When I first saw the Instant Pot popping up everywhere a year or two ago, I brushed it off as a fad. It looked like another kitchen ‘unitasker’ that would just end up wasting space. But then it never went away, in fact it seemed to get more and more popular. So eventually I did my research, realized what Instant Pots actually do, and about six months ago I finally bought one (the 6 quart DUO60 model):
I’ve been absolutely loving it, so I figured I would write this review and share my favorite recipes.
What Exactly Is An Instant Pot? What Makes It So Special?
An Instant Pot is just a type of pressure cooker that also has some other functions. Many traditional pressure cookers use the stove as a heat source, but the Instant Pot is electric and plugs into an outlet. With its digital control panel, it’s also more user-friendly than a traditional pressure cooker.
What’s so special about Instant Pots? They cook foods super fast. More specifically, an Instant Pot can break down tough meat extremely quickly – much like a slow cooker, but in a fraction of the time. For example, you can make a rack of baby back ribs fall-off-the-bone tender in under a half-hour. And it’s not just limited to meat – you can also cook whole sweet potatoes in a fraction of the time, or do any number of foods. Just do a search for “instant pot + [food]” and I bet you’ll find a recipe.
So if you love cooking low and slow – but don’t love the slow part so much – then the Instant Pot might be for you.
Are Instant Pots Safe?
Instant Pots are very safe, especially compared to traditional stove-top pressure cookers. The Instant Pot locks while it is under pressure, so you won’t be able to open it until you release the pressure from the valve. If you want to learn about all the technology used to keep the Instant Pot safe , check out the Safety Features section on this page (from Instant Pot’s official site).
My one safety tip: be careful when releasing pressure with the valve. A ton of hot steam will come out, which can burn your hand if you’re not careful. Also make sure there’s a good amount of space above the valve for the steam to disperse.
Instant Pot Pros
There are a ton of benefits:
- As explained above, the main benefit is that you can cook food in a fraction of the time it would take using another method.
- You can also do more than just pressure cook. For example, if you need to brown your meat before pressure cooking it, you can use the sauté mode to cook with the lid off. It also works as a rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer.
- A timer allows you to delay cooking time, so you can leave the house and come home to a delicious, ready-to-eat meal.
- Cleanup is easy. Just remove the lid and cooking pot, which are dishwasher-safe (along with the steam rack).
- Fast, one-pot cooking is energy and space efficient.
- The stainless steel exterior makes it look great – you won’t mind it sitting on your counter.
- It’s fun to use! It always seems like magic seeing something cook so quickly. And if whatever you make doesn’t turn out delicious, you didn’t waste a bunch of time on it.
Instant Pot Cons
Here are a few minor negatives worth mentioning:
- It might not be quite as fast as some recipes make you think. Note that you will have to wait for your Instant Pot to build up pressure before the timer starts, which can take 10+ minutes. Additionally, some recipes instruct you to let the pressure manually release, which can take another 10+ minutes. Usually recipes won’t account for this, so you will see some “30 minute” Instant Pot recipes that actually need more time.
- The dreaded “burn” message has popped up from time to time. This was annoying because it didn’t seem like the food I was cooking was burning or close to burning. When this happened, I scraped the bottom really good to make sure nothing was sticking and added some more liquid.
- There have been a couple time where liquid has sprayed out while releasing the pressure. It may have been pretty full, but I don’t think I’ve ever officially overfilled it. Regardless, the easy way to solve this problem is just to keep a towel or damp paper towels over the valve when releasing pressure at the beginning.
My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes
Here are some of the best recipes I’ve tried so far:
- Butter Chicken by Jo Cooks
- Honey Sesame Chicken by Six Sisters’ Stuff
- Mongolian Beef by Sweet and Savory Meals (if you want something similar with broccoli, check out this beef and broccoli recipe by Adventures of a Nurse)
- Barbacoa Beef by Gimme Some Oven
- Loaded Mac and Cheese by Pressure Cook Recipes
I have definitely fallen in love with my Instant Pot. It’s my most used kitchen appliance and has completely replaced my slow cooker. And I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface – I’m so excited to keep trying new recipes!
I hope you enjoyed reading my Instant Pot review. If you have any comments, tips, or favorite recipes, please share them below!