Awhile back, I started to see the Instant Pot showing up in my social media feeds. Friends were raving about how awesome this kitchen gadget was. I had seen a few infomercials for an electric pressure cooker on TV and became intrigued.
One January afternoon, I decided to pull the trigger and ordered one from Amazon. In a 70 minute time period that included a cheap, rolled rump roast from the local meat counter, I was hooked. I spent the next two weeks telling my friends about the wonders of the Instant Pot and why they needed one. And since I consider you, dear reader, a friend, I’m going to tell you 7 reasons why you need one, too
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THE INSTANT POT MAKES FOOD FAST
The number one selling point on the Instant Pot for me was the speed of cooking time. I’m guessing you’ve cooked a few beef and pork roasts in your day and it probably involved the slow cooker or the oven. I never loved the texture of the meat that came out of the slow cooker and I rarely had time to throw a roast in the oven for four hours after I got home from work. Enter the Instant Pot. I can cook a beef roast to perfection in about 70 minutes and a pork roast in about 90. I’ve cooked ribs in 30 minutes and a one pot meal in about 20 minutes.
The “advertised” cooking time of the Instant Pot is a bit deceiving. It takes a little bit of time to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure and then time to either do a quick pressure release or a natural pressure release after the cooking is completed. (More on that later.)
You can even cook meat from a frozen state. As expected, the cooking time is longer for frozen meat. Sometimes, I get an urge to make chili for supper only to realize I didn’t take out a pound of hamburger. It’s nice to know I can cook a pound in about 35 minutes right out of the freezer. It works great for someone like me who often forgets to take out meat for the evening meal.
THE INSTANT POT IS EASY TO USE
I have purchased gadgets before and left them to sit in the box. They seemed like a great purchase at the time, but they were also a little bit intimidating. The Instant Pot didn’t intimidate me at all. I took it out of the box and read the manual. This is a rare thing for me. I’m sometimes a wing-it kind of gal. The Instant Pot is a serious gadget and it does have a little bit of a learning curve. I decided I should give it the attention it deserved. Once I read the manual, I found it to be pretty intuitive and very easy to use.
Clean-up is easy. The inside pot is stainless steel and is dishwasher safe. If I end up with a coating of food that’s stuck on the bottom, I put a few cups of water in the pot and turn on the saute function and let it boil for a while. The food comes off easily.
As it is coming up to pressure, it does make a loud hissing noise that is a little scary at first. Which brings me to….
THE INSTANT POT IS SAFE
You may have heard nightmare stories growing up (depending on your age) of your Grandma or Mom cooking in a stovetop pressure cooker and having it explode. I’d hear stories about how wonderful the meat was that came out of a pressure cooker, but you had to be careful with it. As the story went, the lid would pop off the cooker and its contents would splatter all over the ceiling and the walls.
We’ve come a long way, baby. This will not happen with the modern electric pressure cooker. The Instant Pot makes this nice little chime when you have the lid in place and it locks down once you hear that chime. The lid will not open until the cooker comes down to normal pressure. Try as you might, there is no way you’re going to get that lid off until the Instant Pot is completely depressurized.
The Instant Pot is completely safe but it is an appliance that heats up. The steam that comes out is hot and the outside gets hot just like a slow cooker does. Keep it out of reach of little hands.
THE INSTANT POT IS A HEALTHY COOKING PROCESS
Because the Instant Pot cooks in a sealed environment, it retains more of the nutrients than foods that cooked in the open. Because of the sealed nature, it makes great broth and soups. All of those great vitamins and minerals stay in the broth and don’t boil away.
THE INSTANT POT SAVES YOU MONEY
Saving money is important, right? Electricity is a decent chunk of my budget. I would have to run my oven for 3-4 hours for a roast and plug-in my slow cooker all day for pulled pork. I have never had my Instant Pot plugged in for longer than 90 minutes. I use it frequently in the summer so my oven doesn’t heat up the house. That’s a good amount of energy savings. I like that I can use the Instant Pot to replace my oven and my slow cooker.
The Instant Pot really shines when it comes to cooking cheaper cuts of meat. The high-pressure method of cooking tenderizes food and makes the flavor explode. Cheaper cuts of meat leave more room in your family budget for other things…like crafting supplies.
