What Is The Difference Between An Instant Pot And A Pressure Cooker?

When people itch to change their cooking experiences, they value simplicity, modernity, and convenience. So, there is no doubt that an instant pot and a pressure cooker have caught great attention from many home cooks.

Both of the two kitchen appliances can ease cooking while limiting the time you spend in the kitchen. But, what is the difference between an instant pot and a pressure cooker? Continue reading for a detailed comparison of instant pot vs. pressure cooker.

Overview Of Instant Pots & Pressure Cookers

Instant Pots

An instant pot is a Canadian design made with advanced safety features and usability. With the ability to cycle additional cooking modes, regulate temperature, the pressure automatically, and automatic adjustments when needed, it is no surprise that it is considered an easy-to-use tool for home cooks, especially for non-chefs.

Moreover, the instant pot is a famous brand of multi-cooker. It comes with a combination of features and functions such as slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making, and browning. While many other brands produce units with the same functions, many recipes call for an instant pot.

Pressure Cookers

A pressure cooker is most likely not a new thing in the kitchen. This cooking appliance helps cook food under intensive pressure steam. The structure of the pressure cooker is also similar to other stainless steel pot models, but their lid has a latch lock and a silicone ring to close it. 

In addition, on the lid, there is a steam valve that helps escape the excess steam, keep food warm and prevent the pressure cooker from exploding.

The steam makes the food moist, which is why this device goes perfectly with meat stews, cheesecakes, and much more.

The pressure cooker has two main types – electric pressure cooker and stovetop pressure cooker. Think of a stovetop pressure cooker as a pressure cooker that can be used on the gas stove, whereas an electric pressure cooker is the same device with automated controls. 

Similarities Between Instant Pots & Pressure Cookers

Both instant pot and pressure cookers give an excellent cooking experience to home cooks. Here are some similarities between these two kitchen appliances:

  • Cook food quickly with steam under pressure
  • Offer convenience, fast cooking, or fast meal preparation
  • Stainless-steel construction
  • Variety cooking recipes

Instant Pots Vs. Pressure Cookers: 5 Main Differences

Use 

Both an instant pot and pressure cooker are relatively easy to use. However, instant pot may be slightly more straightforward. You only need to put your food in and program the function to suit your cooking purpose. 

It would be better to use the correct settings to avoid burning or underdoing food. Therefore, many home cooks mention instant pot as a “set it and forget it” appliance. 

In contrast, the use of a pressure cooker requires more steps. After adding your ingredients, raise the heat to build pressure. When the pressure is reached, please turn off the heat or turn it down to the minimum and release the pressure by opening a valve when time’s up.  

Safety

An outer pot (or base), a stainless steel inner pot, has plenty of safety mechanisms built in an instant pot. An added safety feature of this kitchen appliance is the floating valve. When it is raised, the lid will automatically lock when it’s at a pressure level that could be dangerous.

On the other hand, pressure cookers have a lower rate for safety due to stories of exploding and throwing contents across the kitchen in the past. Nonetheless, a pressure cooker has built-in safety features to give you peace of mind while cooking. 

Cooking Time

Although both instant pot and pressure cooker helps cook food quickly and efficiently, the instant pot gets the first prize in time-saving. If the ingredients are tender, you can prepare dishes for at least 3 minutes, while tougher subjects can be ready in less than thirty minutes. 

Thanks to the multi-cook functions, cooking time is no longer a problem. Unlike instant pots, a pressure cooker takes more time to wait and prepare.

Versatility

A pressure cooker is versatile in cooking with various dishes, including meat, veggies, rice, and much more. It is the best virtual assistant in the kitchen, helping you a lot during the cooking process. Therefore, it has become a necessity for every household. 

However, the instant pot is also versatile in preparing a meal, performing different functions of other appliances such as slow cooker, pressure cooker, and many others. So this single machine can do a bunch of things for you other than only cooking food. 

Price

When it comes to cost, there are cheap and expensive models in both categories. But, instant pot tends to bump the price higher than pressure cooker due to the amount of technology. 

Furthermore, paying more money for an instant pot is understandable because it is a more versatile and expensive model nowadays, including; air frying.

For comparison, the pressure cooker has a lower price, but high-end pressure cookers cost the same as instant pot, depending on the brand.

The selection between these two kitchen appliances is pretty tied when looking for a moderate price tag.

Which Is Better: An Instant Pot Or A Pressure Cooker?

The version you like best is up to your priorities while cooking. I would vote for the instant pot due to its ease of use, an excellent space-saving option. 

If you want to be more hands-on with the cooking process and remain loyal to old-school, a pressure cooker is your better choice. 

Nonetheless, an instant pot is great for those who are busy and looking for a set it and forget it machine, plus the additional safety features and general peace of mind.

You need to know: 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean an instant pot?

The easiest way to keep your instant pot clean is by washing the inner pot with a dishwasher after each use. And then, use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside and the outside of it. Next, rinse the silicone ring in the lid and wipe off food residue if needed. Finally, make sure to place your instant pot in a dry place after washing. 

If you want to keep your instant pot looking new, a deep cleaning every few weeks is required. The process is the same as cleaning after each use, but the power of Baking soda and vinegar are necessarily added. 

After wiping down every part of the instant pot with a damp cloth, spray the vinegar or sprinkle the powder of Baking soda into the pot and then wipe it clean.

NOTES: Let the lid and the lid parts dry completely before putting them back together.

Why does the pressure cooker need to be airtight?

Once the cooker reaches the correct cooking pressure, it would be better to turn down the heat to a minimum to avoid over-pressurizing it. In addition, the steam valve prevents steam and air from escaping as it expands. 

Final Thoughts

Since an instant pot is basically an electric pressure cooker, it’s a fresh take on the old-fashioned pressure cooker. An instant pot has more functions and better safety features than a pressure cooker. 

Both these items offer value; the features are unique for each appliance. It would be better to consider your budget line, ease of use, safety features before choosing the best assistant in your kitchen.

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