Nothing teaches you more about the time and effort involved in preparing healthy and delicious meals like being the one in charge of cooking for the entire family! I mean, even when you set aside the time it takes to research new recipes and buy the ingredients there is still a lot of work to be done in the kitchen.
In fact, I remember that, before I started my own Instant Pot journey, the end of the day would find me exhausted. Of course, I was happy to provide for my family, but cooking without any special help is a full-time job!
So, when I first heard about the Instant Pot, the thing that tickled my curiosity was its crazy popularity. The DUO (the basic IP model) became a best seller on Amazon rather quickly and people are going nuts over it even today.
Given that I was looking for an appliance that could ease my life as the home chef, I was immediately attracted by the features and promises this multicooker was making. Still, I decided to do my own research, and make sure I will really get the help I was promised.
So, if you’re a skeptic like me, this article is perfect for you!
Why is the Instant Pot So Popular?
First, I have to mention that the Instant Pot is an electric multicooker that can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, saute dish, rice cooker, yogurt maker, warmer, steamer, and more. This cooker comes with several preset programs (like soup, stew, rice, and so on) and a manual mode, which gives users the freedom to choose what to cook and how.
In addition, there isn’t just one Instant Pot (this is the name of the brand). There are several series of products, each with different features and functions. However, the DUO series is the most popular since it is both affordable and versatile.
In addition, the multicooker is praised all over social media and well-established cooking or home-goods sites, which brought new audiences to the group. Furthermore, the brand carries a big online community on Facebook, where over 300,000 users gather around and share recipes and tips.
But if we set aside the online hype, the reason behind Instant Pot’s popularity is its usefulness. This multicooker can truly replace 7+ appliances in your home and speeds up cooking without affecting the taste or texture of the food. Even more, it doesn’t require much supervision and users enjoy cooking entire meals using just one pot.
According to the manual you receive with the pot, the multicooker cooks rice in four minutes and a whole chicken in only 24 minutes! You can also have beef ribs ready in 20 minutes and boil potatoes in 12 minutes.
Instant Pot Pros & Cons
I am a strong supporter of the Instant Pot brand, but I’m also the first to recognize that this is not a perfect appliance. It has pros and cons, which is why it’s important to weigh them out before making the purchase.
Here is my list, after a few years of constantly using these multicookers in my kitchen and sharing tips and tricks with friends:
- It is versatile and you can cook entire meals in just one pot. This means less cleaning when cooking is over and more space in the kitchen.
- It cuts down the time usually required when cooking via traditional methods. This means more time spent with the family or for other activities.
- It has a wide array of uses from sauteeing to steaming and warming the food until the entire family is ready to eat.
- It doesn’t need full-time supervision (if you’ve made the correct settings) and it can even be set to start the cooking process before you get home.
- The inner pot, lid, and accessories are dishwasher-safe, which makes cleaning incredibly easy.
- It is energy-efficient and most pots are available in different sizes (for different cooking quantities).
- The technology used to program and set the multicooker is advanced enough to take most of the hurdles away from the chef. This way, you can focus on seasoning and consistency and forget about keeping track of time and monitoring the heat and pressure.
- It’s safe to use – each IP multicooker is designed with at least 10 safety mechanisms.
- It has a learning curve – while there are lots of instructions, tips, and even videos available online, each user needs to test the limits of this pot. Luckily, it is durable and smart enough to allow you to learn from your mistakes.
- The cooking times in recipes are a bit misleading – the time specified on recipes is only the time it takes for the food to cook. However, you also need to set aside time for the pot to build and release pressure, which can be another 10 to 20 minutes at the beginning and end of the cycle.
- You can add too much or too little liquid in the inner pot. If this happens, you’ll either have trouble with building up the pressure (too little liquid) or releasing it (liquid will spew through the valve while it gets depressurized). It takes a bit of trial and error in order to learn how to add just the right amount of liquid for each dish.
- The rubber seal on the lid retains strong smells like chili or cumin. While this doesn’t have an influence on the food you’re cooking, the smell will stay in the seal for a long time. Most users solve this problem by simply buying a set of seals and replacing it when they feel it’s time.
In my opinion, the Instant Pot multicooker is easy to use and, in time, you’ll get used to the extra time required for building and releasing pressure. After all, when you see you can cook a large pot roast in about 90 minutes (including the extra time) as opposed to 6 to 8 hours, you won’t care about this aspect!
In addition, you can cook foods that need hours for the taste and texture to set in (like beans chili) with standard cooking, in about an hour.
Is the Instant Pot Overrated?
I don’t think this product is overrated and there is a large online community that will answer the same. The multicooker does a fantastic job of delivering exactly what it promises and more, but it’s not perfect (which is fine by me).
Also, it can’t be used for all types of cooking. For instance, a simple Instant Pot product can’t be used for air frying (you’ll need an extra lid for this) and there may be recipes that can’t be cooked with only the multicooker, but when it is an amazing help when it comes to preparing regular meals for the entire family!