Instant Pot 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Instant Pot

This post may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Instant Pot has taken the world by storm and has been a popular name in the kitchen for the past few years. It’s one of the must-have culinary kitchen gadgets. Most likely, you’ve seen it on the shelves of your local big-box store, on Amazon, or perhaps you’ve come across one of the many blog articles, social media postings, or forum discussions raving about this fresh take on the old-fashioned pressure cooker.

This magical appliance is a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more all in one. It can replace several appliances in your kitchen and save you time and money. In this article, we will answer all of your questions about the instant pot. We will cover everything from what an instant pot is to how to use it safely. If you are thinking about purchasing an instant pot, or are just curious about what all the fuss is about, keep reading!

What is an instant pot? 

An Instant Pot is a countertop unit that connects to an outlet and sits on your counter. It takes up about as much room as a small slow cooker or a rice cooker. The Instant Pot is a “smart” pressure cooker that works with a digital interface. You simply instruct it how long you want your food to cook under pressure, set the timer,  and let it do its thing.

I’ve always been interested in the idea of a pressure cooker, but I’ve always been apprehensive. For individuals like me who enjoy the prospect of preparing a succulent roast in less time than it takes to cook it in the oven or slow cooker, the Instant Pot is ideal. 

While our mothers and grandmothers may have been fine cooking with a stovetop pressure cooker, most women of this generation have been scared by the hissing and the risk of it exploding. Pressure cooking has fallen out of favor in recent decades as a result of this. The Instant Pot is a self-contained electrical pressure cooker with numerous built-in safety features that make it much more user-friendly.

It’s not a surprise that the newest electric pressure cooker is capturing a large following quickly, with claims of being able to cook a meal in 3 to 10 minutes under pressure. Instant Pots are flying off the shelves, and you can find many Instant Pot fans online who discuss their favorite recipes, tips, and adaptations on blogs and popular Facebook groups. 

My favorite thing about the Instant Pot is that the cooking process is rather hands-off. You simply put it in place and leave until your food is ready. It combines the benefits of using a slow cooker with half the time. Ideal for having a quick home-cooked meal when you don’t want to take the time to cook or don’t want to heat up your oven.

Is The Instant Pot Safe? 

Pressure cookers have been on the market for a long time, and there have been numerous reports of them exploding in the kitchen due to user error. While they are an excellent cooking instrument that most of us can recall a grandmother, aunt, or other family member using and cooking with regularly, most of us today are scared to death by the traditional stovetop versions.

I can’t blame you if you feel the same way. We’re all in the same boat. I adore the concept of cooking food quickly and healthfully under pressure, but I’ve never felt at ease being in the same room as one. The hissing, boiling, and rumbling are enough to terrify even the bravest of home cooks.

Fortunately, there’s a new kid on the block – the Instant Pot. It’s far safer and more convenient than traditional stovetop pressure cookers. It includes built-in safety mechanisms that protect you and your loved ones from harm. They ensure that it is almost impossible to make mistakes due to human error or equipment failure.

Let’s look at the locking mechanism as an example. It’s easy to try to lift the lid of a conventional stove-top pressure cooker while it’s still under pressure and gets burned by the hot steam that will shoot out violently. The Instant Pot’s lid will not open until the pressure has been released.

The pressure inside the pot is kept under control by automatic pressure controls and pressure regulators. This means you won’t be able to generate the kind of pressure in your pot that would cause it to explode all over your kitchen. To me, it’s a major relief.

The durable stainless steel pot and lid are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. It even has temperature sensors built-in to keep you from scorching your meal if there isn’t enough liquid in the pot to generate proper cooking pressure. Instead of keeping the pressure cooker on high and burning the food within, it automatically switches to keep warm mode, allowing you to add water and start again.

You can learn more about the Instant Pot’s safety features and how they make pressure cooking safer than ever on the manufacturer’s website. Cooking in the Instant Pot is as safe as any other activity performed in your kitchen, as long as you ensure that the appliance isn’t damaged and keep the sealing ring, lid, and vent-free of debris.

Yes, there’s still a little hissing steam before your Instant Pot reaches full pressure and the safety valve shuts, but it just adds to the thrill. After a few uses of your Instant Pot, you won’t even notice it anymore. Give it a try. I believe you’ll enjoy cooking with this innovative new technique for preparing healthy homemade dishes.

The instant pot vs the slow cooker

When you begin to research the advantages of utilizing an Instant Pot, you may notice that they are somewhat comparable to those of a slow cooker. Both devices are capable of cooking large, inexpensive cuts of meat like pork and beef roasts. Beans, soups, stews, chilies, and other similar dishes are both wonderful to cook with them. Both are also fantastic for busy homemakers since they allow you to simply add everything in one after another without lifting a finger. Stirring pots and keeping an eye on the stove is not required.

Both the Instant Pot and Slow Cooker are countertop electrical devices that connect to an open outlet. They may be relocated as needed, and they both take up about the same amount of room. They’re also great at keeping food warm until you’re ready to eat. 

