Over the summer, right before we decided to move, I 100% impulse purchasedan Instant Pot.
I’m not going to lie, I got hooked on mine pretty fast. So fast that when we moved and had to live in a temporary apartment for 30 days, my IP and my Vitamix were the only appliances I took with me. I tried to be as detailed as possible in my review below, to answer all the questions I’ve been getting about the IP!
What is the Instant Pot?
The IP’s primary function is a pressure cooker. If you aren’t familiar with a pressure cooker, it’s a sealed pot that builds up pressure and steam, helping the food to cook faster. The unique thing about the instant pot is that it has the following capabilities as well:
- Slow Cooker
- Rice/Porridge Cooker
- Yogurt Maker
- Cake/Egg Maker
When I researched the IP, here is what I found out. IP got smart with their marketing. They took what was initially a 6 or 7 in one device. Later on, IP came out with the product I purchased, the 9 in 1 which includes preset buttons for extra common things people were making in pressure cookers like eggs. They didn’t change its capabilities, but they made it more user-friendly.
What I want you to know about the IP:
Tender Food. The result of pressure cooking meats and vegetables is tender food. To me, mushy or soggy food is not ideal, but Mr. Hungry loves it. I think it’s all about learning what you like. I love the super tender meat the IP produces. For vegetables on the other hand, I’m hit or miss, it’s hard to get something to come out “lightly steamed” in the IP.
Slow Cooker Function SUCKS. UGH. This is my biggest complaint about the IP and one that I don’t see listed very often in other reviews. Honestly, I think most people never even tried it. I tried using the slow cooker function a few times and my food never cooked – after 12 plus hours. After a little research, it turns out the slow cooker function is more like warming setting of a slow cooker because it only heats from the bottom. A slow cooker cooks from all sides evenly. So if you are looking for a replacement for your slow cooker, I don’t recommend it. (PS If you have an IP and you’ve used the slow cooker function with success I’d love to hear about it!)
The sauté function is AWESOME. You know what I do with those recipes that call for you to brown your meat in another pan before adding it to the slow cooker? Nothing, I refused to make them. With the IP those recipes stand a chance because it can all happen in one pot. I love to cook sweet potatoes in the IP and then use the sauté function to cook up some ground meat to stuff them with.
It’s fast, but not instant. The pressure cooker takes time to come to pressure; then it cooks the food super quick. After that, depending on the recipe you can quick release the pressure, or you might have to wait for it to release naturally. The natural release takes 20-40 minutes.
Ex. Recipes advertise it takes 7 minutes to cook spaghetti squash. (Which BTW is one of my FAVORITE things to cook in the IP.) It takes 5-10 minutes to come to pressure, 7 minutes to cook, and a few minutes to quick release the pressure. Probably 20 minutes at most. Baking spaghetti squash takes 45 minutes, so it cuts the total time in half. (But microwaving spaghetti squash only takes 10 minutes.)
It’s hands off. One of my favorite things I LOVE about the IP is that it’s a set it and forget it type machine. Unlike any other device, you really can’t do anything once it starts. You can’t check on it, or you will have to bring it to pressure all over again. Which means you won’t be checking on your pot of rice or whatever else every 5-10 minutes, you’ll just check it when it’s done.
It cooks frozen meat. Hands down one of my favorite parts of the IP is that it can cook frozen meat. I’m notorious for planning to make something and never taking it out of the freezer. The IP can cook your frozen chunk of meat in 30-90 minutes (depending on thickness, cut, etc.), I LOVE that.
It’s not 100% safe. Back in the day pressure cookers were notorious for exploding. They are much more reliable now, but the learning curve is still kind of steep. This is an appliance you must read the entire manual front to back and back to front. Then, if you are like me, you will keep a cheat sheet of the controls easily accessible at all times.
Even if you feel 100% confident with it, malfunctions with pressure cookers do still exist. I believe the IP brand has taken every precaution to make their product safer like its auto shut off feature if it begins to overheat as well as clear fluid markings.
Even still, I wouldn’t leave my house with the IP running while I did a quick errand, ever. Then again, I wouldn’t leave my toaster oven on either, so I guess it’s all about perspective.
My favorite ways to use my IP:
I use my IP at least once a week, especially to meal prep:
- Steaming vegetables
- Making sweet potatoes or potatoes
- Making acorn squash (see paleo sloppy joe stuffed acorn squash IP recipe)
- Making spaghetti squash
- Making cauliflower mash or mash potatoes – I did this on Thanksgiving
- Sautéing ground meat and other meat.
- Making carnitas (both chicken and beef)
- Making rice and quinoa
- Making hard boiled eggs
So, do I think you should get an Instant Pot?
Yes! I think there an initial time and cost investment, but overall it will make your life easier. It also is more likely to help you stay on track with meal prep and healthy eating!
I have the Instant Pot Duo 9 in 1, 6 quart which I ordered from Amazon. I think the 6 quart is PLENTY big, I’ve fed 8-10 people with leftovers out of it!
Do you have an IP? What are your favorite things to make in it? What do you like most/least about it?