Instant Pot’s are an incredibly versatile cooking appliance and continue to increase in popularity. However, many (and up until recently myself included) wonder if the appliance could fail on the most basic functions such as boiling water.
Luckily, Instant Pots can complete basic cooking processes including boiling water. 1-2 cups of water can be boiled in an Instant Pot on the sauté mode for around 3 minutes. Meanwhile larger volumes of water can be boiled in an Instant Pot using the pressure cook mode for 5 minutes.
You’ll note that a lot of instant pot recipes will likely ask you to add in a splash of water more than the rest of the recipe might otherwise require.
The reason for that is that the water will evaporate thanks to the heating of the cooking pot, leading to steam being created. After the steam is created, the heat will continue to rise within the pot, again, thanks to the heating element.
Because steam is a vapor, it can take a lot of heat before it changes phase. Therefore, when more and more heat is supplied to the instant pot, the steam simply becomes less and less dense.
However, the instant pot is a sealed system, which means that even though the steam is becoming less dense, it won’t be able to escape. This raises the pressure within the instant pot, and over time the pressure will get to be very high indeed.
There’s a direct correlation between the amount of heat that an instant pot gets through its element and the pressure that is exerted upon the food. Therefore, it is possible to finely control the pressure within the pot so that you can cook at different temperatures.
So, to bring things back to the all-important question, instant pots certainly can boil water. The only difference between cooking in an instant pot and boiling water there is the lack of other ingredients – aside from that, it’s all the same mechanism.
Is It Safe To Boil Water In An Instant Pot?
It definitely is safe to boil water in an instant pot. When boiling water, you need to be concerned with two things: the heat, and the splatter.
The heat kicked out by boiled or boiling water is generally considered to be dangerous in a kettle or on the stove because the outermost layer of the vessel isn’t insulated at all.
Instead, touching that outer layer would simply deliver virtually all of the heat directly to your hand. This means that you can really hurt yourself with little to no thought – even accidentally.
However, this problem won’t be had by an instant pot. In order to make instant pots as efficient as possible, there are several layers of insulation and thermal shielding between the exceptionally hot interior and the outermost layer. In fact, you can likely touch the walls of an instant pot while it is active and not feel any heat whatsoever.
Therefore, we can conclude that not only is it safe to boil water in an instant pot, at least with regards to the heat boiling water can generate.
The splatter that boiling water can produce is a well-known problem, mostly because it comes with two prongs of difficulty.
One of the prongs is the actual splatter itself which is caused by violent boiling. This can result in small portions of boiling and extremely hot water being flung across your kitchen – at least in the worst-case scenario.
The steam splatter is not quite a splatter, but it still ought to be considered in home situations. Whenever you’re boiling a kettle or a pot of water, a column of steam will rise from the water’s surface.
This column will rise to hit something, definitely, but the question is whether it will rise to hit the ceiling where it would condense and evaporate naturally, or something more sinister.
When you’re using an electric kettle, there’s every chance that the steam from the spout of the kettle will come into contact with an electrical outlet. This can be quite dangerous, as the outlet can short circuit when it is wet, leading to a dangerous kitchen environment.
However, when boiling in an instant pot, neither of these problems will exist. The surface of the water is concealed by the lid of the pot, meaning that no splatter of any type will even exist.
Therefore, at the splatter level at the very least, we can conclude that boiling water with instant pots is safe.
How Long Does It Take To Boil Water In An Instant Pot?
Boiling water in an instant pot, just as with any cooking vessel, will take a variable amount of time. The main reason for this will be the volume of water you’re using. If you’re using a stovetop, then another factor to consider could be what level of heat you’re using.
On average, it takes roughly four to eight minutes to boil water in an instant pot.
The process of actually boiling water in an instant pot is very simple. Firstly, place the water inside the pot and place the lid on top – make sure to lock the valve. Then, make sure that the pot is on high pressure, and select the cooking time. On high pressure, water will take four to six minutes to boil.
Set the pot for five minutes, and then allow it to operate. After three minutes, the pot will beep to indicate that the water has boiled – at that point, it will automatically switch to the keep warm mode.
Allow a short while for your instant pot to release the pressure, and then remove the lid. Then, you can use the boiled water however you like!
Which Is Better And Instant Pot Or Kettle?
Please only reference boiling water in either and which is better – more efficient and cheaper
Well, there’s only really one way to quantify this – by asking which one is more efficient and cheaper.
The good news is that one of those questions can be discounted straight away – the efficiency of the method determines how cheap the process is or isn’t.
This is because all you need to boil some water is enough electricity to make an appliance generate 165,000 Joules of energy. That’s how much energy it takes to bring 500ml of water from room temperature to boiling.
If an appliance were 100% efficient, 165KJ (the figure above) would be used to heat the water, and all would be hunky-dory.
However, every time energy moves from place to place, or object to object, we lose a little energy to the environment. For that reason, no method of heating water, or anything, will ever get to be 100% efficient.
During the process of boiling water in an electric kettle, the energy from the mains plug socket goes directly into the heating element, which heats very efficiently.
This is sat directly in the water, meaning that little heat is lost to the environment from the element. In turn, the water heats very efficiently!
Generally speaking, electric kettles are roughly 80% efficient, which means that 20% of the electricity from the mains is wasted as heat lost to the environment. That wedge of energy, as it were, is essentially money that you’re losing.
While it’s hard to find specific efficiency figures for instant pots, it’s safe to assume that they’re more efficient than kettles. This is because the instant pots are double-insulated, plus they don’t have an open hole in the top through which hot air can escape.
Virtually all of the heat that is generated during the boiling process is used to do just that – boil.
While we can’t say for certain as we can’t find the figures online, it’s extremely likely that instant pots are more efficient than kettles for heating water.
Hi all! I’m Cora Benson, and I’ve been blogging about food, recipes and things that happen in my kitchen since 2019.