Have You Heard Of The Instant Pot?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Instant pot by now. It’s been the hot new cooking appliance for the past few months. Chances are that you’ve seen it on the shelves of your local superstore, on Amazon, or maybe you’ve come across one of the many blog posts, social media posts, or forum posts singing the praises of this fresh take on the old-fashioned pressure cooker. The Instant Pot Will Change Your Life.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a pressure cooker, but to be perfectly honest, it’s always scared me. The Instant Pot is the perfect solution for people like me, who like the idea of cooking a tender roast in a fraction of the time that it takes in the oven or slow cooker.
While our mothers and grandmothers were comfortable using a stovetop pressure cooker, most women of this generation have been intimidated by the hissing and the potential of having it blow up. Because of this, pressure cooking has fallen out of favor in the last few decades. All that has changed with the arrival of the Instant Pot - a self-contained, electrical pressure cooker with plenty of built-in safety features.
With the promise of being able to cook a meal in 3 to 10 minutes of pressure cooking, it is no surprise that this new electric appliance is quickly gaining a large fan base. Instant Pots are flying off the shelves, and you can find plenty of fans online who share their favorite recipes, tips, and adaptations on blogs and popular Instant Pot Facebook groups.
The instant pot is a self-contained unit that sits on your countertop and plugs into an outlet. It takes up about as much space as a rice cooker or a small slow cooker. The Instant Pot is a smart pressure cooker that’s controlled through a digital interface. You tell it how long you want to cook your meal under pressure, set the timer and you’re good to go. It automatically brings up and holds the pressure at a safe level and will not allow you to open the pot while it’s pressurized. This makes it as easy to operate as a microwave.
It is not surprising then that this new take on an old kitchen tool is quickly gaining popularity. The cooking is very hands-off. You simply set it, and then walk away until you’re food is ready. It has all the advantages of using the slow cooker but takes a fraction of the time. Perfect when you want to get a home cooked meal on the table fast.
Does The Instant Pot Really Cook That Fast?
One of the big appeals of the Instant pot when you first start to look at it is how quickly it claims to cook food. I know it’s what first attracted me to this new kitchen appliance. Being able to cook an entire Sunday dinner in 15 minutes or less sounded very appealing, but also a little too good to be true Let’s take a closer look at how fast the Instant Pot actually cooks your food.
Let me start by pointing out that it does indeed cook pretty fast. It really shines on dishes like stews or roasts that would otherwise take a long time on the stove or in the oven, and even longer in the slow cooker.
Truth be told, the claims that it can cook chicken breast in 5 minutes, or a roast in 20 minutes, are a little misleading. While that is the time the food needs to cook under pressure, the actual time before you can eat is longer because it has to come up to pressure first. This process can take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. The fuller the pot, the colder (or even frozen) the ingredients, and the bigger the cut of meat, the longer it will take to come up to pressure. Once it does, the countdown timer will start.
After the food has cooked for the allotted time, it takes a little while before you can safely open the pot and serve your meal. There are two options and which one you choose depends on the meal you’re preparing. The first is to release the pressure through the vent in the lid. This causes hot steam to escape and the pressure to go down within a matter of minutes. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to open the lid and serve the food.
The second option is a process called Natural Pressure Release (NPR). Whenever a recipe calls for this, you shouldn’t turn the valve to release the pressure. Instead, you let the pot sit until the pressure releases on its own. This process takes about 25 to 45 minutes and allows the food to continue cooking until the pressure valve drops down and you are able to open the pot... It’s important to allow for this additional time when preparing a meal in the Instant Pot.
All in all, you won’t be able to cook your meals in a matter of minutes. You have to figure in the time it will take for the pot to come up to pressure, and for some recipes, additional time to allow the pressure to slowly drop back down. Does this mean the Instant Pot isn’t fast? Of course not. It’s still a much quicker method of cooking roasts, beans, and the likes than any other cooking style. In short, it’s not super-fast for everything, but great for things that take a long time otherwise.
As an added bonus, once you add everything to the pot, it is hands-free cooking. You don’t have to stir pots or babysit the food. Instead, you can work on something else, or relax for a bit while dinner cooks itself.