The greatest difference between the Slow Cooker and Instant Pot is the amount of time it takes to cook. The slow cooker is made to cook your meal slowly and gently. The typical slow-cooker meal needs six to ten hours to prepare. In contrast, most dishes prepared in an instant pot take less than one hour from start to finish. 

Another distinction to consider is that while a slow cooker simply cooks meals at a low and steady rate, the Instant Pot may also be used as a rice cooker and slow cooker. Because it includes a slow-cooker setting, the Instant Pot can also replace your rice cookers and slow cookers. You may even use it to replace your yogurt maker with certain models. 

If you want one device that can do it all and cook a complete home-cooked dinner in a matter of minutes, the Instant Pot is the way to go. I urge you to give it a shot and see whether it becomes one of your favorite kitchen equipment as it has for me. 

If you’re OK with your slow cooker and can plan ahead enough to start dinner in it, then you may not need an Instant Pot. Similarly, if the hissing and steaming or simply the concept of having a pressure cooking device on your countertop scares you, then sticking with your slow cooker is probably a good idea. With safety features built-in and a simple digital display, using an instant pot is as simple and straightforward as using a normal slow cooker. I advise you to get one and give it a go if you’re feeling intimidated. You’ll be asking yourself what all the worry was for after cooking your first two or three dishes in it.

Is The Instant Pot Worth The Price?

Let’s look at whether the Instant Pot is worth investing in. The typical Instant Pot costs between $70 and $150 depending on the season and what kind of deals are going. While this isn’t the most expensive kitchen gadget available, it isn’t very inexpensive, either. 

On the other side, a traditional slow cooker or a stovetop pressure cooker can be purchased for around $25. Is this to say that the Instant Pot is too expensive, or should you avoid it? I don’t believe so. While the Instant Pot may not be the perfect option for everyone, it will soon become one of your favorite and most frequently used appliances. It certainly has for me!

If you’re afraid to use a stovetop pressure cooker or don’t have enough time or patience to maintain an eye on the pressure and modify the stovetop as needed, an inexpensive stovetop pressure cooker will not work for you. If you have young children in the house, a traditional pressure cooker may be dangerous since it would cause scalding.

If you’re good at planning ahead and beginning dinner first thing in the morning to slow cook a roast, an Instant Pot may not be necessary. If you’re like me and forget to turn it on until the last minute, the Instant Pot may just be the answer you’ve been looking for to have dinner on the table quickly.

Finally, let’s speak about money. If the Instant Pot keeps you from picking up fast food on your way home, it will be well worth the money. It becomes a lot easier to go home and start cooking a pot of chili or a roast after you know you can do so in 45 minutes without having to stand over the stove and stir pots. It won’t be long before the Instant Pot pays for itself if it prevents you from ordering delivery only once a week. 

The decision is ultimately yours to make. If you’re not sure if you’ll ever use it, then the Instant Pot may not be worth it to you. However, if you believe you’ll utilize it frequently and like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker, it will be an investment well worth your while. Look through some recipes, if possible borrow a friend’s Instant Pot, and see whether this looks like the sort of device that would suit your needs and lifestyle.

How To Choose The Right Instant Pot For Your Needs

You’ve now heard about the Instant Pot and are ready to get one and give this contemporary approach to pressure cooking a go. You go to the store or your favorite internet site, where you discover that there are many various types of Instant Pots available, in different sizes, with distinct features. Let me quickly go through some of the most popular versions and sizes so you can make an informed purchase.

Let’s start by discussing the size of the Instant Pot. The amount of food you want to prepare, or even the number of people in your family, will help you determine whether an Instant Pot is suitable for you. The following sizes are available:


The 5-quart capacity is ideal for single people or small groups of three. It’s a must-have in any tiny apartment. Unless that description applies to you, I strongly suggest getting the regular 6-quart size.


The 6-quart size is the most adaptable and popular. Some of the pressure cookers available will only be available in this size. It’s ideal for the average family size and can accommodate all of your pressure cooking requirements. If you’re unsure, go with the 6-quart option.


The 8-quart size is available in a few versions, and it’s a great fit for large families or if you know you’ll be cooking a lot of big suppers for family gatherings, church dinners, and so on.

Now that you’ve chosen the right size for your Instant Pot, let’s take a look at the different versions available. There are three primary types with a few variants thrown in to keep you on your toes. Here are the main models:

The Instant Pot Lux 

This is the Instant Pot model that I believe most individuals should start with. The model is sometimes called the 6-in-1 model. You can pressure cook, slow cook, steam, and rice cook, sauté and keep things warm. With six distinct ways of preparing food, this one model can do almost anything.

The Instant Pot Duo 

This is also known as the 7-in-1 since it can do all that the Lux can, but it’s also a yogurt maker. If making your own yogurt at home on a regular basis is on your to-do list, spring for the duo; otherwise, choose the basic Lux model and save money.

