Is a programmable pressure cooker right for you? I’m sharing my honest thoughts today in this Instant Pot review. Spoiler: this isn’t your grandma’s stovetop pressure cooker!
What Is An Instant Pot? An Overview
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard the Instant Pot hype. Also occasionally referred to as an Instapot, this surprisingly affordable kitchen gadget boasts the ability to perform the tasks of 7 different kitchen gadgets (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté/browning pan, yogurt maker, steamer and warming pot).
Product: Instant Pot 7-in-1 (Model: IP-DUO60)
Current Price: $99
But does it really live up to all of the expectations? What can an Instant Pot do that my slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, etc. can’t? And perhaps most importantly, is it going to blow up my kitchen?*
My Pressure Cooking Background
I’m no stranger to pressure cooking… I grew up making dishes like chicken noodle soup, stuffed peppers, sauerkraut and meatballs, and Hungarian goulash in our stovetop pressure cooker. When I got married, I inherited my grandma’s ancient Presto stovetop pressure cooker, complete with the old-style rocker top. Later I upgraded to a Kuhn Rikon Duromatic (but I always loved that old Presto model).
I actually purchased my Instant Pot back on Black Friday in 2015, well before the big Amazon Prime Day boom of 2016 when over 215,000 consumers snatched them up at their lowest price ever. So why have I remained mostly quiet about it until now? To be perfectly frank — I was intimidated by it.
Yes, even this accomplished home cook with significant pressure cooking experience was on the fence about using this kitchen appliance. I mean, just the sheer number of buttons on the front is a wee bit overwhelming. What if I use the wrong one?
And so it mostly sat. I successfully used it a few times to make soup and roasts, and I even took it on vacation with us to the Outer Banks last year. But my attitude toward it still remained lukewarm… Until last month when I decided it was time to really put my Instant Pot to the test and decide once and for all whether it’s a keeper or to relegate it to the garage sale pile. (I hear you fanatics gasping right now!)
My Honest Instant Pot Review
Folks, I’ll just come right out with it — if you don’t already own an Instant Pot, add one to your Amazon cart right now. Seriously, NOW. After using mine several times a week over the past month and a half, I’m an official convert. Yes, I’ve joined the hoards of raving fans!
So what changed? In short: weekly meal prep. Back in January, my husband decided that his diet needed an overhaul, less processed foods and more salads, bowls, and snack boxes for his lunches, yada-yada. In addition, one of my girls joined a travel softball team on top of travel soccer, which means I’m spending even more time away from home in the evenings. So I’ve been prepping for lunches and weeknight meals each weekend, and my Instant Pot has been essential for this task.
It makes the BEST hard-boiled eggs in a fraction of the time it took my old tried and true oven method. And rice. And quinoa. And sweet potatoes. And dried beans. And chicken. I could keep going… Basically, I’ve found the sweet spot for how the Instant Pot fits into my kitchen routine.
That’s not to say I don’t still use it for cooking whole meals — I just made chicken soup in it on Sunday evening. And I adore the convenience of being able to set it and walk away. But it’s a total workhorse for meal prep.
Can The Instant Pot Replace My Slow Cooker?
Though I have no doubt my Instant Pot could easily replace both my slow cooker and my rice cooker at this point, I doubt that I’ll actually get rid of either of them. Simply because I like having the option of having multiple cookers going at once to reduce the time my meal prep routine takes even more.
In fact, I’m probably going to upgrade to the larger 8-qt. Instant Pot, because the 6-qt. is a little small for our larger than average family. But I’m still planning to keep my 6-qt. model to use in tandem.
However, if you have a small kitchen and/or limited storage space, the Instant Pot alone is absolutely the way to go. It has a small footprint, is easy to clean (the liner and other small parts can all go in the dishwasher, though the lid needs hand washed), and I think you’ll love the time savings!
Are There Any Cons for the Instant Pot?
Truly, the only con I’ve found for the Instant Pot is the learning curve. I can’t help but think that if *I* was overwhelmed by it, I can only imagine how some of YOU felt when you opened the box. Perhaps there are even some of you that are still feeling this way — and I want to help. This is just the first in a series of posts geared toward helping Instant Pot newbies learn to navigate the ins and outs of cooking with a programmable pressure cooker, so stay tuned!
If you truly can’t wait, may I recommend getting started by reading the Instant Pot manual from cover to cover. Boring, yes, but very enlightening. And if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered, please be sure to scroll down and leave me a comment below!
*P.S. No, you’re NOT going to blow up your kitchen! The Instant Pot is much safer than other types of pressure cookers.