Spending an hour in front of a stove after a long, exhausting day at work is not how many people want to spend their free time in the evening. Fortunately, we can buy pressure cookers or slow cookers to help us spend less time in the kitchen. Pressure cookers speed up the cooking process using pressurized steam. Meanwhile, slow cookers allow us to start cooking early in the morning and leave it, then come home to a hot dinner in the evening.
But the need for multiple appliances can add up, costing hundreds of dollars. They also eat up a lot of space in an already crowded kitchen. Enter the Instant Pot, an all-in-one appliance that lets you cook healthy meals in less time, and creates less clutter on your counter.
When the Instant Pot first came out years ago, it became a culinary phenomenon. Home cooks were relieved to have a multipurpose appliance. Recipes popped up everywhere, in social media, magazines, and printed cookbooks. But should you get one? You may be tempted to jump on the bandwagon but first, read our list to decide if the Instant Pot is right for you.
The Instant Pot is no ordinary pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot’s biggest selling point is its versatility. While at its core it’s a pressure cooker, it’s also a steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, mini oven, broiler, sous vide, and so on. Note however, that not every version of the Instant Pot has the same features, so be sure to do your research and decide which version is best for you.
There are five series of Instant Pots, each with multiple versions.
As previously mentioned, there’s an Instant Pot to cater to every home cook’s needs, with a broad variety of price ranges. The more bells and whistles there are, the more expensive it is. For example, the Duo series is the most basic version and comes in three sizes, with the 3-quart version starting at around $80. On the other hand, the 6-quart Pro Plus can be operated from your phone with an app and clocks in at around $190.
It’s safe to use.
Some people may be hesitant to use a pressure cooker because of dangers from the past. Luckily, we don’t live in the 1950s, and this isn’t your grandma’s pressure cooker. The Instant Pot has safety features like locking lids, overheating protection, and pressure control. As long as you use it correctly, you’ll be fine and the kitchen won’t explode.
The Instant Pot comes with several preset and programmable recipes.
Want to make a basic spaghetti and meatballs or a veggie soup but can’t find a good recipe? Don’t worry, the Instant Pot has you covered. Each Instant Pot has buttons that describe that version’s cooking method like, “Pressure cook”, “Steam”, or “Slow Cook”. Pushing one of those buttons leads to several suggested recipes for those methods. You can also input your own recipes if you wish.
It doesn’t cook as quickly as you’d think.
Contrary to what the name suggests, the Instant Pot doesn’t cook food instantly. As a pressure cooker, it takes time for that pressure to build. Some meals may be faster to cook using standard methods. However, it does cut down cooking time for slow cooking dishes such as stews.
You can buy replacement parts and accessories.
Over time and constant use, parts inevitably get worn out. But you won’t need to buy a whole new Instant Pot. The official website sells replacement parts such as sealing rings, so you can keep using it for a long time. You can also purchase accessories such as steamer baskets and cake pans for your Instant Pot.
There are dozens of Instant Pot cookbooks and online recipes.
Head over to your favorite online or brick-and-mortar store to find lots of cookbook choices for your Instant Pot.
If you’d rather not pay for cookbooks or if videos are more of your thing, we have you covered. Check out our collection of Ground Beef Instant Pot recipes right here.
There’s an official Instant Pot social media community.
Instant Pot has a strong social media presence in which the company routinely posts recipes with videos and tips for users. Sometimes they also share selected recipes from community members.
Not everything will cook well in an Instant Pot.
As versatile as this appliance is, there are a few food items you should avoid cooking in an Instant Pot. Remember that its job is to cook things at a very high heat using pressurized steam. Steamed vegetables may become mushy, while anything breaded will turn out soggy (unless you have the air fryer model). Avoid cooking foods that require keeping a close watch on its temperature like burgers and steaks because they can overcook quickly and dry out.
You can buy it anywhere.
The Instant Pot is accessible by anyone, anywhere. You can find them at your local big box stores such as Walmart, Target, and even higher-end stores like Williams-Sonoma. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, you can easily order one online from Amazon, Wayfair, and of course the official Instant Pot website.
The Instant Pot is a multifunctional appliance that allows busy home cooks to create dishes in less time. It can replace several appliances and save valuable kitchen space. There are many varieties to choose from, ranging from size to functionality. Also, there are countless resources for recipes, both online and in print.
There are some limitations in what you can cook with it. Also, its overall design of “set it and forget it” may not appeal to people who prefer to have a more hands-on approach to their cooking. Still, if you want to expand your culinary tools, then consider adding the Instant Pot to your kitchen.