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Instant Pot, pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker ?

 
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Tereza Okava wrote:i use my cooker for
-beans
-broth when i don't want to wait for the slow cooker to go overnight
-tough meat
-beets



That's what I generally use my stovetop cooker for.  But this instant pot takes up a lot more space (counter or/and storage) so I want it to do more. I'm very interested in the one-pot meal in a hurry idea.  But so far, I've been mostly sticking to family favourites that usually take a day or longer to make.  

I want to try all sorts of different things in this pot so I can use it more often.  It does take a lot less electricity than the other cooking methods which makes my frugal heart sing.  

I'm really enjoying how I don't have to heat up the kitchen to cook delicious meals.
Staff note (r ranson):

This thread is split from a discussion about converting recipes to work in the instant pot. It turned out to be a great conversation about different cookers and different lifestyles.

 
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r ranson wrote:this instant pot takes up a lot more space (counter or/and storage) so I want it to do more.


this is exactly why I haven`t bought an instant pot, and stick with my old pressure cooker (a pot, that nests in the cabinet with other pots) and my crock-pot, which to be honest I use the heck out of. I only have space for one "pot" and the Crock won in the competition for space!
 
r ranson
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Tereza Okava wrote:

r ranson wrote:this instant pot takes up a lot more space (counter or/and storage) so I want it to do more.


this is exactly why I haven`t bought an instant pot, and stick with my old pressure cooker (a pot, that nests in the cabinet with other pots) and my crock-pot, which to be honest I use the heck out of. I only have space for one "pot" and the Crock won in the competition for space!



I've been thinking about that. Crock Pots are nice and I can see why it won.

The instant pot is also a slow cooker, so I'm hoping to try some slow-cook recipes in that soon.  But I have only used my slow cooker twice in the last year so I was thinking if the instant pot is any good at slow cooking, I might get rid of the slow cooker.

I wish I knew how big the 8 quart instant pot was before I got it.  It's huge!  The 6 quart would be better for everyday cooking, but I'm glad I got the 8 quart so I can make large batches and freeze.


 
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r ranson - I have been disappointed with the Instant Pot as a slow cooker. It takes forever, and I haven't been able to find good information about it's slow cooker function. My old slow cooker on low would braise meat in 6 hours, the Instant Pot on More setting of the slow cooker takes more like 10-12 hours. Hopefully, I will get it better figured out. The thing that I don't like about pressure cooking is that I can't check on things, make adjustments etc. I'm a very hands on cook, I don't like not being able to taste things as I go.

Also, I thought that I would be able to do more one-pot meals as I grow older, but people are so picky or have special needs different from my own, it never seems to work out.
 
r ranson
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I'm a hands-on cook too.  The book Hip Pressure Cooking helped me become comfortable with pressure cooking.  A lot of the recipes involve bringing it up to pressure, stopping, adding ingredients, bringing it back up... Minestrone soup is a perfect example.  Fry the bacon and onions, add water and beans, cook, bring down pressure, add veggies, cook, bring down pressure, add rice or pasta, cook, bring down pressure, add greens, bring back to boil - no pressure - and serve.  All this in under 40 min including prep and cleanup and creates a soup that tastes like it took days to make.  At each stage, I can taste and adjust the ingredients.  I use whatever is in season.

It's not for everyone.  

I haven't tried the slow cooker function on the instant pot yet.  I'm thinking I will for beans.  I boil the beans under pressure (save four hours cooking time right there), then strain the beans and make a 'baked beans' with the slow cooker function.  I don't know if it will work out, but I'm looking forward to trying it.
 
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This article about why the instant pot sucks at being a slow cooker is very interesting.

It seems to have two issues.

1. the low is lower than a regular slow cooker. The video with the article suggests that the low, medium, high are meant to mimic a slow cooker.  But does it?  It says the cooking temperature for the slow cooker (taken from the manual for the 8-quart duel Instant pot) is Less: 82-87.8C/ 180-190F, Normal: 87.8-93C/ 190-200F, more: 93-99C/ 200-210F.  Whereas crockpots generally have their LOW setting is about 200 F and the HIGH setting is about 300 F.  from here

The instant pot's less and normal settings seem very low to me, especially for meat.  

