By Anne P. Mitchell
on 2016-04-16 I LOVE My Instant Pot! But Here's What I Wish I'd Known when I First Got It
I LOVE my Instant Pot! But I will be the first to admit that it can be a little intimidating at first, and it can feel like it has a steep learning curve (and I'm a tech reviewer and tech lawyer, and one of those people who generally just jumps in and figures things out without reading the manuals ("Manuals? We don't need no stinkin' manuals!"), so for me to feel like I'm not 'getting' something ..well, yeah. So if you are feeling a little bewildered by your new Instant Pot, *you're not alone*!) Plus, the manual does *not* include certain information that I, at least, was looking for. Such as, how long is each pre-programmed cooking cycle? Exactly what temperature do the various sauté settings heat to? Things like that.
So, here are a few tips that have really helped me to finally 'get' it, plus instructions for two things that you can make in your Instant Pot that will change your life: incredibly easy perfectly poached eggs in 2-3 minutes, and baked potatoes in 12 minutes.
First, it is almost impossible to mess up with this thing to a point of being dangerous, so if you're concerned about the exploding pressure cookers of yore, you needn't be (I said "almost", don't go overriding your pot's safety features and then blame me when you poke an eye out). The lid audibly tells you when its sealed (when you turn it clockwise), and the pot won't even build up much pressure if you haven't properly closed the steam release handle by turning it, too, clockwise. The most likely point at which a problem could arise would be if you try to open the lid (by turning it counter-clockwise) before all of the pressure has been released and normalized (so don't do that). The pot visually lets you know when it's safe to open the pot, by the float valve (the little silver post that pops up when the pot is pressurized) dropping back down flush with the lid instead of being popped up. Think of the float valve as the reverse of a turkey pop-up button, in the case of the float valve it's done when the button pops *in*, instead of out.
The sauté function has three temperature settings: 'Normal' heats to 320 degrees, 'More' heats to 338 degrees, and 'Less' heats to 221 degrees (all in Fahrenheit)
For pressure cooking, you will probably use 'manual' nearly all the time (nearly every Instant Pot cookbook I've read relies on the manual setting almost exclusively). So *don't* feel badly for not using all of those other buttons very much, if at all (I've never used any of the preprogrammed buttons).
The preprogrammed settings each have their own timing, and *variable* pressure, which the pot manipulates by manipulating the temperature of the contents (the higher the temperature, the higher the pressure). That is primarily what makes them different from manual, which provides one consistent pressure (either high or low). However they *generally* bring the contents to high pressure, fluctuating the temperature a little so that the pressure fluctuates a little too, for a set period of time (the main exceptions to this are the rice button, and the multigrain button). Personally I just find it easier to use 'manual' and set the time that I want.
After you hit 'manual' to start cooking, you then set the amount of time you want it to cook at pressure, after which you will have a 10-second grace period (for example to add more time, etc.), after which the display will switch to displaying the word "on". Then it will be a while before the display switches to the timer countdown. This is *normal*. The amount of time you enter is for how long it will cook *after it reaches full pressure* (either high or low pressure, depending on what you selected), and so the timer will switch on when it reaches full pressure.
The cooking time in any recipe is the time *at full pressure*, not in total. So you need to take into account the time it will take to reach full pressure (which depends on many variables, including what is in the contents of the pot, what temperature they started at, and your altitude), *and* how long it will take for the pressure to be released and normalized (i.e. for the float valve to pop in, which of course is really "dropping in", but you get the point). And this brings us to the two different types of pressure release.
All Instant Pot recipes will include (or *should* include) either one of these terms: natural pressure release (also known as NPR), or quick pressure release (QPR or QR). What these mean is simply either "let the pressure dissipate on its own" (natural pressure release), or "force the pressure to escape immediately by turning the steam release handle counter-clockwise to the open position (quick release). The reason for using quick release (QR) is not because you are too impatient to wait for natural release, but because your food will be over cooked if you don't get it the heck out of dodge once it's done cooking at pressure. A really good example of a food needing quick release is poached eggs (which come out *perfectly* in the Instant Pot (see how to poach eggs in the Instant Pot below)). On the other hand, lots of (if not most) foods need the natural release - it's part of their cooking process and processing time.
Natural pressure release generally takes between 15 and 20 minutes.
Quick pressure release takes about a minute, plus the hours spent in the ER if you forget to KEEP YOUR HANDS, FACE, AND ALL OTHER BODY PARTS AWAY FROM THE STEAM VALVE WHEN YOU DO IT!! Many people put a towel over the valve before they turn it, to help suppress the steam, which you may want to do (I don't because then I just end up with a scalding hot towel - but I also rarely need to do QR, and those times that I do, I'm sufficiently respectful of the power and heat of that steam to keep my distance).
