The Instant Pot is easily one of the most talked about kitchen appliances on TV. The infomercials are compelling, and it gets praised left, right and center.
And if you're in the market for a new kitchen appliance, and especially if one of your other appliances is on its way out, then you may be tempted to purchase one.
But, before you do, it's sensible to read articles like this one, that can tell you straight whether, or not, it truly lives up to all the hype. And ultimately, whether it's worth the money.
I'm going to kick things off with basics, before going into its various features, and delving into my own experiences with the machine.
We'll also touch upon what people are saying about it elsewhere on the net, before summarizing its pros and cons, and going into its value for money.
By the end of the article, when we reach our final conclusion, you will be in a position to decide whether it's a purchase for you.
Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you. Here goes! Quick Note – There are actually several appliances that come under the Instant Pot brand.
For the purposes of this article, we're going to concentrate on the most popular version, the Instant Pot Duo, which you can view (and purchase) via this link.
What exactly is an Instant Pot, anyway?
An Instant Pot is basically a multi-function pressure cooker/slow cooker that has been designed to make cooking easier, faster and more convenient than traditional methods.
It does so by using steam as the primary means of heating food, rather than relying on a stove top burner or oven. This makes it ideal for those who don't consider themselves a good cook.
It also allows them to prepare meals quickly, while still retaining the quality of the food they produce.
The Instant Pot that we're looking at today is the Instant Pot Duo, which is available in 3 different sizes, namely 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. The one which I tested out for myself was the 6 quart capacity option.
Instant Pot Features
Don't be fooled into the assumption that the Instant Pot Duo is just for making soups and stews and steaming vegetables.
You can also use it for such purposes as making your very own yogurt, cooking rice, sautéing vegetables and meats, warming food that's been pre-cooked, and sterilizing baby's formula bottles and pacifiers. This makes it a far more versatile piece of kit than anything else you have in your kitchen.
And this is what makes the Instant Pot Duo different from every other pressure cooker on the market.
What Are Its 7 Functions?
The Instant Pot's 7 different functions are as follows:
1. Pressure Cooking
2. Slow Cooker
3. Rice Cooker
5. Yogurt Maker
7. Warmer & Sterilizer
Ease of Use
One of the more highly praised strengths of the Instant Pot is just how easy it is to use.
In fact, there are 13 different recipes achievable by merely placing the ingredients inside, and pressing the relevant button with just one touch.
Each of the 7 functions has its own button on the front panel of the unit, which you press to activate it. You can use each function individually, or you can combine them.
You then simply adjust the temperature, and the timer according to the recipe you're following. You can also adjust the pressure level of the pressure cooker.
What's more, the accompanying user manual is in full color, and is easy to follow with lots of pictures.
Speed of Cooking
Another great feature of the Instant Pot Duo is just how quickly it works as a pressure cooker – up to 70% faster than cooking on a stove.
And I would argue that this is quite a valuable feature, since when you have hungry tummies to feed, the quicker you can get their food prepared and ready to eat, the better.
Availability Of Instant Pot Recipes
I'm also pleased to report that there's no shortage of recipes available for the machine.
There is a free to download Instant Pot recipe app which is available for both Android and Apple devices, and this features over 1000 individual recipes.
However, these recipes are for all the Instant Pot appliances, and not just for the Instant Pot Duo alone.
Moreover, you aren't limited to recipes drawn up by the Instant Pot brand. One quick Google will bring up hundreds and hundreds of Instant Pot recipes.
Easy to Clean After Use
I'm also pleased to report that the Instant Pot Duo has a dishwasher safe stainless steel inner pot, and a dishwasher safe lid.
The outer part of the Instant Pot is also stainless steel and wipes clean very easily.
As with any other kitchen appliance that requires great heat, it’s good to know when there are safety measures in place, and the Instant Pot Duo boasts a whopping 10 different built-in safety features.
- Incredibly versatile
- Incredibly easy to use
- Countless recipes available
- It takes a little getting used to
My Experiences Cooking With The Instant Pot Duo
First I used the Instant Pot Duo as a pressure cooker to make a beef stew, and once the ingredients were in, it was ready to eat within a mere 15 minutes, and it was delicious, too.
I also enjoyed using it as a slow cooker. I prepped beef in an ale dish right after breakfast before I left for work, and when I got home, the meat was incredibly tender and the flavors had soaked right through to the meat.
When I used the Instant Pot Duo to cook rice, it came out just how I like it – perfectly cooked every time. As does my oatmeal in the mornings. And one day I cooked a mean chili!
I haven't tried it to make yogurt just yet, or as a sterilizer. But I can confirm that it's also really good for steaming vegetables and sautéing meat.
I was also impressed with how easy the parts are to clean. Every time I put the inner pot and lid in the dishwasher after each use, everything comes right out.
Since buying the Instant Pot Duo, I haven't missed using my rice cooker or my slow cooker. It replaced both, and I gave my other appliances away. The only downside to the Instant Pot Duo is that it does take some getting used to.
For example, if you're used to having your ingredients placed directly into the bottom of the pan, you'll need to be careful about that when using the Instant Pot Duo.
Also, you have to be sure to use plenty of liquid in there for pressure-cooking, because it uses the steam produced from the liquid to provide enough heat and pressure to cook the food.
Value For Money
As you may expect, the cost of the Instant Pot depends on which size you go for. A 3 quart may be OK for singles or couples without children, but if you have a family, you'd be better off going for a 6 quart, or even an 8 quart if you have a lot of mouths to feed.
I would argue that the listing price for the Instant Pot Duo is very reasonable, given just how much it can do for you and your family come meal times. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, snacks – it's got it all!
Sure, it costs more than certain other appliances, but this machine is basically 3 appliances in one, and that's why it's worth every cent.
What People Say About The Instant Pot Duo Elsewhere on the Net
When I want to gauge how popular a product is, I go straight to Amazon. And the Instant Pot Duo has attracted well over 145,000 individual customer ratings on Amazon, making it quite the bestseller.
And even after so many individual ratings, it still has an average Amazon customer rating of an impressive four and a half stars out of 5. And this is because a whopping 85% of customers gave it a full 5-star rating.
Customers also rated some of its individual features, giving it 4 and a half stars out of 5 for quality of material, safety features, versatility, durability, lock feature, and ease of cleaning.
At first, I didn't know if I was going to be a fan of the Instant Pot Duo. I mean, sure it sounded good, but until I had a go of using it myself I wasn't going to make my mind up.
But now, several meals later, I've become quite the fan, and I have no problem recommending it to anybody.
Sure, it can take a little getting used to, especially if you want to make full use out of it. But, honestly, I don't know how I ever managed without it!