WHY I WAS GOING TO BE THE FIRST PERSON TO HATE THE INSTANT POT.

It is currently 4:22 in the morning as I sit at my desk writing the first paragraph of this post.  The house is dark other than the glow from the small desk lamp to the left of my laptop.    The curious time of my writing schedule is due in part to a 4 day migraine that prevents me from lying down and to a completely whacked out sleep schedule courtesy of an addiction I suffer from.  Like most people with addictions I’m embarrassed by it and haven’t talked about it before today.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, why even try it?  Why try something you know is scientifically proven to be addictive after even just one use?  Why??

I can tell you exactly why; because you think you’re different.  You think you’re stronger and smarter than everyone else.  You think you’re the one person in the world who can try it once, say “Meh.  Sure that was O.K. but I don’t need to do it again.“, and carry on with your life the way you always have.

I thought I was that person.  I wasn’t.  I tried it and I liked it and I wanted to do it again.

My name’s Karen and the last time I used an Instant pot was about 3 hours ago.

I’m so embarrassed.  I’m so weak.

If you read blogs, cooking websites or even your friend’s Facebook pages chances are you’ve heard about the Instant Pot. It’s this year’s Spiralizer.   If you believe the throngs of bloggers gushing over it, the Instant Pot now surpasses the previous most important revelations in cooking; fire and frozen Spring Rolls.

I thought for sure I was going to hate this thing.  I was fully and completely prepared not to like it. In fact, I was kind of looking forward to being the Black Sheep of the blogging world.  I mean I like cooking.  It isn’t a chore for me and I like doing things the old fashioned way. The right way.   If that happens to take 12 hours and require a medieval cooking utensil you can only get by stealing it from a museum … so be it.

I was not going to be suckered into this … this … this GADGET.

Instant Pot Review

If you read the first paragraph in this post you know what happened.  I kindda like this gadget.  A lot.

BUT I’m reserving my review of it until I’ve used the Instant Pot for a month.  Every day (or close to it) I’ll be making something different in my Instant Pot.  In case you don’t happen to know what it is or what it does let me explain.

The Instant Pot is part slow cooker, part fry pan, part pressure cooker. And a few other things as well.  It’s a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, a food warmer and a steamer.  This one small appliance does all of these things and from what I’ve heard, does them well.

Knowing all of this, I still didn’t think I was going to like it.  For one thing, who uses a rice cooker???  Who doesn’t know how to cook rice in a pot?  Why was cooking rice in this pot going to be any easier or better than cooking rice in a regular pot?

And yogurt.  Well, making yogourt is easy too. I make it with my eyes closed and after doing it once or twice you could make it with your eyes closed too.  I don’t need a yogourt maker.

And pressure cooking?  This was the one thing I could see the advantages in.  But even so.  Would a stew that had been pressure cooked for 30 minutes be as delicious as one that had been simmered for 3 hours?  I had my doubts.

Instant Pot Review

But I’m a tenacious little blogger, plus I’m curious, plus apparently I totally bow down to peer pressure so hopefully nobody will offer me crack in front of a police station today because I’ll probably smoke it right there and then.

So with all this love in the world for the Instant Pot why did I think I wasn’t going to like it?  Was I just being contrary?  Probably, ’cause being contrary is usually pretty fun.    But the real reason I thought I wasn’t going to like the Instant Pot was because of the horrors I found while Googling recipes for it.

Roast chicken?  People were cooking “DELICIOUS ROAST CHICKEN!” in an Instant Pot?  I doubt it.  Steaming chicken in a pressure cooker isn’t roasting chicken.  It isn’t roast anything.  Just because you browned the skin beforehand doesn’t make the mass of rubber encasing the bird any more appealing as it snaps back at you when you bite into it.  You might be able to cook chicken in an Instant Pot but give your head a shake. The only way you can roast one in it is if you throw the whole pot and chicken into a kiln.