Finally, in my experience, unless you are doing a "dump everything in at once and turn it on" recipe, you will definitely want to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. For example, for any recipe that includes sautéing in the pot first, then adding ingredients and then starting pressure cooking, you definitely want to have everything lined up before you start.
Oh, wait, *this* is actually the final note: the stainless steel inner pot can take a real beating, and cleans up just fine..BUT...after the first use or so (it was after my first use) you will see little "stains" (not sure what else to call them) and, if you are anything like me, you will think "Oh no! I have ruined the beauty of this pot! How can I fix it?" It turns out that this is *very* normal (at least the 'staining', not sure about my reaction being normal :-) ). In my case I had made means, and my pot now still bears the "imprints" of beans, even though it is completely clean..it's sort of like the chalk outlines from a little bean murder scene. ;-) I'm in an Instant Pot forum on Facebook where many IP cookbook authors are members (including JL Fields and Jill Nussinow) and they have all said that this is perfectly normal and just what happens (in fact they said it in response to my "Oh no, I've ruined my beautiful pot" post).
Ok, I think that those are about all of the things that I had wished that I had fully understood on my first day with my Instant Pot.
Oh, actually there's one more thing. I didn't fully appreciate, until several days in, just how amazing this aspect of the Instant Pot is: you can start something cooking in it, and then *walk away* - even leave the house, and it will finish cooking just like you instructed, and be *perfectly done*, and then it will *keep it warm for up to 10 hours*! Not keep cooking it, just *keep it warm*. For up to 10 hours! You can put something in there in the morning, leave for the day, and come back to a perfectly cooked whatever, just waiting for you! Booyah! (I think this is the thing that pressure cooker purists who try to talk people out of getting an Instant Pot, rather than a stovetop pressure cooker, fail to understand. You can't just walk away from a stovetop pressure cooker after the stuff starts cooking.)
Now, here are the *the best* accessories (in my opinion) that you will want for your Instant Pot.
You definitely will want this steamer basket
for your Instant Pot (the Instant Pot comes with a little steaming trivet, but this steamer basket is *way* more useful - in fact it's how you make both poached eggs and baked potatoes). Actually you will want *a* steamer basket, but trust me, this is the one you want, both because of the big handle, the fact that the handle telescopes, and, most importantly, you can use it with or without the little legs flipped down, and when you flip the little legs down, they give you plenty of space for as much water for steaming as you could ever need without worrying about the water touching the food that's in the basket.
Or, instead of, or in addition to, the above steamer, you can get this steamer basket and steaming rack / trivet set
. The legs on this trivet are an inch and a half high (the rack that comes with your Instant Pot only gives 3/4 of an inch of clearance). and the flat-bottomed steamer is very versatile.
Personally, I have both, as they each serve their own purpose, and the trivet that comes with the set is really useful for pot-in-pot cooking, at which you may also want to try your hand. Pot-in-pot (or "PIP") is where you put a second, smaller vessel inside your Instant Pot's main internal pot. There are different reasons for doing this, ranging from "I only want to cook a small amount of something like oatmeal" to "I want to cook a cheesecake in my Instant Pot" to "I want to cook two different things at the same time in my Instant Pot (like cooking beans, and having a bowl of rice on a trivet (see why you want a good trivet?) above the beans, steam cooking at the same time).
For pot-in-pot cooking, I recommend any stainless steel vessel that is no greater in diameter than 7.5 inches, and no taller than 4 or so inches (your internal pot has a diameter of just over 8.5 inches and a height of about 6 inches). Lots of people use glass vessels such as Pyrex or Corningware, but I personally prefer to use stainless steel because if you drop it you'll just have a mess, rather than a mess plus broken glass.
If you're really keen on making cheesecakes, steamed puddings, flans, and that sort of thing in your Instant Pot, you may also want to grab this stainless steel pot-in-pot 'dessert insert' pan set
, which includes two stacking pans. and a rack to set them on which has handles that close up over the pans to secure them.
You will also want this separate glass lid
that is sold by the Instant Pot people. This lid fits on your *inner metal pot*, and this way when you are using your Instant Pot for *non-pressurized* cooking, such as when using it as a slow cooker, or with the sauté function, you will be able to see what is going on in there. Basically, in these usages, you can think of your Instant Pot as a counter-top stove burner (albeit one with really cool bells and whistles) - that may help you to understand why you want a (see-through!) lid for that inner pot. Plus, once you are done cooking in any mode, you can use the inner pot to store the leftovers in your fridge, and use this lid to cover it.
