You certainly can!
An instant pot and a pressure cooker are, really, extremely similar. The difference at the heart of it is that an instant pot is a countertop appliance that is ready to cook at a moment’s notice, whereas a pressure cooker must come to pressure over time on the stovetop.
Another small difference is that because more heat (and therefore more energy) can be supplied to a stovetop pressure cooker, it typically cooks at a slightly higher pressure than an instant pot. Therefore, we would recommend reducing the cooking time of an instant pot recipe if you’ll be using a pressure cooker instead.
The really convenient thing about the two cooking methods, though, is that they’re extremely similar.
Both an instant pot and a pressure cooker generate pressure by evaporating liquid within the cooking vessel. An instant pot does this by having the cooking vessel be surrounded by a heating element. Once power runs through the element, the pot heats up, starting the cooking process.
On the other hand, a conventional pressure cooker does this by having heat supplied to the pan from below, just like how you can cook in a pan ordinarily.
The only real difference between cooking with a pressure cooker and cooking with an instant pot is the slight pressure difference.
A pressure cooker tends to have a slightly higher pressure within the pot, leading to the food taking a little less time to cook. This time difference isn’t much, though – it’s likely to only be about two minutes.
After a few recipes of practice, you’ll be doing it without thinking!
Does It Alter The Taste Of The Food?
Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question to answer.
Typically, food cooked in an instant pot is cooked within a bath of liquid. This is because the liquid will evaporate thanks to the heat the appliance is supplying, and this steam will cause the pressure to rise within the vessel.
This method of cooking allows anything that’s within the broth or steam to permeate deep within the food that you’re cooking, leading to meat recipes that are exceptionally tender, with a stupendous depth of flavor.
On the other hand, people use conventional pressure cookers on the stovetop.
This means that rather than heat being applied on all sides, heat is simply just applied on the base of the pot. This is just due to the way that stoves work.
When using a pressure cooker that cooks in this way, a lot of cooks use that to their advantage by sauteing the first few ingredients that you add to the pan. For example, a soffrito of onions, garlic, and bell peppers would catch some color on the base of the pan as they fried, leading to a slightly different flavor overall.
For this reason, the flavor may be different. However, this is only due to a difference in what you’re actually doing when cooking, rather than an inherent property of the cooking process itself.
It’s also worth pointing out that instant pots have a saute function built-in which allows you to cook as though they are on the stove. While this isn’t a common way to start a recipe in an instant pot, it is available to you. Therefore, while the flavor could be different, it’s up to the cook more than the method.
How Do The Cooking Times Change Using Instant Pot Recipes In A Pressure Cooker?
Talk about the difference in time – how long does chicken breast take in an instant pot compared to a pressure cooker?
Well, thankfully this is a really good place to compare and contrast the two cooking methods.
Both methods of cooking use pressure and steam to cook something. This is because they both take a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the cooking vessel, before evaporating it and using that steam to create pressure.
The amount of steam that you create will always remain the same, but the pressure that steam reaches will change depending on the temperature supplied to the vessel.
When cooking with an instant pot, a little less heat is supplied to the vessel than when cooking with a conventional pressure cooker.
This means that overall, less pressure will be achieved in an instant pot than in a pressure cooker. The difference, though, is fairly small, typically only by a couple of minutes.
That’s just in terms of cooking time, however. A more serious time-suck when using a pressure cooker is the amount of time that it takes for the pressure cooker itself to come up to temperature. Of course, this depends on the initial temperature of your water, but it could, conceivably, take ten minutes or more to heat the water before your food will even begin to cook.
In an instant pot, however, that time is hugely reduced. The appliance is designed to be a pressure cooker that reaches pressure quickly and then dependably stays there. This is not what a pressure cooker is designed for.
Okay, so let’s say that you want to make a perfectly juicy chicken breast for dinner – whether it’s being chopped on a salad or served alongside some potatoes, you’ve decided that it’s chicken for dinner.
When cooking with an instant pot, you will have to add the ingredients to the body of the instant pot before setting the pressure to high, and the timer to ten minutes. The pot will take roughly five to ten minutes to come up to high pressure, and then a further ten minutes to cook. Then, you can quickly release the pressure and get to dinner!
When cooking with a conventional pressure cooker, however, the process might take a little longer. Beginning in the same way, you’ll have to add the chicken and other ingredients to the instant pot. Then, the pot will take at least ten minutes to come to pressure, and then roughly eight to nine minutes to cook the chicken.
The reason that the cooking time is lower is that typically higher pressures can be achieved in a conventional pressure cooker than an instant pot. Then, you’ll have to quickly release the pressure, remove the lid, and serve the chicken.
Therefore, the overall cooking times aren’t really that different. While you save time by having the instant pot come to temperature quicker, you can save roughly the same amount of time by cooking for less time in a pressure cooker.
This slight discrepancy of time isn’t really noticeable here, but it becomes more noticeable and problematic when more food and water are in the mix. When the instant pot is at its fullest, it will still take roughly ten minutes to come to pressure. Conversely, a conventional pressure cooker can take much, more longer!
Is There A Difference To Using Instant Pot Recipes In A Pressure Cooker?
Is there any difference?
Well, there are two real differences. Firstly, you’ll need to decrease the cooking time, and secondly, you may need to agitate the pan.
The reason that you’d need to decrease the cooking time on an instant pot recipe for a conventional pressure cooker is that conventional pressure cookers can reach slightly higher pressures internally.
The reason for this is that you’re supplying them with a lot of energy (in the form of the heat underneath them), and they will use that energy to generate more pressure. On the other hand, an instant pot will always generate the same amount of pressure every single time, no matter what.
The increase in the internal pressure of a pressure cooker, relative to the pressure in an instant pot, means that the cooking time must be slightly decreased. Therefore, when cooking in a pressure cooker, take one to two minutes off the time written on your instant pot recipes.
The other thing that you might have to consider when using a conventional pressure cooker is agitating the pan. When using an instant pot, the internal surface of the pot is heated evenly. When using a stovetop pressure cooker, however, the heat is being supplied directly from below.
Therefore, you can burn things to the base of the pan if you leave them undisturbed for too long.
People have a number of ways of dealing with this, as you cannot simply lift off the lid and stir the mixture. Generally, people recommend lifting the pot off the heat for a few moments and shaking it back and forth in your hand for just a moment.
The internal environment of the instant pot is wet enough that this will be plenty of motion to dislodge anything that’s getting burned on. Make sure to take extreme care with the pressurized environment, however, they can be very dangerous.