Over the last few years, I’ve been simplifying and reducing the tools and appliances in our kitchen and only keeping the ones we use often. In fact, our kitchen now has a simple assortment of unusual appliances and tools that we use every day. One appliance that has definitely earned its place on the list is the Instant Pot.
While it may feel like everyone in the world owns an Instant Pot now based on Instagram or social media, according to the most recent stats I could find (2018), only about 12% of households own one.
So, this review is for all of those “holdouts” because I promise you… it will change your life!
What Is an Instant Pot?
In short, it is an electric, programmable pressure cooker with a lot of extra functionality. It definitely isn’t our grandparent’s stove-top pressure cooker!
Although I’ve had one for a while, I haven’t even tried all of the uses for it yet. Our family uses it mostly as a basic pressure cooker and I now make many of my slow-cooker recipes in the Instant Pot instead (…a fast cooker?).
Instant Pot advertises that it is a single kitchen appliance that does the work of seven kitchen gadgets, including a rice-cooker, yogurt-maker, steamer and pressure cooker.
In essence, it is a fancy electric pressure cooker but it does this job exceptionally well.
Pros and Cons of Instant Pot
In my quest to simplify life, I decided to only keep kitchen appliances that serve more than one purpose. The Instant Pot met my criteria of being multiple-use so I decided to give it a try. It has quickly become one of my favorite kitchen tools and now I use it often.
Instant Pot: The Pros
All Stainless Interior: Unlike most electric pressure cookers, the Instant Pot has a fully stainless-steel interior so this is the only part that touches the food. While parts of the exterior are plastic or other materials, these do not come in contact with the food and there is no Teflon or non-stick surface.
Multi-Use: As a multi-use gadget it could conceivably replace a slow-cooker, rice-cooker, sauté-pan, and steamer. I’ve even had friends tell me that they now use the Instant Pot so often that they rarely use their stove and oven. I certainly can’t see the Instant Pot replacing my oven and stove, but it definitely could if I ever needed it to if one of those appliances broke.
Replace the Slow Cooker: The Instant Pot has largely replaced our slow-cooker and I’m considering even getting rid of the Crock-Pot completely since the Instant Pot works more quickly and often provides better results. I could see an electric pressure cooker like this one being especially helpful for anyone with a small kitchen as it could replace several other kitchen appliances.
Time Saving: This is perhaps the biggest benefit I noticed right away with the Instant Pot. It can cook a slow-cooker recipe that takes 6-8 hours in just an hour and I can even prepare a roast for dinner in about 40 minutes. This is tremendously helpful on days that we aren’t home during the day and I need to prepare a meal quickly at night (or days that I forget to defrost food until the afternoon or to put food in the slow-cooker in the morning).
Good Price Point: While the Instant Pot does cost more than most single-use kitchen appliances like slow-cookers and rice-cookers, it is cost-effective if you use it to replace one or more of these other gadgets. I found mine 50% off on sale here, and it has definitely already paid for itself in space and time savings.
Programmable: This is one advantage of the Instant Pot over regular pressure cookers and most slow-cookers. Since it cooks so quickly, I sometimes don’t need to start cooking a recipe as soon as I put it in the Instant Pot but I want to have it ready to go. The Instant Pot lets you program up to 24-hours in advance and has quite a few options pre-programmed for easy use.
Energy Efficient: Like a slow-cooker the heat source is electric and built in so it doesn’t require a separate gas or electric stove and is more energy efficient. Since it is self-regulated, it is also safer and easier to use (in my opinion).
Easy to Clean: Since the cooking bowl is all stainless steel it is easy to clean by hand and can even be placed in the dishwasher.
Instant Pot: The Cons
The Price (Up-front): Like I said, I found the price reasonable considering the other kitchen appliances that it replaced, but it does retail for up to $150 if you buy one with all the bells and whistles (though I found mine for under $100 here). If I’d known about this when we got married and registered for this instead of various other appliances, it definitely would’ve been a cost savings, but if, like me, you already have these other appliances, the cost can seem like a lot up front. Also, as I said, I don’t use many of the extra settings, so if you buy a basic model you might never miss the extra features.