I also think that we eat at home more since the addition of the Instant Pot in our home. Before the Instant Pot, I would have been more likely to pick up a pizza on the way home from work once I realized that I didn’t have any meat out for supper.
Supper? Is that weird? Need a translation? In the Midwest, we tend to say supper instead of dinner.
THE INSTANT POT IS AFFORDABLE
The Instant Pot is very affordable. There are several different models. I purchased the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer model for $99.95. The model without the yogurt function is $20 cheaper. So if you don’t have any intention of making yogurt or if you don’t even like yogurt this model will be your best bet. They have higher end models that are Bluetooth compatible. But I’m not sure all of those bells and whistles are necessary. There is an 8 quart version that would be well worth the money if you have a large family. Sometimes Amazon has the Instant Pot available as the Deal of The Day, so keep an eye out for that.
THE INSTANT POT MAKES GREAT HARD-BOILED EGGS AND CHEESECAKE
Hard-boiled eggs and cheesecake as a reason to buy the Instant Pot? Random, huh? Well, originally I was just going to tout the wonders of hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, but then I thought about the awesome, creamy cheesecake I made in it, too.
Let’s start with the hard-boiled eggs. My family eats a lot of hard-boiled eggs. They are a favorite to grab on the go for an extra protein boost. We eat a lot of egg salad, chef salads, and deviled eggs. Potato salad is a summer favorite at our house. I have always struggled with making hard-boiled eggs. I know. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right? I’d cook them too long, not long enough or I wouldn’t chill them the right way. Whatever the reason was, I always found them hard to peel.
Not so with the Instant Pot. I have never experienced such easy to peel eggs in my life! I can put six eggs in the cooker and in 5 minutes I have perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs. They’re never rubbery and the shells practically fall off. If it was not such a great appliance for other food items, I’m pretty sure I would have this just for the hard-boiled eggs alone. Since it is about $100 appliance, it’s a good thing I like to cook many other foods in the Instant Pot.
So, cheesecake? Yep! Now, I will tell you if you’re a cheesecake freak, you may not like the appearance of an Instant Pot cheesecake. When cooking in the Instant Pot, food is essentially being steamed under pressure. Food does not brown in the instant pot. As a result, the cheesecake that comes out of the Instant Pot looks a little pale and quite frankly, rubbery. You also need to blot the water off the top of it because of the steaming process. Appealing right? Stay with me…
Baking a cheesecake in the oven is a long process. Cooking (not baking) a cheesecake in the Instant Pot is not. It takes less than an hour to cook, about an hour to cool and six hours to chill in the fridge. After it chills, I cover the pale top with a fruit topping of my choice (usually cherry pie filling). No one in my house can tell it’s pale. What is striking is the creamy texture of the cheesecake. It’s wonderfully creamy and it doesn’t crack. Cheesecake this easy is dangerous.
Handy Printable For Instant Pot Cooking
If you already have an Instant Pot, you know that different foods have different cooking times. Meats obviously have to cook longer than vegetables and I always have to look up how long it takes to cook hard-boiled eggs (5 minutes in case you forgot, too).
Then there’s the whole pressure release thing. The Instant Pot has a vent that seals the pot. This allows the pressure to build up in the pot. After the cooking time is over, the Instant Pot will beep to let you know it has finished. After cooking, you have two choices: Natural Pressure Release or Quick Pressure Release. Natural pressure release means just what it says. You allow the Instant Pot to come down to normal pressure on its own. That takes about 15-20 minutes and is used for most meats.
Quick pressure release also means just what it says. You flip the vent to open right after cooking and let the steam pressure escape. It’s a bit startling when you do this as the steam rapidly escapes from the pot. It’s pretty noisy. It’s also hot, too, so keep away from the hot steam coming out of the pot when you release the pressure.
It can be a little overwhelming at first to keep track of all of those cooking times and pressure release techniques. So, I’ve put together a handy printable that you can put somewhere in your kitchen so you don’t have to refer to a website or Pinterest to find out just how long it takes to cook those chicken breasts or baked potatoes.
This printable can be found in my Resource Library and you’ll need a password to get in.
Are you sold on the Instant Pot? You can purchase one here.
Remember, less cooking time means more crafting time!
What will you do to Craft Your Happy today?