After hearing heaps of praise from our readers over the years, our editors were also converted to the wonders of multi-cookers, namely the ones that can both pressure cook and slow cook. This one appliance has eliminated the need for multiple appliances and made getting meals on the table much, much easier.
If you found yourself the lucky recipient of a multi-cooker over the holidays, here are a few things to know about your new toy!
1. Do a test run.
It's worth testing out the multi-cooker, especially the pressure setting, with just water before actually adding food. A test run forces you to read through the manual, learn how all the parts fit together, and make sure everything works properly so your inaugural cooking session isn't a bust.
2. Don't overfill it.
When using the slow-cook or pressure settings, never fill the cooker more than 2/3 full (or 1/2 full when cooking foods that expand, like beans and grains), as it compromises the safety of the cooker.
3. Liquid is important.
When using a multi-cooker, remember there should always be some kind of liquid inside, whether you're pressure-cooking or steaming. Add at least a cup of water or liquid before doing any kind of cooking.
4. Keep the pressure release device clean.
When using the pressure-cooker setting, always check that the pressure release device is clean. It can easily get clogged up, which affects how well the cooker works, so make it a habit to clean it after every use. Avoid cooking foods that sputter — like oats, pastas, and applesauce — with the pressure-cooker setting, and use the slow-cooker setting instead.
5. Consider getting a second lid.
If you own an Instant Pot and use it for a lot of slow cooking, consider getting a separate slow-cooker lid. This lid is like a traditional slow-cooker lid and replaces the heavier lid that is designed for pressure cooking. It's easy to see inside, easy to remove to stir in ingredients, and easy to clean since it doesn't have as many parts.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)