Instant Pots have emerged as a standard in small kitchen appliances over the last few years. While batch cookers simplify midweek meals, busy parents use them to have dinner on the table in minutes.
It’s that simple to use; you just set it and walk away until your food is ready. When you want a home-cooked meal that can be made quickly, the Instant Pot is the perfect solution.
Some people prefer them because they can cook just about anything, from pot roast to yogurt, and they can do it quickly. When used in conjunction with summer cooking staples such as grills, an Instant Pot can be a relatively quick, simple, and affordable way to prepare home-cooked meals.
However, the most critical question is this: Should you buy an Instant Pot? This article will cover EVERYTHING you need to know before purchasing an Instant Pot.
This article might help make your mind up if you aren’t quite ready to buy one, and give this modern take on pressure cooking a try; it may assist you in making your decision. Will you, like so many others, fall in love with it? Continue reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the Instant Pot.
What Is An Instant Pot?
As with a slow cooker, Instant Pots feature an inner pot heated via an electric element. However, the Instant Pot is a multi-cooker, not only a slow cooker.
Cooking is made more accessible with this appliance, which replaces up to seven common kitchen appliances such as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker. It accelerates the cooking process so you can simmer, braise, slow cook, steam, and heat meals more quickly. There are also claims that you can make wine in it, as well.
Justifications for purchasing an Instant Pot
There are several different reasons why people love the Instant Pot. It is safe, it cooks recipes in the slow cooker quickly, and it is also quick and straightforward to clean.
You’ve been debating purchasing an Instant Pot for an extended period. This tutorial outlines all of the reasons why you should eventually buy one of these electronic multicookers.
While there are many reasons to use the Instant Pot for everything from slow-cooked meals to baking cakes and sweets, one of the main benefits is the ability to cook meals quickly. Significant reasons why its appeal has reached a cult-like level include the following:
It is more than just a pressure cooker.
To begin, an Instant Pot is more than a pressure cooker. As a true multicooker, it sears, browns, and sautés food in the same way that a stove-top skillet would. It can also be used to delicate steam items like fish, eggs, and vegetables. Instant Pots can also be used as stand-alone electric rice cookers, which is a convenient feature.
Baked goods such as bread, cakes, and other sweets such as custards, flan, and cheesecakes can all be made with them. Many Instant Pot models are equipped with yogurt-making functions. And, yes, they can be used as slow cookers as well.
It is possible to cook impressive meals in a short amount of time.
The Instant Pot delivers a one-two punch of high pressure and heat to the food. As a result, dishes that usually take an entire day to prepare are completed in a matter of hours. We’re discussing tough cuts of pork ribs, beef brisket, and pork shoulder. This also applies to soups and stews, as well as beans and grains.
Normally, they’d have to simmer for an eternity. Not so with the Instant Pot, which reduces cooking times by a factor of three compared to conventional methods.
It is incredibly safe
The Instant Pot is not a cantankerous manual pressure cooker from the past. It includes a slew of onboard safety features enabled by electronics. For instance, a variety of sensors assist it in self-regulating its internal pressure and temperature. They’re designed to keep the Instant Pot within predefined safety parameters.
Additionally, sensors determine whether or not the lid is locked. Further, the Instant Pot will not take on pressure unless the cover is firmly clamped down. Similarly, once the cooker’s interior is pressurized, the lid locks in place automatically.
Consider the numerous preprogrammed settings that are specific to the type of food that it cooks. All of this puts Instant Pots light years ahead of their ancient pressure cooker counterparts in terms of safety. Of course, you must still operate your appliance safely and properly.
There are numerous recipes.
The Instant Pot has sparked an internet frenzy, with countless personal blogs, cooking websites, and Facebook groups dedicated to it. Additionally, they generate a steady stream of recipes when they collaborate. Tacos, Italian beef sandwiches, Korean-style ribs, and popcorn are all likely to have been tried. There’s even a recipe for Instant Pot wine.
Easy to clean
Apart from its rapid cooking times, the Instant Pot’s best feature is probably its ease of cleanup. There is only one pot to worry about. Additionally, it is painless to wash the inner pot by hand, so long as you know the correct methods.
Second, as long as you use the proper techniques, washing the inner pot by hand is painless. Additionally, the pot and all of the cooker’s components are dishwasher safe.
What You Should Know Before Purchasing an Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is a time-saving, multi-purpose, and customizable cooking machine that revolutionizes mealtime and gains a cult-like following among home cooks and chefs alike.
There are, however, a few things you should be aware of if you’ve received this modern equipment as a present or if you’re contemplating purchasing one.
Our Instant Pot review covers everything from models to meals to the reasons why they’re so darn popular. Use it as a guide to the appliance that everyone is talking about.
