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Why Bother with an Instant Pot? (Pros and Cons)

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.

5 Reasons to Buy an instant potYou might be thinking that if everyone is gaga over something, it’s probably too good to be true.

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.

But.

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.

=Traditional Cooking School Instant Pot Sourdough Cornbread Pressure Cooker Recipe
 

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?

Should you buy an Instant Pot?

Maybe. Depends.

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. Winking smile

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

cooking dry beans in the pressure cooker

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

pressure cooker bone 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

messy stove from boiled over beans

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

the Instant Pot is stainless steel

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

Mexican chicken rice and lentils in the Instant Pot

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.

We’ve also used our IP in a hotel room and out in the woods camping (this yummy dish was the first try), and I have to say that those are pretty cool features too.

*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.

stovetop vs Instant Pot for 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.

Why?

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.

Smoky Mexican Chicken Soup

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’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.

You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.

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.

You’re Just *7 Days* Away From Easier Meals with Your Instant Pot

Whether you have a few fav meals in your Instant Pot or still aren’t using it regularly yet, I can show you the secrets to SAVE time (and money) with my favorite appliance!

May I send you my best hacks to maximize my fav appliance so you can spend more time with your family AND nourish them well?

Get IP hacks in short emails and transform the way you serve dinner:

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. 

What else do you want to know about the Instant Pot? Do you have one you’ve never used? How can I help?

5 reasons to buy an instant pot

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

15 thoughts on “Why Bother with an Instant Pot? (Pros and Cons)”

  1. I’m so curious! It says in the article you took this camping in the woods? How did that work out? I’m hesitant to buy one because I basically have to always have a travel ready kitchen, but I would love to be able to eat more real home cooked food besides sandwiches while traveling.

  2. Thanks everyone! Yes, I’ll keep thinking about it. Right now, my slow cooker works fine but maybe when I need a new one?

  3. I’ve found that even though soups are easy to make on the stovetop, the IP infuses much more flavor in a shorter period of time. I made a chicken tortilla soup and the chicken had flavor infused in it vs. ‘just’ chicken like I would experience on my stove top.

  4. I’m still considering an IP but my main concern is, do I need to change all my current recipes to use in the pot? I really don’t have time to look up all new recipes & I like the ones I have. And besides being able to make yogurt, why is it better than a crockpot? I’ve read the article but I don’t have problems with planning, so I’m not sure why I would want this over a crockpot. Not trying to be difficult :-), just trying to decide if I want to spend the money.

    1. I like my IP vs. the crockpot because I felt like most of my meats were way overcooked in the crockpot if I had to cook while I was at work. Even when recipes promised an 8-9 hour period and I had a programmable one that would switch over to warming – I would still get super dry meat. I would only end up using it on the weekends when I could keep an eye on it. With the IP, I can throw everything in the pot and have dinner done in 30 minutes, with all the flavor and tenderness a slow cooker would provide.

    2. Hi Deb. Your points are all valid. I hesitated for a long time too before buying my instant pot a few months ago. What convinced me was when a friend told me she could cook her meat AND rice in a separate bowl in the instant pot at the same time. Having to wash only one dish for both the main meat-based portion of the meal and a side dish was an appealing idea. I was sold. And now that I have it I would never want to give it up. I use it several times a week and have found that it makes broth more gelly than any broth I’ve ever made on the stove, and it makes the easiest-to-peel hard boiled eggs I’ve ever met. I recommend it highly, but I also understand your hesitations. If you end up getting one, I sure do hope you like it as much as I like mine.
      -Laura @ Kitchen Stewardship

    3. Good questions Deb! You can pretty much do anything from a slow cooker recipe in the IP – here are some tips: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2016/06/15/make-slow-cooker-recipes-for-instant-pot/ Something to just keep noodling on and reading about for you probably! 🙂 katie

  5. I had been eyeing an IP for some time when I happened to stop at a really out of the way country garage sale this past fall. Lo and behold, there was an IP for sale! The lady already had one and this one was from her vacation house. I didn’t have the cash for it but quickly went home and got the cash, and the IP wasn’t sold yet, whew! I managed to walk away from the sale with a barely used 6 qt IP duo for $46! We have been loving it ever since!

  6. My crock pot was recently broken and I was planning to replace it. BUT now I’ve seen so much about Instant Pots, I don’t know which one to invest in first! If you could only have one or the other in your kitchen, what’s would you go with, crock pot or instant pot? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cari – great question, I bet others are wondering “pressure cooker vs. slow cooker” too!!! I would go Instant Pot all the way, because it has a slow cooker function too, and it keeps things warm after the cycle is finished and everything. Many slow cookers have ceramic insides and you never know for sure about lead content. Plus a lot of people don’t LOVE the way meat comes out in the slow cooker (I don’t mind it) and they prefer the pressure cooker texture better. So really the Instant Pot has slow cooker function + so much more. This happened to a friend of mine recently, her slow cooker died, and she went IP. 🙂

      Hope you love whatever you end up with! 🙂 Katie

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