How To Choose The Right Instant Pot
You’ve heard about the Instant Pot and are ready to buy one and give this modern take on pressure cooking a try. You head to the store or your favorite online store and discover that there are quite a few different models of Instant Pot available, in different sizes, with different functionality. Let me quickly run you through the most popular models and sizes so you can make an informed decision on what to get.
Let’s start by talking about size. The size of the meals you want to cook or even the size of your family will determine what Instant Pot is the right size for you. Most come in the following sizes:
The 5-quart size works well if you’re mainly cooking for one to three people. It works great for dorm rooms and is a must-have in a small apartment. Unless that description fits you, I highly recommend going with the standard 6-quart size.
The six-quart model is the most versatile and also the most popular size. Some of the models available will only come in this size. It’s perfect for the average family and will fit all your pressure cooking needs. If in doubt, go with this size.
The 8-quart size is available in a few models and is a good fit for larger families, or if you know you’ll be cooking a lot of large meals for family gatherings, church dinners and such.
With size decisions out of the way, let’s take a quick look at the different models available. There are three different main models with a couple of variations thrown in to keep you on your toes. Here are the main models.
The Instant Pot Lux
This is the basic Instant Pot model and the one I recommend for most people new to pressure cooking. You may also hear as this one as the 6-in-1 model. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, with sauté and keep warm functions as well for a total of six different ways of cooking.
The Instant Pot Duo
This is also called the 7-in-1 and will do everything the Lux can, but is also a yogurt maker. If making your own yogurt at home is on your list of things you want to do regularly, spring for the duo, otherwise, go with the basic lux model and save a few dollars.
The Instant Pot Smart + app
The latest main model in the Instant Pot lineup is the Smart one. It will do everything the previous two models do and more. The digital interface on the pot itself and the app that connects to your instant pot, allow you to control temperature and cooking durations for your meals as you see fit.
If you like gadgets prefer the ease of being able to save your favorite recipes and instant pot settings on your smartphone and love full control over your pot, this is the model to get.
If you’re on a budget, go for the Lux model. If you’re a big fan of making yogurt, consider the Duo, and if your budget allows, go for the latest model with full smartphone app integration. To be perfectly honest, it’s hard to go wrong no matter what model of instant pot you choose.
Is An Instant Pot Worth The Money?
Let’s take a look at the instant pot and whether or not it’s worth spending the money on one. Depending on the time of year, and what kind of deal you can find, the average Instant Pot will set you back anywhere from $70 to $150. While this doesn't make it the cheapest kitchen appliance on the market, it’s also nowhere near the highest.
On the other hand, you can pick up a stovetop pressure cooker or a basic slow cooker for around $25. Does that mean the Instant Pot is overpriced, or something you shouldn’t consider buying? I don’t think so. While the Instant Pot may not be the right choice for everyone, it can quickly become one of your most valued and most often used appliances.
For example, the inexpensive stove top pressure cooker will do you no good if you’re too intimidated to use it or end up keeping it in the back of the cabinet because you don’t have the time and patience to keep an eye on the pressure and adjust the stovetop as needed. If you have young children underfoot, you may not be comfortable using a traditional pressure cooker so the Instant Pot provides a great alternative.
If you’re good at planning ahead and starting dinner first thing in the morning to slow cook a roast, you may not need an Instant Pot. If on the other hand, you’re like me and forget to get it started, the Instant Pot may just be the solution you need to get dinner on the table quickly.
Last but not least, let’s talk hard cash. The expense of buying the Instant Pot will easily be worth it if it keeps you from going out to eat, or picking up food on your way home. If you know you can get dinner cooked in 45 minutes without having to stir pots, it becomes a lot easier to go home and start that pot of chili, or the pot roast, and relax while it cooks. If it keeps you from ordering out even just once a week, it won’t be long for the Instant Pot to pay for itself.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours to make. If you aren’t sure if you’ll actually use it, the Instant Pot may be a waste of money. If on the other hand, you think you’ll use it quite a bit then keep it on your counter and use it as your pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker, it will be an investment that’s well worth it. Look through some recipes, borrow a friend’s Instant Pot if possible, and see if this seems like the type of appliance that will work well for you and your lifestyle.
