Why You Never Want To Deep Fry In Your Instant Pot

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The ever-popular instant pot, according to its many fans, is a wonder appliance that's capable of doing just about every kitchen task short of mopping the floor or washing the dishes. How much of this is true, though, and how much is merely hype? Sure, there are a number of functions this appliance can perform, and it has the advantage of cooking your food pretty quickly, too, as long as you're willing to wait for it to heat and pressure up and then wait again for it to release the pressure once the cooking is done.

In certain areas, however, the much cheaper, less flashy slow cooker does have a decided advantage over the trendy pressure cooker-hot plate hybrid. For one thing, certain foods such as slow-roasted beef a la crockpot tend to taste a lot better than the instant pot-cooked kind. For another, while this vintage owner's manual indicates that slow cooker-deep fryer combos have been around for a good long while (Dazey, manufacturer of the Chef's Pot, went out of business back in the '90s), you can't deep fry in an instant pot.

Instant pots don't reach the proper temperature

As KFC historians may know, Colonel Sanders did patent a pressure cooker capable of deep frying his famous chicken, but whatever technology he used is something that today's instant pots do not employ. As Tom's Guide explains, while instant pots can pan-fry, they are not designed to get hot enough to heat oil to the temperatures necessary for deep frying. If you try to heat a whole potful of oil, you're likely to burn the food you're trying to fry and any batter-coated foods will probably be soggy, as well since too low a temperature means that more oil is absorbed into the batter. In a worst-case scenario, deep-frying food in your instant pot could even result in a kitchen fire.

About the closest you can come to deep-frying foods via instant pot is to invest in an air fryer/pressure cooker combo. Even then, however, you're advised to avoid wet-battered foods such as funnel cakes or corn dogs as such foods do not cook well in the air fryer. While you may see recipes for air fryer versions of these dishes, they've been tweaked to make them dryer and less drippy. If you really want deep-fried foods, though, you'll either need to employ an appliance that's marketed as a deep fryer or else just use a pot on the stove as this is one function your instant pot will never be able to fill.