Confession: I’m a pot head. Last year, my parents bought several Instant Pot’s and gifted one to each of us in the immediate family for Christmas. I was kind of dumb-founded. I do not stay on top of cooking gadget trends and didn’t really know what the Instant Pot was. I still have my stove-top “jiggler” pressure cookers, and am no stranger to pressure cooking..but I will admit that I brought it home and it sat in the box, untouched, for a few months before I decided to use it. Since then it has become the best Christmas gift I think I’ve ever received – seriously. Since we are coming up on the holiday’s, I thought it would be a good time to make a list of some of my favorite things about this device and why it makes a wonderful gift – even for yourself!! 😀
- The Savings
This past summer, it was HOT. Really hot. I dread even the thought of turning my oven on when it’s in the 90’s. So, whilst in the dog days of summer I decided to use my Instant Pot for as many meals as I could – limiting my oven use for quick broiling finishes and things that couldn’t be made otherwise. Mind you, we already try to limit our energy use as month as we can, and mileage will vary on this – but, That month, my energy bill was cut in half, literally.
- The Versatility
The Instant Pot comes equipped with so many features. Yes, It is a pressure cooker, but also has a sauté feature, and a slow cook feature. Not to mention all the pre-set options such as steam, rice, stew, etc. So for meals that may require sautéed onions, or browned chicken to start, you can do it all in the pot before pressure cooking – all in the stainless steal liner. All of this versatility in such a small appliance makes this a great item for apartment dwellers, RVer’s, and even truckers. All you need is an outlet, and of course, water.
- The Time Savings
If you are like me and sometimes forget to take something out of the freezer until much too late for it to thaw, sometimes need a last minute “dump” meal, or just too much going on to stand in the kitchen and “watch” dinner being made – this thing is a life saver. Most recipes in the pot can be made from frozen / partially frozen ingredients, it just may take a few minutes longer for it to come to pressure. Aside from that, meals that usually would take hours in a slow cooker, can be made in a fraction of the time in the pot, like a whole pot roast in less than two hours. Or for quick weeknight meals? Spaghetti and meatballs (all in one pot) in five minutes, 10 minute beef and broccoli, etc.
- Clean Eating:
Some things that many people traditionally think of as only being store bought can be made, simply, in the Instant Pot.If you’re trying to get a grip on unnecessary additives, added sugar, and preservatives in your diet – this one’s for you! Yogurt, home made vanilla extract, applesauce, pumpkin puree, spaghetti sauce – can all be made in the Instant Pot, just to name a few. Some of these make really fun gifts too
- The Cheesecakes
Cheesecakes in the Instant Pot are good enough to be their own reason on my list. A large cheesecake takes about half the time in the Instant Pot – and oh, are they good.
- Reheating Leftovers
I love using my Instant Pot to reheat day-old leftovers, or pre-cooked frozen dishes. No, it’s not quicker than microwaving. But for a large portion of something, or a casserole, it’s nice to be able to heat it up without a lot of hassle, and not wondering if the middle is still frozen 😉
- Pot Lucks and Parties
Although there are different sizes (I have the 6qt) the Instant Pot is great for feeding a crowd. Not only can you make a lot of something at once – it can be easily transported for pot-lucks, and is equipped with a “keep warm” setting for dishes that require it.
- Meal Prepping
If you like to cook in advance, whether it be cooking for the week or doing a month of meals, the Instant Pot can really come in handy. Meal prep staples like shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, rice, or veggies can be done a lot quicker – and with less mess. Since it is cooking using pressure, you can fill the pot up to the fill line and rest assured that everything will be cooked evenly.
- The Online Communities
To some, the Instant Pot may be intimidating. The good news is that Instant Pot has a company monitored Facebook group with over 700,000 members (and counting). Since Instant Pot users are from around the world, there is no shortage of delicious recipes, tricks, and hacks. If you have a question, or need a recipe, this group is a great resource.
- The Safety
I know for many – a pressure cooker “blowing up” is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of pressure cooking. Rest assured, the Instant Pot is safe. Yes, you still have to be careful not to touch the inner pot when it’s hot, and of course be careful releasing steam – but really this thing is truly designed to prevent user error. The lid, once the pot has reached pressure, locks automatically. And with both the temperature and pressure being completely automated, it takes the guess work out of building and maintaining pressure, unlike a stovetop cooker.
Now, you may be asking yourself, What Instant What Pot should I get? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options available. Rest assured that all models are durable, well made machines equipped with safe technology! There are various models available, all wonderful and with a ton of features that make pressure cooking simple. (You can use Instant Pot’s chart online to compare them side by side) For myself, the duo has been perfect. I have the 6qt model, and it is plenty big. The only time I wish I had the 8qt is when I’m making cheesecake!!
Have pressure cooker wisdom? I’d love to hear your favorite recipes, tricks, and tips!