Instant Pot vs. Slowcooker
When you start to look into the benefits of using an Instant Pot, you may notice that there’s quite a bit of overlap with the benefits of using a slow cooker. Both appliances are good at cooking large, inexpensive cuts of meat like pork and beef roasts for example. Both are great at cooking beans, soups, stews, chilies and the likes. Both are also great for busy home cooks since they allow you to put everything in, turn it on, and let the food cook itself. No stirring pots and watching the stove required.
In addition, both are electric appliances that sit on your countertop and plug into an available outlet. You can move them around as needed, they use up approximately the same amount of space, and you can take them with you to family get-togethers, vacations etc. They even both excel at keeping food piping hot until you’re ready to eat.
The biggest difference between the Instant Pot and the Slow Cooker is cooking time. The slow cooker is designed to cook your meal low and slow. The average slow cooker dish takes six to ten hours to cook. The instant pot, on the other hand, will cook most meals in under an hour from start to finish.
Another big difference is that while a slow cooker is just that, a device that cooks your meals low and slow, the Instant Pot can replace your rice cooker as well as your slow cooker since it has a slow cooker setting. Depending on the model you choose, you can even replace your yogurt maker with it.
If you want more versatility in one appliance and the ability to cook a wholesome home cooked meal in a very short time, the Instant Pot is the way to go. I encourage you to give it a try and see if it becomes one of the most used kitchen appliances in your house like it has in mine.
If on the other hand, you are comfortable with your slow cooker and good about planning ahead long enough to start your dinner in it, you may find that you have no need for an Instant Pot. Similarly, if you think the hissing and steaming, or simply the idea of having a pressure cooking device in your kitchen scares you then you’re probably better off sticking to your slow cooker. That being said, with the safety features built in and the easy to use digital display, using an instant pot is just as simple and easy as your favorite slow cooker. If you’re feeling a little intimidated, I encourage you to get one and give it a try. After preparing your first two or three meals in it, you’ll be wondering what you were worried about in the first place.
Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner In The Instant Pot
One of my favorite things about the Instant Pot is how versatile it is. You can cook a wide variety of dishes in this popular new electric appliance. In this post, we’re going to take a quick look at how you can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this electric pressure cooker. This will come in handy when your stove is out, it’s too hot to cook inside, you’re on vacation, or when you’re cooking with your Instant Pot in your dorm room for example.
Of course, these aren’t the only times the versatility of the Instant Pot will come in handy. I like to use my Instant Pot multiple times per week and cook a wide variety of dishes in it for any time of the day. Let’ me quickly run you through some family favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Keto Breakfast In The Instant Pot
Tools to Help Prepare Breakfast:
Let’s start with the first meal of the day – breakfast. There are all sorts of great Instant Pot Breakfast Recipes you can make in the Instant Pot. With the sauté function, you can even use it to scramble up some eggs or cook sausage in a pinch.
Where the Instant Pot really shines is with oatmeal. Some of the best tasting steel cut oats come from cooking them in this popular electric appliance. No constant stirring required for creamy and nutritious oats.
You can even hard boil a large number of eggs in your Instant Pot. Perfect for make-ahead breakfast meals that last you all week long.
- Instant Pot Egg Bites from The Savory Tooth
- Keto Instant Pot Blueberry Muffins from Beauty and The Foodie
- Low Carb Mini Mushroom Quiche Egg Bites by This Old Gal
- Instant Pot Egg Loaf from Simply Happy foodie
- Poblano Cheese Frittata from Two Sleevers
- Hard Boiled Eggs from The Prairie Homestead
- Breakfast Casserole from Recipes from a Pantry
- Broccoli Ham & Pepper Frittata from Two Sleevers
- Egg Cups on the Run from Two Sleevers
- Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Casserole from The Southern Plate
Keto Lunch In The Instant Pot
Since the Instant Pot does such a great job at fixing soups and stews, it’s perfect for lunchtime cooking as well. With a quick google search, you’ll be able to find plenty of yummy recipes to try as well as lots of directions for adapting your own favorite recipes.
