instant pot ultra 8 quart review: What is ait?
For the beginners hearing about the 8 quart instant pot ultra for the first time, the unit makes look strange to them. Instant Pot is a small kitchen versatile appliance which is also capable of carrying out what a typical slow cooker, pressure cooker, sauté pan etc. It serves space and money.
In other words, the 8 quart instant pot ultra is an electronic cooker which has capacity to do jobs that many other cooking appliances can perform. It can be used to cook foods like egg, soup, grains, Stew etc. Some lovers of sumptuous and delicious meals wonder how one appliance can work as cake maker and rice cooker at the same time.
Instant Pot can perform this task at the same time. That’s the uniqueness. It comes with programmable settings that can enable the unit cook foods like stew, fish, porridge or cake to your desired consistency without any imperfections.
Function Keys of the 8 quart instant pot ultra
Meat and Stew mode is a 28-minute program which hangs out at a temperature of 230°F with a pressure of around 8.7 psi. This pressure is low but it is higher than the manual low setting.
Bean and chili mode is a 39-minute program hangs out very strong by ramping up both temperature and pressure. The temperature and pressure can now be firmly hold around 230°F and 11 psi. This means a low temperature with a high pressure.
This button connotes the basic Instant Pot setting which can help you to cook most foods. Immediately you lay your food in the sealed pot and the pressure release set to sealing position, the manual button is the next button to be used. Thereafter, the time can be adjusted using the plus and minus buttons to increase or reduce the time respectively. After this setting, the main cooking can now commence.
The sauté button is used when you want to brown meat and keeps your meat from looking pale and also helps you to achieve that roasty and toasty flavor into your food before you seal it up and do the normal cooking. It works with distinct temperature ranges which you can activate it by hitting the adjust button. Some sauces that needs to be thickened and simmered needs the sauté button to be use after the normal cooking time. This gives a good result.
Keep warm/Cancel Button:
When you want to indicate that dinner is cancelled or you want to stop cooking may be because you forgot to add a particular ingredient, this button is usually used. The moment you hit this button, the Instant Pot programs itself to a standby mode. This also means the unit will turn off itself. When the button is hit again, the Instant Pot programs itself to keep warm mode.
Pressure button helps you to change the pressure of the manual setting including sauté, yogurt, and slow cook function.
- Adjust Button:
If you desire to change the cooking times for a programmed function like beans, this is the right button to use. If you want to change the cooking time to rice, it is needless to use this button because rice mode is automatically programmed. You can equally desire to use the yogurt mode. This also makes Instant Pot a unique appliance.
This button is not directly found on the Instant Pot but there are some steps that you need to follow in order to get to the yogurt function. The step includes taking the insert out of the Instant Pot and it will display.
This button is not like the yogurt button. It is direct and straightforward. If you are using about 47 minutes at a middling pressure that is lower than 9 psi, you need to use the supply button. In other words if you are using pressure that is lower than the High manual setting and higher than the low manual setting, soup button is most preferably advised to be used.
This mode begins with a 1400, 50 minutes soak and has no pressure, then ramps up to around 248°F and a little less than 11 psi which is high pressure respectively, and holds it for at least 9 more minutes.
+ And – Button:
The plus or minus button helps you to change the cooking time in manual setting. This may not work if you are already using the beans mode. This is so because it is always easy to use one button to control cooking time.
How to Clean Your 8 quart instant pot ultra
Cleaning the unit regularly guarantees how long the unit will last. It doesn’t matter whether you cook with the Instant Pot everyday or not, it needs regular cleaning both the internal and external components. Below is the watch-word you need to know about keeping the Instant Pot clean to enable it work well.
- Wash and rinse the plastic condensation collector regularly.
Some Instant Pot comes with a plastic condensation. A regular washing and rinsing is advisable. Sometimes the inner pot needs a little extra care. In the case where you have a burnt on your food that the stain refuses to come out using the normal scrubbing, 2 Tbsp. of baking soda to the Instant Pot and filling it with 4 cups of water.
- Always use warm, soapy water to clean the inner pot.
If there is any food that was stuck up on the pot, do not fail to scrub it out using a non abrasive stainless steel cleaner or baking soda. If you realize some discoloration on the Instant Pot, the use of vinegar to wipe it down is most preferable. Whenever you finish cleaning the unit, always dry the parts before fixing it back to the Instant Pot.
- Check the seal regularly.
Food crumbs and spills in the lip of the outer base can split on the seal. Check the seal regularly. Cleaning it needs a small brush, damp cloth, or toothbrush. Always unplug the unit from power before any cleaning is carried out to avoid electric shock.
- Remove the steam release valve periodically.
This will enable you to check for debris. After checking for the debris, use a warm soapy water wash and rinse it properly. Fix it back on the lid when it is dry.
- The anti-block shield on the inside needs to be cleaned.
When cooking starchy foods like grains, oatmeal or sauces that splatter, the anti-block shield on the inside can get clogged with food. You need to inspect after every use. If there’s need to clean, use soapy water, clean and allow it to dry completely. The anti-block shield is very simple to remove. Despite this fact, it has a technique for removing it which includes using your thumb to push the side towards the outer edge of the lid of Instant Pot. Do not wash the base.
