The year my slow cooker died, I went in search of a replacement and found the Instant Pot. It was four times the price of your average slow cooker, but I bought it almost immediately. Well… for me “immediately” is three days of online research, discussing it with my husband, and checking the bank balance, but I was pretty sure I wanted it as soon as I saw it.
What is an Instant Pot?
Technically, it’s an electric pressure cooker. Except you can do more things with it than pressure cook.
I’ve been saying for years that someone should just make one pot that does all the things! They make a million different appliances that are basically the same shape but cook food at different temperatures… rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, veggie steamer, yogurt maker… That’s five different bulky appliances in our cupboards.
Why can’t they just put it all into one pot? It’s the 21st century.
Oh, and that’s not all. You can sear a pot roast in the same pan you cook it in. Fewer dishes. Yeah!
Is the Instant Pot a Good Deal?
Since the Instant Pot reviews were awesome and my husband agreed it looked like a good purchase, I bought mine when it was around $120. I didn’t regret it then and I don’t regret it now, even though these days you can get it on sale for much, much less.
That’s when you know you made a good purchase: When you see it on sale later and you don’t even wish you had waited.
This was for the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, 6-quart capacity. These days they have other models, but I don’t think I need Bluetooth for my cookery (Plus), nor do I want to live without my yogurt button (Lux).
However, if you don’t have an Instant Pot and you won’t ever make yogurt, I’ve heard that the Lux is good. It’s a bit stripped-down. It doesn’t have a yogurt button and it doesn’t have both the high and low pressure settings. Walmart has this version (the Lux).
Still, if you can get the 7-in-1 DUO for the same price, get it. They go on sale throughout the year, but most always on Black Friday. I believe the lowest I’ve seen the Duo is $69 something.
And now there are actually 3-quart Instant Pots and 8-quart Instant Pots. I think my 6-quart is perfect for our family of three.
Do I Need to Get the Instant Pot Brand?
I can attest that the Instant Pot Duo is of great quality and it really does replace almost all the things. It has a slow cook function, I make perfect rice in it all the time, and for breakfast this morning, I had yogurt I made in my Instant Pot.
And of course it also works great as a pressure cooker. (I make pot roast and soups and carnitas in mine all the time.) Oh! And you can make dry beans from start to finish in about an hour. No pre-soaking!
There are similar electric pressure cookers out there. I haven’t tried them. This is the good one. It has a stainless steel insert and it’s top quality. I would recommend it at its regular price of $120. When you find it at a lower price, don’t even look at the alternatives.
What is an InstaPot? What is an IP?
Both of those terms refer to the Instant Pot brand of electric pressure cooker.
What Can You Make with the Instant Pot?
What I make most often with my Instant Pot:
- hard-boiled eggs (because it’s easy & they peel beautifully)
- dry beans (because no soaking + they’re done quickly + easiest method ever)
- brown rice (quick, set-it-and-forget-it)
- yogurt (because it’s cheap and really good – this is an overnight process)
- pot roast (because I’ve always used a pressure cooker to make pot roast, and the Instant Pot works great for it)
- any frozen meat that I’ve forgotten to thaw (which happens a lot in my house)
- homemade broth/stock (after the meat is done cooking, use the bones and scraps to make your own beef or chicken broth)
The thing I really love best about the Instant Pot is just that it makes budget-friendly cooking so easy. If you notice, the things I make most often in the IP are normally foods that take a long time to cook by the more traditional methods. And it isn’t really the cooking time that makes them difficult; it’s the fact that you usually have to babysit them.
Take the hard-boiled eggs for example: that’s not hard to do on the stove but, first you have to heat up the water, then you have to put in the eggs, then you have to set your timer, then you have to remove the eggs from the heats, etc. All easy to do if you are going to be standing in the kitchen.
With my IP I can literally put a dozen eggs and a cup of water in the machine, put the lid on it, set the timer and go wash the dog or take a nap. (Actually I would more likely go write up some more events for Wichita on the Cheap, but you get the idea.) When they’re done, peeling them is really easy too when they’re cooked in the IP. Not sure why that is, but the egg shells just slip right off when you peel them. (That’s perfect for making deviled eggs when you need them to actually look nice.)
Dry beans are similarly easy and no trouble to cook, as is brown rice. All of these are pretty much “set-and-forget” recipes and they allow me to bypass the convenience foods aisle almost entirely. (One thing you can’t do in the IP is canning, so I still buy canned tomatoes and other staples. if you want to can, you’ll need traditional canning equipment to do it safely.)
Of course, the main reason I bought the IP was to replace my slow cooker, and the Instant Pot has a slow-cooking function. I used it once to see that it worked, but honestly I mainly use it to cook things quickly (except for yogurt). That isn’t the Pot’s fault though. I work from home, so I don’t usually need to slow-cook when I can fast-cook. 🙂
If you’re looking for a good wedding gift, holiday present, or if someone asks you what you want, an Instant Pot is an awesome money-saving, time-saving kitchen appliance.
Read Instant Pot Duo reviews at Amazon
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