Why Instant Pot? Which Instant Pot?

I’m sure you have heard about the Instant Pot.  If you haven’t, no, it is not something only available in states like Colorado 😉

Okay, okay…. I admit it…the Instant Pot changed life in the Otte household…. most definitely.

If you know me, you know that I am absolutely one to be very skeptical of fads.  I waited AND WAITED before making the purchase because I hate waste and I hate clutter.  My personality requires something to be practical before I invest my money or time in it and much needed space!

Why Instant Pot?

I read about what the Instant Pot could do and in fact, saw infomercials on other pressure cookers in the past but I simply shrugged.  No, I don’t need one.  My excuses:

  • My crockpot is fine. 
  • I can just walk away from the crockpot as long as I plan.  Is that really a time saver?
  • I don’t want extra clutter. 
  • I can’t remember to thaw things out anyway. 
  • I make a lot of soups, it won’t change the length of time for soups. 
  • They are dangerous, right?
  • Whatever.  It’s too complicated.

which instant potIt took reading in a homesteading group that the Instant Pot makes perfect hard-boiled FRESH-from-the-backyard-hens eggs that actually peel.  WHAT??!!!  Yup.  Check out how well they cook fresh eggs!

That made the purchase practical for me.

However, once I started using it, everything changed.  Dean is now a bit disoriented when he comes home from work.  What is this?  This…. dinner?  Most every night?  He doesn’t know what to say as for years, I was hung up on anxiety of not wanting to ruin dinner or what the heck do I make tonight? and it was overall just frustrating for me.  The Instant Pot simplified my life regarding the kitchen and dinnners….(and no, Instant Pot is not paying me for this.  I wish they were, but they are not!)

I highly recommend that if you purchase one,  you take a few minutes and meal plan one week.  Skim through recipes online and make yourself use it for one week.  This takes the intimidation completely away.  It is WAY easier than you think.

Let’s address those excuses of mine above –

  • Flavor & Texture:  The Instant Pot  makes flavors better, no more mushy meat and vegetables, etc. that is caused by the crockpot.  Seasonings and flavors are infused into the meal.
  • Time:  What takes 8 hours in a crockpot takes no more than 1 hour in the Instant Pot (usually less).  You don’t have to worry about your house burning down or food over-cooking if you have to go run an errand because the crockpot takes so long.  In the Instant Pot, chicken breast or thighs are set for about 6-12 minutes, pork chops 5-8 minutes (add a few minutes to both of these if your meat has bones), and an entire beef roast, large beef roast with vegetables is set for about 40-60 minutes.  Soups – don’t even get me started.   6 minutes to make chicken tortilla soup and the flavor is way better than simmering for hours on the stove – this is the truth!
  • Frozen Meat:  Forget to thaw something out?  No problem.  You can cook frozen meat in the Instant Pot.  Yes…. that’s amazing!
  • Dangerous?  Well… while anything can be dangerous if you really think about it, this is not  your pressure cooker of the past.  This is digital and very easy to use.  Let’s put it this way.  If my son or daughter moved out, this would be the first thing I would purchase for them.
  • Simple:  The main things you need to know is how long you set it for (and the pressure release time).  You need at least 1 cup of liquid in with whatever you are cooking (keep different boxed broths around and it makes it super easy to dump a cup of chicken, beef, or vegetable broth in with your meat or pasta or grains).  You CAN modify your own recipes for the Instant Pot.  PROMISE!  I’m modifying quite a few of my recipes or even cooking habits to the instant pot.
  • Clutter:  I can’t help you there but I can tell you this….

instant potIt’s worth having it on your countertop.  You won’t be putting the Instant Pot away.  In fact, I made room for one Instant Pot and then bought a second and both reside on my countertop.  I don’t have a lot of room in my kitchen, but I made room for these.  Even with two coffee makers (Dean insists on a traditional coffee maker and I insist on my Keurig because I’m lazy).

Do I still need my crockpot?  I’d say store it.   I will still be using my ginormous slow cooker for my turkey on Thanksgiving.  It will be nice to have a crockpot or two to keep some things warm when I’m cooking big dinners but the Instant Pot can act as a slow cooker too.

Which Instant Pot?