2. the food comes out too wet. Yes... that's expected.  The lid is well sealing and even with the steam vent open, we are probably only going to lose a tablespoon of moisture every four hours.  My crockpot loses about half a cup of moisture per hour.  

It looks like we can't expect the instant pot to act like a slow cooker, but we can use it as a slow cooker by adjusting the recipe.  

Issue 2 is interesting.  I can see how it's nice to come home to a house smelling of beautiful slow-cooked food.  The evaporation is good.  

But I'm miserly.  I hate the idea of heating up all that extra volume only to have it linger in the air.  It's very much personal taste.  One isn't better than the other.  I like hearing how other people cook and what tools fit their style.  
 
r ranson
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On further research, the manual suggests we use the glass lid when slow cooking in the instant pot to allow more evaporation.  
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm a hands-on cook too.  The book Hip Pressure Cooking helped me become comfortable with pressure cooking.  A lot of the recipes involve bringing it up to pressure, stopping, adding ingredients, bringing it back up... Minestrone soup is a perfect example.  Fry the bacon and onions, add water and beans, cook, bring down pressure, add veggies, cook, bring down pressure, add rice or pasta, cook, bring down pressure, add greens, bring back to boil - no pressure - and serve.  All this in under 40 min including prep and cleanup and creates a soup that tastes like it took days to make.  At each stage, I can taste and adjust the ingredients.  I use whatever is in season.

It's not for everyone.



I find this interesting and fascinating but very opposed to why I value this beast.  I love my 8 quart Instapot but the only thing I'm interested in doing with it is what my mother called "into the bowl dump" recipes.  My eyes glaze over and I move on if I see any messing around with opening and closing and frying and sauteeing -- I feel like I have better cookware for doing all those things.  What the Instapot, or any electric pressure cooker, is best for in my eyes is dumping in a bunch of ingredients, pushing a couple buttons, and coming back however long later to a ready-to-eat meal.  I am not a cook for the joy of cooking, I'm a cook because I have odd dietary needs and if I don't cook, I eat junk.  

I used a slow cooker the same way before I got my first electric pressure cooker.  It was all the same to me if my beans or pea soup took overnight to cook or less than an hour now; what mattered was the lack of any need to stir, monitor, worry about boiling over or scorching, or generally having to fuss with the food. Dump the ingredients in the vessel, set it, and forget it! That's what's for me.
 
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r ranson - Given my issues with using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker, I starting taking temperatures of the cooking liquid, today only at one point, but I will build on this. After 8 hours of cooking on the More setting for slow cooking, the liquid was 170 degrees. I started the cooking with the regular lid completely on, but switched to it cracked. I don't know how much cracking the lid changed the liquid temperature, but it seems better in so far as liquid evaporation. I see no need in buying a separate lid, leaving it ajar should be sufficient. To my mind, the issue is that even the More setting just isn't hot enough. I'm concerned that it takes too long to come up to temp. My last slow cooker started the cycle at a higher temp, and then would drop to the long cook temp. I'm not sure what this does, I'll have to measure more.

Dan Boone - I don't want to fry or saute in the middle, but I do like to adjust seasonings, check for tenderness, and increase/decrease temp, or uncover to change evaporation levels. I'm a foodie. I won't/don't eat food that I don't thoroughly enjoy. I don't spend most of my life, growing, raising and cooking food, to eat mediocre food. I know that my tendencies are not the norm, and I don't expect them to be, just explaining my reality. I try to cook amazing food that tastes great and is good for you, if it doesn't taste great, I will not eat until I find something that does taste great. Again, just my experience. I would like to think that amazing food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive.

As I have mentioned in another thread, I'm looking to reduce our propane dependence, the Instant Pot seems useful in this regard, as well as not overly heating the house. It is very hot in the summers here, and outdoor cooking is not allowed.
 
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To my mind, the issue is that even the More setting just isn't hot enough. I'm concerned that it takes too long to come up to temp.  



I'm wondering this too.

With my slowcooker, I usually use high or start it on high for an hour, then put it on low.

 
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Maybe I am naive, I assumed that the Instant Pot creators knew about the prolonged danger zone issue that plagued the original crock pot, and would have adopted the up to temp, down to cook protocol that most modern day slow cookers follow.