In terms of Instant Pot cookbooks to get you started, they are a relatively new genre, and a *lot* of them are only available as Kindle or other digital format books. Personally, I like to have a physical book when it comes to cookbooks, and so I like this one...you can't go wrong with America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, and their pressure cooker cookbook is no exception:Pressure Cooker Perfection
I also happen to be a strict vegetarian, and for vegetarian and vegan Instant Pot cooking, this book by J.L. Fields is considered the best book out there (it's pretty darned good!):Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes
And if you also are vegetarian or vegan, you'll appreciate the recipes in this one:O M Gee Good! Instant Pot Meals, Plant-Based & Oil-free
..and this one:Vegan Under Pressure: Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker
And speaking of recipes - here is how to make those poached eggs, and baked potatoes.
Poached Eggs: Lightly grease 1 to 4 (depending on how many poached eggs you want) Pyrex custard cups with butter or oil. Put a cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot, put a steamer basket or trivet in the pot (making sure that the water doesn't come over the top), and set your Pyrex cups in the steamer basket or on the trivet. I use my Oxo steamer basket for this, and I love that when they are done I can just grab the handle and pull the whole shebang out (remember the handle will be HOT, be sure to wear an oven mitt). Use Manual setting, low pressure, for 2 to 3 minutes. 2 minutes will probably be enough unless you're at a high altitude.
Baked Potatoes: Remember how I said you could make baked potatoes in 12 minutes? And remember how I said that the recipe times are for the time *at pressure*? ;~) Still, even given the time to come to pressure, and to have the pressure come back down, you can have perfectly steam-baked potatoes in under half an hour, and the best part is that you can start them, and then *walk away*! When you are ready for your potatoes, they will be perfectly done and waiting for you, even if you have abandoned them for hours! Just put water in the bottom of your Instant Pot, flip the legs down on your Oxo steamer, put the steamer in the pot and then dump your potatoes in on top of the steamer. Using the Manual setting, set the cooking time for 12 minutes, using high pressure. Then walk away! Now, because these are 'steam baked' (i.e. cooked whole over steam, but not in water), the skins will not be crisp, but these are otherwise exactly like the baked potatoes you know and love - they're great with butter, sour cream, etc.! This works with new potatoes, and regular potatoes!
Happy Instant Potting!
5 Stars By Phoebe on 2016-12-12
WHY and WHO should buy it?? 6 months UPDATE.
Instant pot aaah .. Finally I have it. I have heard people literally praising it as the best thing they ever owned, best gift ever received, best kitchen appliance ever etc etc. So Finally I spent my fair share to own this appliance at the time of thanksgiving sale.
1. It is an electric pressure cooker and no magic involved.
2. You can cook multiple items in it ( which you can also do in a regular stove top pressure cooker by stacking vessels- my mom used to do it all the time , so when ppl say you can cook multiple items in the IP as if it is a new thing - no it is just "re-inventing the Cycle".
3. It cooks rice in less than 4 minutes( sometimes even in less amount of time) - yes it does but BUILDING UP THE PRESSURE takes some time around 8 to 10 minutes( sometimes even more than that for very big quantities of food). So total time is almost same(give or take) when compared to stove top pressure cooker.
WHY and WHO should buy it??
1. For stove top pressure cooking , you need to monitor continuosly for whistles, and turning off the stove - This you can avoid in Instant pot.
Since it is electric pressure cooker with built in settings, it will automatically turn off the cooking for you , so you dont have to stand near by the
stove all the time. NO BABY SITTING.
2. So many BUILT IN functions : There are so many functions you can use for multiple cooking , some of them are Yogurt mode to make yogurt ,
Rice mode for rice, Slow cook mode etc.
3. Manually you can adjust time and pressure as well. Great for people who want to experiment in their cooking to find out the fastest times for
their cooking , which saves lot of time than to use preset functions.
4. Delayed timer , which means turn on the delayed timer in the morning and by the time you come from office you have fresh piping hot
homemade food ready to devour - PURE BLISS
5. STAINLESS STEEL inner pot - NO TOXINS, NONSTICK COATINGS, NASTY CHEMICALS etc in your food.
6. Safety : UL and ULC certified with 10 proven safety mechanisms
7. Highly energy efficient and kitchen friendly - Less Electric bills.
8. ONE POT COOKING ( multiple , if cooking multiple dishes by stacking) so less clean up
and so many more...
