Is a Pressure Cooker the Same as an Instant Pot?
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Is a pressure cooker the same as an Instant Pot? Both of these products’ primary function is to tenderize meat through the process of pressure cooking. Although they have other features, pressurizing meat is the consumer’s main reason why they buy a pressure cooker.
If you are wondering which one to buy, you may want to check both products individually for you to know which would suit your cooking needs. Before we proceed to each product’s features and benefits, let us first understand what pressure cooking means.
What Is Pressure Cooking?
Pressure cooking is one method of cooking food using high pressure in a sealed container, making use of water or any other cooking liquid. Boiling is restricted if you use high pressure, although cooking beyond 100 degrees is permissible.
In a more straightforward explanation, the steam trapped inside a tightly closed pot will cause the pressure to rise. This combination makes cooking faster.
A pressure cooker lets out air from the boiling liquid but keeps the steam trapped inside the vessel. When this happens, the pressure inside rises, which makes cooking at high temperatures possible.
This process can cook food a lot faster than the conventional way of tenderizing meat through boiling. What’s more, food cooked in a pressure cooker is more flavorful compared to traditional cooking.
Benefits of Pressure Cooking
Using a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot to cook your meal has its advantages. Here are some benefits that you will get from pressure cooking.
Food that is cooked in a shorter time retains its flavor and color. Pressure cooking can improve the natural taste of the food, making it more savory, flavorful, and tender.
On the other hand, food that is cooked in an ordinary pot leaves it open to heat and oxygen, which can lessen the food’s flavor and darken its color.
More Nutrient-Rich Dish
Vitamins and minerals will not evaporate when food is pressure-cooked because the cooking time is decreased by 70% while also using a small amount of water.
This means that food does not have to be submerged in water for a long time as compared to boiling, which allows the vitamins and minerals to evaporate. Pressure cooking can cook food faster, keeping 90% of the food’s nutrients intact.
Pressure cooking is more economical compared to conventional cooking. There’s no need to use several pots using multiple burners to prepare a meal.
Since foods cook faster with this method, less energy is used. Reaching the boiling point is also faster because you only need little water for pressure cooking.
Lowers Meal Preparation Time
Pressure cooking is one great way to prepare a meal in a jiffy because the cooking time is a lot shorter than the traditional method. You can set up the table and tidy up your kitchen while your dish is cooking.
Heat rises every time we cook the traditional way. With pressure cooking, the warmth and steam are all trapped inside the pot. This means that pressure cooking does not contribute to the heat inside your kitchen.
Pressure cooking aids in preserving food. The high pressure allows you to cook and store the food for future use. You can keep it in jars and cans and store in your pantry or refrigerator.
Removes Harmful Microorganisms
Food that is exposed to high temperatures can destroy harmful bacteria. You can also use pressure cooking to sterilize baby bottles.
What Is a Pressure Cooker?
The pressure cooker is not a new invention. The first pressure cooker, called a steam digester, was invented in the 1600s by Denis Papin, a French physicist, inventor, and mathematician. This invention is in support of his scientific study about steam, stating that food will cook faster inside a pressurized pot.
It was only in 1938 when an American inventor named Alfred Vischer made a pressure cooker specific for home use. The evolution of the pressure cooker started from there, which can be divided into three generations. The first generation of the pressure cooker is the one that has the heavy valve on top that shakes as it releases excess steam.
The jiggling valve was removed on the second generation of pressure cookers and was replaced by pressure settings. Some second-generation pressure cookers only release steam once opened, but you can see the pressure level through a rising indicator.
Electric pressure cookers or the third generation type came out in 1991. An electrical heat source is automatically regulated for the pressure level to stay in one setting while cooking. Electric pressure cookers typically have built-in timers and should be handled with caution.
What Is an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot was a collaboration by Dr. Robert J. Wang and his two friends who are good at technology. They dedicated 18 months of their time to create a device with similar functions to a pressure cooker but is more user-friendly, so it’s more convenient to use. It was October 2018 when the first multicooker was released online via Amazon.
Instant Pot is a brand name. If this is the first time that you’ve heard about it, you will be surprised to know how versatile this appliance is. It has so many uses that it will save you a lot of kitchen space and money.
An Instant Pot is an electric appliance with a lot of preset programs depending on the type of food you are cooking at the moment. You can finish cooking a meal in minutes without hassle. It can also function as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer. You can even use it for sauteing and browning. Some Instant Pot models offer additional functions like baking. It can also thaw frozen meat.
There are a lot of recipes online that are specific for your Instant Pot. Since everything you cook in your Instant Pot is timed, you don’t have to worry about overcooking. All meals are cooked to perfection with the right tenderness and flavor. The Instant Pot multicooker is available in 10 models: Max, Ultra, Duo, Duo Plus, Duo SV, Duo Evo Plus, Lux, Duo Nova, Viva, and Smart WiFi.