It’s also a great way to cook one-pot meals including pasta and rice dishes that are perfect for lunch. And let’s not forget about everyone’s favorite – Mac and Cheese. If on the other hand, you’re in the mood for a nice salad, try boiling eggs for it in the instant pot, or even making an entire batch of potato salad in it from start to finish.
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Skinny Taste
- Taco Meat from Tasty Thin
- Instant Pot Cool Ranch Chicken from Tastythin
- Walking Taco Bowl from Wholesome Yum
- Chicken Zoodle Soup from Diethood
- Keto Chicken Bacon Chowder from 5 Dinners 1 Hour
- Low Carb Chicken Wings from Dr. Karen S. Lee
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs from What Great Grandma Ate
- Low Carb Chicken Taco Soup from That Low Carb Life
- Chili Lime Steak Bowl from FoodNService
Keto Dinner In The Instant Pot
This is where the Instant pot really shines. It’s great for easy weeknight dinners that can be cooked from start to finish in the instant pot like a nice big batch of beef stew, or your favorite chicken dish for example.
Pressure cookers have always been the best way to deal with large roasts and tougher cuts of meat. Cook your pot roast or a big batch of homemade pulled pork in the slow cooker for a nice Sunday dinner.
And let’s not forget about side dishes. From various rice dishes to mashed, or scalloped potatoes, the instant pot can take care of your main side dish for you while you’re busy cooking anything else.
- Keto Instant Pot Crack Chicken from The Keto Queens
- Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowl from Hey Keto Mama
- Creamy Salsa Chicken from Joy Filled Eats
- Low-Carb Creamy Garlic Tuscan Chicken Thighs from Stay Snatched
- Bruschetta Chicken from Sustainable Cook
- Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo from Stay Snatched
- Bruschetta Chicken with Zoodles from This Old Gal
- Instant Pot Beef And Broccoli from Savory Tooth
- Fall-Apart Pot Roast from Healing Gourmet
- Chipotle Style Barbacoa from Little Wellness Corner
- Buttery Ranch Boneless Pork Chops from Eating on a Dime
- Zucchini Bolognese from Nom Nom Paleo
- Keto Zuppa Toscana Soup from I Save A to Z
- Jamaican Jerk Pork Roast from I Breathe I’m Hungry
- Pizza Casserole from Awe Filled Homemaker
- Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy from Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Kalua Pork from Cooking with Curls
- Beef Brisket Pho from I Heart Umami
- Ropa Vieja from My Heart Beets
- Balsamic Beef Pot Roast from I Breathe I’m Hungry
Keto Sides In The Instant Pot
- Cauliflower and Cheese from Two Sleevers
- Spaghetti Squash from Eating on a Dime
- Keto Cauli-tatoes from All The Nourishing Things
- Green Beans and Bacon from Recipes for Instant Pot
- Loaded Mashed Cauliflower from Diethood
- Garlic Butter Green Beans from Soulfully Made
- Parmesan Garlic Artichokes from Family Fresh Meals
- Brussels Sprouts from The Cent’s Able Shoppin
- Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Chives from diethood
- Instant Pot Low Carb Keto Cauliflower and Cheese from Two Sleevers
Dessert In The Instant Pot
- Low Carb Chocolate Mousse from My Life Cookbook
- Keto Chocolate Cake – The Keto Queens
- Low Carb Cheesecake from Our Paleo Life
- Keto Instant Pot Cheesecake – Lara Clevenger
- Low Carb Pecan Pie Cheesecake from All Day I Dream About Food
- Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake – This Mom’s Menu
- Keto Spice Cake from Diet Doctor
- Keto Instant Pot Molten Brownies Cup – Beauty and the Foodie
- Low Carb Pumpkin Pie Pudding from Two Sleevers
- Instant Pot Keto Cinnamon Rolls from The Keto Queens
21-Day Fix Instant Pot Recipes
- Swedish Meatballs from My Crazy Good LifE
- Balsamic Chicken from Confessions of a Fit Foodie
- Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy from Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Broccoli Cheese Soup from The Foodie and the Fix
- Chicken Fennel Soup from Paleo Cajun Lady
- Korean Beef from Cookies and Cups
- Beef Gyros from My Crazy Good Life
- Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy from Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Burrito Bowl from My Crazy Good Life
- Mac and Cheese from Confessions of a Fit Foodie
- Asian Chicken Thighs from Confessions of a Fit Foodie
Weight Watchers Instant Pot Recipes
1. Italian Creamy Chicken Pasta from You Brew My Tea (8 Points)
2. Chipotle Chicken Tacos from Dash of Herbs (4 Points)