Learning Curve: I’ve always been a little terrified of pressure cookers since a relative once severely burned her face in a pressure-cooker accident, and while the Instant Pot seems easier to use than many pressure-cookers, it is a new style of cooking with a little bit of a learning curve. It only took me a couple of uses to get comfortable using it, but I’d recommend reading the (short) instruction manual first before using the first time. It definitely didn’t feel intuitive the first couple of times I used the Instant Pot, but it was easy to learn.
Misleading Prep Times: When I first starting using the Instant Pot, dinner was late more than a few times because the recipes I was following said things like “cook on manual for 7 minutes.” I didn’t realize at first that the IP takes time to come to pressure and then release pressure, so a 7 minute cook time might actually mean 20-30 minutes. This still isn’t long to wait (especially when you’re talking about a tender roast ready in under 30 minutes!), but now I know to leave extra time when planning.
Lower PSI: Stovetop pressure cookers typically operate at around 15 PSI, while electric ones, like the Instant Pot range from 10-12 PSI. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage as electric cookers have built-in feedback that makes them more efficient but they do cook *slightly* slower than stovetop pressure cookers. I personally prefer the electric pressure cooker because it is easier to use and doesn’t require constant monitoring, but if speed is your main concern, the Instant Pot is slightly (5-10 minutes) slower on some recipes.
Safety: The Instant Pot is much safer than most other types of pressure cookers but it is still a pressure cooker and can release steam and cause severe burns if misused. I’ve never had trouble with ours and wasn’t able to find any cases of someone being harmed while using it correctly, but I am still very careful using it around my kids. I make sure it is in a sturdy place in the corner/back of the counter and that there are no chairs or stools that would let kids get to it or tamper with the lid. While I am a fan of kids in the kitchen, this is one device I don’t let them use.
Instant Pot Recipes
I have a few years of experience now with the Instant Pot and have gotten past the (short) learning curve. I’ve been creating my own recipes (here’s one of our current favorites!) but I’ve also tried some from other bloggers, especially when I was learning how to use the Instant Pot and wanted to make sure I didn’t mess up any meals (hint- I’ve found that it is really hard to screw up a recipe with the Instant Pot!).
Some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes are:
- Homemade Bone Broth
- Mango Chicken Thighs
- Whole Chicken (in 30 minutes)
- Mexican Beef and Rice Bowls (Instant Pot)
- Easy Chuck Roast Recipe (Instant Pot or Crock Pot)
- Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto
- Coconut Curry Chicken (Quick Instant Pot Recipe)
- Classic Chicken and Rice Recipe (Instant Pot)
- Homemade Pho With Zoodles (Instant Pot Option)
- Butter Chicken Recipe (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Option)
- This Kalua Pig recipe from Nom Nom Paleo
- Lamb Stew from Paleo Mom
- Steel-Cut Oats
You can even make apple cider or applesauce in the Instant Pot!
A Simplified Kitchen
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I have a minimalist kitchen (or that I’d even try to when cooking for 7 people three times a day) but I would say that I have finally created a simplified kitchen and it works really well for our needs. In hindsight, I wish I’d known what I know now when selecting items for our wedding registry, since we’ve gotten rid of many of the items we thought we “had to have” when registering.
In the past few years, we’ve:
- Replaced the coffee pot with a French Press
- Ditched the vegetable and onion chopper and replaced it with… a knife
- Replaced plastic and heavy glass dishes with stainless steel ones for the kids (dishwasher & oven safe, and unbreakable)
- Ditched the juicer (we just make smoothies instead)
- Replaced the multiple different types of specialty glasses with quart-size multi-use mason jars
- Got rid of the toaster, bread maker, and other appliances we just never used
Most of the kitchen appliances we got as wedding gifts have broken or been donated and the ones that remain get used daily:
- A high-speed blender
- A mixer (and an immersion blender)
- A glass electric tea kettle (for french press coffee, tea, etc.)
