You could probably answer all of those questions with one simple question. What foods can I make with each appliance?
I’ll be answering that question in this article, specifically asking about Instant Pot electric pressure cookers and Air Fryers.
To answer that question it is helpful to know the key differences between an electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot and an air fryer.
An Instant Pot uses water or broth to produce steam and build up pressure within the cooking pot. This hot steam is forced into the food to cook it at high speeds.
An air fryer uses a small amount of oil, and superheats air. The hot air is quickly circulated around the food continuously until it is cooked.
You can find a complete explanation on the differences between how air fryers and pressure cookers work here.
Right off hand it may seem apparent the differences in foods you can make. Air fryers you can use to prepare crispy fried foods, and an Instant Pot will be used to make moist succulent dishes.
To see if this is actually they case I’ll go over some of the different foods and cooking methods you can use with both air fryers and Instant Pot.
What can you cook with Instant Pot?
As I mentioned earlier, Instant Pots use steam and pressure to cook foods, so right away certain foods come to mind. Vegetables, soups, rice are all commonly prepared foods with a pressure cooker. Instant Pot pressure cookers are designed to cook a variety of foods.
All of the Instant Pot electric pressure cookers, with the exception of the IP-LUX models, have the capability of preparing the following foods:
- meat/ stew
- bean/ chili
While that list may appear to be short, the variety within those categories is extensive. If you think of the meals you have had recently most items are probably in one of those categories.
Foods you can prepare are not limited to those groups either. The steam function on the Instant Pots can be used to prepare eggs, vegetables and pasta; and the newer versions have even more features.
The Instant Pot Ultra comes with a dedicated egg function, a sous vide function, and a cake setting to prepare desserts.
Along with the pressure cooking methods, Instant Pot pressure cookers also can be used as sauté pans. The sauté function can allow you to stir fry foods using a small amount of oil, you can also use it to sear meats as well.
The possibilities of foods you can prepare with an Instant Pot are nearly endless. You can find recipes for your Instant Pot in the recipes section of the Instant Pot website.
What can you cook with an air fryer?
Right away just from the name air fryer, you may think your options are pretty limited. Because air fryers were meant as a healthy alternative for deep frying, it may seem like it was only meant for deep fried foods.
Air fryers are actually almost as versatile as an Instant Pot. Most air fryers are advertised with the abilities to;
Frying is their main attraction. You can prepare French fries, fried chicken, and potato chips. Pretty much anything you would eat deep fried, you can make with an air fryer.
While with most air fryers you throw your food in a basket at start it, the accessories are what expands your cooking options.
A grill pan can be used to prepare vegetables just as you would on a stove top or with the sauté method of the Instant Pot.
Also you can use a baking pan to make cakes or casseroles in an air fryer. When it comes to cooking with an air fryer, you are only as limited as your imagination. You can find recipes on how to cook nearly anything with an air fryer.
Are there any differences in foods you can make?
There is actually quite a bit of overlap in the foods you can prepare with air fryers and Instant Pots. You can make meats, vegetables, and even desserts with both Instant Pot pressure cookers and air fryers.
Are there any differences?
One obvious difference you will find is that the newer Instant Pot pressure cookers can make yogurt and cook rice. You will also be able to use them to make eggs as well. You can’t make any of these with an air fryer.
Another thing you will find is best prepared in an Instant Pot is certain vegetables. Air fryers are good for cooking vegetables that you would normally grill, like corn on the cob or asparagus. However, vegetables you would normally steam like carrots or broccoli, will not be cooked right in an air fryer.
What can the air fryer do that an Instant Pot can’t do? The main advantage you will find in the air fryer is the ability to make the crispy fried foods. Although you can sauté and sear meats in an Instant Pot you won’t be able to make anything that remotely resembles being deep fried.
Which of the two is the best choice for you?
If you had to decide between purchasing an air fryer or an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, what is important to know?
Overall if you want to the widest variety in cooking go with an Instant Pot. Although you may not get the deep fried foods that you may be craving, the number of other foods you can prepare is far greater than what you will be able to do with an air fryer. Also foods prepared with an air fryer can easily be prepared by deep frying in a pot or pan, while you need an actual pressure cooker to do pressure cooking.
The single greatest reason you would choose an air fryer over an Instant Pot is if you eat a lot of fried foods and are looking for a healthy alternative.