If you keep up with any cooking blogs or the latest kitchen gadgets, you’ve likely heard about the Instant Pot craze. I felt like one of the last to know about this not-so-hidden cooking secret. But once I learned of its magic, I couldn’t resist the chance to see it for myself.
Here’s the lowdown. The Instant Pot is a programmable electric multi-cooker that’s safer and easier to use than a traditional pressure cooker. It’s really like seven gadgets in one: a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, yogurt maker and warmer. Yes, really. Rumor has it, the Instant Pot can make a mean cheesecake, too.
When I saw a friend talking about their Instant Pot on Facebook, I was immediately intrigued. My boyfriend and I have been determined to start eating healthier—a goal that requires a lot more cooking at home. But after working a full day, the last thing either of us really wants to do is spend a good chunk of our evening over the stove. So, with an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I impulse bought an Instant Pot. And I haven’t looked back since
Why Instant Pots are amazing
I was skeptical that something with this many buttons could be easy to use. But the model I ordered has over 17,800 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating, so I felt pretty good about the purchase before I committed. In the few weeks I’ve owned this culinary miracle, my cooking game has changed completely. I now look forward to coming home and trying new recipes!
One of the biggest advantages to using an Instant Pot is the amount of time it saves its users. While it technically still takes some time to pressurize and depressurize ingredients, the multi-functions of this gadget reduce prep time and all but eliminate the margin of error for inexperienced chefs. It’s definitely much simpler to throw everything into the Instant Pot and let it do its thing, as opposed to working with a regular pressure cooker. This tool also has ten different foolproof safety protections, so it’s less daunting to use too.
Once you’ve added your ingredients, the Instant Pot doesn’t require any watch time. You can set it and forget about it until it beeps, and then you just have to time the pressure release if you’re pressure cooking. After your meal has been prepared, cleanup is a breeze since the stainless steel inner pot is dishwasher safe. Bonus points: the inner pot is the only dish you have to clean at the end of the night!.
Don’t be discouraged by the multitude of buttons. Most recipes will require you to cook on the manual setting and then release the pressure naturally (by leaving the pot on “keep warm” for a set amount of time), then manually (by turning the valve on the top to release the rest of the steam). The instruction manual walks you through a water test, and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of the Instant Pot’s most basic processes.
Recipes I’ve loved
1. Jasmine Rice
The first thing I was dying to make was Jasmine Rice. Before I got the Instant Pot, I was toying around with buying a rice cooker, so testing its rice-making abilities was high on my list. My Instant Pot came with a cookbook that had a recipe for “Perfect Jasmine Rice,’ by Laura Pazzaglia so I figured I’d give it a try. My first attempt was, shockingly, perfect.
I felt like a budding chef when I ate this for the first time—it gave me all kinds of unfounded cooking confidence.
2. Honey Sesame Chicken
The next meal I tried was a Honey Sesame Chicken recipe. It was so good, my boyfriend and I fought over the leftovers. In the end, we had plenty, so it was a non-issue. I’ll definitely make this again.
We also made a big batch of boneless chicken breast to simplify cooking other meals like tacos and BBQ chicken sandwiches. The Instant Pot is a great tool for meal prep.
3. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Most recently, I tried a one-pot Spaghetti and Meatball recipe, which I was a bit skeptical about at first, but it was actually delicious. We used turkey meatballs, veggie spaghetti noodles and our favorite sauce. We like to add Italian seasoning to our sauce, so I tossed that in too before we cooked it. Next time, I’ll add more seasoning and a little salt and pepper. But it was so easy, I will definitely try this one again too!
While I’m still working up the courage to tackle an Instant Pot cheesecake recipe, my Instant Pot is already one of my most-used kitchen items. If you buy one, it’ll likely be one of yours too.
If you’ve already hopped on the Instant Pot bandwagon, we’d love to hear your favorite recipes! Share them with us @litdarling.