3. Unstuffed Cabbage Bowls | SkinnyTaste (8 Points)
4. Beef Drip Sandwiches | Slender Kitchen (8 Points)
5. Turkey Meatball Stroganoff | SkinnyTaste (7 Points)
6. Chicken Curry with Potatoes | Cookin’ Canuck (9 Points)
7. White Bean and Bacon Soup | Skinny Kitchen (1 Point)
8. Chicken and Dumplings | Meal Planning Mommies (5 Points)
9. Salsa Chicken | The Holy Mess (0 Points)
10.Beef and Barley Stew | Slender Kitchen (7 Points)
Unusual Ways To Use Your Instant Pot
Some fun and unusual stuff you can do. I.e. make vanilla extract, cheesecake, and can in the instant pot
So you have an Instant Pot and you’ve been using it regularly to cook all the typical pressure cooker dishes. You put it to good use for your Sunday roast, whip up a quick last minute dinner during the week, and even cook oatmeal in it a few times per week for breakfast. In short, the Instant Pot has become a staple appliance in your home.
Then you start to wonder what else this electric pressure cooker can do. I’m here with some fun ideas for unusual ways to make the most from your Instant Pot. While these may not be the things you will be making on a weekly or even monthly basis, they are fun to try and have their good uses.
The Instant Pot Saves Time And Money
We’re all busy and spending less and less time at home. As a result, it’s hard to find the time to cook a nice home cooked meal. We simply can’t spend hours and hours in the kitchen stirring pots. Heck most of us don’t even have the time or energy at the end of the day for a quick 30-minute meal cooked from scratch.
The end result is that we rely on convenience food and takeout. While those options certainly save a good bit of time, we end up paying a lot more for our food. Let’s not even mention the fact that it isn’t always the healthiest food out there and we’re not sure what ingredients and preservatives are in the food.
What if there was a way to save both time and money, and still get wholesome, home-cooked meals on those nights when you don’t have a lot of time or energy left. There is and the solution to your problem is the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook your food faster than just about any other method of cooking, it is also very hands-free. You can even cook frozen meat and veggies for those days when you forget to thaw ahead of time.
This means that you can come home, throw some ingredients in the Instant Pot, turn it on, and then focus your attention on something else. This means that you can help your kids with homework, start a load of laundry, catch up on work email, or just sit back and relax for half an hour before dinner is served.
In other words, the Instant Pot saves you time in two different ways. It will take less time overall to cook the food, and most of the cooking time doesn’t require you to be there, stirring pots and playing an active role in the cooking process. That’s a big deal and something you’ll come to appreciate when you start to use your Instant Pot regularly.
Now it’s time to talk hard, cold cash. An Instant Pot is a bit of an investment, even when you can find a great “Black Friday” style deal on it. On average, you can expect to spend about $100 for this electric pressure cooker. The good news is that it won’t take you long to recoup this investment.
An instant pot allows you to cook more at home instead of going out to eat, or ordering takeout. This alone will save you anywhere from $5 to $50 per family meal. But it doesn’t stop there. The Instant Pot really shines with inexpensive cuts of meat like roasts, whole chickens and even more frugal fare like beans and rice. If you get in the habit of making just one frugal meal per week using your pressure cooker, those savings will quickly add up.
You can go even further by cooking double batches and taking leftovers for lunch instead of buying it. Saving time and money with an Instant Pot is quick, easy, and almost automatic. The only trick is that you have to actually get in the habit of using it regularly.
Is The Instant Pot Safe?
Pressure cookers have been around for a long time, and just as long have the incidents of them exploding in the kitchen due to user error. While they are a great cooking tool and most of us can remember a grandmother, aunt, or other relative having one and cooking with it regularly, most of us in this day and age have been more than a little bit intimidated by the regular stove top models.
