When I first got my instant pot, I overthought how to use it all the time. I tried making things way harder than they were, including sauteing food in my instant pot!
Sauteing in your instant pot is very easy and straight forward, I promise.
Even better, it makes the instant pot a true one-pot wonder in your kitchen! No need to mess up additional dishes or skillets!
Heat up your instant pot by pressing the saute button.
Make sure your liner is in your pot, and that the pot is plugged in. Do not add anything yet.
Simply, press the saute button on your pot.
You will notice it automatically sets to a 30-minute window. This is a set feature for safety reasons. I don’t usually fool with the timer on my pot for sauteing as I’ll just turn it off when I’m done with that feature.
You can change the cooking temperature to “Normal”, “More”, and “Less” with the adjust key.
I usually don’t change it and leave it on normal. However, if you have something you don’t want to get burnt (like garlic, it would turn bitter), you can turn it to less.
When do you add your oil to the instant pot when you saute?
When the instant pot comes to temperature, you will add your oil. You will know it’s ready because the instant pot will set itself to “Hot” on the display.
Once you’ve added the oil, let it up come up to temperature as well. For all cooking, even stove top cooking, you know oil is hot because it will become shimmery in appearance.
I typically use olive oil when I cook, but you can use whatever you normally like to use.
Add your ingredient(s) you are sauteing to your instant pot.
Let it brown on one side before you flip it.
I personally use tongs to flip things in my instant pot. (There are several accessories you may be interested in to advance your instant pot cooking successes!)
Here’s a little pro tip (and it works for stove top cooking as well): If your food is sticking (provided you’ve added your oil appropriately), it likely isn’t ready to flip yet. Give it more time!!
Do NOT sautee food in the instant pot with a lid on of any kind. That is dangerous and is not what the instant pot is designed to do on the saute method.
How do you use the saute feature to thicken liquids?
Sometimes, once you release pressure on your instant pot, you may have a thin liquid or excess liquid you may want to reduce or thicken up. Once the pressure is released, and the lid is off, you can simply switch over to the saute feature to do so.
(Pro tip: To thicken a liquid, simply add a cornstarch and water slurry and mix it in and let it simmer for a few minutes.)
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One Downfall to Using the Instant Pot to Saute
While it may be super helpful to not dirty up extra skillets or get your oven heated up with yet another kitchen appliance, there is one downfall to using the instant pot to saute your food.
It’s a small working surface.
You won’t be able to saute a lot in your instant pot, as it’s a small surface, and so you will likely need to work in batches. I usually don’t find this to be a problem, and I can still work fairly fast doing this.
I hope this simplifies the use of your Instant Pot for you a bit! Don’t be scared of it – just dive in and start cooking! Saute in that instant pot to make it a true one pot wonder!