I first wrote about the Instant Pot over two years ago. My mom surprised me with the 6 qt, 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo for my 27th birthday and the rest was history. I used it that day and every single week since. It’s still going strong.
I decided to freshen up my post because people STILL ask me about it. And I STILL love talking about it. To date, I’ve sold about 7 Instant Pots – none of which earned me a commission, by the way. I even went so far as to put one in a woman’s cart in Target (with her permission, of course).
But, is it really that great? Well, yes.
Who is it for?
EVERYONE. Honestly, though, this kitchen tool is good for people with 9-5 jobs, those who want to meal prep but just don’t have the time, people who HATE cooking, people who LOVE cooking, and those who just need to own every gadget ever made.
Is it worth the money?
I get this ALL the time. The price tag can be a huge turn-off, but I promise you it will be worth its weight in gold with just one use. Picture it: peelable hard boiled eggs, fall off the bone ribs, bone broth in two hours. And now, the one I have is available for just $79.95 at Target.
But, in essence, you’re not just buying one cooking tool. You’re getting a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer complete with a sauté/browning feature that’s compact enough to have a permanent home on your counter. That’s big. As much as I love my Crock-Pot, I haven’t used it once since getting the Instant Pot. I still have it nicely tucked away in a bottom cabinet – most likely never to be seen again.
Instead of wondering if it’s worth the money, think about how much your time is worth. If this device can cut cook time by 50 – or even 75 – percent, would it help you out? Would you be more inclined to cook?
What does it do?
Literally, everything but wash the dishes. It cooks delicious meals in record time – think 5 minutes for easy-to-peel hard boiled eggs, 35 minutes for a whole rotisserie style chicken (as pictured below), and 15 minutes for chili that tastes like it simmered all day. If you’ve made your own bone broth, you know it can take 24-48 hours on the stove top and 8+ hours in the slow cooker. With the Instant Pot, you can have it in two. And it’s damn good too.
What are all those buttons?
There are a lot of controls and that can be intimidating. You typically won’t use all of them. On any given day I tend to only use a few of the buttons on the bottom because they really cover everything. The “Soup” and “Rice” buttons, etc. just take the guesswork out of manual programming.
- Manual – I make most of my dishes in this setting because I get to control the time (and have found that some recipes require more or less than recommended).
- Less & More (-/+)– Adjust the time needed for a particular dish.
- Keep Warm/Cancel – Stops the cooking and keeps your dish warm until you’re ready/shuts off the Instant Pot entirely.
- Sauté – A good feature to brown meat before adding the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
How much liquid do you need?
Rule of thumb is 1-2 cups of liquid for every recipe. One cup of water is sufficient for cooking a dozen hard boiled eggs. The nice thing about the Instant Pot is that liquid under pressure does not evaporate.
Is it safe?
This isn’t your grandmother’s pressure cooker. You know, the one that used rattle, whistle, and shake like it was going to explode? Now, that was scary.
There are 10 proven safety mechanisms including lid close detection (unit will beep and won’t start until the lid is properly fastened and locked) and high-temperature warning (pressure will not build up in the pot if there is not enough liquid or moisture).
After reading through your user manual and seeing how it works, you should feel completely comfortable using it.
Note: It is important to only use/buy items and accessories that are manufactured and tested by Instant Pot. In particular, the sealing rings have been tested and passed UL, FDA, and LFGB safety tests. The same cannot be said about 3rd party companies/products.
Does it really cook that fast?
Yes! With one small catch. And I don’t want you to get discouraged, but I have to be honest. Some recipes don’t account for the time it takes to pressurize the chamber. So, while hard boiled eggs only take 5 minutes to cook, there are an extra few minutes of pressure time that must be factored in.
But the unit is amazing and will cook a lot of your slow cooker favorites in record time.
How do you clean it?
It’s super easy to clean out the Instant Pot – that’s another thing I love about it. Just remove the stainless steel cooking pot and wire basket, scrub with a soft sponge and hot soapy water, then dry. Clean the lid with a damp cloth or sponge, then remove the inner flexible sealing ring and clean in hot soapy water. The cooking pot and sealing ring can also be placed in the dishwasher (I haven’t tried it). I also always wipe down the surface of the unit when done in case there are any spills.
Note: My stainless steel cooking pot stained after one use. Oh, the irony! I’ve read that this is common and totally normal – especially if you frequently cook foods without the wire basket.
What items and accessories are available?
There are a number of different accessories made especially for the Instant Pot, including sealing rings, cookbooks, tempered glass lids, baking molds, and silicone safety mitts. I’d also recommend purchasing an additional stainless steel pot so you can cook multiple meals back to back or easily store your food in the fridge.
Why I love it
The Instant Pot is key for quick meal prep and no-fuss weeknight dinners. It’s also perfect when I forget to take the meat out of the freezer before I leave for work, which happens more often than I’d like to admit.
I’ve never been able to cook anything so fast, so good, and so tender. The meat falls off the bone and shreds easily, meals are more flavorful, and nothing comes out dry.
Thanks to the Instant Pot’s sustained popularity, there are now tons of cookbooks specifically for pressure-cooking (or that have a subset of pressure cooker guidelines). Besides the normal slow cooker favorites, you can make all sorts of dishes including soup, a full chicken, bread, cheesecake, sous vide egg bites, rice pudding, and more. It’s really a lot of fun!
As mentioned, I received my Instant Pot over two years ago, in December 2016. Now there are some fancy extras, including a large LCD display, an app with over 750 pre-programmed recipes, and a new Instant Pot with Smart WiFi, which as it implies, can be controlled and monitored right from your phone.
If you’re wondering, I don’t plan on upgrading anytime soon. I love my IP just fine and it works the same as on day one!
Bottom Line: This is one of the best investments you can make – and THE best investment for your kitchen. The Instant Pot is a HUGE time saver. That fact, alone, should have you running to Amazon (figuratively, of course) or Target and buying one for you and a friend. What I’m really trying to say is, if you don’t have one yet, what are you waiting for?
*This post is not sponsored by Instant Pot and I am not affiliated with the company in any way. I also do not receive any compensation from any of the links included above. I just have a healthy obsession with my IP. All opinions are my own.