Should I Buy an Instant Pot?

Should I Buy an Instant Pot

Having heard folks wax poetic about the Instant Pot for months, I had to see for myself what the fuss was about.  I was skeptical, as I am about all things that seem too good to be true, whether it’s a fat-shrinking diet pill or miracle face cream. Rather than risk a chunk of change on an untested appliance, I borrowed a friend’s Instant Pot and put it through the paces. After three weeks of trials, here’s my take:

The Instant Pot is pretty awesome. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Consider this: of the 16, 392 Instant Pot reviews on Amazon, 93 percent are 4 star and above (84 percent are 5 star).

If word of the Instant Pot hasn’t hit your corner of the universe, let me fill you in:

It’s a single electronic appliance that effectively does the work of seven, including:

  • Pressure Cooker

  • Slow Cooker

  • Rice Cooker

  • Yogurt Maker

  • Food Warmer

  • Steamer

  • Saute pan

 I’ve experimented with most of the features to great success. 

Here’s what I like about it:

  • It can be used as a saute pan and then switched over to work as a slow cooker or pressure cooker. That means no need to dirty an extra pan to brown meat or saute onions before they go into the pot. I browned chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, then added a big splash of teriyaki sauce, set the pressure cooker for 15 minutes, and dinner was done. 
  • I’ve never used a pressure cooker before, and it feels like a small miracle happening in my kitchen. I cooked dried black beans in minutes rather than hours. I also made a perfect coconut curry dahl in eight minutes. Eight. And it was delicious.   
  • It makes a tender pot of rice. A rice cooker is a new-to-me appliance and this one made terrific brown rice with no worry that I’d forget it on the stove (as I so often do). 
  • It can replace my slow cooker, which I had planned to replace at some point anyway.
  • Though I’ve yet to try it out as a yogurt maker, I’m looking forward to experimenting with homemade yogurt.

Drawbacks:

  • It’s not small. It comes in two sizes, 6 quart and an 8 quart, and will take up space in your cupboard or kitchen counter.  My plan is to stow away my slow cooker and buy an Instant Pot to put in its place.
  • It’s an investment (though a bit of a bargain if you consider all that it does). A 6 quart pot, the most popular size, runs about $99.  You can pick up an 8 quart Instant Pot for $129.

If you are ready to bite the bullet on an Instant Pot, click the images below for purchase. And once you have yours in hand, head here for Instant Pot recipe ideas.



Click the image above to buy an 6 quart pot, good for everyday cooking for small to mid-size families.

Or click the image above for an 8-quart pot, better for larger families, for batch cooking large volumes of food, or if you plan to use it to feed a crowd (hello potlucks!).

I Tried the #InstantPot and I Liked It. A Lot. Here's Why. Click To Tweet

 

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should i buy an instant

Comments

02.21.2017 at 6:18 AM #

Linda

What an awesome appliance. Single older woman but I use it all the time. Drop in a whole chicken, add water, onions, celery, etc. Hour later you have chicken soup – just lift out the bones. Very little of the time consuming picking meat off bones as the bone had already given up the meat. Pinto beans with ham hock? Creamy, wonderful bliss. The beans were not pre-soaked and rather old but cooked up wonderfully, better than my normal stove top. Extras of course are put in the freezer for use at a later time. Wild Rice – perfect. I also use the pressure aspect to finish up small jars of homemade jam. Sure beats getting out the big water bath canner for 5-6 pint or half pint jars.

02.21.2017 at 6:18 AM #

katiemorford

I want to make all of the above, Linda. Hadn’t thought about making jam. Now I will. Thanks for the comment.

02.21.2017 at 9:09 AM #

Renee

Yay! I got an instant pot for Christmas and use it all the time. Just made white bean and chicken soup yesterday! Steel cut oatmealis a breeze and super creamy and no standing over the pot to stir. Can’t wait to see your recipes, Katie.

02.21.2017 at 9:09 AM #

katiemorford

Oh good…another endorsement for the Instant Pot. I can’t wait to try steel cut oatmeal. One of my favorites!

02.21.2017 at 9:17 AM #

Laurie-Ann Barbour

I love my Instant Pot. Have been a pressure cooker fan for decades but this is so much better – turn it on and walk away. No worries about blowing up and don’t have to stay close to adjust temperature. I’ve cooked beans, rice, soup, vegetables, congee, custard and used the yogurt setting for the sterilizing part which I prefer to heating the milk on the stove. I love that there is a place for the lid – that’s brilliant! And, I live in a place where my electricity is from a clean, renewable source so cooking with my Instant Pot instead of on the stove is more “green” because it’s faster and the energy source is cleaner! Jill Nussinow, R.D. has a great IP cookbook I recommend: Vegan Under Pressure. http://www.theveggiequeen.com Enjoy yours!!

02.21.2017 at 9:17 AM #

katiemorford

Thanks for all that great insight and for the tip about Jill’s book!

02.21.2017 at 4:38 PM #

tammy

Yogurt alone is worth it! I got the Instant Pot right after the Election and it has been the best way to deal with the world. Cannot wait to see what you come up with!

