Tons of people have purchased (and regularly use) an Instant Pot—especially over the last year, as most were cooking at home more. If you’re one of the holdouts, though, permit us to share some of the reasons so many folks love their Instant Pot and wonder how they ever got along without it.
It’s perfectly understandable why you haven’t yet jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon. Perhaps you thought it was just another gadget fad, or you didn’t want to waste precious counter space on something you’d rarely use.
However, once you see what all this baby can do, you’ll understand why it’s so popular. From whipping up some homemade yogurt to making delicious meals in record time, this ain’t your mother’s slow cooker (unless, of course, she has an Instant Pot).
Let’s check out six ways this handy kitchen device can change your life for the better and see if we can’t get you to come down off that fence.
Many people think the Instant Pot is just a glorified pressure cooker, but it’s really so much more. Here are some of the most popular features and settings you get with your Instant Pot:
- Yogurt maker: Whipping up a batch of homemade yogurt in your Instant Pot will not only save you money, but it’s also creamy and delicious! You just add milk, a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened Greek yogurt, cover it with a glass lid, and then press “Yogurt.”
- Slow cooker: Throw in all the ingredients, press “Slow Cook,” and then select the time. Knowing a hot dinner will be waiting for you after a long day is pretty fantastic. For this setting, you’ll want to use a glass lid rather than the regular, pressure-sealing lid.
Tip: For “low” cook, you actually want to select “Medium” on your Instant Pot, and then for “high” cook, you can select “High.” The lowest heat function is “Warm.”
- Rice maker: Yes, there’s even an official “Rice” setting, and it works best for long-grain white rice. For other varieties, use the “Manual Pressure” setting.
- Steamer: Steam up those veggies in a flash!
- Sauté function: Fry up onions, garlic, meat, or anything else before cooking the rest of your meal.
- Air fryer: Instead of getting a separate appliance, you can save counter or cabinet space by transforming your Instant Pot into an air fryer.
Trust us: Your life will never be the same.
The Instant Pot’s ingenious design allows the lid to lock securely in place, so there’s no need to worry about it accidentally opening, or, even worse, exploding.
Just think: no longer will you have to strategically carry a pot of boiling water to the sink with toddlers and pets underfoot. With the Instant Pot, you can add spaghetti noodles, sauce, veggies, and meat, and then safely seal it all up. Within 10-20 minutes, you’ll have a hot, delicious, family-friendly meal.
Of course, it’s important to always exercise caution when opening the lid, due to the hot steam that will be released. This is why we recommend you keep your Instant Pot well out of the reach of children and always use a potholder.
This appliance is a no-brainer. The buttons are clearly marked, making it easy to experiment with different cooking modes. Even your kids can dump in ingredients, lock the lid, and push the buttons. Again, just don’t let them open the lid when it’s done.
There’s no need to hang on to the user manual, either, as all the main instructions can be found on the website. You can also easily look up anything you need to know, like how to make bread or tips for using the slow cook feature.
Sure, a microwave can cook fast, too, but it often gives you a meal that’s soggy or unevenly heated. Not so with the Instant Pot!
Forget to thaw out that chicken for dinner? No prob! Just toss some frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, add some water and spices, and within 30 minutes, you’ll have a succulent, moist, oh-so-tasty dinner. It’s magic!
Too tired to handle breakfast in the morning? Try this quick oatmeal recipe.
And did we mention that whatever you make in your Instant Pot will taste amazing? Just wait—the whole family will be drooling over whatever you cook in this thing.
You’ll have fewer pots and pans to wash, too, because you can do everything in the Instant Pot, from sautéeing and frying, to steaming and slow cooking!
Also, nearly every part of the Instant Pot can go directly in your dishwasher. Talk about a total game-changer! Here’s how to clean the different pieces:
- Steel inner pot: Rinse and place it in the lower rack of your dishwasher. Many people get an extra pot to use whenever the other one is dirty.
