I’d like you to meet my new best friend. No, seriously! My bestest-kitchenest-friend-forever-who-shall-never-leave-my-counter!!!! I thought my Kitchen Aid mixer was the best time saver we ever bought. However, while it is still a huge time saver for a lot of things, the Instant Pot has upped the ante!
Let me start with my first impressions. When I received the Instant Pot DUO-60, it took about 0.36 seconds to start opening it! The box is filled to the brim – it has excellent cozy packing all around it to prevent damage in shipping. The first thing I found on the very top was the Quick Reference Guide, Owner Registration, User Manual and pressure cooker cookbook! I like it when you don’t have to go digging for the manual! (Yes, I’m geeky like that, I read manuals before I use new toys!) I immediately looked through the cookbook to see what I would see and was quite happy to see several recipes that looked interesting and I love the charts that tell you what settings to use for all the different meats/veggies/legumes etc! It has been marked and used multiple times! Oh, and did I tell you that this baby is Canadian designed!? Yup, that scores extra points in my books!
My second immediate impression was that the pot is heavy! To me, when it comes to appliances, if it’s light – it’s flimsy. Well, friends, the Instant Pot packs some heft! You won’t be accidentally knocking it off your counter! Lastly, the Instant Pot comes with a trivet for inside the pot (which I pretty soon discovered is a VERY handy, very essential tool), as well as two serving spoons, and a measuring cup.
Now, this Instant Pot is a pretty handy dandy little machine. First and foremost – it’s an electric pressure cooker. Yup, you know those things that a lot of people are scared about because they’ve heard horror stories about them blowing up? Well, let me tell you, you’d have to work pretty hard to have the Instant Pot do that on you! I am scared no more. Now, she’s not just a pressure cooker. She also is a slow cooker, a rice cooker, she can saute or brown your meats before you throw everything else in. You can make yogurt! You can steam rice (or eggs or anything else you want). And you can use the warming function whenever it’s needed. There are also smart programs (ie rice), there is a timer, there is a delay-cooking timer, there are two pressure settings. And it holds 6 quarts! Are you starting to get the idea? The best-kitchen-friend-forever-cuz-she-can-do-anything-but-put-the-goods-in-the-pot?!? Like you could almost call her a maid if only she’d learn how to wash her own pot!?
I won’t bore you with any more technical details, but I do want to tell you about a few other handy features. For example, the lid. Since the pot holds 6 quarts and the pot goes inside the base – so the lid is fairly large – but has a tab on either side and it stands up on the edge of the pot! Love it! Don’t need extra counter space to set the lid down! When a program is completed, it beeps to tell you it’s done, then it immediately goes into Keep Warm mode and will stay in that mode for up to 10 hours! Kind of handy when you kind of forget to go take out your food! Oh – and they sell a handy Accessory package that I’m going to purchase – it includes an inner pot, a glass lid for using the saute/slow cooker settings, and another sealing ring. Wouldn’t that be handy for when you’re making supper and you have the main course out of the way? Pop out the inner pot, then replace it with a second and make your side dish!
Now let me tell you about the superb handiness of this pot. The first thing I made in it was rice. I have a rice cooker and I have absolutely loved it. I never mastered the art of stovetop rice so I have loved being able to throw my ingredients in the rice cooker, turn it on and walk away. Well now I can do the same in the Instant Pot! And it saves about 5 minutes on cook time. Yes, not a lot, but still, when I forget to get the rice going soon enough, those 5 minutes do count! The second thing I tried was beans. Ever cooked dried beans? Remember how you’d soak them overnight? How does 2 minutes in the pressure cooker sound? Yes, by the time you add up the time for it to get up to pressure it’s more like 12 minutes, but 12 minutes compare to 8 hours is HUGE! For my anyway, because all too often I forget to soak the beans ahead of time! And now I want to make chili! So, after those two minutes of soaking, now you cook them for 10-25 minutes, depending on the bean. I did up two bags of dried beans in less than two hours – and now they’re all sitting in the freezer so I can pull them out whenever I need them.
There is one thing though – there is definitely a learning curve to using a pressure cooker! For example, the scalloped potatoes I made. I should have made them in a pot inside the pot. You see, with all those layers of potatoes, the pot simply can’t come up to pressure. So it becomes pretty much like an oven. And yes, the scalloped potatoes took pretty much as long in there as they did in the oven. They were still yummy though! The bottom stuff was pretty dark, but it didn’t burn and the pot was super easy to clean! Hint – I buttered the pot well before making them! Also, if you’re making anything starchy or anything that fills your pot pretty close to the top, you need to be really careful when letting off the steam. If it starts to burble more than just steam, turn it off and let it naturally release for awhile, otherwise you’ll blow food goobers all over your kitchen window! Just ask my kitchen window!
Okay, all that’s all great, but what about fun stuff? Let me tell you a secret! You need to go join the Facebook community for Instant Potheads (an affectionate term!). Once you join, you will see every yummy recipe under the sun. You will gain inspiration. You will drool on your keyboard (might be time to get one of those waterproof covers?) You will find a wealth of advice and support whenever you need it. You will make new friends. You will print off enough recipes to build your own cookbook. And you will make AMAZING cheesecakes! Yes, cheesecake! You know how cheesecakes baked in the oven have to bake for around an hour? Then sit in the oven for another hour? Then chill in the fridge for several hours? How would you like to reduce that time to pressure cooking it for 15 minutes (about 25 including time to build pressure), let it naturally release the pressure (about 10 minutes) then move on to chilling in the fridge? Does 35 minutes sound better than 2 hours?? It does to me. And seriously, the New York style cheesecake I made was soooooooooooo incredibly creamy and smooth and delicious that it needed no topping!
If that doesn’t sell you on making an Instant Pot your newest kitchen friend (who can also help you reduce the number of appliances you are hiding in your kitchen!), maybe this will. I get to host a GIVEAWAY for an Instant Pot!!!! I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to offer one of our readers one of these fabulous appliances! If, perchance you aren’t the lucky winner, the Instant Pot is now available on both Amazon.ca and on Walmart.com, or you can purchase it directly from their website!
Please follow the directions below to get your entries for the Instant Pot! Giveaway open to CANADA and the Continental US Only!