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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Review: Pros and Cons

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

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Pros

Cons

Bottom Line

The Instant Pot can be a time saver for any home cook or chef. It can also replace many other kitchen appliances you already have to help save on space. You will not sacrifice on taste since it cooks using the food’s moisture to help retain all the natural delicious flavors from the ingredients. Since it requires very little liquid, most of the nutrients will remain in the food to keep your meals as healthy as possible. Do you like the idea of one-pot meals and simple recipes? With very little active cooking time and easy cleanup, then this kitchen appliance is a must-have.

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So you’re still on the fence about investing in Amazon’s top-rated kitchen appliance: The Instant Pot. Perhaps you’re a bit intimidated by the thought of releasing the pressure valve and having hot steam shoot out everywhere. Or maybe you’re just not sure about adding another kitchen appliance to your crowded panty with the fear that it might collect dust like that fancy bamboo steamer you purchased. We performed our instant pot pressure cooker review to give you the best and worst features of this appliance.

What We Like, and Dislike About the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

The Instant Pot has been top-rated for many years and continues to earn praise for its ease of use and multiple built-in functions that make cooking one-pot meals super quick and easy for even the novice chef. Does the thought of creating easy nutritious meals (that would otherwise take many hours to cook) appeal to you? If that’s the case, then read on to learn everything you need to know about the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

Instant Pot 101 for Beginners – Naturally Brittany

Pros

There are a lot of reasons to love the Instant Pot, especially the time it saves in the kitchen and the mouth-watering delicious food it produces. It is simple to use and cleans up in a flash. It contains many pre-programmed functions such as pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute, yogurt maker, and warmer. Therefore, this one appliance can take the place of many to save space in your kitchen where countertop real estate is precious. Check out these five benefits of the Instant Pot.

Cooks Food Fast

Pressure cooking can cut the traditional cooking time in half. So, it greatly decreases the typically long cooking times for dishes like brisket, stocks, hearty stews, risotto, and my personal favorite: bone broth. In addition to its delicious flavor, the health benefits of bone broth should be enough of an incentive to give it a try.

Preserves Nutrients for Healthy Meals

Because pressure cooking requires less cooking liquid, it’s more nutritious than boiling, as fewer nutrients leach out of the food and into the liquid. The shorter cooking time also helps preserve the natural vitamins and minerals from the food, making pressure cooking an excellent healthy cooking method.

Makes Healthy Cooking Easy

The Instant Pot automatically regulates the pressure using a timer to control the cooking time. Consequently, this is truly a hands-free appliance where you simply dump the ingredients in the pot, press one of the predetermined settings or set the timer, and forget it. It couldn’t be any easier.

Keeps Food Moist

It’s hard to overcook anything using this appliance since it cooks with moisture and has pre-set times. It consistently produces flavorful results because it self-monitors the pressure, temperature, and time during cooking to achieve your desired results every time.

Cleans Up Easily

All you need to clean is the inner pot and components and accessories. Simply pop them in the dishwasher or wash them with warm soapy water. The lid just needs to be wiped off with either a dry or damp cloth, depending on how dirty it is. This is because the outside is made of fingerprint-resistant stainless steel to reduce smudge marks and fingerprints.

Cons

Since I’ve been using my Instant Pot for some time now, I have come across a few features that could use some improving or could be an issue for some people.

Takes a Bit Longer than Expected

Most recipes for the Instant Pot only account for the actual cooking time. They do not factor in the additional time needed for the appliance to warm up and for the release of steam. On average, it could take about 15 minutes for the unit to heat up to the preprogrammed cooking temperature. Also, the steam release has 2 options: Natural Release or Quick Release. Using the Natural Release option can add 10–15 minutes at the end of your cooking time. However, the feature does help with ensuring that the right amount of moisture gets released, which is good when cooking tougher cuts of meat.

Doesn’t Allow for Peeking

Some cooks let their instincts guide them to know when the food is ready. They enjoy the process of stirring and tasting the meal during cooking and let their senses advise them when a dish is done. When using the Instant Pot, once the lid is sealed and the timer is on, you can not open the unit or you can mess up the timing and moisture of the dish. For most, the idea of “set it & forget it” is one of the appealing features of this product, so individual preferences come into play.

Needs a Cookbook

Since it’s hard to determine the exact cooking time of many dishes, it is essential to use a cookbook for guidance. I recommend The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Laurel Randolph. It provides step-by-step instructions and offers many delicious recipes to get the most out of your Instant Pot. I’ve supplied one of my favorite recipes below for you to try.

Bottom Line

The Instant Pot can be a time saver for any home cook or chef. It can also replace many other kitchen appliances you already have to help save on space. You will not sacrifice on taste since it cooks using the food’s moisture to help retain all the naturally delicious flavors from the ingredients. Since it requires very little liquid, most of the nutrients will remain in the food to keep your meals as healthy as possible. Do you like the idea of one-pot meals and simple recipes? With very little active cooking time and easy cleanup, then this kitchen appliance is a must-have.

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

One of the advantages of owning an Instant Pot is the variety of easy recipes available. For starters, try this pressure cooker baby back rib recipe.

Serves 4

Close up shot of baby back ribs with pressure cooker in the background
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs (Image Source: Pressure Cooking Today)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3–4 lb) rack baby back ribs
  • 1 c beef broth or water
  • Barbecue sauce of choice

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and black pepper.
  2. Cut the rack of ribs into 4 equal pieces. Rub all sides of each piece with the spice rub.
  3. Add the broth (or water) to the Instant Pot. Add the ribs to the pot in a tepee formation and secure the lid.
  4. Select “manual” and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  6. Once cooking is complete, use the steam “quick release” option.
  7. Use tongs to move the ribs to the baking sheet. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and bake for 7 minutes on each side.
  8. Serve as racks or cut into individual ribs.
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