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?

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. 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.


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

  1. John Avatar

    Bought one because they were out of the other one I see on TV and it started out pretty impressive but stopped sealing after about a month. Would NOT recommend this to others. This product shouldnt malfunction after one month. Go with the other one you see on TV. At least they invest in marketing.

    1. Mary Avatar

      Hi John, you should contact the Instant Pot company if your pressure cooker is not sealing. Also – check the silicone ring gasket in the lid to make sure it is seated correctly and is not torn. One thing that I really like about the Instant Pot is the stainless steel inner pot that has no non-stick coating. The other pressure cooker that you see on TV has the coating, and if you read the reviews, many reviewers complain about that coating flaking off. Good luck.

  2. Mary Avatar

    You should wash the inner pot and the lid and the silicone ring first with soapy water, rinse really good and then you should do the water test like the manual suggests.

  3. Carol Avatar

    I just purchased an Instant Pot and went to try it for the first time today. I started the saute’ mode and noticed a glue like off-gassing smell right away. Has anyone else noticed this? Does it go away? Should I do a test run of something I don’t plan to eat first? Ugh, I hate buying new appliances for this reason.

  4. Dottie Avatar

    Does anyone know of a springform pan that can be used in the Instant Pot, that is NOT non-stick? Thanks in advance for replies!

  5. Sue Avatar

    Hello… I have just discovered you and now find myself visiting your site almost daily. Thank
    You, sincerely, for all your carefully researched information. I bought a Berkey water system after reading your informative blog and encouraged my daughter to not buy another jug of water. We are very happy and relieved with our purchase!!
    Now I am researching the multi useful electric pressure cookers. I have zeroed in on the Instant Pot and found myself taking a closer look at Walmart today. I was prepared to purchase one when I inspected the inside of the top and discovered, on that particular model, an aluminum underside of the top. The crock was stainless, but the top was not. I know the heat, pressure and liquid could change the composition of the aluminum and could become an additive to the food that I am trying so hard to keep organic. I’m wondering if you know if there are different grades of Instant Pots? I have even noticed the grades of different brands of cookers can flixuate in quality from different sizes within same brands!
    Trying to buy a safe, good quality product can be so challenging!! Any insights would be great. ??

  6. Kare Avatar

    Does the silicone ring come in contact with the food and are there any health concerns with that?

  7. Sunny Avatar

    I just strained my beef broth that’s been simmering for two days and as usual it is amazing. I also just strained the recipe that’s linked for the bone broth in the instant pot and it tastes like nothing! Compared to the slow simmer for 48 hours it’s lacking. Have you figured out a faster way in the instant pot yet that compares to the original?

  8. Johnna Avatar

    Hi there,

    Is there any reason you couldn’t make your coconut oil soap in the Instant Pot? If you have given away your crock pot, is this what you are you doing now?


  9. Annette F Avatar
    Annette F

    The Instant Pot is on sale today for Amazon Prime members for $69.99. Hurry before they are gone!!

  10. Brandy Avatar

    Have you ever used this for canning? If so what size do you have and is it tall enough for quart size or only pint? Thanks!

  11. Karen Kowalk Avatar
    Karen Kowalk

    Wellness Mama, when are you going to post your variation of the “simple bone broth recipe” listed above? I made my first Instant Pot bone broth yesterday, but I don’t think I had the right ratio of bones to water. It did not come out as flavorful as when I make it in a big pot on the stove (using your “how to make bone broth” recipe.) The other recipes I found on the Internet for Instant Pot didn’t seem quite right to me either.

  12. CarolAnn Adams Avatar
    CarolAnn Adams

    I am thinking of getting this one pot pressure cooker but the size seems so small. With your big family do you have two of them?
    It is just me and my husband but I usually double recipes. Can a whole chicken fit in it ?
    I really like the idea that it can make yogurt, that is something I have wanted to do.
    They have an 8 quart but it is real expensive.
    CarolAnn Adams.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It does work for our family, though I know several families who have two of them. A whole chicken will fit, and I often use it for cooking a whole chicken. It also easily holds a 5 pound roast without a problem.

  13. Ana Avatar

    I purchased this through your link as soon as I read your article and couldn’t be happier with it! I has already made a huge positive change in our lives.
    Thank you so much for this incredible site!

  14. Donna Avatar

    Steam is still a pressure mode. It can be used when using the trivet to hold food off the bottom. I have used both the steam and manual button for potatoes, but more steam now.

  15. Christie Pollard Avatar
    Christie Pollard

    I received my instant pot last week. I tried the pork roast, and it was DELICIOUS! But I tried whole sweet potatoes, and they did not turn out well at all. I wrapped them in foil, put them on the trivet, and added two cups of water. Since one of the potatoes was large, I cooked them for 20 minutes. They were still very hard. So I cooked them ANOTHER 20 minutes. Still pretty hard. Then I put them in the toaster oven for 1 1/2 hours. That turned out well, but I spent as much time as if I had just used the toaster oven in the first place.