I can’t say I blame you if you feel the same. We’re in the same boat. While I love the idea of being able to cook food quickly and in a healthy way by cooking it under pressure, I have never been comfortable being in the same room with one, not to mention actually using it. The hissing, steaming, and rattling alone is enough to send the bravest of home cooks to the hills.
Thankfully there’s a new pressure cooker kid on the block – the Instant Pot and it’s much safer and more convenient to use than the standard stovetop models. It has a total of 10 built-in safety features that will keep you and your loved ones safe and secure. Combined they ensure that it is almost impossible to go wrong due to user error or equipment failure.
Let’s take the locking mechanism as an example. With a regular stove-top pressure cooker, it’s easy to try to lift the lid while the container is still under pressure and burn yourself with the hot steam that will escape violently. The Instant Pot lid will not open until the pressure is back to normal.
Automatic pressure control and pressure regulators keep the pressure in the pot under control. This means you can’t generate the kind of pressure inside your pot that could cause it to explode all over your kitchen. If you ask me, that’s a very good thing.
It even has sensors built in that keep temperature in check and keeps you from burning your food in cases where there isn’t enough liquid in the pot to build up the appropriate cooking pressure. Instead of continuing to heat on high and burning the food inside the pressure cooker, it simply switches to the keep warm function, allowing you to add liquid and start over.
You can check the Instant Pot website for full details on all 10 safety features of the Instant Pot and how they make pressure cooking safer than ever. As long as you make sure the device isn’t damaged and keep the sealing ring, lid, and vent clean, cooking in this smart new appliance is as safe as anything else you do in the kitchen.
Yes, there’s still a bit of hissing steam before your cooker hits full pressure and the safety valve closes, but that just makes it fun and exciting. After the first few times of using your Instant Pot, you won’t even think twice about it. Give it a try. I think you’ll love this fast new way to cook healthy, homemade meals.
How To Find Instant Pot Recipes
You bought an Instant Pot, brought it home, and got it set up. You did your water test, boiled some eggs in it, and maybe even made a handful of dishes from recipes on the Instant Pot website or in the included recipe guide. Now that you’re comfortable using this new electric appliance, you’re ready to branch out and start to look for some other fun recipes to try. Here are some of the best places both online and offline to find Instant Pot Recipes.
Go Old School With Cookbooks And Recipes Cards
Since the Instant Pot has been so popular for the past few months, there are plenty of traditional cookbooks (along with eBook versions) being published. Browse through your local bookstore, or head on over to Amazon.com to see what’s available right now.
If you have friends or family members who are Instant Pot fans, ask them for their favorite recipes and jot them down on recipe cards. If there’s a group of you, you can start to regularly exchange recipes. If someone brings an Instant Pot dish to a potluck or gathering, ask them for the recipe. It won’t take you long to establish a nice little library of tried and true recipes.
Blogs And Google Searches
If you’re looking for something specific, do a quick Google search is always a great idea. You’ll be able to find chicken thigh specific recipes or instant pot ready recipes for spaghetti and meatballs.
Along the way, you’ll likely come across all sorts of different blogs where fellow Instant Pot users share their experiences and recipes. Bookmark them, or simply browse around when you come across them for plenty of fresh recipe ideas. Try the recipes as is, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own take on a dish.
Go Social With Pinterest And Facebook Groups
Last but not least, let’s not forget about social media. Pinterest is a great source of Instant Pot recipes. Do a quick search and follow a few Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker boards for plenty of new recipe ideas in your Pinterest Feed.
By far my favorite way to come across new recipes to try or get suggestions for recipe adaptations in Facebook groups. There are several good Instant Pot specific groups you can join and participate in. You’ll find a wealth of information in these groups along with all sorts of helpful tips and ideas.
BONUS: Instant Pot Recommendations
As an added bonus, here are some Instant Pot products to help you get started:
With these suggestions, I’m sure you’ll find more Instant Pot recipes than you’d ever get a chance to try. Cook up the ones that look good or sound delicious and start to build up your very own library of family favorite Instant Pot recipes.