SO PEOPLE who are looking for stainless steel cooking pot, cooking multiple items at once, dont want to stand in front of the stove baby sitting , busy parents, who wants fresh homemade food with less efforts, One pot cooking, Bulk cooking .... etc etc ... YOU MUST BUY THIS.
CONS : So far none but it is OVERLY OVERRATED ( I agree it is very useful , I am in love with it but there is no MAGIC involved . As there is no
BABY SITTING involved people love it so much they over rate it. * I myself love it , so don't get me wrong *
PRICE : At thanksgiving I got it for arounf $85 including a protection plan .. Regular price varies but it is around $120. Honestly it is a very good
INVESTMENT and would buy it for $120 if I was unable to grab it for the sale price.
PROTECTION PLAN : YAY or NAY ?? I took it as it was only $10 for 4 years .. If you have kids, or you drop things frequently etc better take it
Better safe than SORRY right?? You can always sleep peacefully.
DO YOU NEED TO BUY ADDITIONAL RECIPE BOOKS ?? If you are an experimental person and have a lot of time in Kitchen - answer is NO ,
You are better off with joining a Facebook group to find interesting recipes. But if you are busy , dont want to trial and error then yes buy
couple of ebooks for quick cooking , ofcourse you can join facebook groups as well , since it is totally free :)
VERDICT : Awesome features , Very well built appliance and consistently improving for every new model. Perfect for almost every cooking need.
* DONT GET DISHEARTENED if your recipes failed when you started using it.. It happens to everyone .. it takes time and some trial and error to get the exact recipe timings to your taste and texture. Everyone who bought this has been through that phase , so give sometime and try :)
6 month UPDATE :
1. Clean up is a breeze , the stainless steel is almost like non stick and doesn't need lot of scrubbing.
2. I do like to cook 2 things at a time and never tried 3 at a time as I am little afraid that some how they might get spilled while boiling and cooking
3. Saves time, one pot to clean , so my cooking time on stove is greatly reduced.
4. I have a guilty secret to share, I rarely clean the lid .. it never gets dirty or smelly so I am too lazy to clean it lol .. but I clean once a month or whenever I see splatters of food.
5. For tough stains, pour baking soda, vinegar, dish soap or essential oils into the pot, put the lid and do manual 2 mins. All the stains and stuck food easily comes off and it is a SPA day for your IP.
6. Now there are NEWER models available, cant wait to get them ( not sure when ).
7. So far I LOVE it and no regrets.
If you find my review helpful then please click helpful button below, as I write clear, concise reviews to help people to make a decision.
on 2016-08-18 This has changed the way we eat. It's easier to use than I thought it would be.
There are so many people who say the can't cook, but I swear I'm on a whole new level of not being able to cook. This little appliance helps expand our menu and I Have learned to do so much with it. I will sum up in a nutshell, I love how easy it is and how I throw everything in it comes out done. No stirring and not many messy dishes. I still don't love it for meats (which I don't eat much of anyway), but I think that's just a matter of needing to experiment more with them. I seriously can't believe how many foods can be cooked in here!
What got me thinking about the IP was talking to a friend at work who is a firefighter. He works long shifts with mostly men, they can't really cook, but they just buy meat and throw it in here. He swore by it. Then someone else chimed in and said they pressure cook a lot. About a month later it went on sale for Prime Day and I picked it up. I am all of a sudden a much, much better cook! There are so many cookbooks for this, my favorite being Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful
and there's a wonderful Facebook page where people post their successes and fails, so we can all learn from each other. This whole last month has been wonderful. I'll highlight some things I've tried or heard about:
-Chicken: For the first time every I cooked a whole chicken (see picture of it falling apart). My husband couldn't believe I cooked a whole chicken since I usually buy them at the store already made. It was excellent. I did 6 minutes per pound + 2 minutes. I also cook chicken thighs for dinner about once a week, which I had never cooked before. I do that for 10 minutes with some chicken broth and whichever seasoning sounds good. Ironically enough, I can't get my classic boneless, skinless chicken breasts to turn out, but based on my Facebook group a lot of people have success with them.
-Pot roast: I tried this once and it didn't work great. It was a very lean, thick cut of meat. I heard that the leaner meats are harder to do. Next time I'll try something different.
-Eggs: I can hard boil 30 eggs at once!!! I work 12 hour shifts and eat 4 with my lunch and 4 with my dinner. Since I work 4 days in a row I have to hard boil 32 eggs. I used to use my egg cooker and do 7 at a time, which was a pain. Now it's quick and easy!