    Any suggestions? We eat sweet potatoes about three times a week. I usually cook them in the toaster oven for about three hours. I was hoping the InstantPot would save me some time – and electricity.

    1. Mary Mondon Avatar
      Mary Mondon

      I made sweet potatoes last week (just got my instant pot also). I washed each potato. I was going to peel them – but too much trouble. I cut each potato in 3 chunks. I had three potatos. I laid them on one of those vegetable steamers that fans out. I also put a cup of water in the pot under the vegetable steamer that fans out. Then laid the sweet potato chunks on top of the vegie steamer. I cooked via the manual button on high pressure for 18 minutes, then I unplugged the instant pot and waited 10 minutes. Then I let the steam out and those potatoes were just as fluffy as could be. After they are cooked, it is easy to eat the potato off the skin.

      1. Christie Pollard Avatar
        Christie Pollard

        That sounds good, but i really like to prepare sweet potatoes without cutting. Guess I can try that. Doesn’t the sugar from the potatoes leak out into the pan making it hard to clean?

        1. Donna Avatar

          I’d say the foil probably messed you up on time most. Although a large sweet potato does take 15+ to cook through. You can reduce that by slicing lengthwise (I put skin side down on the trivet). I cut large ones, don’t cut smaller ones.
          I have no issue with cleaning the stainless. Anything really stuck just needs a bit more water on saute to heat (or vinegar and bring to pressure – or almost). A little salt in a damp pot provides a good scrub enhancer as well. I love being able to really scrub the pot and not worry about a coating coming off.

    2. Sabrina Avatar

      I do sweet potatoes (full, skin pricked with a fork) for 7min in a microwave. I put them into a Lekue silicone steamer with 1-2 spoons of water, but any covered mw plastic/silicone dish could work. I heard people wrapping the pricked potatoes in wet paper towel, but I haven’t tried. I have a 1200W MW, and use 6-7 min, depending on size. I only do one big, or 2-3 small ones at a time. I also cooked sweet potatoes, sliced with meat in the oven for 40 min. They were even softer than they get in the MW. I also have the IP and use it a lot, but not for sweet potatoes. I also tried the same method with regular potatoes and it works. It’s by far much faster than stove, oven or IP.

  16. Margot Avatar

    My husband and I have been Instant Pot addicts for 3 years. Started with the Lux-60; then got the Bluetooth Smart Cooker at a STEAL, over $100 off—not including Bluetooth, a vast upgrade from the 60, THEN, this past Christmas I bought the Duo 7-in-1 for my son and his girlfriend for SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS on CYBER MONDAY on Amazon. At that price, I had to buy US one too!!! We usually keep two out at all times. When we purchased our first one, we finally purchased an extra inner pot because kept thinking of other things to cook in it. I will donate that one, now that the holidays are over. My stove just gets in the way. I make soups all the time! We have a huge apple tree and can make applesauce in no time. I love making broths. I don’t know what I DON’T use it for!!

  17. Sarah Avatar

    What are your thoughts regarding the high heat cooking in regards to this being dangerous, causing the food to become less healthy? In Canada quite recently our government said processed meats are just as dangerous as smoking and second hand exposure in terms of cancer causing properties. From this came a lot of attention about cooking meat at extremely high temperatures produces carcinogenic’s. I personally haven’t done a lot of research about this but thought maybe a you would have some thoughts on this issue.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      The temperatures actually aren’t that high, and the pressure is what allows it to cook quickly. I agree that processed meats are dangerous, but typically, that research is looking at the additives in those meats, along with the cooking methods. There is a lot of evidence that pressure cooking is a safe and healthy way to cook food, but I’m actually working on a full post about this soon..

  18. Mary Mondon Avatar
    Mary Mondon

    Just wanted you to know, Katie, that because of your blog, I sold my big Wolfgang Puck Teflon coated slow cooker and bought the Duo60 – the 7 in 1 Instant Pot. Tonight will be my first try (besides just the water test) to cook some food. I hope I find it as useful as do all the other 6,000 people on Amazon.

  19. Christie Pollard Avatar
    Christie Pollard

    I just get mine today. Any suggestions for “baking” sweet potatoes? I usually use a toaster oven. Should they be wrapped in foil?- I am trying to get away from using foil at ALL.
    I have always used my old stove top pressure cooker to cook cauliflower – to mash. should I use an insert (I have an old handle-less stainless steel pan that fits)?

  20. Sandy Sheldon Avatar
    Sandy Sheldon

    Ours just arrived yesterday and my husband made a chicken dinner in it. He used the recipe that came with the cooker and it was awesome! Can’t wait to make a pot roast.

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