The Instant Pot is one of the most popular small kitchen appliances out there these days thanks to its versatility, ease of use, and time-saving capabilities. You can make everything from meat to poultry, steam vegetables, bake cakes, hard boil eggs, cook rice, and even make homemade yogurt with some models. While the device itself is pretty rad on its own, with pre-programmed one-button cook options and a timer that lets you do other things while it cooks, you can enhance the experience by using your phone. How? Here are some tips and tricks, including ones that I use when cooking with my Instant Pot and phone.
Use the official Instant Pot app
Instant Pot has an official app that features more than 1,000 recipes along with tips and tricks on how to use the device, answers to common questions, and ideas about new ways to cook. You can get inspired with scrumptious dishes you never knew you could make as well as discover how that pulled pork recipe that usually takes you eight hours to slow cook can now be done in 45 minutes. Who better to get ideas from on what to make and how to best use the Pot than the company itself?
There are also plenty of well-known and respected Instant Pot recipe sites and personal blogs out there to consider, including AdventuresofaNurse.com, JuliesEatsandTreats.com, ActiveHipMomma.com, and PressureCookRecipes.com. I have found wonderful Instant Pot recipes from all of these sites as well as others. However, the official app is a must-have to include in your arsenal as well.
Join an Instant Pot social community
Instant Pot users are pretty passionate about the device and their tried and true recipes. Don't ever ask one why you should bother making a cheesecake or hard boil eggs in there when it's so easy to do in the oven or stovetop — you'll get a diatribe of defensive comments! But the Instant Pot social communities can be really helpful for finding quick answers to questions you need, like how long to cook corn on the cob or how to salvage soupy mac and cheese. You can also share images and details of your cook successes along with recipes and general comments and questions.
Social communities like the Instant Pot Community on Facebook are great for beginners who have some seemingly obvious questions like what a manual release means, how long to cook potatoes, and what accessories are essential. Ask and someone will reply almost instantaneously, or you can search for answers to some of the most common questions. There's also no negativity in the group, which is closely monitored. It has 2.7 million members (and growing) from around the world.
Use an app to store all of your recipes
There are tons of apps that allow you to organize your recipes in one spot for easy retrieval when you need them. One of the most popular, and my personal favorite, is Paprika. You can easily copy a recipe from virtually any website and have all of the extraneous details stripped from it automatically, retaining just the ingredients list, directions, photo, and title. This feature is especially useful for Instant Pot recipes, which are typically found on blogs where the author tells a long story about how they converted the recipe from a slow cooker one or details of their family before delving into the nitty-gritty. This might be interesting to read, but you don't need it all when you just want to cook the food.
I use Paprika to store all my recipes, so once I save one for the Instant Pot, I simply rename it with Instant Pot as the first two words followed by whatever it is. This way, all my Instant Pot recipes stay together alphabetically in the app. Once I call up a recipe, I use a kickstand case for my phone to prop it up on my counter (I have the Handl case but you can also use something like Popsockets to accomplish this).
Share your meals!
Like many other Instant Pot users, I'm not shy about sharing photos of my meals after making them, especially when it's something that looks complex but was actually easy, like the Korean Short Ribs depicted here. Take photos as you cook with your phone, videos, time-lapse videos, or even live videos for posting to live social media stories.
Some phones, like Samsung Galaxy devices, have a dedicated Food Mode for taking amazing food shots that are Instagram-worthy. Sometimes, portrait mode might work just fine. You can eventually keep an album on your phone or just your food photos and videos that you can turn into your own mini homemade cookbook to share with friends and family.
Use the Smart Wi-Fi Instant Pot
If you want to take using your smartphone with your Instant Pot to the next level, considering opting for the Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi model, which comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology for wirelessly communicating with your mobile device.
You can use Wi-Fi or voice via Alexa (with a compatible smart speaker or display) to control the Instant Pot remotely, including starting and stopping a cook. You can also access 1,000 pre-programmed recipes (from the mobile app), verify your cooking progress if you're folding laundry downstairs, for example, while ribs are pressuring upstairs, share cooker access with other family members, and receive alerts when a cook is done.
It comes at a premium in price over other models that aren't Wi-Fi-enabled, but if you find you'd use these features a lot, or just want it for the cool factor of having the Pot be part of your smart home, go for it!
Use a smart plug
Another way you can use your phone with your Instant Pot and be able to remotely control it is by plugging it into a smart plug connected to an AC outlet in your home. These plugs automatically turn any device plugged into them, like a lamp, coffeemaker, or multicooker, into a smart one that can be remotely controlled.
You will probably only be able to turn it on or off, but this is ideal if you want to slow cook a meal, for example, but don't want to start the Pot until the right time. Maybe you just want to make sure it wasn't left on by accident by the kids.
Which products and apps should you use?
Ready to take the plunge? Here are some products and apps that can help enhance the experience with your Instant Pot and your phone so they work harmoniously together.
Paprika Recipe Manager 3 app (Free at Google App Store)
The app itself is free but it's worth upgrading to the paid $4.99 version which lets you easily save recipes with one click from your computer or mobile device, with cloud sync capability. Store your favorite Instant Pot recipes and access them whenever it's time to cook.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($20 at Amazon)
By plugging any Instant Pot into this smart plug, which is then plugged into a standard wall AC outlet, you can make the Pot "smart," able to control it remotely using the Wemo app, including turning it on and off.
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