- Lid: Yes, the lid can also go in the dishwasher, but only on the top rack. Be sure to pop off the anti-block shield on the bottom, as well as the float valve on top. The video above will show you how to do it. Technically, the smaller parts can also go in the dishwasher, but it’s really best to hand-wash those so you don’t lose them.
- Sealing ring: This is the silicone ring on the inside of the lid. Pop it out, and then set it in the top rack of your dishwasher. It’s recommended you replace the sealing ring after 12-18 months, or if it’s showing signs of wear and tear.
- Condensation cup: This is the clear plastic cup on the side of your Instant Pot. Slide it off and either hand-wash it or place it in the top rack of your dishwasher. We recommend ordering extra cups, as they can easily get lost.
- Accessories: Any official Instant Pot accessories you get, such as a steamer basket or egg rack, can also go in the dishwasher.
Sadly, you can’t put the exterior of your Instant Pot in the dishwasher. Just make sure to regularly wipe it down by hand. Again, for more detailed instructions on cleaning tough stains or stubborn grime, watch the video above.
There’s really no limit to what you can make in an Instant Pot, but here are some of our favorite recipes:
- Popcorn: Move over microwave, the Instant Pot has this under control! This popcorn is light, fluffy, and just divine.
- Chili: Nothing beats a warm, hearty bowl of chili. Pair it with some homemade cornbread, and you’ll be whisked right to heaven.
- Spaghetti: Just add the pasta, sauce, and water. Seriously! But you can watch the video above if you don’t believe us.
Prefer a good old-fashioned cookbook? We recommend The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook by Simon Rush. It has over 800 recipes, and covers everything from meat and soups to pasta and grains.
Now that you’re convinced that this appliance is a true godsend for delivering hot, fast, and easy family-friendly meals, it’s time to think about which model to get.
First, do stick with the official Instant Pot brand. Some of the knockoffs don’t come with a sturdy, stainless-steel inner pot, nor do they have the same reliability as the official brand. Additionally, most of the recipes you’ll find have only been tested in a genuine Instant Pot, so a different brand might require shorter or longer cook times.
Most importantly, make sure your Instant Pot comes with the yogurt feature. Not all models do, so definitely read the specs. This handy comparison chart is a quick way to compare the specs of each model, but we’ll break them down a bit further.
Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova: This is the classic seven-in-one model (pressure, rice, and slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté, and food warmer). It’s available in 3-, 6-, or 8-quart sizes. The Duo Nuvo is intended for beginners. It automatically monitors and adjusts pressure, temperature, time, and heat. The Nuvo also features a smart lid that automatically seals and is available in the same sizes as the Duo, as well as a 10 quart.
Instant Pot Duo Plus and Pro: The Duo Plus model has all the same settings found on the Duo and Duo Nova, along with sous vide and sterilizer settings. It also has a steam-release switch and an automatic easy-seal lid. It’s available in 3-, 6-, or 8-quart sizes. The Pro model is a 10-in-one (it also bakes). It has 28 programmed settings, as well as five programmable settings for your own recipes. The Pro is available in a 6- or 8-quart size.
Instant Pot Max: The Max is best for canning, and it’s available only in the 6-quart size. It features touchscreen operation, as well as automated venting and lid-lock, and altitude adjustment. It’s a nine-in-one, so in addition to the canning setting, it can also pressure, steam, and slow cook, sauté, make yogurt, warm food, cook rice, and sterilize objects. It also features a brushed stainless-steel exterior, and a food-grade stainless-steel interior cooker and pot.
Instant Pot Ultra: The Ultra is the latest and greatest. It’s a 10-in-one (pressure, steam, rice, and slow cook, sauté, yogurt maker, cake maker, food warmer, sterilizer, and egg cooker). Like the Max, it also includes altitude adjustment, but it also features a cooking indicator, steam release reset button, and an Ultra button that allows custom programming. It’s available in 3-, 6-, or 8-quart sizes.
Now that you know the many things it can do, the time has come to invest in your first Instant Pot and say goodbye to those endless hours of sweating over a hot stove. After you get your shiny new kitchen assistant, you’ll probably want to invest in a few of these Instant Pot accessories, too.