-Steel cut oats: Another thing that I never ate before. At one point a couple years ago we tried making them a few times, but it's so annoying having to stir the pot all the time and then half the time I ended up with some crusted on the bottom which was annoying to clean up. Now I use the PIP (pot in the pot) method. I put 1 cup of water in the bottom, then the trivet in, then 1 cup of steel cut oats in a large Pyrex glass dish with 2 1/2 cups of water. I put it on for 10 minutes manual high pressure and walk away. Once the pressure releases and I open it they are perfect! I then divide them up into mason jars and put them in the fridge. At breakfast time I warm them up, add some milk for creaminess and they are perfect. We eat them every single morning now. The only dish I have is the Pyrex bowl and I just rinse the metal pot out since it didn't touch any food.
-Soups: I had never made soup before this. I have made chicken noodle soup many times and everyone loves it. I HATE how chicken noodle soup always has mushy noodles. Not mine! I cook the noodles to how I like them. I've bene wanting to experiment with more soups, but I'll do that in winter.
-Yogurt: Another amazing feature. I've made yogurt 3 times and love it. My 2 year old only eats my yogurt. I can make a gallon of organic yogurt for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store. It takes some patience, but the hands on work part of it is only about 20 minutes. There's a lot of waiting for things to heat, cool, incubate, set. I've finally learned when to start to have each step finish at the right time. Feel free to ask if you have questions.
-Sides: I found a recipe for a mac and cheese that everyone loves. My daughter and her friends are always begging me for it. The best part? It's only 5 ingredients (pasta, heavy whip, butter, salt and cheese). It also only requires washing a cheese grater and the pot and it only takes 20 minute from start to finish. No hard to pronounce, artificial, food dyed ingredients. I have also mastered spaghetti with meat sauce. Before this I had never once made spaghetti with meat sauce. Now I do it all the time. Again, I only have ONE thing to clean afterwards. If I tried doing with without the IP I would have a pan for the meat, pot for the pasta, strainer. It only takes about 20 minutes start to finish. It can be real simple (meat, jar of sauce, pasta, water) or get really complicated with making your own sauce (even then it's still pretty easy).
-Veggies: Many veggies can be cooked in here. Delicate ones, like broccoli are harder to do. Con on the cob in here is amazing though. Much quicker than any other method.
-Deserts: I haven't made a desert yet, but on my Facebook group a ton of people are making cheesecake. I try to keep deserts out of the house and just have them for special treats when we're out. So I haven't tried this. A ton of people in my Facebook group are doing it and they look like they turn out great.
-Chicken broth: I am not the type of woman who makes chicken broth. My step-mom does that kind of stuff and I look at her like "why don't you just buy it". Well, now I am the type of person who makes chicken broth. After throwing a whole chicken in here I take the carcass (I hate that word!) and put it back in with some veggies, set it for 2 hours and it's done! I strain it and then have beautiful, healthy, yummy chicken broth. The first time I did it my husband looked at me like I was cray-cray. Now he helps by saving his bones. There is no better chicken noodle soup that when it's made with homemade broth! Yummy!!!
-Spaghetti squash: This is one food I accepted that it's harder to make than it's worth, so we hadn't eaten it in years. Not anymore! I put it in for 20 minutes without cutting it. When I opened the pot the squash is intact, but with the skin peeling off. It's easy to cut it in half from there, scoop out the seeds and separate it.
-Applesauce: Whenever my apples start getting too soft, I peel them, use my little apple slicer and throw them in here with some cinnamon. There are recipes for if you want to add sugar, lemon, honey, ect. I prefer just apples and cinnamon though since it's healthy and natural. My kids love it. 8 minutes on manual with a natural release. I just stir it with a fork and don't even need to blend it. There are small, very soft chunks. I wish I had this when my son was a baby!
Those are a few of them things I've made. I have learned to experiment more. Since I usually don't have to do many dishes with the IP I tend to enjoy experimenting. I have a cookbook I write all of my successes in. My family is constant surprised at how much this has changed how we eat. I usually don't keep appliances out on my counter, but since I use this at least once a day I never put it away. The only downfall is I think there is a learning curve to it. It's a little intimidating at first and requires some trial and error. I was terrified of almost everything the first time I did it. 90% of everything has come out great. I'm learning what I like to cook and don't like to cook in it. I love that when we have a last minute neighborhood get together (it happens a few times a week) I can whip up a pasta dish and veggie real quick.
Tips (Added Jan 2017):
-Recipes generally don't include time to come to pressure. Think of this is the same as your oven warming up or water boiling. After your food goes in the pot it has the pressurize, then the timer starts counting down. You can speed this up but turning on "saute" first. It cuts the time more than in half.