- Most parts of the Instant Pot are dishwasher-safe.
The sealing ring, trivet and the inner pot that comes with the Instant Pot are all dishwasher safe including the lid which is also a top rack dishwasher safe. A clean and damp cloth is advisable to use in cleaning the outside of the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Working Mechanism
The Instant Pot has 3 components namely:
- The Inner Pot:
The inner pot is frequently used. It is a removable vessel for putting the cooking ingredients. First thing is the inner pot to get heated. Immediately, the liquid inside the inner pot boils and become steam. There is nowhere for the steam to escape, it then form pressure. The inner pot used high quality 304 food grade stainless steel.
- The Cooker Base:
Instant Pot comes with a microprocessor. The cooker base covers the microprocessor pressure and temperature sensors, the control panel and heating element. The 3rd generation Instant Pot is programmed with microprocessor which acts as the heart of the Instant Pot. It works with the in-built sensors which act to monitor and regulate pressure depending on the selected smart program.
In order to maintain a stable temperature, a periodical involvement of the heating element is done and the level of pressure creates a good feedback and leads to desired cooking conditions. In the case where there is unfavorable condition, the Instant pot will indicate the error by making a beep and switch off the power.
- The Lid:
Instant Pot lids are manufactured with a stainless steel and uses steel braces and a lid locking mechanism to stop the lid from being opened while pressure is building up. The lid must be proper closed before the main cooking commence. Failure to close the lid, the microprocessor detects this and will shot power to the heating element.
The lid is made up of the following parts:
Steam Release valve: This part has some differences in appearance in terms of different models. It has 2 positions- venting and sealed. The venting allows steam to heat while the sealed traps steam from the inner pot for the purpose of building up pressure.
Sealing Ring: This ring is always set to sealing position when the lid is closed; the lid and the inner pot exert pressure on the sealing ring in order to create an airtight seal.
Tips & Tricks for Using your 8 quart instant pot ultra
- When cooking, make use of at least half a cup of liquid.
The Instant Pot makes use of steam in order to enable to cook food perfectly. In order to build the pressure, 1 cup of water needs to be added. That is the only way to make the Instant Pot come to pressure. You don’t need to forget this tip while using your Instant Pot.
- Make use of liquid instead of water to add flavor.
Putting flavors that are liquid is the best for example vegetable or chicken broth, juices or stocks. These add ton of flavor to your meal. For instance you can make rice into a flavor side by exchanging the water with a mix of tomato, vegetable or chicken broth and putting small sautéed onions and garlic.
- Try to be using multiple functions when cooking (sauté first)
This means that you do not have to depend on using just one button throughout your cooking time. There is a sauté button on the unit; you can begin with the button. This button helps you to brown your meat and caramelize your onions at the beginning of your cooking time. Next button to use is the pressure button when you want to add the remaining ingredients.
- Make an extra inner pot available at hand.
The Instant Pot comes with an inner pot which enables you to cook your food. However, it is good to have an extra inner pot when you have many foods to cook at the same time. Having an extra inner pot helps you to cook more than one meal at the same time without having to wash the pot and cook the foods one after the other.
- Have the habit of cleaning the pot consistently.
The place where lid sits in the Instant Pot is capable of being dirty after use. Sauce, rice and juices can always accumulate and make your Instant Pot develop an unpleasant smell. You need to clean all nooks and crannies after every use in order to keep your Instant Pot in a good mode and make it function properly.
- Make use of the dishwasher.
Some Instant Pot parts are dishwasher safe like steam rack and inner pot. You only have to put them in the dishwasher and make a straightforward clean up.
8 quart instant pot ultra Troubleshooting Tips
- My 8 quart instant pot ultra refuses to come to pressure.
Develop the habit of inspecting the pressure valve whenever you seal the lid. Make sure the lid is in locked position before you hit the pressure cooking button.
- The Screen of the Instant Pot doesn’t turn on.
This problem is connected to power stuff. Be sure to plug the power cable properly. Plug it well at the back of the Instant Pot. Sometimes the problem may be that the power cable is faulty. On this note, check and inspect to confirm if the power cable is still working. Replace it if it’s not working.
- Sometimes when I want to release the steam, my finger gets burnt.
The release nozzle on the valve of Instant Pot is loose. If you open it for a fast pressure release after cooking has been completed, it can be painful to your fingers. If your fingers get burnt for many consecutive times, what you need to do is to use a wooden spoon and push the valve up to release the pressure. This trick will avoid your fingers getting burnt by the process of releasing the steam.
- My Instant Pot does not sear properly.
Instant Pot was built with the function of sautéing; however, sear is more than that. There are some foods that Instant Pot is not good if you try to sear the food. Example steaks but if you are looking for small steak pieces to stir-fry, the Instant Pot can sear the small steaks but it may not reach the heat for a good sear. When this happens, the meat may be a bit soggy. It is better suggested that if you are a large steak, use a heavy duty frying pan.
