Be sure to check back for recipes. To date I have made two additional pasta dishes, two rice dishes, and two soups – the recipes for all of which will be shared here on From Val’s Kitchen in the near future.
But for now, here’s how I made the ziti.
Ziti With Ground Beef And Cheese
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Pressure CookerCuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Block SetInstant Pot Tempered Glass LidInstant Pot Silicone Mitts, set of 2Silicone serving spoon w Stay-cool Stainless Handle3-piece Pyrex Measuring cup set3-piece bamboo cutting board setPyrex 20-piece glass storage set
- 1 1/4 lb ground beef
- 16 oz ziti
- 1 small onion, diced
- 24 oz jar pasta sauce
- 4 oz shredded mozzarella
- salt and pepper
Place the onion into the Instant Pot and saute. You’ll want to use a silicone spoon to stir while cooking. (I like this spoon because I like the size and feel of the handle, plus it washes very well.)
Add the ground beef into the pot and brown that.
Add the 24 oz jar of sauce, as well as 24 oz of water.
Add the ziti.
Set to steam for 5 minutes.
Do a quick pressure release.
Add the 4 oz shredded mozzarella.
Stir until cheese is melting, or consistency you like.
Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
If you have any left over, you can technically store right inside the Instant Pot simply by placing the Instant Pot silicone lid on. But I find things stick a bit after taking out of the fridge, so I prefer to store in glass storage containers that I can just pop in the microwave for reheating.
To recap, these are the products you’ll need to make this recipe include:
- Instant Pot pressure cooker (I used 6 qt model)
- Instant Pot glass lid for keeping warm while serving
- Instant Pot silicone mitts
- silicone spoon
- measuring cup
- cutting board
- glass storage containers
You can purchase the Instant Pot purchase online from Amazon.com, from select retailers nationwide, and from the Instant Pot Online Store.
What dish would you try making in the Instant Pot?