I know I’m a little behind on this revelation, but I need to tell you something…the Instant Pot is a game-changer. And I want you to know about it.
Here’s a secret – I don’t get hyped about too many products out there. In general, I don’t need the newest or fanciest “things” in my kitchen to be happy. Give me a solid cast-iron skillet, a nice chef’s knife, and a cutting board that won’t fail me and I’m set. I take a certain amount of pride in my ability to stay pretty chill about my gadgets.
So already – the fact that I’m writing this is a big deal…because I feel like this review could get pretty gushy. But know that I have your best interests in mind and I would never go on and on about a product that I don’t absolutely love.
Moral of the story, if you just want the bare bones of it – the Instant Pot is not a necessity in your kitchen…but if you choose to invest, it will seriously change your kitchen game. And I bet you’ll wonder how you ever got on without it.
What is an Instant Pot, any way?
Quite simply, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker on steroids. Not only can it do what normal pressure cookers do, but it also functions as a slow cooker, steamer, a rice cooker, yogurt maker, and has a handy saute option. Not only that but it can work as a warmer too – keeping your food deliciously warm until you’re ready to devour it.
Instant Pot vs. Stovetop Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot already has a leg up on stovetop pressure cookers because it is fully electric. Stovetop pressure cookers are notorious for having the potential of splattering soup or stew (or whatever you may be cooking at that time) all over your kitchen. For as accident prone as I know I am, I never had the guts to even attempt to use it.
That’s something you don’t have to fear with the Instant Pot. All of the guesswork that comes along with a stovetop pressure cooker is eliminated. You just push a button and the Instant Pot is smart enough to figure it all out for you.
All of this being said, I think the Instant Pot excels at doing what it was originally built to do – getting healthy, delicious food on the table fast. And knowing just how busy our lives are these days, that’s worth the investment for me.
How to Use the Instant Pot
How you use the Instant Pot totally depends on what you’re cooking in it. The pot comes with pre-set functions for things such as poultry, rice, stews, etc. You can also use the manual cooking function. You just set the pressure for either high or low (I use high for most everything) and then set the timer for the desired cook time.
Once you have the time set, just lock the lid and ensure the valve on top of the Instant Pot is set in the “sealed” position. This is an important step – if the valve isn’t sealed, no pressure can build up and your food won’t cook properly.
Once the Instant Pot is done, you can either let the pressure go manually by releasing that valve or allow it to release naturally. Usually, recipes will tell you which is better to do.
I’ll admit – there can be a little bit of a learning curve at first. But reading the instruction manual (or just using Google) can be incredibly helpful. And once you’ve successfully used it once or twice, it really becomes second nature.
Instant Pot Pros
Here’s another secret about me…I’m pretty lazy when it comes to meal prepping. Nothing about meal prep is necessarily difficult without an Instant Pot. Cooking chicken breasts…not hard. Hard-boiling some eggs…not hard. Making a soup or stew for the week…not hard. But for some reason – just waiting (impatiently) for all of those things to cook up can seem like such a drag.
(First world problems – am I right?)
This is where the Instant Pot changed things for me. The very first thing I ever made it in was chicken breasts. I didn’t have to mess with preheating the oven or foiling the baking sheet or individually seasoning each breast. All I had to do was dump the chicken in the pot, pour in some chicken broth, season them how I like (I chose garlic salt and pepper) and push the “Poultry” button on the Instant Pot.
Once it was done, the chicken breast was tender and juicy. More so than if I would have baked it in the oven.
The same goes for hard-boiled eggs. The Instant Pot takes all the guesswork out of it. And – as a surprising bonus – the eggs are much easier to peel. Game changer!
Just simplifying these two simple aspects of my meal prep routine is a big deal to me.
Where I think the Instant Pot really shines, though, is its ability to cook up stews and soups in a flash. To me, there really is nothing more nourishing or comforting that a hearty stew or soup – especially in the winter.
The Instant Pot not only cooks these up quickly, but it really is such an easy process. What normally could take hours to cook can be on the table in under one. And the meat is cooked to perfection. It can sometimes be so tender that removing it from the pot with a fork is difficult because it falls apart so easily.
One last thing worth mentioning…at one point, sweet potatoes were a meal prep staple for me. But baking them in the oven (or even the slow cooker, for that point…) would take so long that I stopped putting in the effort to make them.
The Instant Pot changed that. With the “steam” function, cooking up a batch of sweet potatoes for the week becomes so easy…so much so that they’ve made their way back into my regular meal prep. The potatoes come out soft and tender.
This would also go for any type of squash. It makes cooking these so easy. Complex, fiber-rich carbs for the win.
Are There Any Cons?
I wouldn’t go as far to say there are “cons” about the Instant Pot – per se. Yes, I am THAT big of a fan.
But one that that’s worth mentioning about the Instant Pot is that even if you set the cook time for 15 minutes – that doesn’t take into account the time it takes for the pressure to build in the pot. Depending on the pressure you need, this can take anywhere between 10-25 minutes.
Once the correct pressure has been reached, then the cooking time starts. So if you have the timer set for 15 minutes – count on at least 15 more minutes to allow the pressure to build. That’s worth taking into account if you’re cooking on a timeline.
Now, for the fun part…there are so many delicious Instant Pot recipes out there. And I’ve honestly I’ve had such a great time experimenting with different ones and finding my favorites. My go-to resource of Instant Pot recipes is Nom Nom Paleo (is anyone surprised?)
My favorites so far have been:
The Instant Pot Carnitas by PaleOMG are also bomb.
Some tasty soups:
Have I convinced you that you need an Instant Pot? I truly do love it – and for someone who is pretty set in her ways when it comes to new gadgets – this feels like a big deal. It simplifies everything – and I appreciate that it serves so many functions. I have a tiny kitchen, and the less appliances I have cluttering up the countertop – the better.
There once was a time where I thought all the hype around the Instant Pot had to be just that…hype. Now, I understand. I really do think it can be a game-changer!
Ready to invest in one? We recommend buying it off Amazon. And if you’re a Prime member, it will be in your hands in just a few days. Score.
Are you an Instant Pot lover? What’s your favorite way to use it or your go-to recipes? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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