- On the display, it shows a message “burn”.
If this appears, it could be annoying and you may be so worried. This can only be found on the display when the Instant Pot sensor thinks the unit is very hot and may burn your food that’s why it displays the message. If the food is burnt, potentially your appliance is at a very high risk of getting damage. For the over-heat to happen, it could be that there is insufficient liquid in the Instant Pot or the liquid has not touch the entire bottom Corners of the Instant Pot. This troubleshooting is very simple to fix. If you were sautéing on a high heat for some times then you need to allow your Instant Pot to cool down.
- The lid is not coming out.
It is expected that after cooking, enough steam has to be released. You may choose to use natural pressure release or quick release, you have to give the Instant Pot some time to release steam and allow it to cool off. The lid may be stiff if there is too much steam that wasn’t released. The lid is always free to open when the steam Release button is not stuck up. You can use a spoon handle to tap the button just beside release valve if you know that you have release all the pressure.
- I find it difficult to seal my Instant Pot lid.
Without any practice, the Instant Pot lid can be tricky to lock and unlock. For the Instant Pot beginners, in order to lock the lid move the lid backward and forward from the locked position until the lid fix to a hanging position. If after doing this it doesn’t still lock then you have to look for food blockages. Sometimes it could be that the lid might have been damaged.
- The timer on my Instant Pot takes a longer time to start counting.
According the manufacturer’s programming, the Instant Pot takes some times before the heat up and adjust to the specified modes but if you are using the same mode, it doesn’t takes too long to start counting. For other functions like manual pressure, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes in order to heat up and come to the specified pressure. When the unit comes to pressure, the timer begins. When you look at the cooking Instructions on a particular recipe and you see “pressure cook for 10 minutes, you need to automatically add some minutes to yourself. If the problem still persists, check your settings.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
The answer is yes!!! Yes!!! And yes!!! The modern Instant Pot is very different from the ancient pressure cooker. The current Instant Pot is built with safety precautions and guards which make sure that nothing except the taste bud will explode by consistent use of the unit. The automatic lid locks and lid detection features make it difficult for you to open the lid of the Instant Pot until pressure has been released. The vent feature also takes care of food particles not to block steam from being released while cooking.
- What type of food I should not attempt to cook in the Instant Pot?
There is some range of foods that you should not attempt to cook in the Instant Pot despite the fact that you can cook many types of foods in the Instant Pot. Those foods you should avoid cooking in the Instant Pot include: crispy and crunchy foods, thick creamy sauce, deep fried foods, yeast bread cookies, tender steaks etc.
- Which model of Instant Pot Is Right for me?
There are many Instant Pot models with different sizes but the most commonly used model is the 6-quart Instant Pot which is readily available in the online market. Most online cookbooks are using this model to write their recipes. Other models like the 8-quart can still be used for cooking but it will need more liquid and takes a longer time to come to pressure.
- Is it possible to thaw frozen foods on the Instant Pot?
In some cases, people may have limited time for cooking but the food they intended to cook may contain lots of frozen ingredients. Instant Pot can thaw foods direct from the freezer but you have to remove the containers first. Put the frozen food direct to the Instant Pot, hit the sauté button and sauté for some times. In case you are dealing with the cooked foods, you can steam them to warm the dish without drying it. The food will be properly thawed as the Instant Pot build up the pressure.
- While cooking in the Instant Pot, can the food lose nutrients?
It is believed that pressure cooking with high temperatures attracts loss of nutrients. In the Instant Pot, it is not so. Instant Pot circulates equal heat quickly. On this note, it doesn’t require you to immerse foods like frozen vegetables into water. What you need instead is plenty of water in order to generate enough steam and most of the foods require that you use about one cup of water. Base on these facts, food nutrients are not loss while cooking in the Instant Pot.
- What types of food can I Cook in the Instant Pot?
Lots of foods can be cooked using the Instant Pot and in the same manner, lots of cookbooks have been written on Instant Pot thousands of recipes. For the beginners, go for simple recipes that make use of simple buttons on the Instant Pot so that you may not stick up on the way while cooking. Those simple recipes include chili, brisket, pot roast, beans etc.
- When I cook with the Instant Pot, can it burn my food?
The modern Instant Pot comes with bottom burners which help the food at the bottom of the Instant Pot to have enough moisture in order not to burn the food. The food burning can make it hard for you to clean the Pot after cooking. If you are cooking more complex foods that require layers of rice, it’s possible for the food to burn easily. However, modern Instant Pot recipes enable you to add enough water in order to avoid the food from being burnt.
- How can I convert conventional recipes?
In the case where the recipe requires thicker or slurry of flour you can add it after the food might have been pressure cooked. Immediately the pressure is released using the natural pressure release or quick release method, press the sauté button and sauté as needed. Don’t cover the food while sautéing. When any sauce, Stew or soup is too thin, use the sauté mode and sauté for sometimes in order to get rid of the excess liquid or you may just add cornstarch.