I can’t imagine you haven’t heard of the Instant Pot – it does a lot of cool things and we even have packed it up to cook in a hotel room – but if you don’t already have this electric pressure cooker, I’m guessing you’re looking in from the outside wondering why all the hype.
Should I get an Instant Pot too? and then But what would I even do with an Instant Pot? What IS it anyway?
To be sure, there are pros and cons to the Instant Pot, but I truly believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
And I’m telling you – it is. In some ways.
An Instant Pot is not going to plan your meals and make everything in 9 minutes start to finish. It’s really easy to over-steam your veggies and it’s not any faster on THAT task.
There are many advantages to pressure cooking that can’t be beat.
The Instant Pot cooks normally-slow-cooker meats in under an hour.
It doesn’t make you stir or babysit anything.
And it’s stainless steel, a safer material than slow cookers and other electric do-hickies.
Did I get on the Instant Pot Train Early?
If this intriguing article on the viral success of the Instant Pot is true, then I was one of 200 bloggers to get a free product sample of the Instant Pot. (They didn’t even have a marketing department or advertising yet.)
Such an honor!
And do you know what I did?
I left it in the box for 6 months to a year. It moved from my garage to my basement. I know I’m not alone in this — for some reason everyone orders one and leaves it there. But my kids are generous enough to demonstrate how to unbox the Instant Pot in video form for you. 😉
If you’re ready to dive even deeper, my longtime affiliate partner Wardee actually teaches a whole class on the gazillion ways to use an Instant Pot.
My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once!
She’s offering a free sourdough cornbread Instant Pot recipe!
This cornbread is delicious, nutritious, super easy to make, and it only needs 12 minutes of cook time.
Should YOU Buy an Instant Pot?
If you’re someone who might forget to prep something for dinner and realize it when it’s too late to catch up on that particular plan…
If you’re trying to cook healthy food but feel a little overwhelmed at all the prep and planning that can be involved…
If you need to save time and money by batching things…
Or if you get so many balls in the air around the house that you sometimes forget you started dinner and bad things happen…
You’ll want to hear me out on the hype over an electric pressure cooker with a bunch of buttons.
My Top 5 Reasons that I do Love the Instant Pot
I’m not usually a rah-rah girl, and as a rebellious traditional food eater, I rarely go with the flow of the crowd. But I promise I’m not lying when I say that I have been smitten by this countertop appliance.
Here are reasons you definitely SHOULD consider pricing out that Instant Pot.
1. Saves Your Dry Bean Days
Cooks dry beans, UNsoaked, in an hour. With no babysitting or boiling over. That truly just saved me this week when I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.
So even though it’s better to soak your beans beforehand whether you cook them slowly on the stovetop or quickly in the pressure cooker, in a pinch, this is healthier and less expensive than canned!
2. Healthy Pressure-Cooked Broth
Makes broth in an hour. Priceless when you’re sick and need it NOW, not 8-24 hours from now.
Plus, I love that I don’t have to leave my stove burner on overnight or when I need to leave the house. And it’s super easy to do multiple batches without excessive cleanup in between each one.
3. So Much Less Mess
No stirring. No boiling over. Do you know how many times I’ve boiled over a pot? Good grief. My poor stovetop. (That’s a real picture of black beans gone wild above, no lyin’.) But no more, thanks to my IP.
4. Safe Materials in the Instant Pot
Stainless steel pot. So hard to find in appliances these days! Even among electric pressure cookers, not all the inserts are stainless (Instant Pot might be the only one).
5. Dinner Insurance
Saves our dinners when I forget to get a slow cooker started or just don’t plan right. Start at 4:30 or 5, eat at 6? 100% possible.
*BONUS* The Hard-Boiled Egg Race
If you’ll allow me to add a contraband number 6, it’s gotta be easy-peel hard-boiled eggs.
This was my hard-boiled egg race between a regular pot on our power burner on the stove and the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
I expected there to be only a few minutes (if any) difference. I never felt like hard-boiling eggs was a big chore. I was shocked that the IP was a full 10 minutes (40%) faster than the stovetop, not including the cold water bath that you get to skip with the pressure cooking.
And better yet? Even farm-fresh eggs are easy to peel, as easy as a banana, no joke. If you’ve ever hard-boiled farm eggs, you KNOW how much of a huge plus that is!!!
And One (ish) Reason Not To (Yes, there are pros AND cons!)
I’m rather known for honest reviews, and I don’t pull punches when it comes to sharing my opinion, whether positive or negative. (For example, over 60 natural sunscreens reviewed over YEARS, and over a dozen reusable sandwich bags.)
I’ll tell you straight up that it drives me crazy when recipes seem to say that you could have dinner finished in 7 minutes, when it takes 15 additional minutes for the pot to heat up first.
That’s not even the reason, by the way – that’s just why the recipes some people write are sub-par.
I have two food techniques that people use the Instant Pot for a lot that I generally prefer using other cooking methods –
soup and steaming vegetables.
Because soup is NOT hard to make on the stovetop. The most you usually have to simmer after boiling is about 15 minutes, and I like being able to add food to the pot while it’s coming to a boil and stir while it’s simmering.
I don’t know that it’s something I’d bother with very often. I did share this smoky Mexican chicken soup, but it uses raw meat and I typically use already cooked meat for stovetop soups.
Steaming vegetables in the Instant Pot also has its pros and cons – I don’t feel that it’s faster than the stovetop because you can use so little water on the stovetop that you get steam going pretty quickly. For me, frozen broccoli takes less than 10 minutes total on the stovetop.
With the Instant Pot, it will be at least 10 minutes to get that cup of water to pressure, so there’s no time savings and it’s really easy to overcook the veggies.
I’ve found that setting it on manual for ZERO minutes is actually the best way to do it, unless you have a pretty hearty, solid veggie that would take longer than 10 minutes of steaming to get done.
That said, I do steam vegetables in the IP from time to time, although it’s not generally a time thing – it’s a space thing.
My stove gets full of other things for the meal, so I pull out the Instant Pot and keep dinner moving without juggling anything.
So — great as a 5th burner for steamed veggies, but not necessarily to save time.
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
The Instant Pot is a real time-saver in my kitchen and it can be in yours too. It’s become such an integral part of my real food routines that I truly can’t imagine going back to pre Instant Pot days.
Once you have that figured out, I can help you figure out how to use an Instant Pot and lots more! Check out all my Instant Pot tutorials linked below.
Some Favorite Instant Pot Recipes: