Appliances

Is This Appliance About to Change the Way We Cook?

January  4, 2017

Pressure cookers have been slow to catch on in the U.S. (which is perhaps because many of us are still under the impression that they'll blow the house down and, as Rob Mifsud wrote for Slate, they can't win a convenience competition against a microwave).

At some point over the past eight months, without realizing it was happening, I completely fell in love with my Instant Pot.
Kelli Foster, The Kitchn

But is that set to change with the skyrocketing popularity of the Instant Pot, an appliance that—when you consider the price and the functionality and buy into all the hype—is almost hard to resist?

The Canadian-designed electric pressure cooker—that also acts as a steamer, warmer, slow-cooker, sautéer, yogurt maker, and magic carpet—was the best-selling item in the U.S. on Amazon's July 12 Prime Day. Prime members around the world purchased over 215,000 Instant Pots—and Amazon surely sold thousands more in post-Thanksgiving sales, when the six-quart model retailed for just under $70.

Think of how many homes have welcomed a pressure cooker into their kitchen in the past year! Maybe you have?

And purchasing an Instant Pot doesn't seem to have been a bad decision in the least. In July, The Sweethome, which publishes lists of the best home goods after thorough testing, called the $99 six-quart Instant Pot IP-DUO60 the best electric pressure cooker on the market: "If you were one of the 215,000 people who bought an Instant Pot on Amazon’s Prime Day, you may be wondering if you made the right choice. You did!" The Kitchn has also wholeheartedly endorsed the Instant Pot, as has Bon Appétit.

This is a state of the art, stainless steel, super-sophisticated machine that will, in fact, change your cooking habits for the better.
Casey Barber, Today.com

And once you've read the reviews, convinced yourself you need one, and taken the plunge, you can join the The Instant Pot Community, a 300,000-member Facebook group in which people post questions, recipes, tips, and the occasional baby photo.

If you're a proud owner of an Instant Pot, we'd love to know...

  • What do you use it for? What are its greatest strengths?
  • Has it disappointed you in any way?
  • What do you learn about an Instant Pot only from experimenting with it (rather than just reading about it)?
  • Has it replaced any other appliances?

And if you haven't purchased an Instant Pot, do you want one? Leave your responses in the comments!

87 Comments

Rochelle D. July 23, 2017
The instant pot was a great start into pressure cooking without all of the fear that was induced by exploding pots in the 70's. Instantly I was able to make fluffy brown rice; and honestly who would have thought fluffy and brown rice would go together. I have experimented, weeknight beef stew, pork carnitas in an hour, hard boiled eggs of perfection, and flavourful dried beans and lentils. The best surprise by far, was how effectively I could steam a Christmas pudding cake, thanks to #hippressurecooking blog. Just bought myself a pressure canner primarily so I can make your genius tomato sauce and have it at the ready all winter long. So excited.
 
Lisa July 21, 2017
I bought an 8 quart Fagor electric pressure cooker a little over two years ago, I used it 2-3 times a week and it died a week before the Amazon Prime day. I went back and forth on whether to get another Fagor or an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot had so many good reviews and the price was great so I went ahead and bought one. There are some things about it I don't like when compared to the Fagor, but overall it works well and it cooks pretty much the same as the Fagor. It will be easier to follow recipes now since most are centered around how the Instant Pot works. I talk up electric pressure cookers all the time, especially to those I know who don't have much time to cook. It's a time saver extraordinaire!
 
S J. March 31, 2017
I LOVE my Instant Pot. Purchased last year and it replaced my slow cooker, rice cooker, & egg cooker. I use it frequently for soups, and convert a lot of slow cooker recipes to "fast cooking". Meats are so tender, eggs are perfectly hard-boiled, and the "1 minute quinoa" is a real winner! I cannot say enough about the Instant Pot. Haven't tried cooking cakes in it yet, but that's on my list to try.
 
Azura M. February 8, 2017
I love Pressure Cooking! I make 5 minute dal on week nights and fall off the bone Madras lamb shanks on week nights. I've got a "traditional" pressure cooker....would love to procure an Instant Pot to test out more recipes...!
 
Margaret K. January 19, 2017
That's true. The marketing has been brilliant. Electric pressure cookers may be more or less the same, but the difference in convenience between electric and stovetop pressure cooking is huge, and I never realized it until I came across the Instant Pot.
 
saatchi January 18, 2017
The Instant Pot is just an electric pressure cooker/slow cooker that has been rebranded. The functionality is no different. What Instant Pot has done brilliantly is marketed these devices with what they are capable of doing under their own name and promoted them aggressively on social media. We bought one and my husband who was afraid of my old school pressure cooker has been whipping up a storm making one hour pot roasts, 10 minute beans, and 30 minute pea soups.
 
