Nowadays most people like to have a useful gadget that helps them cook quick and delicious meals for their families. When you need quick cooking, naturally, a question pops up: pressure cooker vs instant pot, which one should you go for? In the first instance, you might think that the two are identical, however, that is not the case. Below you will find the main differences in the pressure cooker vs instant pot battle.
What Is an Instant Pot
The instant pot has been relatively recently designed, only in 2008, and it incorporates several kitchen gadgets in one place. Depending on the model of instant pot that you choose to purchase, you might get additional cooking modes. For example, a rice cooking mode, yoghurt making regime, and medium heat program for food warming.
In the end, you get all that in a very compact and modern design. In fact, some premium models might even come with additional features such as French Fryer or no-oil grilling. The instant pot range consists of several models depending on your specific needs. The latest models are:
- Duo Plus
- Ultra and
Most of them have the feature of a manual program as well as a sleek stainless steel surface. Lux and Duo models have been designed for individuals with a tight budget. However, they still come with the much needed features as well as a standard 2-year warranty period. The ultra and smart models were specifically designed for customers with a much higher budget.
Hence, they come with many additional features that you will not find in basic models. Besides, the instant pot is very easy to clean with some effort and a squirt of cleaning liquid. Plus, you can store the instant pot away from the kitchen countertop when you do not plan to use it. Customers noted how easy these pots are to assemble and disassemble everytime.
What Is a Pressure Cooker
Basically, it is a pot that cooks food with steam at a very high pressure. The pot has a pressure valve on the side that controls temperature inside the pot as it begins to heat up. The higher the temperature, the higher the pressure. A pressure cooker can be great for cooking various types of dishes much faster than you would using regular pots.
For example, if you were to cook a meat stew, the boiling point of the stew would be the maximum possible temperature. But, with a good pressure cooker you could raise the temperature to 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This would help you cook much faster.
Pressure cookers are perfect for cooking tough ingredients such as chickpeas and red beans. Instead of having to soak them and then cook them for hours, you could just toss them into the pressure cooker. Cooking chickpeas in the pressure cooker would take less than an hour.
Similarly you could use a pressure cooker to prepare delicious braised meats. Regardless of which cooking gadget you will choose, instant pot vs pressure cooker, rest assured that they come with superb safety features. As a result, you can be confident that the appliance will not explode or catch fire during use.
Comparison Between the Standard Pressure Cooker and Instant Pot
Pressure cookers are normally larger than instant pots but only because they tend to offer more features than the standard instant pot.
Cooking Time and Efficiency
Pressure cookers are perfect for most canning needs as they tend to gain pressure very quickly. Thus they end up using less time to cook. However, instant pots are also quite efficient. The main advantage of an instant pot is that it is very efficient and uses the minimum amount of electricity. Latest studies place them only second to microwave ovens in terms of cooking time and efficiency.
As opposed to the traditional cooking pots, an instant pot requires much less water thus reaching boiling point much faster than the traditional cooking method. Again, this means that the instant pot will use less electricity when compared to standard electrical cooking ranges.
The second valid point is that traditional cooking methods involve lots of boiling which can significantly diminish the vitamin content of prepared meals. Steaming vegetables over a long period of time causes the reduction of valuable components and the nutritional value of cooked meals.
On the contrary, instant pot cooks the food evenly and quickly all the while maintaining water-soluble properties and vitamins/minerals. Furthermore, the majority of customers who have purchased instant pot have noted that the food cooked by this method tends to preserve appearance much better.
Manufacturers have also supported this claim. They say it occurs because cooking in open vessels even with lids causes the food to be exposed to air which leads to the diminishing of color and flavour. On the other hand, pressure cooking uses steam thus saturating the food while retaining the natural flavour and colour.
Pressure cookers were introduced much earlier than their counterpart, instant pot. So naturally, they tend to be cheaper to purchase than the latest model of the instant pot. Added features also tend to make instant pots expensive. Additionally, using an instant pot means extra expenditure for electricity, while a pressure cooker runs on gas.
By using a pressure cooker you will ensure that harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that could be on food ingredients will be killed. Pressure cookers use more than 100 degrees celsius. Hence any harmful residues of bacteria will be killed off. This is especially great when cooking fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits.
Additionally, Many new mothers use pressure cookers to sterilize baby bottles, pacifiers, and other newborn tools. Another great idea is to use the pressure cooker to kill naturally found toxins in red kidney beans that can be very harmful if ingested without thermal processing. Staple foods such as rice, corn, or wheat can also contain a mould-based toxin.
