Cooking is one of those things that most of us have a love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, it’s a great creative outlet because you get to experiment with different ingredients and recipes. On the other hand, it requires a lot of time and energy and usually creates a mess.
After a long day at work, we’re usually starving but have no drive to cook much of anything, let alone anything healthy, and then have to turn around and clean up. But we all have to eat, right?
If this sounds familiar to you, we have some life-changing news for you: There exists a device called an Instant Pot that will cook you healthy, tasty meals usually in under an hour. While the Instant Pot is similar to a slow cooker, it deviates in that it is a pressure cooker.
However, it’s an all-in-one cooker that cooks virtually everything. Plus, it is typically smaller than a slow cooker, so it won’t take up too much space on your counter. The best part is that it’s incredibly affordable and won’t break the bank.
It sounds too good to be true, but it is real, and it’s here to make your life easier.
This awesome invention, typically referred to as InstaPot, is a multi-functional kitchen tool—but ask anyone who owns one of these bad boys and they’ll tell you that it’s much more than that.
A multi-cooker is perhaps a better way to describe it. Not only is it a pressure cooker, but it’s also a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and a steamer.
It even sautés. And get this—it makes cake and yogurt too. So you’re probably thinking that something this magical must be pretty expensive, right?
It’s actually fairly affordable considering all that it does. Plus, it saves you time and effort—and you can’t measure convenience, which is what this tool is all about.
Since coming on to the market in 2010, this device has proven to be a frontrunner in the culinary world. A game changer for many, it continues to evolve to be more user-friendly and convenient.
Make great food quickly & easily
Show off your chef skills with ease
Have handy meals whenever you need them
A traditional pressure cooker relies on an airtight environment that traps steam inside to cook food quickly.
While pressure cookers save time, they have been known, older models in particular, to explode if the lid is not locked or weighted down.
The InstaPot helps to eliminate this safety hazard by including a lockable lid (one that locks automatically when you begin a cook cycle) and a steam-release valve.
The main difference between it and a regular pressure cooker is that the Instant Pot is far more versatile than the pressure cooker.
It isn’t just a pressure cooker either; it’s also a slow cooker if you need it to be. It’s also capable of cooking rice, eggs, yogurt, bread, cakes, and even sweets like custard. That’s something a pressure cooker can’t do.
One of the best features is that it cooks food in so much less time than it would take if you were to use the oven, stove, or slow cooker method.
You can make many meals in 30 minutes or less—and not just simple meals, but hearty meals like chilli. The combination of high pressure and heat allows the Pot to cook even the toughest of meals quickly.
As a whole, pressure cookers have few settings, but in this case an abundance of pre-programmed settings helps you to make sure that the meal will be prepared to your liking.
That’s why it’s perfect for healthy meals as well. While healthy meals sometimes intimidate us because of the skill required to prepare them, the InstaPot eliminates that fear because it does all the work for us—and that’s something that a pressure cooker can’t achieve.
There is a suitable pot for everyone—the health guru, the seasoned chef, the simple cook who values quick meals, and everyone in between.
The one that might be best for you is determined in large part by how big you want it to be.
Smaller models fit nicely in a small kitchen, but they don’t hold as much food. Larger models feed more people, but they’re bulkier.
The various models are differentiated mostly by quart size. “Mini” three-quart models are intended for people who cook for only one to two people at a time.
For most people, a six-quart or eight-quart model will serve them much better.
How sophisticated you want your pot to be will also play a factor in the model that you ultimately choose.
Currently they are primarily broken into the Duo series and the Ultra line. Both have increased functionality in comparison to their predecessor, the Lux line, but the Ultra has more of a sleek interface.
Our last pick is a little bigger, but it still offers the same awesome functions that our other picks do. The DUO80 eight-quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot is a little cheaper than the Ultra model above by about $10.
The main difference with this model is that it holds eight quarts, so it’s perfect for larger families and even for smaller families that like to eat soups and stews since it holds more liquid. Here are its notable features:
While researching the various pots, you might come across the Lux model. This model is the oldest of the Instant Pot. It offers only one pressure-cooking level, and its lid has no handle.
However, while it undoubtedly offers the renowned dependability that the company have come to be known for, you’re likely better off to get one of the newer models since they offer increased functionality and a more modern interface.
You also might come across the Duo Plus series. This model is virtually identical to that of the Duo line, but it comes at a higher price. The only noticeable difference that you might find is that the Duo Plus model has an upgraded LCD that displays more information.
All of the pots in our top picks are highly rated, but the one that’s right for you will depend on your cooking needs. While most models share several things in common, there are a few differentiating factors that might matter more to you—such as the outer design.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any model because this appliance offers the best in terms of convenience and dependability. So, no matter what model you decide on, it’s sure to be a welcome addition to your kitchen.
Note: A new model, the Instant Pot Max, will be available in August of 2018. It retails for around $200. The Max model features several new features: a higher psi (pounds per square inch), a sous vide setting, an option to can foods, and a hands-free valve in the lid that adjusts to your chosen method of steam release.
Again, these new features might be worthwhile to some people. However, if you don’t see yourself taking advantage of them, one of the older models might be a smarter decision for you and your household.
The easiest place to buy your pot is online, particularly through Amazon. However, because of its popularity, it is now sold at many retailers across the United States, Canada, and the UK, such as Walmart, Kohl’s, Belk, and more.
Oftentimes, you can find good deals on the Instant Pot, but even if you can’t, the models are reasonably priced, especially considering all of their functionalities and uses. Think of it this way: For a 7-in-1 cooker, you’re basically getting seven appliances in one.
Therefore, you’re saving a lot of money by having to buy only one. (You’re also saving a lot of counterspace too.) Where you buy your pot will depend on your personal preference, e.g., how you like to shop (online or in-store), but no matter what, you’re sure to love your new appliance.
Being able to prepare food easily and quickly is awesome. But then comes the time to clean up, and you have to worry about finding containers to store the food in.
Having a silicone lid for your pot allows you to slap the lid right on and put the leftovers in the refrigerator so that you don’t have to worry about finding the right size bowl and accompanying lid and transferring the food.
Silicone cupcake liners are another cool accessory you can take advantage of.
They allow you to cook mini versions of all types of things, like cheesecake, and they’re perfect for eggs. They come in all different colors and designs, so serving them up can be fun too.
Accessories such as these make the pots even more appealing, but more importantly, they make cooking with it fun and even easier than it already is.
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