I have a thing about kitchen appliances including the Instant Pot. It takes a lot for me to like one, and there’s a reason for it.
My kitchen is tight and storage is limited. So if I buy a kitchen appliance it has to meet atleast these two criteria:
1. Space to store.
2. Fulfil multiple purposes.
You already know of my love for multipurpose kitchen utensils and that love stretches to electrical appliances as well. So when I first heard of the Instant Pot, I was sceptical.
What is the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
It’s the latest craze taking over kitchens around US and Canada. An Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that does the job of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yoghurt maker, sauté pan and a warming pot. The marketing hype says it’s a single appliance that does the job of seven different kitchen tools.
So after years of deliberating and researching and lurking in Facebook communities, finally, last year on Black Friday I went ahead and bought an Instant Pot. Well, my husband bought it, he’s the Amazon king in our household but you know what I’m saying!
Since then I have tested recipes on the stove top and in the Instant Pot, and tried different settings. If like me you are wondering why you should buy an Instant Pot, here are the answers!
Why Buy One?
1. If you prep meals in advance.
I spend my Sunday nights meal prepping for the week. I peel and chop and box and half-cook items that I intend to use during the following week. The IP takes less time many things.
2. If you and your family eat a lot of legumes.
I soak my chickpeas and horse gram, red kidney beans and cannellini beans the night before and then, crank them out in the Instant Pot. 20 mins back to back and I have prep work for stews and chilli, homemade hummus and salads all done in one afternoon.
3. If you cook meat a few times during the week, you need the Instant Pot.
4. Ifyou forget to take the meat out of the freezer.
I have done that a few times (ok – many times) and then had to change plans on the fly. In the Instant Pot, you can cook meat from frozen. Full disclosure: You need to adjust the cook time and I find the texture of the dish just a little mushy when you cook from frozen but the time saved and meal rescued is priceless.
5. If you need to do other things while you’re cooking.
I help kids with their homework, check my social media and even run a laundry load all at the same time. With an Instant Pot you can “set it and forget about it,” there’s no babysitting required esp if your recipe needs NPR – Natural Pressure Release.
6. If you have limited storage space.
It is many appliances in one and you won’t need a rice cooker, slow cooker or yoghurt maker – if you have one I want to talk to You. You are God!
7. If you love your soups and stews and chilli.
Instant Pot really shines in cooking down vegetables and minced meat in less time than it takes in the pan.
8. If one pot meals are your thing.
They are mine – chicken curry, coconut milk curry, chicken qorma can be recreated in the IP.
9. If you love to entertain or regularly cook for 4 or more people.
Batch cooking, cooking large quantities of food and fast – here’s where the Instant Pot really shines. When you’re entertaining, an IP makes for a reliable extra hob.
10. If you cook dishes that often have multiple steps like first sauté, braised, steam and blend etc.
11. If you are a little freaked out by regular pressure cookers.I
Instant Pots are a lot safer than regular pressure cookers. It is possible to make a mess here as well if you overfill or keep the valves or rim dirty.
12. There is less noise.
And less smell and less heat with an IP so it works very well in hot weather and small spaces.
13. If you have people arriving and eating all at different times.
We do that twice a week and my oldest who’s 12 comes in and sets the timer on the rice in the IP and is able to get her dinner before I return with my youngest. The timer is a lifesaver.
14. It’s easier to clean because the pot insert is made of stainless steel.
3 Reasons Not to Buy the Instant Pot
On the flip side, here are three reasons why you don’t want this kitchen appliance in your life.
If you cook mostly vegetarian food. Cooking in a pan with a lid will do the same job as an Instant Pot, as far as veggies are concerned. Unless you cook a lot of legumes then consider point nbr 2 above.
Technology is not your friend. There is a steep learning curve especially if you’ve never used a pressure cooker. The manual and the recipe book that come with it aren’t as comprehensive as I would have liked. I have learnt more just playing around with settings and ingredients. And from the Facebook groups.
You just don’t have counter space. The IP will end up sitting on the counter somewhat close to your hood if not right under it. So don’t buy it if your kitchen counter is already full, you will end up putting the IP away in the basement.
So here it is. The reality behind the hype, and if you’ve been doing your research then you’ve seen there is a lot of hype. There are Facebook communities and recipe forums out there to help get you started but they will also overwhelm. So take your time and play with it and make it work for you and your family life and routine. That’s after you have it in your kitchen.
Do you have an Instant Pot? What do you think of it? – Share here.