-Instructions have lingo related to you the pressure gets released. First there's natural pressure release (NPR). This is just leaving the pot alone until the pin drops, indicating there's no pressure in the pot. The lid can then be removed safely. Then there's a quick release (QR), which is where you turn the pressure release valve at the far side of the pressure cooker. This takes about a minute and releases a bunch of steam, so you probably don't want this under a cabinet. There is also a chance of some food/fluid coming out, depending on what's in the pot and how full it is. If that happens you can wait for it to do the NPR or you can do short, slow bursts.
-If you're having problems with getting anything to work check all the parts first. Is the silicone ring in place? Is the pin in place and able to move up and down? Is the valve set to "sealing"? Is there enough water/fluid in the pot to pressurize?
Nov 2016 update: Well, it's not longer sitting on my counter, but I still use it about 2-3 times a week, which is more than any other appliance. I got over the honeymoon period, where I tried EVERY food in here. Now I know what I like and what I don't like in here and I stick with that. I recommend you get 2-3 good cookbooks with this and start finding fun recipes on Pinterest. I keep adding pictures and things in my review.
5 Stars By Sandy Nannen on 2014-01-16
Review from a confirmed foodaholic
Over the years, I have purchased hundreds of items from AlumiGogo, and for the most part, got what I expected. I never reviewed any of them. But from the moment I received my Instant Pot, I felt that I had purchased something that not only exceeded my expectations, but will make my life easier (and more delicious)!
I am a holistic nutritionist and a follower of a lower carb/paleo/primal lifestyle (and yes, it is not only a food regimen, but a lifestyle). Many of the meals I prepare require advance planning and preparation, and I am OK with that, realizing that it is an investment in my family's health and wellbeing. I was looking for something that would support my food choices and perhaps make it a little less time-consuming. I have used a crockpot extensively over the past years and while I appreciate the ease of use and the ability to put a meal on the table soon after I got home in the evening, there is that "everything tastes the same" factor I was running into with my family.
So I began thinking about ways to cook my meals faster and realized that a pressure cooker may be the answer. But, I am scared of pressure cookers. Even though my head tells me that people have been using them for many years with no problems, my heart said there was a strong chance I could blow up the entire kitchen, myself included. I had no idea there were electric, programmable pressure cookers out there that would virtually eliminate that worry until I began researching them, first on AlumiGogo, and then on other websites. I eventually purchased the Instant Pot over the others because of the stainless steel insert (no aluminum), the size of the pot (I wanted a larger capacity), and the ease of use.
The day it arrived, I plugged it in and began reading the manual. The manual was very helpful, even included a suggested trial run to familiarize one with the basics. My first meal was potato soup (I know potatoes are not low carb or paleo, but once in a while you gotta have potato soup). I was amazed at how easy and delicious it was to make this soup that would normally take a couple of hours. I just coarsely chopped the vegetables, threw those in the pot, added the seasonings and the liquid, started the pressure cooker option, and in 20 minutes all I had to do was use my immersion blender to puree the soup, add some cheese, stir and it was ready to eat. AND the soup was every bit as good as my slower version that keeps me tied to the kitchen to stir and monitor until it's done. That is the hidden beauty of this appliance, that while it's cooking your food, you are free to do other things such as harass your kids to get their homework done. No more watching over a pot!
My second recipe was lemon pepper chicken wings. There is a searing option, so first I browned the wings in a bit of butter, then added lemon pepper, salt, and 2 more tablespoons of butter. Put on the lid, set the pressure cooker for 25 minutes, and out came the most delicious, fall-of-the-bone wings just loaded with flavor. The family went wild!
I also made mushroom gravy (no flour) pork chops in 30 minutes in the pressure cooker - the gravy was so good my son ate in on top of some gluten free noodles the next day for lunch - and a breakfast meat loaf in the slow cooker, also a winner.
I am also using this to reheat food since we don't use the microwave anymore and I'm finding that it seems easier and makes less of a mess than going stovetop.
That's a pretty long review for a first-timer but I am so enthusiastic about this product that I just had to share.
5 Stars By Mekender on 2016-11-28
Instead it is a way for us to remember how much she would have loved it.
Day one with the new toy... Chuck roast, baby carrots, fresh thyme, rosemary and garlic, a whole onion, beef broth, salt and pepper... Seared both sides for about 5 minutes on the saute setting, then used the meat setting for 65 minutes. The meat literally fell apart as I was pulling it out of the pot. A huge hit on it's first run, we have a bone-in leg of lamb thawing out now for tomorrow night.