Is It Worth Getting an Instant Pot?
A resounding yes would be an appropriate answer to this question. With the Instant Pot’s preprogrammed settings, you are assured of well-cooked meals done in a shorter time. Some food comes out with much better flavor and texture due to the principle of pressure cooking.
Another reason why getting an Instant Pot is worthy is the convenience it gives us when it comes to preparing and cooking meals, especially for one-pot meals. Not to mention lesser cleaning time because you don’t need to use several pots just to finish a dish. If you can get the Instant Pot while it’s on sale, that is one more reason why you should buy it.
Even though an Instant Pot offers a lot of functions, some operations are better than others. Here are some of the processes worth checking:
The multicooker can do this function well. Make sure to take note of the rules and precautions before you start, and everything will go as you have set it. You have to be very cautious when moving the valve to the Venting mode, as the steam may burn your hand.
Using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker the first time may not get the same result as your usual slow cooker. It may require some learning curve before you can use it for slow cooking and getting the result that you want.
Like a rice cooker, the Instant Pot works similar to your stand-alone rice cooker. Just set it to its specific program, and you will need only to wait for it to finish cooking.
Using your ordinary steamer on a stovetop is much faster than steaming in your Instant Pot. However, doing it on your multicooker is more convenient because there’s no worry about overdoing it since it is timed and will stop once it’s done.
The saute function is the real deal because you can do it straight on the pot and then proceed to pressure cook your meal. This procedure will enhance the flavor of your meal, as well.
Another advantage is that you only need to clean one pot. Just remember to set your temperature to the lowest setting to prevent burning your food while sauteing.
There’s no significant difference with the Instant Pot’s yogurt maker function as compared to making it on your stovetop since making one doesn’t require any special equipment.
This function works similarly to a rice cooker that automatically switches to the warm setting right after the timer stops.
Disadvantages of Using an Instant Pot
There’s no such thing as a perfect gadget. With that said, we will tell you some of the drawbacks that come with using an Instant Pot.
An Instant Pot may be considered a multicooker, but it will still need a space in your kitchen. It’s a bit bulky compared to a pressure cooker, which is easier to store inside a cabinet.
Contrary to the Instant Pot’s ability to cook food quickly, mastering its numerous functions can be consuming and may need time and patience. Just the thought of handling this gadget that can produce high pressure can also concern some users.
We keep on talking and focusing on how fast an Instant Pot cooks our food. However, if you also add the time you spent to wait for it to reach boiling point, the cooking time, plus the wait time until it has cooled down and all the pressure is released, you will realize that you spent as much as time as when you did it conventionally.
Is Pressure Cooking Healthy?
If you ask traditional food lovers, they will say that pressure cooking strips away the nutrients from the food due to the high temperature it was cooked in. After all, we are used to simmering food on low fire, which usually takes hours to finish.
Aside from that, you need to be vigilant and keep an eye on what you are cooking to make sure that it will not burn or dry up. However, since pressure cooking is done in a sealed pot, water does not evaporate, and the food is cooked faster.
Some say that pressure cooking can preserve the nutrients in food much better than other ways due to lesser cooking time. Meals are also more digestible when cooked in high pressure.
Using less water in cooking is another way of affirming that pressure cooking is healthy. This information is exceptionally accurate if you let the pot cool down naturally before opening, so the steam will not escape the container where the nutrients are found.
Is a Pressure Cooker the Same as an Instant Pot?
We have mentioned above that the pressure is not new to the culinary world. A French physicist invented the appliance in the 1600s. The concept of multicooker is now making waves in the market in the form of the Instant Pot.
The differences between these two appliances boil down to how they are used, its automation, restrictions, and price. The old type of pressure cooker lacks the safety mechanisms found in an Instant Pot, which is why you hear a lot of stories about the pressure cooker exploding and making a mess of the food inside.
On the other hand, an Instant Pot was built with safety in mind. From the first to the latest model, manufacturers continue to include digital controls to the appliance for the safety and convenience of the user.
A lot of people are still using the pressure cooker, even if the Instant Pot is clearly making a name in the culinary world. It is also becoming more and more popular in the kitchen of every home. Preparing and cooking a meal have become comfortable for those using an Instant Pot. They can do something else while waiting for the Instant Pot to finish the selected program.
Is a pressure cooker the same as an Instant Pot? Some say that an Instant Pot is the advanced version of a pressure cooker. When you come to think of it, there’s some semblance of truth in that statement.
Using either of the two vessels is a matter of need and preference. If you don’t have the time to spare for cooking meals traditionally, then using these two gadgets is the best solution. You can use one of the best electric pressure cookers to prepare your next meal.