In professional terms, we always described this as BTB (bring to boil) and RTS (reduce to simmer).
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Dan Boone - I don't want to fry or saute in the middle, but I do like to adjust seasonings, check for tenderness, and increase/decrease temp, or uncover to change evaporation levels. I'm a foodie. I won't/don't eat food that I don't thoroughly enjoy. I don't spend most of my life, growing, raising and cooking food, to eat mediocre food. I know that my tendencies are not the norm, and I don't expect them to be, just explaining my reality. I try to cook amazing food that tastes great and is good for you, if it doesn't taste great, I will not eat until I find something that does taste great. Again, just my experience. I would like to think that amazing food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive.



That's a perfectly reasonable stance of course!  But it's totally not mine.  In my family growing up we had a jarringly crude saying: "Anything to make a turd."  I have rebelled against that extreme; I use herbs and spices. But overall my food standards remain low -- if it meets the nutritional profile I want and it's not actively disgusting, I'm happy to eat it.  It helps that some of the foods I like best are very simple comfort foods.  There's really nothing to adjust about a pot of split pea soup made in my 8 quart Instapot: 3 pounds of split peas, water to the full line, salt, large but not quantity-sensitive amounts of onions and garlic, a bit of red or black pepper or curry powder, then pressure cook the hell out of it.  "Peas porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old."  It really can't be bad unless I oversalt it, so I don't do that.  It's not amazing; I don't want amazing.  What it is, is low effort, low time, low cooking energy, the same every time I make it, very satisfying, and ridiculously healthy.  

I know I'm an outlier too; I'm not trying to preach any One True Way.  Just saying how it is for me.
 
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Dan Boone wrote:

I know I'm an outlier too; I'm not trying to preach any One True Way.  Just saying how it is for me.



I love hearing what style works for other people!  Thank you for sharing.

I guess I'm always a bit worried that I'm not doing things properly so I like to hear how other people do them and try their method to see if it fits my style.  

I'm really enjoying this thread.  
 
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That article cited above was why I didn`t invest in the instant pot, along with some food bloggers who mentioned that they were given them and then ended up giving them away.
I do love my pressure cooker (pot). I can open it manually when I want to, and it allows me to use almost no gas for cooking, really. Here we have beans on the table every single day, it is a great help for me. In fact it is almost 13 years old and I need to replace it, and I`m probably going to spend more on that than I would on an instant pot (remembering that here in the third world the instant pot is no great bargain).
I will add another piece of info: I may live in Brazil but I learned to cook in Asia. We eat a lot of steamed food and rice. The rice cooker is one machine that has guaranteed cabinet space, and I use it nearly every day (hell, I bake rolls in and it is where I make my Thanksgiving stuffing). If I didn`t have that rice cooker, I think the instant pot would be much more attractive.
So maybe also consider how you can get some extra uses through steaming- I hard boil my eggs by steaming them in the rice cooker (12 min, and it`s much easier to shock them in cold water when you take them out, easy peeling), which is just the beginning. Steam-cooked cakes and breads are classic Chinese fare.
 
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I think that one of the reasons that pressure cooking hasn't appealed to me is that I don't eat the foods that most people love it for. I don't eat beans. My last slow cooker was also a rice cooker, but when I do eat rice I prefer it cooked on the stovetop. Rice cookers tend to make very dry rice. My youngest kid used the Instant Pot to cook rice under pressure, but I thought the excessive washing of the rice to be a pain. I do have multiple pots with steamer inserts. I use them to hard boil eggs, steam veggies etc.

Also, I have most of my energy in the morning. I like to be able to get dinner going in the morning. In all likelihood I will buy another slow cooker and let me daughter play around with the Instant Pot.
 
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Isn't this thread a wonderful example of why and how the threads we get so many of asking "What is the best tool to do XYZ?" are so deliciously doomed from the start?  All these perspectives make it clear that the different tools exist because our preferences, working styles, circumstances, and constraints all vary more wildly than we usually imagine!
 
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I own a slow cooker, I do not have a rice cooker or an instapot or a pressure cooker. and I don't think I have used the slow cooker in the last year. I can never figure out what on earth I would cook in it. I've tried cooking chili and stews but because it's undisturbed you end up with a thin liquid with distinct chunks rather than a nice thick liquid where a lot of the vegetables have broken down into it. (and we only eat chili or stew occasionally)
I think my other issue with all of the above cooking methods is with a few exceptions I like vegetables crispy and everything that comes out of a slow cooker or a pressure cooker is soggy. Beans don't make a lot of appearances either.
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I don't think I have used the slow cooker in the last year. I can never figure out what on earth I would cook in it.