Margaret K. January 16, 2017
I love my Instant Pot, especially for yogurt. Only two complaints: 1) The ring does take on odors, but replacements are available and it's very easy to switch them. I'll try the coffee grounds trick. (2) Being large, it takes quite a long time to come up to pressure. Remembering to pre-heat the pot and pre-boil the water helps, but among all my other (6 Kuhn Rikon) cookers, nothing comes up to pressure as fast as the 2-quart Teflon lined one that I use daily for potatoes, beets, zucchini, carrots, rice. They don't make them anymore, so when the Teflon finally goes, I'll have to switch to the 2 qt waffle bottom one.
 
ktr January 15, 2017
I have found the pressure cooker is a great way to make lean meats like moose and venison tender. I made "beef" stew last week using moose and the meat was as tender as if I'd used beef. I can't wait to try it with wild turkey which makes a tasty soup but is always tougher than chicken.
 
Linda L. January 9, 2017
OK, so after reading through most of these comments, I have to ask why so many of you have rice cookers? I make perfect, all types, in a pot on the stove in 20-50 minutes depending on the variety of ride. It's so simple......why a rice cooker???? Thanks!
 
Veggielover January 9, 2017
Because, sometimes life gets busy and time and attention is limited! :)
 
Veggielover January 9, 2017
Oh, yeah, and it's fun to experiment!
 
Tony January 9, 2017
I cook my rice in a small pot too. But I've seen posts on other sites where users were cooking a very large pot of rice.
 
Millie J. January 9, 2017
I've gone to cooking rice in the oven because my electric range doesn't keep a simmer going on the stovetop - it's always too high or too low, I constantly have to check and fiddle with it. Maybe you are cooking with gas? Back when I had a gas stove I too cooked rice on the stove without difficulty, but not now.
 
msmely March 23, 2017
What if I'm making something in the instant pot already and I want rice on the side? If the whole point is set-it-and-forget-it cooking then a rice cooker is a natural sidekick.
 
Chocolate B. April 14, 2017
If you live at high altitude--above 7000 feet--a good rice cooker such as the Zojirushi Induction cooker, makes a big difference in the quality of your rice. Requires less energy usage than stovetop, too
 
Tony January 9, 2017
I use my IP a few times a week & love it! Because of my work, I most times didn't have time to cook a meal & was either having fast food or sandwiches. Now I cooking, just last night I had cube steaks & potatoes cooked in my IP in under 30mins. While they cooking, I roasted carrots in the oven. Last week I a 15 bean soup in 20 minutes, enough for a couple of meals which I bagged & froze.
 
noUturn January 8, 2017
I love mine. Rice, broth, hard cooked eggs, soups, yogurt, and CHEESECAKES! Cheesecake in the Instant Pot has the most amazing rich, smooth consistency.
 
Tom January 8, 2017
I love mine so far. Got rid of a rice cooker - loved it - and slow cooker - hated it cause everything tastes the same. I love how quickly it cooks. I haven't tried it for yoghurt etc. But I brag about how quickly it cooks. <br /><br />Then I got a Sous Vide for Christmas. I love the long, slow cooking.
 
Janice G. January 8, 2017
Bought one of these and did use it a few times, and couldn't figure out why I was putting myself through having this thing on the counter to cook such simple things--a simple saucepan makes perfect rice in 30 minutes and hard-boiled eggs in 20, broth, unattended while I do other things, etc., and the actual recipes I used weren't good, with too many things coming out just "boiled.," (the beef stroganoff was swill,) and I'm not inept--I cooked with a stove-top Presto pressure cooker while working and raising kids, used it at least once or twice a week with decent results. Bottom line, I kept the Instant Pot for awhile (the beef stroganoff was the last straw) and then gave it to a relative, who if she has a lick of sense, has donated it or parked it at the curb by now. This thing is not worth the space it takes nor the effort needed to clean it properly. (I know. . .I am something of a food-prick. Some of the food people prepare in a slow cooker is horrid, too, and many are things that would cook on the stovetop in the 35 minutes it takes to prep them to cook in the slow cooker for six to eight hours. I would have made a terrible Millennial!)
 
Kathi P. January 8, 2017
I wish I could find one on a curb! I'd love to have another one!
 
cary W. January 9, 2017
i am happy to read this Janice, as i feel the same way and was wondering what all the hype was about. i am definitely one to go out and buy anything awesome to help me make great food and was wondering if i had to buy this monster. now i think i'll spend the money on another chef's knife. thank you for your review :)
 
Linda L. January 9, 2017
Thank you Janice!!! I am also a good old fashioned cook and I was having a really hard time wrapping my head around the value of bringing an IP into my kitchen. I totally agree with you about the ease of making real food as well as the problem with accidentally making boiled swill as opposed to getting great flavor/texture by braising or just simple roasting techniques. I just couldn't commit to this thing and you finally made me realize that I'm not missing anything....Thanks again!!!!
 
Saffron3 January 15, 2017
I totally agree, for me. I'm going to spend my money on a better casserole.!
 
Kathi P. January 8, 2017
I've had an Instant Pot (bluetooth) for over a year now and I really love it. I haven't done as much experimenting with the bluetooth as I thought I would ... I had hoped I would have worked out some cheese making scripts by now! But I'm making amazing stock regularly and I use it to cook stews, soups, dry beans, make yoghurt and it makes ricotta so well! It has replaced my slow cooker but I find myself wishing for a second instant pot (don't tell my husband). I'm in Canada and they seem to cost a lot more here, which is slightly annoying ...
 
Teddee G. January 8, 2017
They've been slow to catch on? My mother used a pressure cooker from the time they came out, probably back in the late 50s or early 60s. I know I was quite young. The only problem is communicating how they work with every member of the family. The females in my family went shopping one day, leaving a small ham for my father's lunch in the pressure cooker on the back of the wood-burning range we still used. He was very strong and wrenched the top off without letting the pressure out. We came home to find a huge grease spot and shreds of meat on the ceiling!
 
Rhonda35 January 8, 2017
Exactly why a whole generation or so of cooks avoided using pressure cookers - family stories of the time so-and-so had one "blow up" and food was all over the ceiling. The new pressure cookers this article talks about are electric and have safety features built in to avoid the scary/messy explosions of the past, leading to a real come-back for pressure cooking. I hope your father wasn't injured in that pressure-cooked ham disaster!
 
Yvonne S. January 8, 2017
Eggs, check. Rice, check. Broth upon broth upon broth. Braised kale and carrots. Kahlua pork (Nom Nom Paleo recipe). I made my favorite beef stew in 45 mins as opposed to 2.5 hours last week. I don't use it every day but I do use it every week and I have no regrets about buying it.
 
Yvonne S. January 8, 2017
Oh! No it hasn't replaced my slow cooker but then I haven't slow cooked in it. I didnt have a rice cooker. And not disappointed at all. And I've learned that I do like kale in the instant pot. :)
 
Carla January 8, 2017
Love, my pressure cookers. I have 3...old presto, newer Kuhn rikon and a pressure canner. If you haven't checked out Hip Pressure cooking web site...you are missing some great tips and recipes. http://www.hippressurecooking.com Even this old bird has learned some new things.
 
MerryChristmas C. January 15, 2017
Carla, you are so right! Like you, I started with the stove-top Presto and migrated to the electric more than a decade ago. I have a Nesco Multi-cooker and use it very often for so many things. From chuck roast (in an hour tender and full of flavor) to beef stew (in about an hour including cutting the veggies and waiting for it to get up to pressure and release) to spaghetti sauce and broths which taste like I spent hours them. I make a great 7" cheesecake that is delicious. I can't imagine making a meatloaf in the oven ever again. Between my Cuisinart Rotisserie/Convection/Toaster oven and Nesco Pressure Cooker, I seldom use my stove. I don't need it for anything. I can make fresh veggies in under 10 minutes total, including bringing to pressure with water, a steaming rack and the pressure cooker. I brown my burger, beef, pork, lamb, whatever in it before I set the pressure. No other appliance in my kitchen gets as much use. My husband is a very finicky eater and never says anything but "excellent" when dinner is served. Mashed potatoes are so easy to make in far less time than it takes on the stove. AND Hip Pressure Cooking is my second favorite. My primary go-to for so many things to cook, with or without the pressure cooker, is www.TracyCooksInAustin.com. Tracy has recipes for everyone and every level of cook. I considered the Instant Pot but I am so happy with my Nesco that I bought a stainless steel pot to replace the teflon coated pan which came with it when I needed a new PC. I have friends who find the IP recipes to be tasteless or over cooked while I spent a little time getting familiar with my Nesco a decade ago and would never want to cook with anything else. Perhaps the day will come for an Instant Pot but my Nesco Pro is the be-all-and-end-all for me!
 