So that annoyed me to no end.

Then there were the “DELICIOUS CHILI RECIPES!”.   Browsing around at everyone’s Instant Pot chili concoctions got me really worried.  I wasn’t seeing chili.  I was seeing soup.  Watery, thin, soup you would serve in a third world prison along with a side of a 3 legged cockroach.

Now I wasn’t just annoyed, I was terrified for these people whose addictions had gotten so out of control they were willing to justify its use no matter what the actual outcome.

So that is why I didn’t think I was going to be impressed with the Instant Pot.  And why I’m still on the fence about it actually.  Which doesn’t explain why every night, at around midnight I start a new Instant Pot concoction. Instant Potting has replaced reading as my before bed sleepy-time routine.

In the 4 days since I’ve owned The Instant Pot I’ve made oatmeal, chili, rendered pork fat and yes … rice in it.  I have very definite opinions about how each of these things turned out compared to how they turn out when I make them my normal, old fashioned, grab the rare museum cooking utensil, way.

In one month I’m going to meet you back here to give you my full review of each and every thing I made in the Instant Pot and whether or not I think it’s worth the approximately $150 price tag.

Or whether … it’s just another gadget.

A great big, gadget you wanna crush up and snort the Instant you get it.

162 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    I’ve been living in help since Christmas. My wife gave me an instant pot for Christmas. I have no idea why. She told me pressure cookers were dangerous so I passed when my mom offered me one of hers. My wife tells everyone the story about how the only wedding present I liked was a crock pot.

    So far I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to operate this contraption. Then I have yet to cook anything where it actually builds pressure. The whole time it vents steam. And yes the valve is closed. I want to throw it in the trash and buy a new crock pot. Even a pressure cooker like my mom had I could use. Why she did this to me I have no clue. I thought she was happy. Maybe divorce papers are being prepared?

    • Steve says:

      Hell, I’ve been living in hell. And the only thing almost as bad as an instant pot is the autocorrect on my tablet.

    • Karen says:

      Divorcing you? That’s the obvious reason I’d say. 😉 ~ karen!

      • Steve says:

        I can rebuild a tractor from front to back, engine,transmission, rear end , so it’s not like mechanical things are beyond my abilities. This thing just does not work like the book says it should. And who besides storybook characters eat porridge? Enough a special button is needed?

  2. Mike says:

    Karen… I’d love to have your Instant Pot chili recipe, but I can’t find it. Found your stove top version, but not the Instant Pot version. Can you point me to the right place? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mike! The recipes are on in the same. 🙂 After cooking the chili in the Instant Pot I just set it to saute and simmer it down a bit because it’s inevitably too watery after cooking in the IP. ~ k!

  3. Maria-TO says:

    I look forward to your 1-month thoughts on the Instant Pot. I’ve been on the fence about purchasing one of these — like, do I really need another kitchen gadget? Out of all the reviews on the www — you are the one that I would trust the most — you tell it like it is — bring it!

  4. Tom Materman says:

    I’d be the first to admit I have an unhealthy obsession with kitchen gadgets but top of that list is pressure cookers. Ah the mighty pressure cooker and its untold possibilities. Not one pressure cooker, not 2 but 11 and counting. 6 Kuhn Rikon, 4 WMF and 1 Tefal. The thing is I bought the 7 in 1 Instant Pot on a whim at Costco 2 years ago and also decided to trial it for a month. The trial only lasted 2 weeks. Basically I hated it for 2 reasons. It is underpowered ( 1000w) and underpressured (11psi). It took an absolute age to reach working pressure and even then that pressure is 4psi less than the Kuhn Rikon. In the 24 minutes it takes to reach pressure I can have the Kuhn Rikon Hotel 5 litre up to pressure in 4 minutes and the chicken tagine cooked to succulent fall of the bone juiciness in the remaining 20. Dinner served before the Instant Pot has even started. Needless to say it went back. I love love love pressure cooking but the Instant Pot is a bad joke.

