Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Should You Buy an Instant Pot?

Yes, I'm late the Instant Pot party. I generally like to get a feel for how a product is doing longevity- wise before diving in. After a year of the Instant Pot gracing my Facebook and Instagram feed from friends I knew and trusted, I reluctantly succumbed to the Black Friday sales.

Should you buy an instant pot? Here are my thoughts on it with it's pros and cons.

My hesitancy is not that it's a lot of money, it's that I already have a rice cooker and crock pot. Real estate in my kitchen is at a premium – would this be worth it or would it sit in our garage like our twice-a-year used deep fryer or juicer? In case you were wondering what it does, it's a multi-functional programmable appliance that works as a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, cake maker, yogurt maker and more.

In the first two weeks these are the different items I tried in it:

Boiled eggs (best one to start with)
Macaroni and cheese
Lentil Chili
Meatballs and Marinara sauce
Steel Cut Oats
Dark Chocolate Pudding
Mashed Potatoes

Should you buy an instant pot? Here are my thoughts on it with it's pros and cons.
Dark Chocolate Pudding from Dinner in an Instant

What were the pros of the Instant Pot?

1. I could set it and leave it. This is the biggest benefit for me as there is no stove watching/stirring. I can cut up potatoes and put them in for 8 minutes at high pressure and leave the house. When I get home I just mash them up and they're still warm (when the cooking is complete it goes into warm mode).

2. Compared to a slow cooker it did save time for meals like chili, steel cut oats and making applesauce. You can have steel cut oats and applesauce within half an hour (most of the time is pressurizing) and both were delicious. Chili? One hour.

3. Compared to stove top it was a big time saver for dried beans.

4. It saves money on energy usage. Their website claims that there is a 70% reduction in energy usage – this is a big one for me.

5. Easy to clean about 90% of the time. The only tricky ones were the mac 'n cheese and rice.

6. They are often on sale under $100 and I feel that it is priced appropriately.

Should you buy an instant pot? Here are my thoughts on it with it's pros and cons.
Meatballs in Marina Sauce 

What are the cons of the Instant Pot?

1. We have a 6 quart because we want it to fit well with our cupboard space. It would be difficult to make food for a larger group. I had to do two batches of meatballs (they were raw meatballs so if I filled the pot they would've stuck together) and two batches of the chocolate pudding. If we had the space I would have purchased an 8 quart but for a family of five and not making a double batch of a recipe, this is big enough.

2. Rice was terrible. Crispy on the bottom each time we made it. We have a rice cooker that has always worked perfectly and we were hoping we would be able to swap it out. If you have a rice solution, let me know. (Edited to add: a ratio of 1:1 water:rice at 4 minutes on high pressure is perfect! Do not use the rice setting).

3. Not a huge time saver over stove cooking for many items (ex. eggs, potatoes, pasta) due to the time required to pressurize. Many recipes can take anywhere from 5-25 minutes to pressurize before cooking.

4. A lot of recipes recommend sauteing your meat/onions etc in the pot. Nope. Not happening. The surface is way too small for me to do more than 1 lb of meat with onions and garlic. If that's all you need to put in saute-wise, go wild. It should reduce the warming/pressurizing time afterwards.

5. The pressure needs to be released naturally or manually and I'm hesitant to let my son cook with it in case he forgets to release the pressure or burns himself on the vent.

Was it worth it?

Yes. This is not as life-changing as I had hoped but the "set it and forget it" aspect is key. You might argue that a slow cooker is similar except in this case you can go from dried lentils to chili in under an hour which saves you time and money. The two items I am looking forward to making over the next few months are chicken broth and yogurt – the yogurt makes me a bit nervous, have you done it?

Are you an Instant Pot-ter? I'd love to hear your favourites.


As always, I'd love to see you on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


  1. I LOVE using it as a rice cooker. We stopped using our rice cooker and simply use this for the last year or so. I do 1:1 rice to water and set in manual for 4 mins. Let it sit for 10 mins after and release the pressure. Perfect rice. I love Doig broth in t! ITs so quick! And no spilling over (which I have a tendency to do on the stovetop pot). Ribs are also a good one.

    1. Okay, I will use a different setting than the "rice" one then! Thank you. Will try 4 minutes (is that high pressure?). Thanks!

    2. Yes, manual high pressure for 4 minutes. Manual is the way to go with rice. I generally do 4 cups (measured with the cup it came with) and put water in up to the corresponding line on the side of the inner pot. When doing basmati or thai jasmine rice I put a little bit more water in slightly above the number 4, otherwise I find it's a bit crunchy/dry still.

    3. Thank you!! Will try it tomorrow!

  2. Don't be afraid of the yogurt! I tried this recipe and it was great. https://thisoldgal.com/instant-pot-greek-yogurt/ I'd only made yogurt on the stove / in a thermos before, and this was easier, and the yogurt was thicker. I haven't tried all the fancy toppings she includes (I just add regular jam).