I Tried the Instant Pot and I am Not Sold

Last year for Christmas I got an Instant Pot. I asked for one after hearing everyone sing it's praises. It didn't take me long to unbox it, but then I struggled. I'm still struggling. If there is one thing I tell those who ask about it, it's that the learning curve is steep. So here is what I think about the Instant Pot one year later with my complete review.

A Real and Honest Review of the Instant Pot

What is an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is a smart electric pressure cooker. If you say those last three words to anyone over the age of 50 you immediately start to hear stories of cabbage on ceilings from blown tops. The key word here is smart. It's not your grandma's pressure cooker. 
It speeds up cooking time, uses less energy and the ad says it can replace 7 kitchen appliances, though I'm not sure how many people have a yogurt maker they need to replace. As my husband likes to say it fixes a problem we don't actually have.

What Made me Want an Instant Pot?

I spend a lot of time on social media and I started hearing stirrings of the IP {as it's called in groups}. People were talking about how they could cook a pot roast in 5 minutes while steaming vegetables. 
We eat dinner at home nearly every single night. It's a lot of work, but it's important to us and I like to keep the cook time under 30 minutes because nobody has time for that. When I remember to use my crock pot I love it, and this seemed like a fast crock pot to me.  

Do You Need an Instant Pot?

I guess the question I would ask is are you willing to put in the effort to learn how to use a new appliance? There is a learning curve and even the most experienced cook will have some Instant Pot fails. I honestly was hoping I could plug the thing in, throw some food into it and bingo bango have dinner made in a fraction of the time. Which leads me to my next response...

Why am I not Sold on the Instant Pot?

What I didn't plan for was the amount of time you can't estimate when it comes to building the pressure. That can take anywhere from 8-10 minutes and sometimes if your lid isn't properly secured it won't start until you push the top down or remember to seal the vent, trust me...all things that have postponed our dinner.
Last week I tried to make pulled pork and 2 1/2 hours later my meat was finally ready. I was thinking it would only take a half an hour. Nearly every single time I use this I make us late to something. I just have not figured out the timing of it yet.
We also eat a lot of chicken and I don't love how the chicken gets rubbery. Again, I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, but to not be able to use it for the majority of the meals we eat kind of defeats the purpose.
The house also stinks after I use my IP. The smell kind of lingers. I'm not really sure how to fix this so any advice would be helpful.

Why You Need an Instant Pot

All that to say, don't let me be the person that stops you from getting an Instant Pot. You will need to read the manual, don't skip that step! The Instant Pot may take you out of your comfort zone and it will have you trying new recipes and cooking in new and different ways. 
Just this past week I used the IP to make hard boiled eggs. Seven of the eight I made turned out OK, so maybe I'm not all together failing at this thing. I'm still recommending the IP to my friends, I just have a few caveats I add to my recommendation. 
So, what do you think? 
Do you have an Instant Pot? 
Did you love it right away or have you learned to love it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Anonymous said...

I think the Instant Pot is great for those meats that need braising. I’ve used it for hard boiled eggs, works great. Yes, mine has the yogurt maker, which I had to have, and have yet to use, and I’ve had mine for two years. I do love that cleanup is easy - one pot.

Roxanne said...

Racheal, I don’t have one and have been debating on to get one or not. You have helped me with this post and now I know I need to learn more about it. I just dont want to spend that kind of money if I’m not going to use it, plus I have to find a place to store it.
Thank you for the info.

Mammy said...

I love my Instant Pot but I was already a pressure cooker user. I use it to makes soups and stews, roasts and shredded pork and chicken--things that used to take a long time to cook but can now be ready much more quickly. I will probably never make yogurt but I can sure get rid of the three crockpots I keep in the pantry as well as the old pressure cooker.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with your hubby about sit solving problems one doesn't have. (Love that turn of phrase.). I was interested in one, even though my hubby does most of our cooking. I'd thought about one, but your experience has convinced me otherwise. The smell issue would be a major factor for me too.

Shelley said...

I love my IP and use several times a week! Yes, there is a learning curve and it wasn’t until I told myself that I would use it every night for a week, that I got the hang of it. I got a book of easy recipes for that week. (Free or cheap on kindle or find on Pinterest) I now even experiment with it. I almost always use the Manuel button. I can totally see now why some people have more than 1. Only a couple of recipes had a smell problem, but washing the lid and sealing ring helped. I’ve never made yogurt in it.

kelli said...

I ADORE my instapot! And really it's not fair to knock an appliance when you didn't follow the recipe!! 2-1/2 for pulled pork is crazy fast considering it would take 12+ hours in a smoker or 3-4 hours in a crock pot! Give it another shot, following the recipe. For us, I love that we can put dinner in and go to basketball practice, come home 1-1/2 hours later to dinner. I love Hip Pressure Cooking. She has a great you tube you can watch. One of my family's favorite is Orange chicken: https://againstallgrain.com/2017/11/29/instantpot-orange-sesame-chicken-recipe/ Can you cook this on the stove in 20 min? Probably... but can you cook this, bath the kids, fold a load of laundry, vacuum the house, help with homework, or any other mom task that also must be done while cooking dinner? It's nice that I can walk away from the IP to do something else.

Super Mom - No Cape! said...

I don't have an Instapot but I do have an old fashioned pressure cooker that I got for a wedding gift almost 35 years ago. I've never had any trouble using it. When it comes time to replace it, I'll be replacing it with a modern pressure cooker not with an Instapot. I've read too many posts where people say there's a learning curve to using one. As well... one of the great things about a regular pressure cooker... when the power goes out, they're great for cooking meals fast. You can't do that with an Instapot.

Unknown said...

Why would you need to cook eggs on this? It only takes about 7 min. for hard boiled. On the stove is fine for me. I couldn't afford 1 of these & living in a very small apt. there's no room on the counter for 1. Good luck to you with using your Instant Pot.

nedetria said...

I do think you are doing something wrong...I absolutely love mine. I cook whole chickens and made 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in mine this weekend and shredded them for recipes I would use this week. They were perfect. I use chicken broth in mine. I have done pork tenderloin and beef roasts and lots of dried beans and all have been great in a very short cooking period. So sorry it hasn't worked for you!

The Wandering Daughter said...

I actually enjoy my Instant Pot (I've made some yummy rice porridge and chicken soup with it), but I do have to say that sometimes it can be a bit intimidating to work. There's no shame in not loving it, though. :)

Marcie C said...

We just got an Instant Pot last month and we've used it 5 or 6 times. When I say "we" I mean my husband. He loves to cook and he's getting the hang of the IP. We've made rice in it a few times and the rice tastes better in the IP than in our rice cooker. He's also made a great bolognese and our chicken has come out really flavorful.

Auntie Jan(et) said...

I am glad to read of the woman who was debating whether to buy one or not. I too was going to jump on the craze just like the bread machine everyone bought, the George Forman Grille, etc - there is just not enough room to store all of these items and I use my Crock Pot religiously. Thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Well, the first one I bought didn't work. I wasn't sold after that. Unless you're hastening a slow-cooked meal, the oven or stove seems faster. Seems pretty much like a fad and blog-bait to me. And the customer service was pretty awful and heavily delayed fixing their broken product (this is of the ultra line by the way). Check the BBB page for this company. And I'm not exactly sure what it's replacing in your kitchen, other than slow cooker (how many people make yogurt anyway?). Not like you're gonna toss your oven and stove. So yeah, I'm not sold either.

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