The trendy gift on most every cook’s Christmas list last year was the updated pressure cooker. The device is made by several manufacturers but the most familiar one is the Instant Pot. It comes in a 3, 6 or 8 quart size. The appliance does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, saute/browning pan and warming pot. It does the job of 7 things in one. But is it worth the hype and should you invest in one?
First, take a look at your other countertop appliances, do you actually use them or do they gather dust? Do you use your crock pot on occasion? The good thing about the instant pot is its versatility and you can find it on sale at many retailers. They can cost anywhere from 80 to 130 dollars, sometimes less with coupons. If you get one you can make space for it by donating your old crock pot.
I actually have two pots, the 3 quart mini and the 8 quart larger model. It works great when making a main course and a side dish. Recently, I made Mississippi pot roast in the big one and mashed potatoes in the little one. There is no need to turn on the stove or oven.
The only thing to clean up is the stainless steel inner pot and any measuring cups/spoons you used. That pot is dishwasher safe.
The thing to remember when using pressure to cook is that it takes time for the pot to reach the desired level and then the timer starts for the specific recipe. So, if a recipe says cook time is 8 minutes, it may take 10 minutes or more for the pressure to build up enough to trigger the timer.
Every meal I have cooked so far has been given the thumbs-up from my family. Favorites have been minestrone and chicken tortilla soup. The Instant Pot does a great job of infusing all the flavors of the foods and spices in these soups. For entrees, chicken and rice is always a hit. The device is also great for quickly cooking potatoes. I like that you can use the saute setting to brown vegetables and meat and then finish the dish out on high pressure. After the food is cooked, you can leave it on the warm setting until your family is ready to eat it.
Every pot comes with a recipe booklet, but there are hundreds of ideas online. A word of caution, with this appliance, you need to read the user’s manual. Working with high pressure can be daunting and and dangerous if you don’t follow the safety guidelines.