  5. whitequeen96 says:

    YOO HOO! Karen, where aaaaare you? I hope you’re OK. Are you off for Easter week? I miss the Monday post (sniff). 🙁

  6. Marti says:

    Yeah, I don’t want an Instant Pot either, but I flat out didn’t buy the rice cooker… someone gave it to me. It hogs up space in my kitchen. But I will say, when friends come over and space is limited, I like being able to put the rice cooker in another place in the apartment where it can steam the rice to its little heart’s content. That’s the only time I value that space-sucker.

    Meantime, what I really DO want (while I wait for this fantastic, amazing conclusion on the Instant Pot) is regular updates, weekly, on what you made. I want to follow along while I’m waiting. Could you please maybe add that list at the bottom, so that I can get some anticipation going?

    • Karen says:

      I wasn’t going to update weekly on the Instant Pot for fear of IP overkill, but a few people have said they want a weekly update so I may do it. I’ve cooked something in it almost every night/ day and have a lot to say about this thing. Some good, some bad. ~ k!

      • Marti says:

        No need to go into IP review… just list of what you’re making. I can wait for the full review. But you may recall, I’m weirdly curious about people’s eats. And equally weirdly protective of my rare museum cooking utensil collection.

        And don’t worry about the IP overkill. Look at the number of comments this post has had on it. I can only imagine what your analytics look like… 😉

    • Karen says:

      :/ Thanks for letting me know Janet! I’ve left a comment letting them know it’s my kitchen. Hopefully they’ll credit me. Technically the photo belongs to Canadian Living, but the kitchen belongs to me so it’s a crapshoot as to whether they’ll credit me. Thanks again for letting me know, I appreciate it! ~ karen

  7. Heidi N. says:

    Karen, if you hate the instant pot can I have it? I have 5 teenagers. F-I-V-E. I would put it to good use.

  8. Alex says:

    Never mind the Instant Pot. Your poor head. Are you better??

  9. Jane says:

    Have you used it with the app?

  10. Lis says:

    thank you. I bought mine many months ago and have yet to unpack it because im intimidated by it and set in my ways on how to cook.

  11. judy says:

    I hope that when you review the instant pot you will include your thoughts on how much space the unit takes up on a counter or closet; how the browning feature works for meat, such as how many batches did you need to do in order to not crowd the pan? Is the pan coated, such as teflon, and is it scratch resistent? Although it can do many things, does it do them better? I have purchased a rice cooker, a slow cooker and an electric pressure cooker. The only one I like is the pressure cooker but I have reservations about it and this might be the replacement. Looking forward to your application of good sense and practicality!

  12. Carol says:

    Please don’t make me wait a month to read what you think!!

  13. Ann says:

    I will be hanging on for your review. I have considered one as well. What I really want to know, really really really, want to know. Is how easy it is to keep clean, are there any issues with any working parts, ect? As good as all those foods are, this pot needs to be as easy to clean and still look nice since it will probably end up as something left out on the counter all the time, due to it’s size and my kitchen lay out.

    Such as with my big Ninja Blender. Love how it works. But hate that the lid sucks on and is very very hard to get off. I have already broken part of the lid trying to get it off. And the base is so hard to keep totally clean. Whether it makes as good a smoothie as any other blender is immaterial.

    • Karen says:

      I can tell you right now Ann that it’s incredibly easy to keep clean. The only thing that gets dirty is the stainless steel pot which cleans up like nothing. The underside of the lid needs a light cleaning after use but nothing is ever actually on the lid. The rubber gasket in the lid can be easily removed and cleaned separately if need be. (I had to remove it and let it soak in hot, soapy water for a few minutes after rendering lard in the Instant Pot for 24 hours. It big so it does take up a LOT of space. But I actually recommend that you leave it on the counter because you’re way more likely to use it that way. :)~ karen!

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