I get asked all the time: “Is the Instant Pot worth it?”
To which, I respond with a resounding YES!
Unfamiliar with the Instant Pot? It’s an electric programmable pressure cooker that cooks food quickly without compromising food quality or integrity. It can:
- Cook frozen ground beef in 25 minutes
- Roast a whole chicken in 30.
- Make hard boiled eggs with shells that fall off in 2 minutes — and no ice bath!!
- Create gelatinous bone broth in 1 hour, which used to take 24 hours
- Bake sweet potatoes in 15 minutes
- Make mashed potatoes in 10 minutes (and you don’t have to drain them!).
- Create creamy no-stir oatmeal in a fraction of time.
It can also serve as a yogurt maker and rice maker. AAAAAAAAND you can make up freezer meals and cook them STRAIGHT from frozen — no thawing!
Not sure where to start first? Check out our list of top 10 easiest IP meals.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The Instant Pot is part of a new breed of electric programmable pressure cookers. But you should know that it is a brand name, not the actual item category.
There are many manufacturers who make their own electric programmable pressure cookers. Once a year Aldi even sells its own home-branded product for $35!
NPR actually ran an article about the Instant Pot’s ginormous leap to fame (and how it is quickly becoming comparable with Xerox, Frigidaire, and Kleenex for being synonymous for the product it represents).
So back to the question everyone asks. Is the Instant Pot the best brand? What about all the other options out there?
Why The Instant Pot Is My Preferred Brand of Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot comes with lots of features that are common among electric programmable pressure cookers (such as pre-programmed buttons and a visual display). But there are noteworthy differences.
Intimidated by opening your Instant Pot box and reading the manual? I totally get it. Don’t be. Follow this step by step picture tutorial and you’ll be cooking in minutes.
1. Stainless Steel Interior
The Instant Pot uses an entirely stainless steel bowl and lid. As far as I’ve seen, this is the ONLY brand that offers this option – everyone else uses nonstick. I personally prefer a stainless steel bowl because it won’t scratch or become compromised. The durability is fantastic. And if stainless steel is a deal breaker for you, you can also purchase a separate ceramic bowl.
2. Button Options
Some models of the Instant Pot allow you to make yogurt or rice, with just one touch of the button. I know some friends who bought a second IP just to exclusively use for the yogurt feature.
The Instant Pot’s biggest rival — in cost, size, and popularity — doesn’t even offer this as an option.
Additionally, the Instant Pot has lots of pre-set button options (Poultry, Beans, Rice, Stew) so you don’t have to remember what time to select every time you cook. Just push one button and you’re good to go.
3. Customer Service
The Instant Pot has unrivaled customer service. Problem with your pot? Contact IP’s fantastic customer service department and they’ll open a ticket for you. They’re prompt, and professional, and generous.
4. Replacement Parts
When Aldi offered their electric programmable pressure cooker for $35 this fall, I was tempted. Sooooo tempted. After all, I’ve loved the convenience of my Instant Pot! Surely a cheap secondary unit would be fine for small things, like potatoes or eggs.
Until I realized that with these cheaper brands there is no way to get replacement parts – from pot liners to sealing rings.
The Instant Pot is the only brand I’ve seen that makes its parts easily available on Amazon. And if you do any measure of cooking, you’ll DEFINITELY want a secondary sealing ring for sweet/savory smelling foods.
(Strong smells can “stain” the silicone sealing ring and Instant Pot says on their website that they have about a two-year lifespan of daily use before they wear out – they aren’t meant to last forever.)
Warning: it is important that you buy a sealing ring made by Instant Pot and not other knock offs (like Instant Perrrt or Noosa). Find out why — scroll down to the section about sealing rings on this post.
There’s no way I was going to spend 1/3 of the cost of an Instant Pot on a product that I couldn’t get basic parts for.
I should state that Power Pressure XL (Instant Pot’s next biggest competitor) has their parts available from their own direct-sales page. But the ease of ordering Instant Pot spare parts with two-day shipping from Amazon is not to be under estimated!
Overwhelmed by all the talk about Instant Pot accessories? Our comprehensive list tells you what you really need AND how to use them.
5. Community Support
The Instant Pot has a lively and amazing Facebook community. You can often get answers to questions in minutes – and get all sorts of amazing ideas along the way. I love that there is a network to help everyone figure out how to use their units. People ask questions, post pictures. It’s great.
Stretch the Instant Pot’s ability (and your budget!) by making Instant Pot Freezer Meals. No need to thaw before cooking — cook straight from frozen!
6. Volume of Recipes
As NPR stated, the Instant Pot has gone viral in popularity. There are many fantastic websites (such as Hip Pressure Cooking and This Old Gal) that are dedicated to pressure cooking in general – whether stove top or electric. But as the Instant Pot grows in popularity, more and more recipes are being specifically written for this product, pushing its features to the max.
Once A Month Meals even has a whole recipe section dedicated to making freezer meals.
And let’s face it. It’s way more catchy to say you’re making “Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes” than “Pressure Cooked Spuds.” HAHA!
New to the Instant Pot? Here are the top 10 EASY recipes to get you started cooking (and exploring your Instant Pot features) in NO TIME.
Catch all of our Instant Pot recipes (which are all gluten-free and dairy-free).
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