- and now, our Instant Pot (in fact, we are now considering getting rid of the slow cooker)
The Bottom Line
I bought this version of the Instant Pot (the 6-in-1) and I really like it. As I said, I got it on sale and it has more than paid for itself in time savings in the past few months. There is also a 7-in-1 version that also makes yogurt but since we make yogurt in the oven, I didn’t think this extra functionality was needed.
There is also a much-fancier Bluetooth enabled version that I wouldn’t personally recommend, since we are trying to reduce our exposure to Bluetooth/Wi-Fi but also because it doesn’t offer much extra functionality (besides being able to program from a smartphone) for the price (almost double).
I was skeptical about the Instant Pot so I put off trying it for a long time. I was surprised how much I really like it (and over 5,000 Amazon reviewers seem to agree!). In hindsight, I wish I’d tried it much earlier and can see this being my go-to wedding gift for friends in the future.
Unlike very basic kitchen tools like knives and quality pans, the Instant Pot is definitely not an absolute kitchen necessity but I would definitely recommend it to friends and family and it is becoming one of my most used kitchen tools. It is even great for camping!
Ever tried the Instant Pot? What did you think?
Discussion (148 Comments)
There is a facebook group that offers a lot of advice for using an Instant Pot – just search for “instant pot” on facebook. I actually bought one from walmart.com for a great price, and returned it without opening it because I just don’t feel like I have the time to learn how to use it now. Also, most of the good recipes I have seen are for some kind of meat-based dish, and I am trying to make most of our meals vegetarian based. I don’t know, maybe I’ll give it another try at some point. The people that have them seem to love the instant pot.
There is a vegan only IP group on Facebook…very helpful group.
I got one and am afraid to use if for long periods of time because of the type of stainless steel used. Have you contacted the company to see if the metal leaches toxins at all? I know you are so great with researching, I figured I would ask before I checked into it. But I definately will if you haven’t already.
Thanks! I love everything you do!
Did you ever get an answer to this? I just read that the stainless steel contains up 8-10% nickel, which would seem to be a problem to someone like me who has a nickel allergy. I”m trying to contact Instant Pot and anyone else to see what they know. Thanks!
I have just been diagnosed with my nickel allergy. I’ve had my instapot now for about 1 year. I’ve also been itching for about the same time period. You may have hit my problem. Thanks for this information .
I make bone broth regularly, simmering for up to 30 hours to ensure getting all the nutrients, minerals, etc.
Do you or anyone have any thoughts or advice on how long to cook bones, etc. in the Instant Pot?
I have made it many times in IP! So simple…I think I have how to in a pic on my iPad…lookong now! Wish I could post pic?
If anyone has the same question I had, click on Katie’s second recipe: bone broth. All is revealed
Thanks for your help, Nona!
I love my Instant Pot but I have only used the pressure cooker setting and used it to make rice. I should really explore the other options.
My favorite uses for it are hard-boiled eggs, steaming potatoes or beets, cooking beans, bone broth, and making a pork roast. The sweet potatoes and beets lose a little of their sweetness compared to baking them in f0il in the oven, but for me the easy cleanup and shorter cooking time makes up for it.
I bought this same Insta Pot but I was nervous about using it as it doesn’t appear to have a stainless steel interior, it looks like Teflon but I couldn’t find the actual information anywhere in the manual. Just curious how you found out it has a stainless steel
Interiors because it doesn’t appear that way?
I believe I did see one selling with Teflon from the company website…a cheaper one?
What is your opinion on the Ninja toaster oven/air fryer? I have an IP and love it, but we use a toaster oven all the time and don’t know what is the safest one.
Yes, we got one with a Teflon interior first. I believe it was a bigger one (we wanted the biggest they made) than 6 quarts. It looks like they make an 8 quart all stainless interior now though.
That was not an Instant Pot. They all come with a stainless steel pot. And they don’t offer an 8qt. (Yet, one is due to release later in the spring.) Basically, the Instant Pot (brand name) is an electric pressure cooker but not all electric pressure cookers are Instant Pots.
This is on the Instant Pot website – maybe they had it for a time? I know for certain that we ordered an Instant Pot (in December) and returned it because it had a non-stick coating – we even exchanged it for a “newer model” with stainless steel….