How to Select the Right Instant Pot Model
If you’re unsure which model to purchase, comparing Instant Pot models can be a bit overwhelming. This is because many distinct models are available, which ranging in size from six to eight quarts and feature set from 6-in-1 to 10-in-1. Less-experienced cooks can use the ten built-in intelligent programs in the Lux models. In contrast, more experienced cooks can manipulate the additional 14 programs in the Duo and Duo Plus models.
True fans of the Instant Pot Ultra model can expand their repertoire with the assistance of the Bluetooth-enabled and its robust 16 cooking programs to include yogurt, cake, eggs, and even sterilized baby bottles. Plan how you cook now and think about how you cook in the future.
Are you a large batch cooker, or do you prefer to cook for a family of two more frequently? Consider which of your favorite recipes you could make in an Instant Pot.
Are you already a fan of braises, stews, grains, yogurt, and legumes? This will assist you in determining the model and size that are most appropriate for your cooking habits. If you’re looking to replace an aging slow cooker, this may be a good option, as it has various uses.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Purchasing an Instant Pot
Advantages of an Instant Pot
Pressure cooking speeds up the cooking process.
Aside from the fact that it allows users to cook delicious food quickly, the Instant Pot’s popularity stems from the fact that it provides users with the most precious resource of all: time.
While meal preparation and preheating the machine are required, the dishwasher-safe Instant Pot cooks two to six times faster (and silently) than conventional methods. This means that braises such as pulled pork, tender stew, and roast beef can be prepared in under an hour, making them suitable for weeknight cooking.
It is excellent for making rice.
It ensures the vegetables maintain their color, and grains come out fluffy and soft due to the machine’s even distribution of heat and steaming process.
The Sauté Option Adds Flavor
The Instant Pot can be used to sauté meats, onions, or bloom spices as with a Dutch oven. Therefore, sear the pork tenderloin first, then deglaze with wine or stock, cover, and pressure cook it in the same pot. As a result, the meat is tender without sacrificing any delicious flavor imparted by browning directly in the pot.
The Instant Pot consumes a fraction of the energy that a slow cooker does.
Because the Instant Pot is turned on for a shorter period, it consumes less energy overall. Additionally, it is much more insulated than a slow cooker, resulting in less heat loss and faster food cooking.
The Instant Pot does not generate excessive heat in the house.
You can delay the start of the cook. For instance, if you want hot soup when you return home but avoid mushy vegetables, you can program the recipe to begin at 4 p.m. It will come to pressure, cook for the time specified, and naturally release pressure. Come home to a freshly cooked soup with ideally al dente vegetables.
You don’t have to watch over the Instant Pot all the time.
The liquid level does not need to be checked, and you do not need to stir your food as you would with a stovetop or slow cooker. You can walk out the door, and it will remain unattended. You’ll return home to a dinner prepared, with no burning or scorching (because the liquid has evaporated), and the only stirring required will be just before serving.
The Instant Pot will turn off when the cooking process is finished.
You can disable the Instant Pot’s “warming” function to prevent the food from receiving additional heat. However, it will remain warm because the pot is sealed, but it will not be “cooking” in the traditional sense.
The flavor is absolutely delicious!
The essence of foods is concentrated because everything inside — the ingredients, liquid, and aromas — stays in place. Every single thing we’ve created has turned out fantastic. It’s like really delicious food, but on steroids.
If you have a different-sized Instant Pot, you don’t have to convert recipes.
Many people believe that you must convert 6-quart recipes to fit in the 8-quart model, or inversely, but this is not the case!
It’s simply a matter of remembering not to fill the cooking pot beyond the max fill line and making sure the ingredients for the recipe will fit.
Stainless steel is used to make the Instant Pot insert.
There was a time when the majority of slow cooker crocks were made of lead. Fortunately, the Instant Pot insert is made of stainless steel, eliminating the risk of heavy metals leaching into your food or making you or your family ill.
There Are Countless Outstanding Instant Pot Recipes
Additionally, the Instant Pot provides variety. Novel recipes are just a click away, thanks to the app, cookbooks, and countless blogs. Simple weeknight fare like an Instant Pot whole chicken is ideal, while time-saving staples like Instant Pot beef stew or our 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese are a snap to prepare.
Furthermore, the Intelligent Programming and Save Customized Cooking settings on the LUX and DUO models learn to cook your meal exactly how you like it every time by memorizing your preferred settings.
If you already make your yogurt every week or are looking for a faster way to prepare curries, the Instant Pot maybe your ideal kitchen appliance for you.
Disadvantages of an Instant Pot
Counter Space Is Required
While the Instant Pot is quick, it can eat up valuable counter space, so make sure it gets enough use to justify its prime location next to the toaster or coffee maker.
A Learning Curve Exists
To some, this kitchen appliance may be a Swiss army knife; however, learning the wide range of features, complex programs, and lengthy instruction manual can take time. The learning curve can be steep when compared to the Crock Pot’s.
