The Instant Pot was one of those kitchen appliances that didn’t take a lot of convincing myself that it was a good addition – nor the rest of the house. I had been reading about it for a while and had a bargain with myself that if it came up within a certain price band on the Black Friday sales last year, I was having it. It did, and I did. Nearly a year on, here’s my look at the benefits of the Instant Pot.
What is the Instant Pot?
We’ve all seen these devices around the shops that do various jobs in one. I know there’s a very impressive Tefal version that does a huge number of jobs (it is also corresponding nearly three times the cost of the Instant Pot when I bought it). The appeal of this to me would be the ability to get rid of a few things – in this case, the slow cooker, the old fashion pressure cooker pan and a big stockpot pan we had.
The concern with anything that does more than one thing is that it doesn’t do any of them well. So, I did some research into the Instant Pot and quickly realised that this was a gadget with a lot of fans. It started out in the US but has made its way over to the UK and there are already plenty of fans – Facebook groups sharing recipes, dedicated Pinterest boards and more.
What does it do?
The model that I purchased was the 8-litre version of the Duo 7-in-1 Instant Pot. I know there are the smaller size and different models that don’t do quite everything this one does but that was the one on offer. And we have a household of four adults, so I thought the bigger size was a good idea.
- Slow cook
You can easily control settings with the buttons on the front of the cooker and it takes little effort to get it up and running. It offers both high and low pressure settings for the pressure cooker as well as three heat settings for the slow cooker. And when any program has finished, it goes into Keep Warm mode until you release the steam or stop it. So you don’t have to worry about forgetting it and the food going cold.
Benefits of the Instant Pot
There’s no doubt that there are lots of benefits of the Instant Pot and the ones that appeal most to you will depend on the kind of food you cook.
For example, my parents are very traditional in their food tastes and Mum’s favourite meal is a roast dinner. They also like their vegetables well cooked (much to my chef husband’s horror at times) and this was always achieved with a traditional pressure cooker pan. That thing was so noisy! It built up steam, hissed like mad for about 10-15 minutes and then the food was eventually done.
With the Instant Pot, I can add a tray of potatoes and another with carrots and swede on it. In it goes and I set the Steam setting for 12 minutes. The steam builds up with a minute or so gentle hissing near the end. Then the counter begins. At the end of 12 minutes, you can quick release the steam or leave it to release naturally (this takes around 20 minutes I believe). We release quickly so we can serve the food. The veg is well cooked as my parents prefer and there’s much less noise involved.
Slow cooker Instant Pot
Another device we got rid of when we got the IP was the slow cooker. To use it as a slow cooker, you need to get the glass lid that fits over the top of the big stainless steel pot. This makes the pot into a classic slow cooker where you can lift the lid and stir the content or add more water as needed.
We have used it for both packet mixes and recipes so far and found it works far quicker than the slow cooker. What would have taken around four hours in the slow cooker takes around an hour and a half to two hours at the most in the IP. We leave a little extra time and can use the Keep Warm feature if the meal is ready early.
Extras for the IP
The Instant Pot comes with an accessories set that includes a metal trivet, a cup measure and a couple of spoons. There are plenty of extras you can buy specifically made for the Instant Pot and also many other items that work just as well with it. I bought the glass lid as mentioned. I also got a set of silicone accessories – a trivet with long handles, a steamer basket and a cake pan. I added another steamer basket to this and it will handle two of these on the trivet for those roast dinner vegetables.
You can buy additional stainless steel pots and replacement parts for the inside of the steamer lid. There are also lots of other accessories that will work with it – you can see them where you search Instant Pot on Amazon.
Finally, there are tons of recipes and even recipes books available. I have my own board on Pinterest where I have recipes and a quick search of ‘Instant Pot’ followed by whatever you want to make will give you lots of ideas. Sites such as Wellness Mama are great sources of all things Instant Pot.
Nearly a year on, there’s a lot of things I haven’t tried with the Instant Pot yet. But I am very impressed with what I have done, and we are always learning how to use it for other jobs that make it earn it’s keep even more. I also think that the more we use, the more we find ways to use it. Next up – soups and traditional rice pudding (I’ll let you know how I get on!)
Do you have an Instant Pot? What’s the favourite dish you have made with it?
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Start making the most of your Instant Pot today with these simple, tasty recipes