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 and roast a whole chicken in 30. It can make hard boiled eggs in 2 minutes …and there’s no need for an ice bath!!!! It can make delicious bone broth in 1 hour — the stuff that used to take me 24 hours to make. People rave about its ability to make perfect cheesecake and creamy oatmeal in a fraction of the time. It can also serve as a yogurt maker and rice maker. AND it functions as a slow cooker. AAAAAAAAND you can make up freezer meals and cook them STRAIGHT from frozen — no thawing!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
You can catch all of our Instant Pot recipes (which are all gluten-free and dairy-free).
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