I am so thrilled with my slow cooker that I bought one for my sister in law at great cost (the manufacturer only made them for a short period, you can no longer get them here, which is a terrible shame, for me at least.)
She has never taken it out of the box.
I have sent her recipes- slow cooked pork ribs, whole roasted chicken, beef barbacoa, chicken cacciatore, bean and bacon soup, chicken bone broth, all the things I love to make in my crock pot just have her absolutely baffled.
She could probably make a bunch of money selling it online, since people want them and can't get them. If it weren't my sister in law I would ask for it back.....
 
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I added rice cooker to the subject line.

I want to learn about cooking roles in the cooker.  How do you do it?

Washing rice: There are so many wonderful ways to cook rice.  I love rice!

I used to cook rice like pasta - no worry about burning or scorching the pan.  Lots of water, cook rice, rinse.  Works great with long-grain white rice!

Now I do it the Japanese style.  Wash rice until water runs clear.  Then cook with the right amount of water (one fingers width above the rice).  This helps make the rice so much more digestible for my stomach and washing rice seems to prevent the froth we used to get when cooking on the stove.  The Japanese rice cooker (elephant mark brand) is my favourite kitchen gadget.  I bought a second one on sale on amazon last boxing day as a back up in case this one goes.  It's going on 11 years old now, but is still doing well.  But 11 years is pretty old for an appliance.  

I haven't tried cooking rice in the pressure cooker (except risotto which I love!).  My Instant Pot is 8 quarts so I suspect it would take a lot of rice to meet the minimum.  It might be worth a try.

 
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this was one of the first recipes that got me started regularly making rolls in the rice cooker. i am not sure there are subtitles, but if you keep in mind that she is just using normal things (flour, oil, salt, yeast) it should be relatively clear (the recipe is in the comment part). She is one of my favorite food youtubers, btw.


There are a million varieties, many involving veggie purees, but this one is the gateway.

As for rinsing-- I learned that you always wash rice because there is often talc in it to make it look white. That may be an old wives' tale, but who knows what is used on rice. When I wash it (3 rinses, always) there is often scum in the water, no matter where I buy the rice.
I was taught in a Buddhist kitchen, where you strain the water to avoid losing even a grain of rice, and you save the rinse water for some other use (soak your eggplant is the one that was practically beaten into me, but it could also be watering the garden).
In any case, it could be why rinsed/washed rice is more digestible to you. The other thing we generally do is soak the rice, often with a piece of kombu seaweed, which makes the whole thing even more nutritious (adds iodine, which is always good) and the old wives say that makes it all better for your stomach too.

I brought back a rice cooker from Japan a million years ago when I left. I bought it used, I used it the 8 years I was in the US, and then gave it to someone else, who later sold it. For all I know it is still out there steaming away..... I hope so!
 
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I'm half a century old, but I never once heard of nor conceived the notion of rinsing rice before this day.  What a big world this is!
 
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I have recently made my own somewhat-related discovery: you're not supposed to rinse parboiled rice, apparently it loses minerals (or something). We never had such a newfangled thing in the house when I learned to cook. My spouse loves it though (to each his own....) so you learn something new every day!
 
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Dan Boone wrote:I'm half a century old, but I never once heard of nor conceived the notion of rinsing rice before this day.  What a big world this is!



There's a lot of tradition and 'science' about rinsing rice.  It's very common in societies that have a rice-based diet.  It makes it easier to cook (no froth), easier to digest (fewer difficult starches), removes debris, and I think it tastes better.  The rinse water was saved for dish cleaning at the end of the meal.  You can also settle out the starch and use it for... starch.  

I usually rinse my rice in the same container I'm going to cook it.  I rinse it three times or until the water runs clear (whichever comes last).
 
r ranson
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A thought why North Americans don't rinse rice.

American (and most Canadian) rice is fortified.  Rinsing fortified rice risks removing a good chunk of these added nutrients.  
 
