Did you know that I started a monthly newsletter this year?! It’s been an excellent way for me to connect with my readers and others who want to keep up with me and get some of my top health and fitness tips delivered to their inbox (this is content that won’t normally be shared on my blog). The post below is from my first ever newsletter which I sent out in February. If you aren’t already on my list and want to be, use this link to join! My next newsletter goes out Monday so please sign up before then if you can. This month’s newsletter topic is meal prep and I’m doing a special giveaway too!
Is The Instant Pot Really Worth It?
The Instant Pot. I pulled it out of it’s Amazon delivery box giddily. As I placed it on the counter and looked at the giant user manual and the foreign buttons on it’s face, I got a little worried. It was already 5:45 PM and I was about to take on my first Instant Pot meal. But, what could go wrong? This thing makes quinoa in 1 minute, so I should have dinner on the table in 30 right?
Very wrong. I’ll admit, I am not a big researcher for stuff like this. I didn’t do any extensive research on the Instant Pot before I purchased (even though it’s quite an investment) – I basically asked the audience (aka my Facebook friends) what they thought and after a lot of “It’s amazing!” responses and pinned a few recipes, I pulled the trigger. Which one did I get exactly? The Instant Pot 6 Qt 9-in-1.
2 1/2 hours later, dinner was ready. I was starving, my husband was starving. Curse words were used. And honestly the dinner itself was pretty mediocre. I considered returning the thing the next day, but if you know me, I don’t give up easily. Now that I’ve had about a month to experiment with my new toy, I wanted to share five things I’ve learned about the Instant Pot that I would have liked to know before buying.
1. The cook time advertised does not equal the total time. The Instant Pot itself needs to warm up first – and the warm up time depends on what setting you put it on so it won’t be the same every time. For example, you the cook time is 25 minutes on high pressure. You set the thing for 25 minutes and it could take up to even 30 minutes to simply build up pressure (it depends on how full it is and how much liquid is inside). Only THEN will it cook for 25 minutes. At the end, you’ll also need to release the pressure – some recipes call for natural release which, you guessed it, takes another 10+ minutes. So that 25 minute recipe really took 60+ minutes.
I hope I didn’t scare you away with that one.
2. The Instant Pot’s value is in the walk away feature. Not only can you pre-set the Instant Pot to cook at a later time, once you start it, you’re done it’s dinnertime. Rarely does a recipe call for much work after the fact. This is a great feature for someone who may get home from work at 5 PM, prep their food, turn on a workout and then want to eat at 6:30 PM. It’s not as great for someone who wants to come home at 8 PM and have a meal on their plate in 15 minutes. I haven’t found many recipes that will be ready that fast.
3. The Instant Pot’s slow cooker feature is great! I made one of my go-to crock pot recipes in the Instant Pot and enjoyed it more for a couple reasons. First, I was able to sauté the ground turkey in the Instant Pot first using sauce mode and then I added my remaining ingredients, saving me a pan to wash. Second, I prepped all the food in advance and was able to set it to start at a later time (I do know that some crock pots have a timer but mine doesn’t). Third, the dish itself was more flavorful – I could taste the individual ingredients a lot better than I could when I make the same recipe in the crock pot.
4. Choose all-in-one recipes for the most time saving. My big mistake that first night was that I made a vegan curry dish which called to be served over “cooked rice.” Well, I decided to make my rice in the Instant Pot first as a trial, and THEN cook my curry. With the instruction-reading time, pressurizing time, cook time, and release time, my brown rice took nearly an hour. THEN I had to make the curry. Big Mistake. My favorite recipe so far in the Instant Pot is this All In One Instant Pot Brown Rice and Chicken (this time the brown rice cooked along with the chicken and veggies). I rarely cook chicken because it turns out dry and this chicken was perfectly cooked!
5. If you’re a vegetarian, I’m not sure the Instant Pot would be worth the investment. Most Instant Pot recipes I found included meat (and feedback I’ve received is that is what it’s best at making) and like I said, my vegan curry wasn’t great. The veggies were a little overcooked which could have been prevented had I made it myself on the stove top in 1/4 the time.
I’m still a novice Instant Pot user but this is what I’ve learned so far. Tell me, do you have an Instant Pot? What is your favorite thing to make in it?
Looking for Instant Pot recipes? Here’s my Pinterest board with plenty.
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