Best Answer: Yes! The Instant Pot comes with a Steam function, or you can even use the Sauté feature to boil water and do it the traditional way. Either method allows you to steam vegetables, seafood, and even eggs.
- Amazon: Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker ($80)
- Amazon: Genuine Instant Pot Tempered Glass Lid ($16)
How would I use the Steam function? Does it still cook under pressure?
With the Instant Pot, if you use the "Steam" button, it's essentially going to be pressure steaming, not just regular steaming.
To use the Steam function, you'll need to pour in at least one cup of water into the inner liner. Then place your trivet (metal rack) at the bottom, then place a steamer rack or basket on top of the trivet. Place your food (vegetables, seafood, eggs, etc.) into the rack or basket and then close the lid. Just push the Steam button, then put in your cooking time. After that, just wait a few moments until you hear the beeping sounds. Then the display should read "On." This is when the Instant Pot is heating up, boiling the water, and creating pressure. Once the pressure is high enough, it begins to count down. When the food is done steaming, make sure to do a Quick Release, otherwise, the food will be overcooked.
As the water boils, it creates steam. Since you need to use the regular Instant Pot lid for all functions except sauté, the Instant Pot will be sealed while steaming, building up pressure inside. However, the Steam function won't create as much pressure as the Manual/Pressure Cook function, so you aren't exactly pressure cooking like you normally do.
The only problem with using the Steam function is the fact that you can't check on the food as you steam since it's under pressure and the lid isn't see-thru.
Once the timer is up, always make sure to Quick Release (release pressure manually through the sealing knob), because the food is still cooking as it's inside. Failure to Quick Release can result in overcooked and mushy food.
But if I can't see the food as it's steaming, how do I know how long to cook or steam it for?
When it comes to using the Steam function, it's best to have done some research on cook times, especially when it comes to delicate vegetables and seafood.
A lot of your experience with an Instant Pot, or pressure cooker in general, will require experimentation. Don't be intimidated! It's a kitchen tool, like everything else, and takes some time to master it.
If you use the "Steam" button, it's essentially going to be pressure steaming, not just regular steaming.
Fortunately, the Instant Pot company knows that it can be a bit overwhelming, so it's provided some useful cooking timetables on its website.
Personally, I love using my Instant Pot to steam broccoli on a regular basis. I always steam it at 0 minutes (yes, zero), Quick Release the pressure, and voila! Some vegetables, like broccoli, just need 0 minutes because it's already cooking while building up pressure for steam. Anything more than 0 results in mushy broccoli, and no one wants that.
I'm not sure I can blindly steam my food in the Instant Pot. What's the traditional way?
It's completely understandable if you'd still prefer the old-fashioned way, since you can't check on the food while it's steaming with the Steam button. Figuring out the right cook times without ruining the food can be frustrating if you don't have the patience for it, here's how to do it the traditional way, except still in the Instant Pot.
Please keep in mind that this method does require a glass lid that fits over the Instant Pot. It can be any glass lid you already have in the kitchen, but Instant Pot does sell its own glass lid if you need to buy one.
To use your Instant Pot as a traditional steamer, just pour in at least one cup of water into your liner. Then place the trivet at the bottom, and set a steamer rack or basket on top of the trivet. Place the food you want to steam inside the basket or rack, and then push Sauté. You can adjust the temperature of Sauté mode by pressing the More button after initiating Sauté. Then just wait for the water to start boiling to create steam, and then place the glass lid on top. Allow the food to cook, though you can lift the lid off (careful of hot steam) to check up on the food periodically. Once the food has reached your desired doneness, push the Cancel button to stop cooking.
Like the traditional stovetop method, this does require a bit of babysitting, which is one reason why I prefer the Steam function.
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker
This little Pot that could
The Instant Pot DUO60 is the standard Instant Pot that many people will find in several major retailers, including Amazon. It pressure cooks, steams, cooks rice, eggs, and saves you a ton of time compared to slow cookers. Just dump in your ingredients, set it, and forget it!
Put a lid on it
Genuine Instant Pot Tempered Glass Lid
Steam and slow cook in Instant Pot
This glass lid for your Instant Pot is made of tempered glass, so it's durable. It also has a steam vent to let out steam as food cooks, and the handle makes it easy to take it on and off. You'll always be able to see how your food is coming along with this tempered glass lid (not for use while doing standard pressure cooking).
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