To Instant Pot, or Not?

The “Instant Pot” cooker has become all the rage lately.  It’s a pressure-cooker, slow-cooker, rice-cooker, steamer and more, all in one kitchen appliance.

I decided to purchase one last Christmas so I could see what all the fuss is about. Is it really such a great appliance? Since I’m just a household of one, I bought the 3 quart model. The next size up was 6 quarts which is just too big to sit on my counter.

I realized quickly, that the 3 quart isn’t going to let me do cook-ahead meals for the week. It’s just too small. But I know the 6 quart was just more than I needed. So, my first recommendation for this product is, get the 6 quart if you want to make multiple meals – and if you have the space for it.

So far, I’ve just made just basic items in my Instant Pot.

  1. Boiling eggs … It is fabulous for boiling eggs! It is quick and the eggs are SO easy to peel!
    (Note: Easy-to-peel lasts a few days, but if you leave the boiled eggs longer in the fridge, it can be more difficult. Will work great for making egg salad, deviled eggs, etc.)
  2. Cooking frozen fish … no thawing needed. It keeps the fish nice and moist.
    I’m working on adding flavor with herbs and spices … so stay tuned!
  3. Cooking potatoes … It cooks sweet potatoes so fast!
  4. Beans … This is the way to cook beans! So much faster and less effort.
  5. Steaming veggies … If you buy a steamer basket (not usually included), you can steam just about anything in the Instant Pot.

Reality Checks

The Instant Pot might save some time for most people, but for me, it just depends on what I want to cook.

You still have some prep to get the food items ready.

  • The pot has to warm up prior to cooking.
  • Then after cooking (which is a bit faster, for sure), it has to cool down to release the pressure. This can take up to 20 minutes.
  • You can release the pressure sooner by opening a valve on top, but it will spew steam for up to several minutes. If you have the Instant Pot on a counter with upper cabinets (like I do), it will spew steam on your cabinet doors. (Probably not so good for the finish.) I let the pot cool for a few minutes, then hold a towel around the valve to keep It from collecting on the cabinet doors above.
  • There is still cleanup to do, but it does seem fairly quick and easy to do.

But, it does cook faster … and you can do one-pot cooking.

  • I will definitely use it for my boiled eggs! And for beans. It saves a lot of time and you don’t have to watch the pot on the stove.
  • Most of the models have multiple functions, so you can saute your flavors (butter, onions, garlic, herbs, etc.) in the Instant Pot, then add your other items (beans, rice, etc.).
  • Steaming is easy with a steamer insert, but is about the same effort as cooking on the stove top, and it’s easier to control on the stove top. (I’ll need some practice to get the time right for the texture I like for different veggies.)

Summertime Cooking Bonus

Even if there isn’t a lot of time-savings, during the summer, when you’re trying to keep the house cooler, the Instant Pot won’t heat up the kitchen like your oven might. (Mine does.)

Lots of Variety

There are SO many recipes out on the inter-webs for the Instant Pot. I haven’t even scratched the surface with what it can do. For a family, this can be an very valuable and usable kitchen aid.

Here are some websites to give you some ideas:

If you have an Instant Pot that you love, leave a comment or send me an email to share your favorite recipes & cooking tips!

Here’s to living healthier, day by day!

Mary Z

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