If you’re a mom, and you’re on Facebook, and you haven’t been living under a rock, or you talk to PEOPLE…then you might have heard of the Instant Pot. It’s this new pressure cooker that is taking every person and their moms by storm.
I really tried to hold out and not buy this thing, I really did. My counters are already more cluttered than I like, and to be honest, we really didn’t need another appliance to jam up our already limited storage space. I already have a slow cooker, a Chinese soup maker; just to name a few things… and these already aren’t the best utilized. But, as I started to see these incredible testimonials from people I knew personally, and these meals that they were churning out in minutes… I knew I had to get in on this new trend. (By the way, pressure cooking is by no way new – but the ones back in the day weren’t as safe as the new ones of today. Like people back in the day were scared of their pots exploding. This one however is electric and not put on the stove, and it has safety features up the wazoo. So calm yo’self)
So you’ve thought about it real long and hard and you’re right on the precipice of making this huge life changing decision to purchase this pressure cooker. I’ve outlined a few thinking points below about the Instant Pot that I only discovered after using it for a while – I hope this helps you make your decision.
Here are a few expectations that you need to set before you purchase an Instant Pot:
- Contrary to the name, it doesn’t actually produce food in an instant. It just cooks food quicker than if you were to do it on the stove, and intensifies those flavors in a jiffy, too. You also have to remember that you still need that food-prep time (chopping, washing, measuring ingredients) so if you have a super complex recipe that calls for a million things, you’re still going to need to put the effort in to put everything together.
- You’re probably NOT going to need your Instant Pot for everything. There are a few things that are probably in your weekly dinner repertoire that don’t need to be pressure cooked. But what this pressure cooker does REALLY WELL is making things that usually take forever – take a fraction of the time, or minutes. Things like bone broth, or stews, or tough cuts of meat. This is what the Instant Pot excels in. So what’s probably going to happen is that you’re going to realize at 2pm that you have a craving for pulled pork, but you don’t have 12 hours to slow cook it. But you’re going to bust out your Instant Pot, and honestly have a really great, soft and flavorful Pulled Pork dish on your table by 6pm.
- The cook time on the recipes you find online are cooking times for when the pot has come up to pressure. You have to take into account that the pot needs a little bit of time to come up to the right pressure for your dish, and also to come back down to regular pressure. Depending on the dish, this can take anywhere between 5-15 minutes.
In terms how the Instant Pot fits in my life, these are a few reasons why I love it, and why it works for my family:
- I hate washing extra pots and dishes, and the Instant Pot allows you to do a lot of the sautéing that is needed in the pot itself, before adding the fluids and meats in for pressure cooking. One of the most annoying thing about slow cookers for me are that recipes keep asking me to “brown the meat” before I put it in the slow cooker. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT AT ALL! I don’t want to bust out 2 more pots to have to clean two more pots. You’re not going to have this problem with the Instant Pot, since everything can be done in this one device. I have even cooked Pasta Bolognese in the Instant Pot so I didn’t have to use another pot to cook the macaroni in. And it came out perfectly. What? Yeah. Insane.
- I tend to make a lot of Chinese Soups, and these take a notorious amount of time to cook. Not only that, but you need to stay home and tend to the stove, and the smell of said soup also permeates through your entire home, and for hours. The other day, I was able to make a chinese chicken soup from a frozen chicken, from scratch, in a cook time of 1 hour. Last night, my husband made Taiwanese beef noodle soup from scratch in 1 hour. These are all things that would have typically taken us 6-8 hours of stove tending (and home venting, to be honest, since the soups have a strong smell) but we didn’t have to do either with the Instant Pot. And dinner was on the table quickly.
- One of my favorite things about the Instant Pot is that I get to walk away from the stove. Even for the most basic recipes that I probably could make in a pan (and it would take the same time); when I do it in the Instant Pot I get to close the lid and walk away, and it cooks it perfectly for me. And in that time, I could take a shower. Or drink a glass of wine. Or play with my kid. Or just sit down for the first time that day. I’m not standing there having to watch it simmer, or stir it so it doesn’t stick. I actually get some time to actively do something else at home, which as an almost-mom-of-two, I think I could really use more of.
So there you have it. My real, honest opinion of the Instant Pot. Has it been a game changer in my house? Pretty much – I don’t think I’ve used the stove at all since I got it a couple of weeks ago.
I hope this helps you make your own Instant Pot decision!