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I was raised on converted rice but my kids like a lot of other rice, like sushi rice, basmati rice or long grain for mexican rice. Converted rice you don't rinse, so to me rinsing rice seems fussy. Risotto rice is also not rinsed, the exterior starch is part of what makes it creamy, although I always add lots of other things to make it even creamier, like butter, creme fraiche, cheese.

Skandi - there is no reason why you can't stir things in a slow cooker. I do all the time. I mostly use mine for braised meats, like Pot Roast. I don't use my slow cooker for stock, or spaghetti sauce because I big batch cook those things in like a 5 gallon pot.
 
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About rinsing rice: What I've seen in my corner of India is that people always rinse the cheap rice that you buy from open sacks, and you can see a lot of starch, dust, and bits of crud coming off. I'm told that people used to use the starch water for ironing clothes. You don't have to rinse expensive rice that is sold in sealed packages.

There may be other electric pressure cookers if Instapot is not available in your country except as an expensive import. I found a few domestic brands on amazon.in and maybe other countries have their own, though India might be the country where the most people use pressure cookers daily so I don't know.
 
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I can only imagine India`s variety of pressure cookers!!! I think I learned more about using them from Indian blogs than anything else.
We do have some local varieties, but they are still ridiculously spendy. Everything here is pricey, though, you kind of get used to it! (makes you look differently at buying things, which i guess is good).

I managed to use the pressure cooker AND the slow cooker this morning to make chili. I soaked the beans last night, didn`t want to cook them overnight, so popped them in the pressure cooker for a few minutes this morning while I prepped the rest of the chili to dump in the slow cooker. It will cook all day, since today seems like it`s going to be a circus, and we'll have chili (and sourdough cornbread) tonight!
 
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We have (and love) an Instant Pot. From my experience, the pressure cooking modes wouldn't work very well for ad-hoc cooking ("winging it"). Where it shines, though, is reliably reproducing good recipes. After experimenting with a few dozen recipes, we've found some favorites that are delicious and require very little prep. Sometimes I'm lazy or otherwise busy and I don't want to hover over a stove or wash a bunch of pans... for those days it's great. We mostly use it for soups and various Indian dishes.

Most of the recipes in the included book are too complicated or not worth the effort, but there's good ones online.
 
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Have:

* Mirro canner
* 6qt pressure cooker
* 8qt slow cooker.

If I had to only pick one it would be the canner. But the pressure cooker is the tool I use the most.

I have no complaint about InstaPot other than its electric dependence. Probably the reason I don't us the slow cooker more often.

 
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john mcginnis - I have to say the electric dependence is a large part of the appeal for me. I'm off-grid solar so my electrical is cleaner and cooler than my propane. I did buy another slow cooker because after my experience with using the Instant Pot and my research into the same, it isn't a good slow cooker, and slow cookers are cheap.

I have a pressure canner and I love that, preserving and cooking food at the same time is a win-win for me.

I think that we will find some uses for the Instant Pot, but it won't replace our other appliances.
 
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We use our instant pot all the time. The ability to forget about it gives it an edge over regular pressure cookers.
Rice - 1 quick rinse, use the rice setting
Soup stock - veggie or meat scraps, water and spices, on the soup setting, strain it after work or in the morning.
Meat stew (for my meat eating spouse): saute the onions and meat, add water and veg, put on the soup setting. Chili, similar.
Hard boiled eggs - a cup of water in the bottom, eggs on the rack, 5 minutes, easy to peel.
Beans - timer for 6-8 hrs to soak, then short or long time depending on bean type.
 
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I use the heck out of my Instant pot for lots of things:
Rice, quinoa, millet and other grains.  We've dialed in the liquid to grain ratio so we end up with perfectly fluffy grains every time with no monitoring.
Batches of boiled eggs that are easy to peel.
Cheesecake
"Pickled" beets for my salads. (Peel and cube, toss in the vinegar and seasonings, cook under pressure 7 minutes, perfect!)
Bone broth.

I gave away our big crock pot because we use dutch ovens or clay pots for most true slow-cooking anyway and hadn't used the darned thing in over 5 years.
 
john mcginnis
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I have no angst for InstaPot. I borrowed a friends unit to try it out for a weekend. Nice and versatile I can understand the appeal. Our set up tends to forgo electric.