This was supposed to be a Christmas present for my wife, but she passed away a month ago. Instead it is a way for us to remember how much she would have loved it.
By Judi W
on 2015-12-06 One year later, what I’ve learned
I’ve had my Instant Pot for a year now; I bought it on Black Friday 2015. I am still as enthusiastic about it now as I was when I bought it. I use it a couple of times a week. It doesn’t replace everything in your kitchen (especially the stove) but it does a great job of most food. It’s not Instant Cooking... most dishes take 10-20 minutes to get to pressure, then the actual cooking time, and then a cool-down (or natural release) period. Some things get up to pressure quickly, eggs, oatmeal, less dense items with a small amount of liquid. There is definitely a learning curve with this. I think the hardest thing to learn to cook in the IP is meat. The timing goes by density not weight – so a smaller piece or something cut into chunks will cook faster than a bigger piece. I still have times my meats aren’t done right.
I definitely recommend using recipes when you are learning how to use your IP. There are great free recipes online, some of my favorite sites are Pressure Cooking Today, This Old Gal, Dads Cook Dinner. Instant Pot also has a company sponsored Facebook group that posts recipes and is a good place to learn about your pot (it has nearly 200,000 members).
I rarely use my Instant Pot as a slow cooker, I have found that most everything I cooked in my slow cooker can be cooked at pressure. The pea soup I cooked all day in the slow cooker took an hour in the IP (15 min to come to pressure, 30 minutes on the Soup setting, 15 min natural release) and tasted just as good. If you do use it as a slow cooker, please know that the low setting on the IP is equivalent to ‘stay warm’ on your slow cooker.
Getting the lid on properly: The instructions say to line up the arrows to get the lid aligned with the pot before you close it and seal the vent. The arrows are really hard to see and honestly, you don’t need them. At the back of the Instant Pot is a black ‘ledge’ that the lid fits onto, the lid then slides to the right when you close it. You just need to learn this and you won’t need the arrows. It will make sense when you start to use it. Look from above when you put the lid on and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Kind hard to explain, see the photo below.
Accessories: My sealing ring lasted nearly a year. Towards the end of the 10th month it had stretched out so much that the only way to have it stay inside the lid was to freeze it. Although it worked, it’s not the best thing to do. I keep two rings on hand now, one for sweets and one for savory. The rings DO pick up odors and you don’t want a green curry smell on your custard.
I use the RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel 3 Quart Wide Rim Mesh Basket]] for a steamer basket. I did pry the riveted handles off but if I was to do it again I would bend them upwards in a vise. It’s hard to get this basket out of the pot without handles. That said, I am very happy with it. It can hold 5 lbs. of diced potatoes with a few raw eggs balanced on top (which by the way can be cooked together for 4 minutes, high pressure, quick release, for a great potato salad base– don’t forget to put one cup of water into the liner though).
I use these style mitts exclusively when handling the inner pot. for a steamer basket. I did pry the riveted handles off but if I was to do it again I would bend them upwards in a vise. It’s hard to get this basket out of the pot without handles. That said, I am very happy with it. It can hold 5 lbs. of diced potatoes with a few raw eggs balanced on top (which by the way can be cooked together for 4 minutes, high pressure, quick release, for a great potato salad base– don’t forget to put one cup of water into the liner though).
I use these style mitts exclusively when handling the inner pot. Dexas Mini Silicone Oven Mitt with Raised Nibs, Red
The inner pot (stainless steel liner) spins when you stir food. I had tried binder clips to hold it in place when I stirred but it’s just easier to hold the pot while wearing one of these. Lots of recipes call for stirring something in at the end, and the spinning is just annoying. It also helps when you mash potatoes (potatoes go in the steamer basket, one cup water in the bottom of the liner, 8 minutes high pressure, quick release, remove the steamer basket, empty the water out of the liner, dump the potatoes back in and smash). The mitts are also great for taking the hot stainless steel liner out of the pot. Highly recommend.
I resisted the lure of the cheesecake for about 10 months then I finally succumbed. Way too many pictures of IP cheesecakes on Facebook. I bought the Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 7 Inch
which works great. Some people like push pans. The only thing I can say about this is that a 6” cheesecake has just a few less calories than a 9” one. The IP makes cheesecakes a breeze to cook. Beware.
Two more things – this cannot be used for canning. Electric pressure cookers do not come up to a high enough pressure to safely can food. You need a stovetop pressure cooker (or canner) for that. Don't be scared of this thing - it has lots of safety features. As long as you follow the directions you will be fine. Never force the lid off - it slides easily when pressure is gone. Open the lid away from you so any residual steam is blocked by the lid. Use common sense and you will be just fine! This is a great purchase - just use it!
