Instant Pot Steam vs Pressure Function: How To Use

Instant Pot Steam vs Pressure Function: How To Use
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Instant Pot Steam vs Pressure Function: How To Use

Instant Pot Steam vs Pressure

The Instant Pot comes with a steam function, and you can also use it as a pressure cooker. Confusingly these processes seem similar, so are there any advantages to cooking under steam rather than just hitting the pressure cooker function? Let’s take a look at the Instant Pot steam vs pressure function.

The first thing to know about using the steam function is that this is not the same as steaming on the hob with a conventional steamer or water-filled saucepan. With the Instant Pot, it steams under pressure, so the whole process is much faster than with traditional cooking but is not as easy to control.

To use the steam function, add the water to the inner liner pot – at least 1 cup. Place the trivet in the inner liner and then put the food to be steamed, such as fish or vegetables into the basket or rack resting on the trivet and set the timer. Close the lid and press the steam button. Once the Instant Pot beeps, and the display panel indicates that the water is heating up and is on, your timer will start counting down. Once it has reached the end of the time, it is important to immediately do a quick-release so that the food stops cooking immediately.

Using the steam function is not easy because the pressure cooker is sealed. You cannot check on the food, and many people find that it is very easy to end up with soggy overcooked and mushy food. You have to be very precise with timings when steaming because this method of cooking turns from perfect to mushy and overdone within seconds. There are timing instructions provided, but of course, all-natural produce is slightly different, so you may find that one day your green beans are steamed perfectly and the next, overdone and mushy.

You can use the Instant Pot as a traditional steamer by adding water and food and hitting the sauté button. You can’t put use the pressure cooker lid for this, but glass lids are available as accessories. This method is much easier to control, but unless you plan on doing a lot of steaming, is it worthwhile to go to the added expense of buying a glass lid for this purpose?

In our opinion, the steamer function is a bit fiddly, and the results are no different from just cooking under pressure in the usual way. Because there is less water used in pressure cooking, it is less likely to result in sogginess, so it is actually more forgiving. As with using the steamer function, it is important to keep to the recommended cooking times and quick-release pressure once the food is ready so that it doesn’t continue cooking while the pot is cooling down.

So, what can be concluded of the Instant Pot steam vs pressure function? Many people do enjoy using the steamer function once they have mastered the knack of using it. And you will probably find after some trial and error that you can produce perfectly steamed food without too much hassle. One tip is to slightly underestimate the cooking time so that your food will not become soggy and overcooked.


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