We have a second outdoor kitchen that we use heavily during the summer months. A rocket burner, a propane 3 burner RV cooktop and a RV refrig. We do 90% of our canning and cooking outside weather permitting. So our cooking tools align with that set up. Besides an InstaPot would not last long on top of the rocket burner!

If we had an InstaPot the slow cooker would probably get used very little. As it is the slow cooker gets used the most during the winter primarily for making stock or soups. Set on the counter folks help themselves through out the day.
 
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I have all 3. My rice cooker is used almost weekly and nearly solely for rice. I dont like using my instapot for rice because chances are my main dish is being cooked in it.

My slow cooker has taken a backseat lately, and only brought out for parties or large batch cooking. I have completely stopped using it for broth and stock. Nearly every time the broth would burn even on low. If I'm doing a braised meat it tends to go in my dutch oven on the stove to get the proper crispy caramelizing.

The instantpot shines for me when cooking game meat. 1 whole rabbit fits nicely in my 6qt and is pull off the bone tender in 30min. And dont get me started on how nice venison is coming out of there. Granted I do tend to do a 2 stage cooking where meat is pressure cooked and then browned/crisped under the broiler.
I also really REALLY like my instapot for small batch steam canning. I dont need to dig out my big ole water bath canner, wait for that to come to temp all while pumping steam into my house for just 5 pints of jam or sauce. It only takes maybe 40 min total for 1 batch. From pressure sterilizing my jars to pulling the jars out to cool.

Oh and broth definatley for broth. 1 roasted chicken carcass, 1 carrot 1 celery 1 small onion,1 clove garlic, 1/2 small bay leaf, salt and peppercorns, fill water to the max line and 45 min under pressure. The bones will crumble as you pull them out and no Burning!
 
Tereza Okava
pollinator
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if anything else, i hope this thread convinces somebody that

- dry beans are absolutely possible and not a PITA to cook

- bones and carcasses are worth using, along with other leftovers

So many good ideas in here about how to get the most out of the resources we have.
 
john mcginnis
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Shea Loner wrote:

Oh and broth definatley for broth. 1 roasted chicken carcass, 1 carrot 1 celery 1 small onion,1 clove garlic, 1/2 small bay leaf, salt and peppercorns, fill water to the max line and 45 min under pressure. The bones will crumble as you pull them out and no Burning!



For small batches certainly the InstaPot would be the way to go. I use my canner for that with a minor twist. I put a whole chicken, sometimes 2, 3 carrot 3 celery 3 large onion,1 clove garlic and any vegetable trimmings from other efforts. Same times for cooking. Pull the chicken(s) out, pick out the bones back into the PC, more water and repeat for another 30-40mins. We usually end up with a full flat of chicken stock on the shelf.

I guess that is why we did not opt to get a InstaPot. We prefer to do large batch cooking for our efforts. Just a different lifestyle choice.

I am kind of curious, can you do fried chicken in a InstaPot and how is the taste?
 
pollinator
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Love my instant pot, makes it very easy to quickly cook dry beans. It is nice to cook rice in like 2 minutes on a busy day.
 
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Dan Boone wrote:But overall my food standards remain low -- if it meets the nutritional profile I want and it's not actively disgusting, I'm happy to eat it.  It helps that some of the foods I like best are very simple comfort foods.  There's really nothing to adjust about a pot of split pea soup made in my 8 quart Instapot: 3 pounds of split peas, water to the full line, salt, large but not quantity-sensitive amounts of onions and garlic, a bit of red or black pepper or curry powder, then pressure cook the hell out of it.  "Peas porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old."  It really can't be bad unless I oversalt it, so I don't do that.  It's not amazing; I don't want amazing.  What it is, is low effort, low time, low cooking energy, the same every time I make it, very satisfying, and ridiculously healthy.  

I know I'm an outlier too; I'm not trying to preach any One True Way.  Just saying how it is for me.



Hey, I'm with you there on the "low effort, low time, low cooking energy" thing. I got two Instant Pots, an 8-quart (Hey, Google, turn on Papa Bear) and the little mini one (Baby Bear). I keep them both on my countertop and use them far more than I use my stove or microwave. In fact, I've gotten where I very rarely use the microwave, and there's only one burner on the stove I use and that's for frying eggs.

