I have a confession: I’m a sucker for trends. So naturally, my cauliflower rice-eating self had to give the Instant Pot a whirl. The Instant Pot adventure started last January when my early review of the appliance was very promising. Now, 12 months later, I can confirm that all good things actually don’t have to end—because I’m as obsessed with my Instant Pot as ever.
Obsessed is definitely the right word, too. I use the countertop pressure cooker at least five days a week, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coming from a girl who is more comfortable reading takeout menus than cookbooks, that’s really saying something. See our Test Kitchen’s recommended Instant Pot.
How I Use It
The Instant Pot is a seven-in-one appliance, featuring a slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, yogurt maker and warmer, but I don’t use all of those functions. (I’ll keep buying my yogurt, thank you very much.) I love it for steaming vegetables and cooking rice. Both are so easy to make and since they’re staples in my diet, those functions definitely get used every day.
The best part is that you can “set it and forget it,” which anyone who has ever tried (and failed) to make rice that’s not burnt or undercooked can appreciate. You don’t have to keep watching the pot—and it only takes a few minutes to whip up a healthy meal. Bonus: No more soggy vegetables, thanks to the even heat!
I also enjoy using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker, particularly when I don’t feel like unearthing my giant Crock-Pot from the cabinet. It’s the perfect size for a meal for one or two if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.
What I Learned the Hard Way
You can’t expect to get Instant Pot cooking right all the time, especially not in the beginning. To be honest, there’s a learning curve when it comes to using an Instant Pot. In the early days, I ended up with tough meat, way overdone vegetables and one seriously failed soup experiment (creamy soups are not for this appliance). See the most common Instant Pot mistakes.
My advice is to fiddle around with each function until you find the perfect settings. It may be frustrating (and even terrifying) at first, but it’s worth it for speedy, delicious meals once you figure things out.
Pro Tip: You can absolutely put frozen meat in the Instant Pot, which means forgetting to thaw out tonight’s chicken is no longer a big deal. Just make sure you increase the cook time accordingly, usually by about 50%.
Ready to give your Instant Pot a try? Look through our top Instant Pot recipes. If you’re unsure about replacing your old school pressure cooker with an Instant Pot, we looked at the Instant Pot vs a pressure cooker and found which one was better.
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