It is known as aflatoxin, and can be very dangerous especially for children younger than 5 years old. The toxins develop and grow as a result of improper storage in damp environments with high percentages of humidity. Boiling these crops does not kill the toxin, however, the latest study by Japanese scientists found that pressure cooking does indeed kill the mould toxin.
The main disadvantage of a pressure cooker is that it does not come with automatic programs set for cooking, baking, and grilling. It means that you need to set the desired settings on your own and need to be cautious that the food cooks properly without burning.
On the other hand, we’ve already discussed that instant pots come with a variety of extra features. You can choose one based on which features you’re going to use in your kitchen the most.
How to Properly Clean Instant Pots and Pressure Cookers?
The inside of most pressure cookers and instant pots are made from a durable and sturdy stainless steel material that has been tested and food graded. This means that the pot where the food cooks is entirely dishwasher safe. On the other hand, if you don’t have a dishwasher you can easily wash the pot in a sink with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
However, make sure that you do not use any abrasive sponges. This could scratch the surface and lead to food getting burnt or stuck on. Some of the customers have reported that with time the inner pot can develop water stains that will reduce the aesthetic appeal. However, they are harmless.
You could simply soak the pot in white vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes before using a normal kitchen sponge to remove the residue. Also, you could purchase specially made cleaning products in a supermarket that were designed to be used with pressure cookers and instant pots only. Lastly, keep in mind that only the cooking pot is dishwasher safe, so don’t dunk the entire machine into water.
Do Instant Pots and Pressure Cookers Have a Chemical Coating?
You’ll be glad to know that the inside of these pots do not have chemical coating. This is great for your health as chemicals will eventually get in the food. The high pressure in these pots would lead to the breakdown of chemical components, hence it would be pointless to coat the pots.
In some cases, the salt content and high mineral composition of foods can lead to the pot’s discolouration. In such a case you could use a paste made out of baking soda and tap water. Just mix some baking soda with water to create a thick paste resembling toothpaste and apply over burnt spots.
Leave for 5-10 minutes so that the mixture will have time to work. Then, use a non-abrasive sponge to rub the spot. Rinse well. Repeat if needed. Stainless steel pots are durable and with proper care will last you decades. However, they also tend to develop what is known as a rainbow discoloration.
Such discolouration appears on the interior of instant pots and pressure cookers. Although the pot’s interior might look as if it is dirty, in reality, there is no harm in such discolouration. Plus the quality of food, as well as the taste, will not be affected either. Most people prefer to leave it as it is.
If you wish to get rid of them you could use a lemon cut in half. Just use the lemon as a sponge and properly clean the pot from inside before rinsing it thoroughly with cold water. Most manufacturers point out that steel wool sponges should be avoided at all costs because they lead to extensive scratches on the surface.
What Is an Anti-Block Shield System?
A standard pressure cooker or an instant pot comes with an anti-block shield system that will need to be cleaned regularly especially after foods that can splatter and splash. Depending on the model that you purchase, the shield will be located towards the right (your right) side of the lid, and to remove it, you will need to push a special button and then lift the rim.
At first, you might find yourself struggling and requiring to exert some energy but with time you will get used to it. You can wash it in warm and soapy water, then rinse and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth before placing it back in position.
Sealing Rings in Instant Pots
Every instant pot comes with a high-quality silicone sealing ring that is heat resistant as well. You can remove it and wash it under the running water with little soap or you can even place it in the dishwasher. However, make sure that you position it correctly after washing to prevent any condensation rising up.
The water can reach the watertight compartments and this can lead to an electrical breakage. If the sealing ring breaks you will need to replace it as it is critical to the proper functioning of your instant pot. Always replace it with an original sealing ring recommended by the manufacturer. Because using a cheaper copy can void your official warranty.
Lastly, remember that silicon is a great material but it tends to pick up food odours. Therefore, it might be a good idea for you to have two sealing rings; one for spicy and another for sweet dishes. Judging by customers reviews, the sealing ring should be usable for at least 2 years. After this time period you will need to replace it, provided that you use it and wash it properly.
Verdict: Instant Pot vs Pressure Cooker
Once you decide on what exactly you wish to purchase, think about how often you will cook using an instant pot or pressure cooker. Think about how large your family is and how often you gather friends and relatives to get togethers. This will help you determine how large of a cooking chamber you need and whether you will need any additional features.
For example, if you know you will be making homemade yogurt often you will need to go for the premium version of instant pot that comes with this feature. On the contrary, if you only intend on cooking simple dishes or rice then you could do with a standard pressure cooker.
You wouldn’t need to pay too much for added features that you will not use anyway. Furthermore, only go for models manufactured by trusted brands as this will ensure you get a quality instant pot or pressure cooker. I hope this article has helped you clear most questions about pressure cooker vs instant pot and which one is worth investing in.