When my friends first told me I needed to get an Instant Pot, I looked at them like they were crazy. Really, I didn’t need another kitchen gadget. I was very happy with my kitchen collection and (quite honestly) I was too exhausted and overwhelmed to learn a new way to cook.
Surely a programmable electric pressure cooker couldn’t be that revolutionary.
But when Amazon Prime day came along, I bowed to peer pressure and bought an Instant Pot.
And it sat unused. For months.
But then one day, my friend Tricia from Once A Month Meals came to my house. And she did something magical. She unboxed my Instant Pot and showed me how to use it. She even recorded all this on Facebook Live (watch it here)!
And now, I’m here to tell you why the Instant Pot has transformed my life.
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!
1. Instant Pot meals taste more fresh than slow cooker ones.
I have four slow cookers that I have collected over the years for various reasons (gifts, replacements, etc.). Clearly, I like slow cookers. However, I find that crockpot meals tend to be mushy. Slow cooked meat can be rubbery and boiled to death. And the flavors can blend to the point you can’t even distinguish taste. But this isn’t true for the Instant Pot. Thanks to the ultra-fast cooking time, fresh herbs still retain their distinct fresh flavor. Meat tastes like… meat!
2. The Instant Pot cooks faster than a slow cooker.
Crockpot meals require HOURS. It takes 4-6 hours to cook a whole chicken. Or 6-8 hours for chili. Or 12 hours for bone broth. The Instant Pot works like all pressure cookers: raising the temperature by changing the pressure. This reduces cook time – in some cases up to 75%! So now I’m making a whole chicken in 30 minutes and bone broth in one hour.
3. You can still plan ahead.
Perhaps the biggest appeal of the slow cooker is the ability to start your food cooking in advance. You can put a meal on at lunch and it’s ready at dinner – and you don’t have to hang around. The Instant Pot takes smart technology to the next level. Once your meal is done cooking, the IP automatically switches to a “Keep Warm” setting. This setting keeps hot food at a safe temperature without increasing cooking time. (Once I let chicken breasts keep warm for 2+ hours. And it still tasted fresh and tender!)
4. The Instant Pot is new technology.
The IP is hailed as third-generation pressure cooking. These are not the dangerous pressure cookers that our grandparents (or great-grandparents) would have used. You know, the ones that rattled really loudly and could explode. The electric, programmable Instant Pot has a whole raft of advanced security features built in to prevent that from happening. I think that’s what surprises me so much – the Instant Pot is QUIET.
5. The Instant Pot ISN’T new technology.
Yeah, I know. I’m Ms. Contradictory over here. This is what I mean: in the grand scheme of mankind’s cooking, we’ve introduced a lot of new cooking technology in the last 60+ years. (And one could argue, we’re still determining the long term safety of some of these techniques — things like microwaves and non-stick technology.) I personally had no idea that pressure cooking is actually traditional technology. In fact, pressure cooking actually dates all the way back to the 1600s!
6. Unlike the slow cooker, the Instant Pot has multiple functions.
Depending on which model you order, the Instant Pot can also serve as a yogurt maker, rice cooker, and even a slow cooker (in case you really, REALLY need your crockpot). The IP also has a sauté function, which allows you to do some really great things that you couldn’t do in the crockpot — like browning onions and then pressure cooking soup in the same pot (which saves you dishes).
7. You can cook meals directly from frozen.
Technically, you shouldn’t cook frozen foods in the slow cooker. Food hangs out too long in the danger zone as it thaws/reheats – allowing for dangerous bacteria to grow. But the Instant Pot works so quickly, food doesn’t hang out long enough in the danger zone for bacteria to grow (source). Which basically means that you can make your own pre-made freezer meals, pull it straight from the freezer, put it frozen into the IP, and have dinner ready in thirty minutes or less. It’s just like those fancy frozen dinners – but these actually taste good and have healthy ingredients!
If you’re looking for Instant Pot freezer meal recipes, you absolutely MUST check out Once A Month Meals. They are leading the charge on creating freezer meals specifically for the Instant Pot.
You can also check out my post on how to make your own Instant Pot freezer meals.
I should also add this: You don’t have to do ANYTHING special with the Instant Pot. Traditional stove top pressure cookers take a bit of finesse – you have to wait for the pressure gauge to pop, then you put on the weight, then you bring the pot to temperature, then you have to adjust your stovetop to make sure it stays within the correct pressure range. And then you have to make sure you let your pressure cooker come down from high pressure and not let it spoil.
Did your eyes gloss over just reading that? Mine did.
The Instant Pot is as easy as pressing ONE button. That’s it. The security features built in take care of the rest!
As I confessed earlier – I was THE most skeptical person about the Instant Pot. I chocked it up to being just a glorified slow cooker. And I couldn’t have been more wrong!
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