Now you are confused and overwhelmed.  Which Instant Pot should you get?  The 8 in 1?  The 7 in 1?  the 10 in 1?  Forgot about those numbers…..Here’s what you need to know.

instant pot ultraSize:  When choosing a model, the number on it corresponds to the quart size.  for instance, the 80 means 8 quart and the 60 means 6 quart.  How many do you have in your family?  I have 4 – two adult kids and my husband and myself.  We are big eaters.  The 6 quart is perfectly acceptable for a family of 4 like us and usually we will have enough leftover for someone to have a left-over-lunch the next day.  Personally, I like a little wiggle room.  After I purchased the 6 quart and decided I wanted a second, I purchased an 8 quart for the extra room.  If it’s just you and your partner?  The 3 quart is going to be fine for you; however, not if you plan to cook for company and trust me, once you start using the Instant Pot, you will want to use it for big meals or holidays at your home.

Functions:  I have cooked EVERYTHING on manual.  The majority of the Instant Pots have the basic selections:  soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, slow cook, rice, saute, steam, pressure cook/manual.  There are a few variables not found on every Instant pot like sterilize, yogurt, egg, and cake.  For me personally, the only extra variable I wanted was the egg function but I do not use the egg function when cooking eggs so I didn’t need that.  I simply use manual even though I have the egg option.  Manual is your most important function.  If you find a recipe that is for something that requires higher pressure or lower pressure, you can manually set it higher or lower.  Not a big deal.  The only function that would be nice to have if you think you may use it is the yogurt function or possibly the cake function.

I recommend that when you make your choice, you figure out the capacity you wish to have and then look at the functions.  Oh, and just wait, you will want two – one for your main dish and one for a side.  You can cook simultaneously!!!


IP-DUO 60  (6 quart)

Apparently this is the most popular model.  This has pressure cooker/manual, saute, slow cook, porridge, multigrain, soup, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, rice, yogurt, steam, and keep warm functions.   If you don’t need or want the cake, egg, or sterilize settings that are on the upgrade below (the DUO PLUS) and want a 6 quart, buy this model.



IP-DUO mini (3 quart)

Same as above but less capacity.



IP-DUO 80 (8 quart)

Same as above but more capacity.



IP-LUX 60 (6 quart)

This is like the IP-DUO except does not have the bean/chili, yogurt, and poultry settings.  Don’t need those settings?  Buy this one as it is less expensive.



IP-LUX 3 (3 quart)

Same as above but less capacity.



IP-LUX 80 (8 quart)

I have this one.  It’s the same as the IP-LUX 60 but bigger capacity.  I bought this because it was less expensive and I didn’t need the yogurt function on both of my Instant Pots…. and frankly, I haven’t used the poultry or bean/chili functions because I just set everything in manual.



IP-DUO Plus 60 (6 quart)

I have this one. This was my first.  I chose this because it was only a little more expensive and was an upgrade.  It has everything as above but also has cake, egg, and sterilize settings (which I haven’t used any of them).



IP- Ultra (6 quart)

This is exactly like the IP-DUO 60 above but has an automatic altitude adjustment and a different type of digital readout that to me is more complicated to look at….. and honestly, I don’t see anything significant that would warrant an additional $50 or so.



IP-Smart Bluetooth (6 quart)

Same as IP-DUO 60 above but has techy bluetooth stuff that honestly, I don’t care about.  Sometimes with new technology I think there is always something that ends up being overdone…. such as this.   Be prepared to spend around $160 or more.  I’m really not sure why you would want it attached to your smart phone when the IP is so quick, do you really need to program it while you are out?  Really?


So there it is… that’s the line up.

instant pot couscous recipeYou will not be disappointed with this as long as you take the time to get rid of your intimidation and don’t use time-consuming off the wall recipes that you wouldn’t typically make anyway.  There are certain things I won’t cook in the Instant Pot – like mac and cheese.  I love my mac and cheese in the stove where I can make the top crispy.  I won’t bother with any Instant Pot recipe that requires me taking the food out of the IP and then putting it into the oven.  That is a waste of time and not an efficient way to cook.  That defeats the purpose of this product in my opinion.   The ease of cooking meals is incredible now.  Where was this product all my life?

instant pot chicken thighsIf you want to follow along with my Realistic Recipes series – basically, it’s recipes for the modern woman – the busy mom/dad, the working parent, the stay-at-home mom/dad that is busy, the single woman/man that wants simplicity but good food, whoever you are…. if you want efficiency and making meals simple, I’m giving you my honest reviews and experience.  🙂

 

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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