What I love about the Instant Pot is how forgiving it is. I'm one of those seniors who is bad about walking off and forgetting I'm cooking something and can't hear well enough to hear things beep; that, or I forget to start something cooking until half an hour before time to eat. Beans are fast. Rice is fast. Mess of greens from the garden, super fast. Bone broth, super easy. And nothing beats IP boiled eggs for easy peeling no matter how fresh the eggs are. Shoot, I even use my Anova sous vide thingie more these days because I keep it close and can just stick it into the big IP pot.

The two things I learned quickly about an IP is that things cook very quickly (so I can cook up pasta with the IP set to 0 or 1 minute, depending on brand) and to "slow cook" something you first pressure cook it for a short while, then let it set itself to the Keep Warm setting and switch it to slow cook when you happen to walk by and think about it. I like that you can sautee things like onions or veggies directly in the pot, then finish off the dish however you're going to. I use the sautee setting, too, to help bring the pressure up more quickly when I do start a pot of something. I like that I wind up cooking enough to have leftovers or to freeze. I love Southern (NO SUGAR) cornbread made in an iron skillet but never cook it because the house heats up so badly, but I can make a decent alternative using a springform pan inside my IP. Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking in the Instant Pot is the way to go. I have yet to cook a cheese cake in it, but that's only because I'm afraid I'll create a monster (me cooking cheesecake every day).

 
pollinator
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Rice cookers tend to make very dry rice. My youngest kid used the Instant Pot to cook rice under pressure, but I thought the excessive washing of the rice to be a pain.



I've been adding more water than they recommend and the last time, also added a bit of oil also and it's almost right as far as not being dry. I don't bother with rinsing the rice. I tried it a few times and didn't see any difference. We do a copy cat type recipe for yellow rice like the Vigo brand stuff.

People rave about the instant pot and I think they're ok but not as awesome as they're made out to be. A lot of recipes call for browning meat in the bottom. I tried it once and thought to myself, this is the dumbest idea ever. Can't fit all the meat in at once. The pot is as deep as it is wide so it's near impossible to work in it. I just brown stuff in a cast iron skillet first. I do like the instant pot for a chuck or similar roast with taters and carrots. Throw it all in, set for 45 minutes and it's good to go. Quick and easy.

I haven't tried it as a slow cooker yet but it seems like it would be different than the big mass of weight that the crock part of a crockpot is. That and I got the 6 qt IP which is kind of small.

I plan on doing beans in it but haven't yet. If I can use it for rice, roasts and beans, that's good enough for me.

And I have to wonder if all those women with $5000.00 instant pot/cooking websites will ever see any kind of return on their investment.

Oh and boiled eggs. Can't forget that, though I did until I read above and came back to add
 
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I picked up the Instant Pot, and it's been great for steel-cut oats, I can toss it in and then my  morning routine of shower/shave/dress and the oats are ready to eat. I have cooked basmati rice in it, and using the recommended settings the rice was a little dry, perhaps if I ate it ASAP after opening it would have been better, but I just add a bit more water. I haven't tried my favorite chicken/carrot/lentil with curry-ish seasoning slow cooker recipe in it yet.

The model I have is rated at 1000w, so this will impact my solar power system as far as inverter sizing. While it might only be on for 10 minutes between heating up and cook time and uses say 160 watt-hours as a result, I was planning on a 600w inverter which would now need to be a 1500w model to allow the IP to run while other things are on like lights and fridge. I was already planning to not bring my microwave which while a 1000w model actually draws 1500w due to the power loss during conversion, and I don't think I want that around down the road.

My crock pot says 240w on the bottom in comparison, so a smaller inverter would be fine, but if I'm running it on high for 4 hours that's 960 watt-hours of use, so either sunny days or higher battery capacity needed there. Or even better, making a "hay cooker", insulated box to put the crock pot or other cooking pot in after it's up to a boil. I have a ceramic coated cast iron pot which has the mass that would work well for that setup. I believe it can also handle an open flame, so a rocket heater to bring it to a boil, then in the box to simmer. No additional electrical capacity needed, but an outdoor kitchen for warm weather cooking would be good.

I can also see picking up a normal pressure cooker used as an option, to either cook food faster or for canning seasonal items in the outdoor kitchen. I expect with experience you'd learn how much wood to feed a rocket heater to bring the pressure cooker up to temp, but maybe that's not a recommended method due to safety?
 
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