02.21.2017 at 4:38 PM #

katiemorford

I’m looking forward to making yogurt! Thanks for the comment.

02.22.2017 at 10:56 AM #

Sally

Hi Katie, thanks so much for your upcoming instant pot recipes. I purchased one and need some good recipes and yours are always good!

02.22.2017 at 11:10 AM #

Pam Hochman

So what a dilemma! This sounds great and I’d seen many a facebook post at Christmas time about this as well.

I already have both a rice cooker and a slow cooker and LOVE them both, and we are very short on storage space. It’s tough to justify this purchase unless I can get rid of one/both of them. So a few questions:
1. How quickly does it cook a meal? It sounds like it’s much faster than a slow cooker but right now I often put something in the pot in the morning and can be hands off until dinner time. Can it go both slow and fast?
2. Which brands/styles did you test?
3. Which appliance does it more easily replace or is it truly as good as both?
Thanks!

02.22.2017 at 11:10 AM #

katiemorford

All great questions, and not easy since it seems you’ve had good success with your rice cooker and slow cooker. The Instant Pot has different settings, so you can use the pressure cooker settings and cook things very very quickly if that’s what you happen to need at a given moment. If, say, you want a pot of applesauce in 7 minutes. Or, you can use the slow cooker settings, if you want to come home to a pot of applesauce. I think the best feature about it is that you can brown and saute in the Pot and then switch over to pressure cooker or slow cooker. All that being said, I consulted Jane at Zen of Slow Cooking, who has used the Instant Pot a lot. She said she does feel like her slow cooker performs a little better than the slow cooker of the Instant Pot. Suggestion: Perhaps you can borrow a friend’s Instant Pot for a week and see how you like it. That’s how I got hooked.

02.22.2017 at 11:10 AM #

katiemorford

Also, I used the 6 quart model.

02.24.2017 at 1:13 PM #

Jessica @ Nutritioulicious

I really need to get on this trend. I got a pressure cooker for free and never use it and I’ve wanted a slow cooker forever, but never got it. So just wondering if I’ll really get use out of this. What do you think?

02.24.2017 at 1:13 PM #

katiemorford

I’m not a big gadget kind of a cook and I really like mine…time will tell if it stays in the rotation, but for now, I’m putting away my slow cooker. I think the fact that it has multiple uses is a game changer.

02.26.2017 at 12:50 PM #

Anne|Craving Something Healthy

I love all of the functions this has, and I’m hearing great things about it from everyone who has one. Glad you love yours!

02.27.2017 at 8:05 AM #

Deanna Ebmeier

So, would the pressure cooker setting be the “I have nothing thawed and need supper asap” setting? I have 4 kids and if I don’t have things prepped for supper the night before I have a disaster on my hands the next evening. I like using my crockpot on the weekend to set it and forget it but if I use it during the week most of my crock pot meals are mushy.

02.28.2017 at 3:24 PM #

Rebecca

WHAAAAAT? I’ve been hearing rave reviews, but I thought it was just a pressure cooker. but a 7 in 1 appliance. Sounds like it’s well worth the $100 price tag

03.01.2017 at 5:44 AM #

Danielle Omar -- Food Confidence RD

Thanks for the review, Katie. I bought an IP last year and only used it once. I am intimidated by it for some reason. I look forward to watching how you use it so I feel more confident about it. I made one dish in it thus far (a beef stew) and my version on the stove was so much better!

03.01.2017 at 5:44 AM #

katiemorford

I would just pull it out and leave it on the kitchen counter for a week or so and start experimenting. I like that you can set a timer and don’t have to babysit the pot as you do with the stove. I just made perfect soft cooked eggs. 1 cup water, put the eggs on a steaming basket, 3 minutes on manual.

03.04.2017 at 12:38 PM #

Laura Norman

Hi Katie:
Can you post detailed instructions for doing chicken teriaki and rice (can it be done at the same time?). Or broccoli at the same time? Just got mine and trying to figure it out. The goal is to get Miles to make dinner! thanks!!

03.04.2017 at 12:38 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Laura,

When I did teriyaki chicken, I browned chicken thighs on the saute setting, then added teriyaki sauce, and then cooked it for 15 minutes. The rice would have to be cooked separately on the rice setting, I think. I am still new to this, so will have more info coming as I experiment more.

04.29.2017 at 8:24 AM #

Anne C.

Hi Katie,

I had a gift card from Amazon and ordered this. I can’t wait to try it out. I’m really looking forward to trying it out with dried beans. Do you have any other suggestions for vegetarian recipes?

04.29.2017 at 8:24 AM #

katiemorford

There are some vegetarian options here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/melissaharrison/instant-pot-recipes?utm_term=.xqJePMXLy#.dlwWk4eER And I’m hoping to develop some new recipes soon. You might also check the site zenofslowcooking.com They are starting to do instant pot recipes too

01.18.2018 at 9:46 AM #

liz chalmers

Hello Katie – I’m wondering if you could share your recipe for coconut curry dahl that you made using your instant pot? Thank you!

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