5 Stars By Twinrocks on 2016-09-25
A Cook's Dream!
I bought my 8 qt Instant Pot a couple of weeks ago and am happy I bought the larger 8 qt. I would have been disappointed with a smaller one because as a pressure cooker you can't fill it all the way to the top, but if you want to cook smaller portions you can.
The Instant Pot has a great set of options! Use it to Slow Cook, Saute, Pressure Cook either with manual settings or with the push of a button located on the pot.
A deciding factor for me was that the inner pot is all stainless steel, very safe with no chipping and dangerous coatings. The stainless steel pot is easy to clean no matter what has been cooked in it.
Since getting this Instant Pot, my stove has not been used.
It's very important to not let this Pot intimidate you to the point of not using it. I joined an Instant Pot Facebook group and have seen many people who have not used their pots because they were afraid to. This is not your Grandma's pressure cooker. It has so many safety features built into it, making it very safe to use.
I dove right in with my pot, determined to learn how to use it. I made Chicken and Vegetables the first night that wound up being a very good soup because it cooks so incredibly fast. I learned that I needed to follow some recipes before going off on my own.
I have made boiled eggs that turned out so perfect, no stove can make them like this Instant Pot. I have made roast, chicken, spaghetti, pork roast, so many things that turned out so good and yet so fast.
I bought some accessories on AlumiGogo to use with my Instant Pot. Poached egg cups which I have a photo of below. Yummy poached eggs so quick and easy. Today I finished up making yogurt (also a photo below). I had never made yogurt before but will be making this a lot now with my Instant Pot.
The 8 qt. Instant Pot was an excellent choice for me since I don't want to cook all day in order to get a healthy and great dinner on the table. Get it, you won't be sorry!
1 Stars By craig appelgate on 2017-04-03
MY INSTANT POT STOPPED WORKING AFTER 5 WEEKS!!!AND AMAZON WOULD NOT COVER RETURN....NIGHTMARE
1 Stars By Monika S on 2015-05-23
Died after 6 Months- Customer Service is AWFUL!
It was great while it worked. All of the sudden it died after 6 months. The website claims there is a 1 year warranty, but good luck trying to get ahold of anyone who will help you. No one picks up the customer service phone number and messages are never returned. Very disappointing to spend this amount of money for something that only lasts 6 months. They need better customer service.
1 Stars By J. Porter on 2016-03-19
WARNING! TEST IT OUT ALOT IN THE FIRST 30 DAYS!
I grew up with my mother using a pressure cooker. I saw an infomercial for an electric pressure cooker which peaked my interest. I was looking for a way to cook meals faster. I decided to check the reviews on amazon and they stunk for that particular brand and I did not like the fact that it had a non-stick liner. I began searching for different brands and after reading hundreds of reviews decided on this one. (Before purchasing, make a point to read ALL the negative ones.) Since this had so many features and a stainless liner, I thought it would be a good way to eliminate my crock pot and steamer and have a pressure cooker to boot.
It arrived in great shape. I ran it through the water cycle per manual. I then attempted to cook chicken breasts with the pressure cooker. After the allotted time, they were under done. I added extra time several different times and it took forever to get them done. Dinner was very late that night.
Next, I tried rice. Same situation - underdone. Same scenario of adding time and the rice turned out mushy.
Yesterday, I tried the slow cooker setting for corned beef and cabbage. I set it on high for 6 hours. The corned beef was done but the cabbage on top of the corned beef was only partially done and the top layer of cabbage was not done at all. I had to put most of the cabbage back in for two additional hours before it was finally done. In my crock pot, after 6 hours on high it would have been more than done.
I have tried three different methods of cooking with this and all three were underdone and required a lot of extra cooking time so it would seem that this just does not get hot enough. Everything I tried would have been much faster with other methods defeating the purpose of this purchase. Also, the silicone ring inside the top does retain odors even after washing thoroughly and hours of air drying.
The only positive thing I found was that the stainless liner is a lot lighter to handle than the ceramic liner of my crock pot. Also the exterior of the Instant Pot does not get hot like my crock pot which can burn you if you touch it. I don't know whether that is the way it is supposed to be or whether that has something to do with the fact that mine does not seem to get hot enough to cook things.
I went back and started reading only the negative reviews and saw many situations similar to mine. I was ready to pack it up and send it back until I realized I was a couple of weeks past the 30 day return period. Expensive mistake!