You must be confident you’ve sealed the system properly before bringing it to full pressure. However, there is a positive side to this: Instant Pot’s website is a veritable goldmine of tutorials, FAQs, and support videos on how to use the Instant Pot, as well as the process for requesting support.
The house may not smell like what you’re cooking, but the inner lid seal may.
There is an excellent solution to this problem: buy a second seal! Several Amazon vendors sell “sweet and savory” seals, with one seal for sweets and the other for savory. This is a good alternative if you intend to use your Instant Pot more than a few times per week or for purposes other than dinner.
It Might Not Be as Quick as You Believe
On a practical level, not everything in the Instant Pot cooks faster. You might have boiled those potatoes on the stove before the machine had heated to pressure, cooked, and depressurized.
Be mindful of how often you do your regularity and if it will genuinely be a time-saver for you and your family when you consider how much braising rice and yogurt-making you do.
Additionally, because the pressure and slow cooker functions trap the steam, you’ll need to allow extra time to bubble or boil off extra liquid to achieve the desired consistency for your stews.
Which Instant Pot Should I Buy?
When it comes time to purchase an Instant Pot, you’ll notice numerous models available. They come in a variety of sizes and perform a variety of functions. Allow me to quickly go over the most popular models and sizes so you can make an informed purchase decision.
Let’s begin by discussing the size of the instant pot. The size of the meals you intend to cook, as well as the size of your family, will dictate which Instant Pot size is appropriate for you. The majority are available in the following sizes:
- 3-5 quart: this size is ideal if you cook primarily for 1-3 people. It’s a good choice for dorm rooms and an absolute necessity in a small apartment.
- 6 quart: it is the most versatile and popular size. Some models are only available in this size. It’s ideal for the average family and is equipped to handle all of your pressure cooking needs. When in doubt, opt for this size.
- 8 quart: this size is ideal for larger families or if you anticipate cooking many large meals for family gatherings, church dinners, and similar occasions.
Each of these sizes is available in numerous variations. However, they all have a reasonably similar footprint, so if you choose a 6-quart, you won’t have to worry about the model’s size. They’re all quite similar.
With size considerations made, let’s take a quick look at the various models available. There are three distinct models, each with a few variations to keep you on your toes. The following are the primary models.
- Lux – the most affordable, budget-friendly
- Duo & Duo Plus – the most popular
- Viva – similar to the Duo Plus
- Ultra: Includes adjustable temperature settings for sautéing and slow cook, as well as a cake maker, egg cooker, and sterilizer. Additionally, there is a central dial for adjustments.
- Smart: Adds unlimited programmable settings and the ability to track progress via a smartphone app. It does not include the extra “ultra” capabilities but does include two delay start timers.
- Max: This is the most expensive model. Unlimited programmable settings and intelligent built-in programs, additional safety features, and custom temperature settings for sautéing and slow cook; includes a sous vide option.
Each model has progressively improved and more robust features. If you’re looking for an entry-level Instant Pot without all the bells and whistles, the famous DUO is available for around $80. The Max is priced at around $150.
How to Select the Best Instant Pot for Your Needs
Lux is your best bet if you’re on a budget. The Duo is ideal for making yogurt but does not require fancy settings.
When deciding on a higher-end model, you should prioritize which features you want to use. The intelligent app alone is a compelling reason to go with the Smart. The center dial is an excellent reason to purchase a model that includes it.
Purchase the Max if you intend to use it as a sous vide machine. If you wish to use it as a canning system, you must purchase the Max as well. To be completely candid, it’s difficult to go wrong with any model of the instant pot.
For a long time, we’ve had a Duo Plus, and we adore it. Additional features are possible, but they are unnecessary and do not prevent us from cooking whatever we want.
If this is your first time using an Instant Pot, follow the user manual’s instructions and heat water in your pot as a test run. You should hear the sound of a pressure cooker is coming to pressure. Steam will erupt violently from the valve. It can be a little startling if you’ve never heard it before.
Following that, prepare something simple and inexpensive, such as rice. Then progress to something more substantial, such as a broth-based soup. Begin with something straightforward. Do not begin your first recipe with a rack of ribs. Make something affordable so that you are not wasting an expensive item if it does not work out.
It’s simple to clean your instant pot — remove the liner and lid and wash with dish soap and warm water. Consequently, you can put it in the dishwasher for convenience. Some shoppers have found the inner lid seal may leave a smell, and they prefer to keep two on hand, one for sweet dishes and another for savory foods. To eliminate any lingering odors, store the lid upside down or run the pot with a bit of vinegar and lemon juice using the steam function.
Even if you aren’t sure if an Instant Pot is right for your needs, we wholeheartedly advise you to give the Instant Pot a shot. Every day, we use our Instant Pot to make various delicious dishes, including baked potatoes, bone broth, and even whole chicken. We’ve purchased Instant Pots as gifts for my mother and sister, and they’ve grown to love them as well. It’s an indispensable kitchen tool.