A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a pressure cooker as a wedding gift for a young couple. I thought they were crazy for wanting a pressure cooker. But when you are running late to a wedding and nothing else is left on the registry, you don’t get to be choosy about the gift.
We cackled all the way up to the checkout line that these hip young foodies wanted a pressure cooker rather than a sensible crock-pot as their appliance of choice. “Kids these days, they know nothing,” we chortled in our wisdom.
The truth is, I have always been a little terrified of pressure cookers.
When I was growing up, we owned an industrial-looking pressure cooker pan that mother gravely warned us could blow up the house if operated improperly. We just used it (sans pressure cooking feature) to make our family staples: popcorn and mac-n-cheese. Looking back, I am wondering why we even had that thing – because there is no way my mom even knew how to pressure cook.
At any rate, recently I noticed an uptick of social media posts around a contraption known as the Instant Pot. A cursory scan of the description indicated it was just a fancy electric pressure cooker. So I had no interest in this growing fad.
Other people could risk blowing up their homes for tender potatoes cooked at lightning speed. Me? I’d stick to my safe and trusty crock-pot, thank you very much.
But on Black Friday, social media blew up with an Amazon deal on these things. Friend after friend posted links to the special price with all manner of glowing superlatives and imperatives to buy one. I became intrigued by the rave reviews, multi-feature functionality and easy cleanup.
Plus, I may or may not get FOMO about these sort of things.
So despite my better judgment, and with clearly no concern for the safety of my family, I jumped on Amazon and ordered one. I bullied my baby sister into ordering one, too. Because if I was going to blow up my house, by golly so was she.
After two weeks of use, I have come to an important conclusion: EVERYONE NEEDS AN INSTANT POT
For real. Stop what you are doing and go order one. You will love me for this advice.
My sister and I have been texting back and forth about this marvel of kitchen technology. I have had friends text me about theirs. This is the real deal in terms of a must-have appliance.
What I love about the Instant Pot:
Super Fast Cooking
Nothing is more pitiful than a mom with no dinner ideas. My children start swarming me like ravenous hyenas starting at around 4:30 and I can’t fend them off while I figure out a meal. Its not unheard of for my kids to sneak a bowl of cereal five minutes before I set out dinner because they just couldn’t wait one more second to eat.
With my new appliance, I can promise food will be ready soon and mean it. Chicken in five minutes. Potatoes in ten. Rice in three. Steel cut oatmeal in ten. You guys, you don’t have to plan hours ahead to start healthy meals.
This is a mother’s DREAM!!!
Mashed potatoes – they are not just for holidays anymore.
Infinite Recipe Ideas
My kids are vacillating between mockery and appreciation as I whip out meal after meal in this device. “Oh look, mom is making another meal in her insta-pot. She has lost her mind.”
Mongolian beef, honey garlic chicken and quinoa chili all passed their lips last week. And though they like to tease me about my new obsession, they gave everything a huge round of applause. (Yes, even the quinoa chili.) I feel like Master Chef Mama over here. And my minions are loving it.
Chicken Quinoa Chili for lunch
Savory meats, perfect potatoes, hardboiled eggs that slip out of their shells like butter. It doesn’t get any better than this. Everything is turning out. And it’s nice to have fork tender, falling-apart beef in one hour rather than nine.
Easy Clean Up
The inner pan lifts out of the housing and cleans up really fast. And there aren’t a bazillion pots to wash even after futsy meals. I am thinking about getting one more pan – but only because I would love to be able to make rice or other sides that can’t be cooked at the same time without having to quick wash the pan in-between.
My house doesn’t stink
I know some people love cooking smells. I don’t. I loathe chicken steam facials while sautéing and cringe at beef broth fragrance permeating my home when stock is simmering all day. So I love love love that all of that smell is locked up within the cooker.
Maybe this isn’t an issue for people who aren’t freaks like me about smells. But if you are, you will love this.
Chicken Stock Sans Stinky House … Winning!
Convenient Cooking Steps
For recipes that include sautéing meat or veggies before cooking, you can do the whole shebang right in the pan. This means you don’t lose ANY of the browned bits of glory (As the Pioneer Woman calls them). This is true for any steps after cooking as well. For example, you can make a whole chicken then whip up the dumplings right in the same pan. And there is only one dish to wash. Hallelujah!
Meatballs in 20 minutes
Seriously, I can’t believe I am saying this but I am putting my crock-pot in storage. I don’t think I need it any more. Because the Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker, too and apparently it will keep your food warm until you are ready to eat.
I should mention that I am not getting paid or a kickback for this review. I don’t know anything about affiliate links or sponsorships. But if anyone wants to pay me for my advice, I won’t say no.
- The cooking times tend not to include the time it takes to warm up the pot and/or the time you need to let it sit and depressurize (depending on the recipe). But this thing is still is way faster and clean up is easier than the normal cooking methods for most of the recipes I have tried. So it’s still a win.
- Several reviewers warned that the pot has a steep learning curve. I am a nerd who reads manuals and did not find it difficult to learn how to operate this thing. I’ll admit it’s not intuitive, but it’s not rocket science, either.
- Pay attention to which model and capacity you are ordering. I got the 6 quart Duo. I was tempted to buy the 8 quart because of my family size and the fact that I have frequent dinner guests. But some reviewers noted that the 8 quart is almost too big for routine use. Anyway, I am really glad I went with the 6 quart because it is plenty big for my family of six and our guests. (Although I am eyeing up any specials on the larger one just to have on hand for big crowds. Because I am crazy like that.)
Here are some sites where I get recipes:
Google (just google the ingredients you have on hand or what you are in the mood for “chicken, rice instant pot recipe”)
If you have an Instant Pot, I’d love for you to comment and/or link to your favorite recipes. I am still learning over here!