The Instant Pot Smart + app

The latest main model in the Instant Pot family is the Smart one. It performs all of the previous models’ functions as well as more. You may regulate the temperature and cooking durations for your meals using the digital interface on the pot and the app that connects to your instant pot.

If you enjoy apps, being able to store your favorite recipes and instant pot settings on your phone, and want complete control over your stove, this is the model to get.

The Lux model is a great place to start if you’re on a budget. If you enjoy yogurt-making, the Duo model is worth considering, and if your finances allow it, the most recent edition with complete smartphone app integration is also an option. It’s difficult to make a mistake regardless of which instant pot model you pick.

Unique Ways To Use Your Instant Pot

So, you now have an Instant Pot and you use it daily to prepare all of the standard pressure cooker meals. It’s been put to good use with your Sunday dinner, weekday dinners, and even oatmeal on occasion for breakfast. In short, the Instant Pot has become a mainstay in your kitchen.

Then you start to wonder what else this electric pressure cooker is capable of. I’m here with some interesting ideas for getting the most out of your Instant Pot that isn’t quite as expected. While these may not be the meals you’ll prepare on a monthly or even weekly basis, they’re entertaining to try and have their intended purposes.

Bake A Cheese Cake 

The Instant Pot produces some of the most delectable and straightforward cheesecakes. Yes, you read that right, you can somewhat in your instant pot, essentially. All you need is a spring form that fits inside your Instant Pot, the rack your Instant Pot came with for the baking pan to rest on, and of course, a delicious cheesecake recipe.

An almost infinite number of delicious dishes may be found with a simple search. Choose one and get started on your pot. Before long, you’ll be creating one of your favorite indulged sweets in the Instant Pot. This is ideal for when you want to wow your visitors or bring something unusual to the office potluck.

Can Some Jam 

While the Instant Pot wasn’t designed with canning or food preservation in mind, you may still use it for small-batch canning.

This is ideal for turning those delicious fruits from the local farmers’ market into artisan jam. Preserve and pressure seal your jars in the Instant Pot. Because you’re processing small amounts, you may test out a variety of different recipes and wind up with some delectable jams and preserves to enjoy all year.

Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Do you add vanilla extract to your recipes and baked goods? I know I do. Nothing beats real vanilla extract, but it can be so expensive. Why not make your own Instant Pot homemade vanilla extract?

Yes, that’s correct… You can make your own homemade vanilla extract with real vanilla beans and vodka or a similar high-proof spirit. Not only is it one of the most delicious extracts you’ll ever try, but it’s also a wonderful present to give to friends and family.

The Instant Pot Can Save Time And Money

We’re all overworked and spending less time at home each day. As a result, it’s difficult to find the time to prepare a delicious homemade dinner. We simply can’t spend hours in the kitchen cooking because we don’t have enough time or energy. Heck, most of us don’t even have enough time or energy after work to prepare a quick 30-minute meal from scratch.

We rely on fast food and delivery as a result. While those options do save time, we end up spending more money on our meals. Let’s not even talk about the fact that it isn’t always the healthiest meal available, and we don’t know what components or preservatives are in it.

What if there was a way to save time and money while still getting good, homemade meals on those nights when you don’t have much time or energy? There is, and the solution to your problem is the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook your dinner faster than any other method of cooking, but it’s also extremely hands-free. You don’t even need to thaw frozen meat and veggies before using them.

You can come home, throw some ingredients in the Instant Pot, switch on the machine, and then focus your attention on something else. This means you may assist your children with their schoolwork, begin a load of laundry, respond to work emails or simply sit back and unwind for half an hour before dinner is served.

The Instant Pot does all of this while saving you time in two distinct ways. It will take less time to cook the meal overall, and the majority of the cooking time does not require you to be there, stirring pots and playing an active role in the cooking process. That’s a big difference when you consider how much time you’ll save if you use your Instant Pot on a daily basis.

Now it’s time to get down and dirty with cold, hard cash. Even if you can score a fantastic “Black Friday” price on it, an Instant Pot is still a significant investment. The cost of an electric pressure cooker on average is about $100. The good news is that this investment won’t take long to pay off.

Instead of going out to eat or ordering takeout, an instant pot allows you to prepare more meals at home rather than eating out. This alone may save you $5 to $50 per family meal. However, it isn’t over yet. The Instant Pot truly comes into its own when it comes to inexpensive cuts of meat, such as roasts and whole chickens. If you get in the habit of preparing just one frugal dinner each week using your pressure cooker, those dollars will add up quickly.

You may go even farther by making double batches and taking leftovers for lunch rather than purchasing them. With an Instant Pot, cooking in bulk and saving time and money is quick, simple, and nearly automatic. The only difficulty is that you must form the habit of utilizing it on a regular basis.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to purchase an Instant Pot, hopefully, this article has helped you make up your mind. If you already own one, now is the time to start using it to its fullest potential. With a little practice, you’ll be able to whip up delicious, homemade meals in no time at all. And, you’ll save money in the process. So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

[mailerlite_form form_id=1]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart