The Instant Pot is an automated cooking appliance that caters to every cooking requirement of the household.
This appliance is the ideal one to have for the modern-day family, where time is the equivalent of money.
The Instant Pot saves valuable time thereby ensuring that the families have enough on their hands to look after their other needs.
The question now is not whether you require an Instant Pot or not but which one should fit your requirements.
The Instant Pot – Buying Guide
The requirements of the Indian household can vary. You have nuclear families with two or three persons.
At the same time, the joint family concept is still very much prevalent in India, where you have more than six to eight members of the family living under one roof.
Therefore, the “One size fits all” concept does not work here. The capacity of the appliance is crucial.
Before discussing which size should be the ideal one, let us quickly go through the basic concept of the Instant Pot and understand its functions.
Today, every Indian household might be having a rice cooker.
The Instant Pot is somewhat similar to the rice cooker but with various additional features. It is a pressure cooker cum slow cooker.
The best aspect of the appliance is that it eliminates the guesswork you do regarding the ideal amount of heat, pressure and time required for your cooking.
The automated apparatus adjusts these parameters depending on your recipe.
The Instant Pot is available in distinct models and sizes. Some of the conventional models are Max, Ultra, Duo, Duo Plus, Lux, Viva, and Nova Plus.
Once you get used to the functioning of these Instant Pots, you can switch over to the more advanced models like the Smart WiFi, Aura, and Aura Pro.
You would like to know the differentiating aspects of each type of Instant Pot.
The functionality of all the Instant Pots is the same. However, they differ in the number of cooking programs they come equipped with.
For example, the Lux series has up to 12 programs, whereas the Duo comes with 14 pre-set programs. Similarly, the Duo Plus and Ultra Series have 15 and 16, respectively.
The size matters a lot
The Instant Pot is available in three sizes, the 3, 6, and 8-quart. The 3-quart Instant Pot is a mini cooker that can cater to small families of two to three people.
The 6-quart pot is the most popular as it is the ideal one for a medium-sized Indian family.
Large families can opt for the 8-quart model. The large-sized containers are also suitable for parties and small gatherings.
Before we discuss the different types of Instant Pots available on the market, let us briefly glance through the accessories that come with the appliance. Yes, the manual says it all.
One should go through the manual thoroughly to understand the significance of each attachment to get the best out of the appliance.
The outer body with a display panel and control options
- A lid to cover your food and preserve the fragrance
- A pressure valve to maintain the optimum level of pressure
- A steam valve to release excess steam and make the appliance safe
- A plastic collector cup to collect the condensation released during the slow cooking process
- A sealing ring or a gasket that surrounds the lid and helps retain the odours
- A steamer rack inside the pot to keep the food at a slightly raised level
We have seen the necessary accessories that come with each Instant Pot. Depending on your requirement, you can always go for specific accessories like additional sealing rings, egg trivets, and springform pans.
You would love to add a touch of glamour to your kitchen. The Instant Pot can enhance the overall ambience of your kitchen and make it look modern. Therefore, aesthetics are essential.
The Insta Pot is a new generation appliance. Hence, it should appeal to all. Apart from being durable and displaying excellent heat retention qualities, the Insta Pot should look alluring. Usually, these appliances are made from stainless steel or ceramic. These materials enhance the overall appearance of the Insta Pot and make it look beautiful.
One of the positive aspects of the Insta Pot is that it communicates with the user. Almost all the Insta Pots come with LCD screens, whereas some feature LED, as well.
The display screen is critical because it informs the user about the program that is in use, and how long it will take to complete the process. The display screens come in a range of colours, from black to red or blue. Depending on your preference, you can select the colour you like.
The electronic appliances are getting smarter day by day. We have the Smart WiFi Instant Pot, as well. The prime quality of an intelligent device is its user-friendly interface.
As a consumer, you should know the options available to you. It should be easy for you to choose the right programs. Check out whether the user interface is intuitive and easy to use before purchasing your Instant Pot.
In this age of the internet and advanced technology, connectivity is a significant issue. Today, you talk of having connected home appliances whereby you can operate them from remote locations.
Similarly, the Smart WiFi-enabled Instant Pot should be the ideal appliance under such circumstances. If you have Alexa at home, it will connect beautifully with the Smart Instant Pot.
No pressure Cooking
There are different types of cooking. Pressure cooking is one and non-pressure cooking is another. The Instant Pots come equipped to handle both types of cooking activities. The Aura range of Instant Pots is excellent for non-pressure cooking.
The latest Aura Pro comes with features like ‘Sous Vide’ where you can experience restaurant-quality cuisine at home.
Finally, we come to the cost factor. Instant Pots are not very expensive kitchen appliances. You can get a decent Instant Pot within Rs 10,000.
That would be much less than a gas cooking range. Secondly, the portable nature of the Instant Pots makes it all the more feasible to have in your kitchen.
We have discussed almost all aspects of Instant Pots. This buying guide should clear all your doubts about the appliance. However, it is human nature to be inquisitive. Some questions might still have remained unanswered. We attempt to clarify them through the dedicated FAQ section.
Instant Pots – Frequently Asked Questions
What do the terms, 7-in-1, 10-in-1, and so on mean when referring to Instant Pots?
These terms refer to the number of cooking programs in the appliance. They also refer to the number of appliances the Instant Pot replaces when used to full capacity. For example, the 7-in-1 Insta Pot Nova can handle various activities and replace the following appliances, pressure cooker, sauté pan, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, food warmer, and the curd maker.
Why do you call the Instant Pot a smart cooker?
Apart from catering to various types of cooking, the Instant Pot has managed to take the guesswork out of the equation. Users do not have to struggle to set the timing, temperature, and pressure levels when using the Instant Pot. The appliance comes with pre-programmed instructions, whereby it becomes easy for you to prepare food. Hence, the Instant Pot is a smart cooker.
Who manufactures Instant Pots?
The credit for designing the original Instant Pot goes to Canadian who developed this appliance for North American customers. Nowadays, you have various companies, including the Chinese company, Midea Group, manufacturing these Instant Pots. China is the prominent manufacturing location for such products. More than 30 million households worldwide use Instant Pots.
Where can I buy my Instant Pot in India?
Instant Pots are available at various locations throughout India. However, the most convenient option is to buy them at Amazon.
What materials go into the manufacturing of the Instant Pots?
Steel is the primary manufacturing ingredient of Instant Pots. Most of the Instant Pots are made from 18/8 food-grade 304 stainless steel. There is also a fusion of aluminium disc and a steel disc. The aluminium disc does not have any exposure to the food. Hence, it is a safe appliance to use. The inner surface of the Instant Pot is highly polished to ensure that food does not stick to it. The exteriors of the device are either made of high-grade plastic or ceramic.
How long can the Instant Pot keep the food warm?
Under normal circumstances, the Instant Pot can keep the food warm for at least ten hours.
Is the Instant Pot safe to use?
The modern-day Instant Pots come with pressure sensors and pressure-releasing valves. Thus, they are as safe as the pressure cookers that you use daily.
Can the Instant Pot work at 220V and 50Hz?
The original Instant Pot was manufactured for the North American consumers. Hence, those Instant Pots will not work in Indian conditions. However, there are many variants of the Instant Pot available today that can operate at 220V and 50Hz.
How does the Slow Cook function work on Instant Pot?
The Slow Cook functionality on the Instant Pot is similar to that observed on other slow cookers. You can set the cooking from one to ten hours at operating temperature in the range of 88 to 93 degrees Centigrade. However, you should ensure to set the steam release handle to the venting position. It ensures that pressure does not build inside the appliance.
How does the Instant Pot control the pressure during the cooking phase?
The Instant Pot comes equipped with a pressure sensor placed under the heating element. As it nears the maximum pressure, the heating stops. It resumes when the pressure lowers down considerably. Thus, it ensures to maintain the right amount of pressure required to cook your food. This pressure is not enough to lift the steam release handle. Therefore, it ensures that the steam does not come out of the appliance during cooking.
Though these cookers are manufactured primarily in China, they are durable. The positive aspect of these cookers is that one can prepare different dishes at the same time and in double-quick time.
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VS Chaitanya is a Computer engineer, creator, and editor in chief of Kitchenarena. He is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert and has experience of Ten years in technology news reporting and his area of expertise includes Large Appliances and Electronics.