Jennifer N. January 8, 2017
The taste of dried beans cooked is far superior to that of canned (and healtier too). When my friend was able to make me fresh huevos ranchers in 20 mins, i knew I had to get one. Mine arrived yesterday along with about 20 pounds of beans so now we can eat a million different recipes worth of beans that cook up in the time it takes to make a proper salad. After that, yogurt! Good Bulgarian slightly tart yogurt. All without fretting about an explosion in the kitchen :-).best of all, i can get rid of several other gizmos that take up too much space in a small kitchen.
 
Heidi January 6, 2017
How are all of you learning how to make stuff? I have had a pressure cooker for several years, but haven't been able to find recipes to get myself started using it. The recipes I have found don't help me understand exactly what I'm doing, it's as if the writer assumes I already know how to use a pressure cooker. (For instance, am I putting different ingredients into the pot in stages, and stopping the cooking to add various things part way through? That seems to slow things down enough to minimize the speed and hands-off benefits of using a pressure cooker...I just don't really understand how people are using these to make complete dishes or meals, rather than simply cooking a single component of a meal.
 
Celecel January 6, 2017
Heidi, I'm not sure if you have an electric or stovetop cooker. I started with a stovetop and then bought an electric because there is no eyes to monitor the electric pot. A good cookbook Is THE GREAT BIG PRESSURE COOKER BOOK by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough. It has a good introduction with the kind of info you're looking for. It also has 500 recipes with instructions for both stovetop and electric pots. Lately, I've been getting a lot of my recipes from the Internet. You can Google recipes as well a look at blogs, such as This Old Gal, Hip Pressure Cooking and Pressure Cooking Today. There are FaceBook groups, some of which are private. However, this FaceBook site, Instant Pot Cooks Market, is open to all. It allows people to post their recipes and also items they may sell specifically for electric pressure cookers. There are some really tasty recipes there posted by mostly amateur cooks from around the world. My recommendation is to try a recipe for a food that you're familiar with, try it out and take notes as to your cooking time so that you can adjust things for the next time you make the recipe. I have to say that I have had no failures with soups and stews, but I have overcooked grains because I didn't believe the cooking time posted. I hope you look into some of the online sources and wish you much success in using your pressure cooker.
 
Karen W. January 8, 2017
Thanks, I was less than thrilled with the cookbook I ordered with my Instapot, and I bought 2 Kindle ones (99¢) neither of which were worth any more than that.) The Great Big Pressure Cook Book will be here Tuesday.
 
Steve N. January 8, 2017
Karen,<br />Try Serious Eats - http://www.seriouseats.com/search?term=Pressure+cooker<br />or the aforemetnioned Nom Nom Paleo: http://nomnompaleo.com/
 
Karen W. January 8, 2017
Thanks, I will.
 
mungo January 9, 2017
Check out Lorna Sass's cookbooks! Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure was my bible for years.
 
Karen W. January 9, 2017
Thanks! I'm collecting all this information.
 
MerryChristmas C. January 15, 2017
Karen, most recipes will tell you if you need to release the pressure, add ingredients and cook some more. If it just says, "brown and add" or if it says, "dump it all in" it means put it all in and proceed with putting on the lid and setting the pressure (always high unless it tells you to use low) and cook for the amount of time it calls for. Pressure cooker cooking is quite forgiving. For example, when I make a cheesecake in the PC I can take it out, let it sit on the counter to cool. and then discover it was not quite done and put it back in the pressure cooker for another 10 minutes and repeat the cooling process. The same is true with everything. Let's say you are making potato salad and have set you potatoes in on the rack, topped it with your eggs to cook, cooked and released pressure only to discover the eggs are done but the potatoes are not. Just put them back in for several minutes and try again. There are a number of websites like Barbara's at Pressure Cooking Today. http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/. Barbara has detailed recipes specifically for beginners and even has a page which will help you learn how to use it http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/getting-started-with-your-new-electric-pressure-cooker-or-instant-pot/ <br /><br />Use those to see how to use the Instant Pot. As I said, I don't have an IP I have a different one but her recipes are easily adaptable to any needs. Good Luck!
 
Karen W. January 18, 2017
Thanks. That's the best site I've seen. I pinned post after post. We've now had two meals with the Instant Pot, and both were a big hit. Looking forward to more "experiments."
 
Jrichmondfood January 6, 2017
I love the instant pot, I use it to make chicken broth when my family has a cold and frequently now make bone broth. I also make a killer Thai and Japanese curry: Yellow Chicken Potato Curry, Green Pork Eggplant Curry, Beef Japanese Curry. The meat in the curry is well seasoned and tender. Potato cooks very well on the pressure cooker too, so we do loaded stuffed potatoes an mash potatoes often. Very convenient way to cook fresh food in small amount of time and the plus is less cleaning!!