Instant Pot Pressure Cooker: Review + Recipes

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Instant Pot Review and Recipes
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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:

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:

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?

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

149 responses to “Instant Pot Pressure Cooker: Review + Recipes”

  1. Taline Avatar

    Katie,
    What are your feelings on ceramic in the inside of the pots as opposed to the stainless steel one that you have?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’ve never used one with a ceramic inside but it should be a good option as long as it isn’t treated with any non-stick chemical and doesn’t contain heavy metal.

    2. Sheila Avatar

      I bought a Green Pan to replace an old non-stick coated pan, and I LOVE it. The ceramic is better for you and so durable! It is very slippery, and I have not had anything stick to it yet in the 6 months or so I have had it. It still looks brand new on the inside, and I use it several times a week. I have even used my electric mixer in it to make mashed potatoes.

  2. Jan Avatar

    I thought we were to cook all foods in the lowest temp. possible to preserve the nutrients, enzymes, etc. That is one reason I haven’t used my pressure cooker in years. Am I wrong?

    1. Beverly Boytim Avatar
      Beverly Boytim

      Thats funny – I’ve always heard that you SHOULD cook in a pressure cooker because it kept all the nutrients and they did not escape in steam going out. I wonder which is correct….
      Looks like Food Renegade has done a little article on this
      https://www.foodrenegade.com/pressure-cooking-healthy/

      She concludes:

      The biggest argument against pressure cooking by those who think it’s unhealthy is that pressure cooking must be bad for the nutrients in the food because you’re cooking them at higher temperatures and higher pressures.

      It’s like saying the cooking method is dangerous, well just because! For reasons!

      It’s like arguing that food cooked in Miami (where the boiling point of water is 212F) is somehow less nutritious than food cooked in an Andean or Himalayan village (where the boiling point of water is 190F) just because the air pressure and boiling point are higher in Miami.

      1. Jan Avatar

        Thank you, Beverly. I hope this info is correct! I bought a dehydrator after learning what I thought was correct info. Maybe I’ll dust off my pressure cooker today!

        1. Beverly Boytim Avatar
          Beverly Boytim

          Jan, dehydrating will save the enzymes I know and it will retain nutrients.
          What I have heard was that if you pressure cooked veggies VS steaming them it retained the nutrients because they did not escape in the steam.
          I have to cook my veggies due to needing the cellular wall broken down for me to digest them – at least at this point in my life 🙂

  3. Alicia Avatar

    My friend bought the 8 qt do u think it’s worth the extra money? She says she did a 9 lb turkey!

    1. Sherry Avatar

      Pressure cooking retains more nutrients than other methods. Only the steam escapes.

  4. Debbie Avatar

    I am receiving the IP Lux60 for a gift (will receive it next week). I looked up the reviews on Amazon and there were a whole bunch of very recent reviews that were one star. What’s up with that? My mom also got me the extended warrant, but I hope the reviews are false and are from people who do not know/understand how to use it. Any advice/comments on the Lux60. Is is really made in China? I should not have read the reviews….Altough I do have to say that I feel a little more comfortable having it if Wellness Mama uses it :>

    1. Sabrina Avatar

      I don’t know when your message was posted. But I used IP Lux 6 in 1 several years without any issue. I also bought some extra silicone rings (they become smelly). I still have it and it looks and cooks like it was new, but it’s not. I used it more than several hundred times.

  5. Rya Avatar

    I have the 7-in-1 with the stainless steel pot. Love it for its multi-use but bought it mainly to replace an old non-stick coated rice cooker while adding a pressure cooker to the kitchen repetoire and replacing my slow cooker(s). I’m Asian and our family eats rice almost every single day. Unfortunately, it is not a great rice cooker and ends up being very wasteful 99% of the time with about an inch of rice crusting on the bottom of the pot if left there on the warm feature. Other than that, though, it’s great!

  6. Dorothy McMahon Avatar
    Dorothy McMahon

    I recently purchased the same electric pressure cooker and I love it. As you mentioned, there is a learning curve and the cook book included wasn’t that great. I’ve just ordered a EPC cookbook from Amazon and it should arrive very soon. I did make pork ribs in it and they were amazing, tomorrow night I will try corn beef and cabbage, wish me luck!!

  7. Jean Avatar

    Is there a possibility of using this to making popcorn,?
    also can it be used for Canning small jars?

    1. KathyH Avatar

      No for the canning & I have heard people have used it for popcorn with mixed results.

  8. Wyandotte Avatar
    Wyandotte

    My pressure cook broke many years ago. There’s no money for a new one, so I invented my own. I use my large Lagostina pot and place a brick or two on top, Works great. Price is right.

