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. Barbara Merrin Avatar
    Barbara Merrin

    In the week of free recipes,does that include,breakfast,lunch and dinner recipes for each day?

  2. Claudia Avatar

    HI! I’ve been reading your blog! I have a question regarding the kitchen gadgets you use as I’m currently cleaning out my kitchen, You mentioned the electric kettle by Hamilton, however I noticed it does have a lot of plastic. What are your thoughts on this as I am sure you’ve done your research.
    Thank you!

  3. Frank Avatar

    I do all the cooking and my wife gave me an Instant Pot for Christmas a year ago. Now, if I were still working and the kids were still at home, I might find it a useful tool. But I’m retired so defrosting and cooking time are not an issue for me. I’ve tried to like it but I can’t do anything with it that I can’t do the conventional way. And there is NO way it competes with my slow cooker. You can’t beat how tender meat is and how the flavors all come together after 8-10 hours in the slow cooker. The IP is a decent rice maker but, otherwise, I don’t find it that useful. It reminds me of when microwaves first came out (yes I’m that old). They were touted as miracle do-all gadgets that would replace your stove and oven. Microwaves are great for warming coffee or heating leftovers. The Instant Pot won’t even do that.

  4. Vicki Avatar

    I am reluctant to use an “Insta-pot or pressure cooker” due to the potential of their killing digestive enzymes in my food – especially when I am working so hard to use locally grown fresh & organic foods – plus to incorporate lacto-fermented, home-made probiotics into my diet.

    I am not in that big of a hurry for my food – I just plan ahead.

  5. Galia Avatar

    Hi WellnessMama,

    Have you heard about stainless steel leeching nickel and chromium into acidic foods? e.g. tomato based dishes or bone broths. Apparently the levels are very significant, especially as you increase the time that you are cooking and the acidity levels of the food. Nickel has been linked to numerous adverse health effects in the doses possible from the cooking process.

  6. sheryl Avatar

    I did some research and discovered that the heating element in the Instant Pot is coated in lead and cadmium. It does not touch the food directly. Would you be concerned about this?

  7. Enam Avatar

    Please could you comment on the silicone seal on the lid? I noticed the seal on my duo plus is completely exposed to the high heat inside while cooking. It just worries me a little because I’m scared of it leaching chemicals or fumes or some sort of toxins into the food. Have you noticed or thought about any issues regarding the silicone seal?

  8. Aaron Holmgren Avatar
    Aaron Holmgren

    I’m concerned about the nickel that leaches out of stainless steel into the food. Too bad these don’t come with a clay or glass, or ceramic interior.

  9. Mari Avatar

    Thx for the review.
    What are your thoughts about the newer models (9-1 and 10-1)?
    What do you think about these extra features? Are they worth it? Is it better to just still to the 7-1 instead?

  10. Teresa A Myers Avatar
    Teresa A Myers

    My first instant pot lasted 3 cooking and would not become pressurized. I returned it and got a new one. I’m cooking my 3rd meal in my new one and guess what happened? Yep, 60 minutes later I had warm meat….it did not presurize. I’m so very dissappointed.

  11. Sabrina Avatar

    I also have the IP lux 6 in 1 which I got by Amazon seller’s mistake as I’ve ordered and payed for the Duo 7in1. The problem was not the lack of yogurt program, but the Lux has only one pressure, while Duo allows low and high pressure. I still used it and loved it. I do all the soups and stews with IP. After a few years of smouldering frustration (LOL), I also bough the new Ultra IP. It is still very new and I have’t used it a lot. I has all the functions of the Duo and some more. I have’t tried the sous vide, as I am not convinced this is what I want. And I want to try eggs with low pressure. I was afraid to cook eggs at the high pressure of Lux. All in all, both the old Lux and the new Ultra are excellent appliances, and I still don’t want to ditch the LUX, even I should.

  12. Jan Avatar

    I received an InstantPot for Christmas. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. It had a C6 Code and had to be replaced by the company. I AM NOT happy with the company. It’s been more than 2 weeks and when I checked the status on the replacement they told me they were “overloaded” and “diligently” trying to get replacements out. Not good. I am so anxious to try and feel so disappointed that I have a pot sitting in the box that doesn’t work. People need to be aware that this. they don’t seem to be very interested in providing good customer service. The response time on questions is lacking and they don’t offer any alternatives except – sorry.

  13. david meehan Avatar
    david meehan

    if you wipe the seal ring and inside of cooker after washing with white vinegar it will nutralize the smell of what you cooked, or store with open box of baking soda in it.

  14. Mike Avatar


    Tried making white rice and then brown rice. Follows instructions clearly and got a “BURN” message both times.

    Contacted customer support by phone…on hold for 45 minutes…then gave up.

    Contacted them by email chat. Their suggestion was;

    1) put oil in the bottom of the pot! WHAT? The whole purpose is to make food healthy and they suggest oil?

    2) put the steamer rack and then another oven-proof bowl with the rice on top! WHAT? So I should use another pot and then risk burning my hands to get the pot of rice out.

    3) then they said “there is a learning curve”. To make rice? There are 2 ingredients including water!!! Wash rice. Put rice in pot. Add water. Close lid. Press button. What learning curve?


    Bought 3 for presents and returning all of them.

  15. Kristen Avatar

    Have you read or do you know of any discussion regarding the instant pot leaching nickel into the food? Thx for any clarification you can provide.

  16. Dolphin Avatar

    Hello Katie,
    I have recently heard about Vita clay slow cooker. The inner pot is made of Earthen clay and says it is toxic free and free of Lead. Have you tried/ used it? Any suggestions would help.

  17. Kera Avatar

    I’ve read all your posts on your reviews on both the Instant pot and GAPS protocol.
    I’ve just started GAPS with my son.
    1) knowing what you know now about how much you love the Instant pot, would you use it to make his GAPS food (broth, meats, veggies) even though the GAPS book does NOT recommend using a pressure cooker for food prep?
    2) have you updated your Instant pot broth recipe yet? I can’t seem to find it on your site?
    Thank you so much!!

  18. Farris Avatar


    You wrote “the Instant Pot has a fully stainless-steel interior so this is the only part that touches the food” but I noticed on many videos that there is a plastic seal on the lid. Does it not touch the food???

    Thanks for your response.

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