Read This Before Cooking Seafood With Your Instant Pot

Your Instant Pot may be the best thing since sliced bread — at least in your kitchen — but it does have limits. The multi-tasking gadget is a slow-cooker, a steamer, a pressure cooker, a yogurt maker, a warmer, a sous vide, and a sauté pan all rolled into one (via The Shirley Journey). 

While the ubiquitous kitchen appliance has been growing its fan base since it debuted in 2010 (via Good Housekeeping), it's actually based on an age-old cooking method. The 21st century Instant Pot we know and love today is a basically a shiny version of a pressure cooker (a concept developed by 17th century French physicist Denis Papin who called it a steam digester, according to Discover Pressure Cooking) that today comes decked out with an array of modern bells and whistles — and perhaps, most importantly, safety features. 

The brand Instant Pot (not to be confused with Cuisinart, Gourmia, and Breville that are a few of the companies that make similar gadgets, according to Delish) is equipped with 10 safety features including overheat protection and a locking lid. But even though it sounds fantastic, there are some foods you might want to take caution with before cooking them in an Instant Pot.

The dos and don'ts of cooking seafood in an Instant Pot

It's difficult to find a naysayer when it comes to Instant Pot. According to CNN, the name brand pressure cooker was Walmart's best-selling product in 2019 and consistently ranks among Amazon's top-selling products. It has a devoted following including a Facebook community page with 3 million members offering lots of shared advice and recipes. There is a recurring theme, though, and it all has to do with fish. 

Apparently, it's tricky business getting fish cooked just right in an Instant Pot. One Facebook group member, Jason Berger, turned to the group for advice after following a failed attempt to cook frozen fish in his machine. While some respondents cited successful experiences, most acknowledged an Instant Pot may not be the best choice for cooking goods from the sea. Member Erica Walters responded, "Most fish is not a great fit for pressure cooking — just too lean and delicate ... if you're determined to try, salmon is one exception because it's so fatty." 

Scott Velasquez agreed, "Best way is not to use the IP for fish. Frying pan, oven, grill, broiler, smoker are best. Maybe one exception would be to use the IP as a steamer or for poaching but that's about it." A Food & Wine report supports the community's feedback, pointing out that most seafood and shellfish are too delicate to be cooked in an Instant Pot and they suggest baking, pan-frying, or poaching as better alternatives for tasty results.