  9. suhana Avatar

    Totally Agree!! I Love my Instant Pot! and So I bought a second one :-)) so that I can make 2 dishes at a time;-)

  10. Lisette Avatar

    I am so going to buy one of these! That is a great price from Amazon! Thanks so much Katie!

  11. Kathy Huffman Avatar
    Kathy Huffman

    Yesterday I made rice for dinner, just reheated when I wanted to serve it, 2 6″ cheesecakes & Mongolian Beef for dinner all in the Instant Pot. My hubby put a meter on my pot out of curiosity, it used 18 cents worth of electricity to cook all that. The cheesecake is creamy & yummy, the rice comes out perfectly (who hasn’t had issues with brown rice??) & the Mongolian Beef was super tender & flavor packed. Oh, I forgot I boiled 6 eggs in the pot in the morning, perfect hard boiled eggs, no gray ring & super easy to peel. They were fresh from the farmer on Thursday, easy peel on Saturday when cooked in the IP. Winner all the way around!

  12. Nancy Avatar

    I love my instant pot. I got it for Christmas and have pressure cooked, slow cooked, made bone broth, cooked rice, steamed veggies, and sauted. The only thing I haven’t done yet is make yogurt. Don’t be afraid, it is so easy to use.

  13. Tambra Andarge Avatar
    Tambra Andarge

    I just got mine 3 days ago. I think I’m gonna like it. My first try was MooShu Pork. It was simple and fast. I don’t like the smell it left but I will def be using it again, I am currently searching for my next recipe to try.

  14. liz Avatar

    I love my instant pot! the other night I made a whole chicken and then after dinner made homemade chicken stock! I think it will be great in the summer when I do not want the oven to heat up the kitchen!

  15. Beverly Boytim Avatar
    Beverly Boytim

    Just curious – would it even be okay to make yogurt in this with it being metal? We got one for Christmas and my main goal was going to be yogurt but I started thinking about how I don’t stir my yogurt with a metal spoon – how much sense would it make to cook it in metal? So we returned it. I figured I could make yogurt in the crockpot instead.

    Also – do you find that this feeds your family enough food? We have 7 children and it seemed like I would almost need 2 of these to make enough food for us. I use our 8 quart slow cooker or 2 smaller slow cookers to make enough us. Or I use our large roaster oven like a slow cooker. Do you think it will make enough as your kids get older and are eating more? I never actually used ours – we took it out of te box and the insert just seemed small and with my “lightbulb” yogurt / metal moment, we just boxed it up and sent it back.

    1. Kathy Huffman Avatar
      Kathy Huffman

      I make yogurt in mine & it is wonderful, I use a silicone whisk so I don’t get the metal on metal taste. We are a family of 2 empty nesters so I can’t address the amount issue. I just know I use mine almost daily & love it!

    2. Hayley Avatar

      I use stainless steel utensils with my yogurt, and it turns out fine. I’ve been making my own yogurt for about a year now, and my culture is still very vigorous. Hope this helps.

    3. Sabrina Avatar

      You can make yogurt in an Instant Pot Duo, but not if you have the original model, Lux 6 in 1. To make yogurt, you use the steaming rack and you put the glass jars with inoculated milk on it and choose the yogurt function.
      If you make yogurt you need to steam milk, then cool it to 40C. At that time use some active yogurt or yogurt starter if you have, mix it with the cooled milk and you may move this milk into jars or one big jar that gets into the IP.

  16. Ruth Avatar

    I have one and use it but have ?ed the non magnetic lid. The company says that it’s stainless. but why is it not magnetic. The little cage/vent inside is aluminum…

    1. Sheila Avatar

      Quality stainless is not magnetic. Try sticking magnets on the front of your stainless fridge…. they dont stick.

      1. Sabrina Avatar

        Some stainless steal is magnetic but not all. My fridge is stainless, still magnets stick to the door. But the IP insert is not magnetic as I tried. I prefer magnetic pots as they work with induction stove. The IP lid has some sensors and they could be magnetic. I have Lagostina stainless pots and they are magnetic.

  17. Peggy Avatar

    I love, love, love my Instant Pot. I’ve used it to cook dried beans (30 minutes) (way cheaper and much better tasting than canned), pea soup, cooked whole chicken ((made good stock at the same time) fried rice, spare ribs and some pork chops.

  18. Donna D Avatar

    Try making coffee in the IPot. Then you won’t even need that kettle!

    3c water, 2T grounds, 3minQR, pour/press/serve….so good!

    Tea works good too, but you’ll need to tweak it to your strength liking.

  19. AJ Avatar

    My sister gave me an instant pot for Christmas. I LOVE it. I use it all the time. My son uses it. I was concerned about using a pressure cooker at first, but it works great!

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