Instant Pot Non-Stick Inner Pot (6Qt) – OUT OF STOCK
Instant Pot Non-Stick Inner Pot (6Qt) – OUT OF STOCK
Made from aluminum with non-stick coating
Not sticky to food, easy cleaning and dishwasher safe
Suitable for Instant Pot IP-DUO60, IP-LUX60, IP-CSG60
Weight 1.35 lbs
Our price: US$29.95
Market price: US$39.95
Quantity Out of stock
and here is the 8 quart: https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO80-Programmable-Generation/dp/B01B1VC13K/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=45a73bddbc6950bc9d238a99d470e304&language=en_US
I have one in my cabinet gathering dust. I bought it on a home shopping channel and they did awesome things with it. I got it and had trouble getting my lid to work right after I seared some meat in it before I cooked it. I really didn’t know how to use it, but this makes me want to pull it out and give it another try.
I had trouble too I just jiggled it so it would stop steaming. Also make sure the rubber gasket is in the right way. I love making rice in it.
Are you sure it’s the actual Instant Pot? My neighbors ordered a different brand on the home shopping, buy one get one 1/2 off. We never got it to work correctly and they finally sent both back. Love my Instant Pot!
I bought one ,have had it less than a year , I contacted Customer service because it turned out to be a lemon. They want ME to run “tests”. I don’t think so! They can take it back and send me a new one and THEY can run tests! Still waiting on them. I loved it for a few months till all the functions stopped working. Not a good way to treat a customer.
I like to make bone broth and cook it for up to 30 hours (sometimes longer) to extract the minerals, etc. from the bones, feet, etc.
Do you know if cutting my bone broth cooking time with the Instant Pot will likewise reduce the minerals and other nutrients that are released from the cooking?
Good question! I was wondering the same thing! I hope that someone answers.
Katie’s bone broth recipe explains this. You’ll find the recipe in the recipe section of her post.
Oh ya! I got one for Christmas and have used it 4-5 times a week since then. Steel cut oats are a breeze in the morning now.
I’m curious what is your oat to water ratio for the instant pot? I used the directions on the box of steel cut oats and cooked in instant pot and it was waaaay to much water. I ended up just pouring the excess water off and they were totally fine but I’d rather do it the right way. Loving mine too got it for xmas and I love it.
This is a very helpful link I’ve pinned for the instant pot. I use 3 cups liquid to 1 cup oats and it turns out great.
Welcome to the IP users! There are many IP Facebook communities, I personally belong to many. The newest one is Viramix, Instant Pot. There is one that is “only” vegan. It is unbieveable the foods that they cook in it! Ex: cheesecake. So many tips and help.
Do Amazon post to Australia? And even if they did, would the appliance work due to our different power points, plugs and currents? It looks like an amazing appliance but I don’t want to waste money finding that I couldn’t use it, lol.
You would need to check with Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/
Hi Bea, I know this is a couple is months old, so you may have your answer already, but in case anyone else is wondering… You need to order from amazon.co.uk for the power source to be suitable. Shipping is about $50. We just ordered one, can’t wait for it to arrive! It is due to release in Australia in aug/sept (check their Facebook for more updates) but we didn’t want to wait that long!
I am curious to find out if you received your Instant Pot. I am also in Australia and would like to order.
Hi Alissa, I just want to see how you are going with your Instant Pot? I am pretty keen. I am in Australia too. Thanks in advance.
Hi Liesl and Tara, yes, we received our instant pot a few months ago, shipping was super fast, less than a week if I remember correctly. We love it, and use it all the time! You do need an adapter for the plug, but the UK voltage is still 220/240, so it is safer to use in Aus than the US model. I was comparing it to my mum’s electric pressure cooker (Target/Breftons) and the instant pot is so much quicker to come to pressure, and much more versatile. If you are considering getting one… Go for it!
Thanks Alissa, that is good to hear. I will order mine straight away.
I have a Thermomix, must be honest, I am not crazy about it. Too small for a family of five.
Thank you so much Alissa…
Order from Amazon UK