It is no secret that I love my Instant Pot IP DUO60.
And, since I post many Instant Pot recipes, and talk about how great it is, I thought it might be nice to mention like, what exactly an Instant Pot is… and why I think it is so great. 😀
Basically the Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cookers. You add your ingredients, a certain amount of liquid, and lock the lid. The Instant Pot uses the liquid to pressurize- which means foods cooks much quicker than in the oven or on the stove-top. For instance, I cook my cauliflower for riced cauliflower for 0 minutes. 😀 (More on that later).
Since it is electric, the Instant Pot is perfectly safe, and shares none of the horror stories that you may have heard about Grandma’s stovetop pressure cooker.
I mean, it only has like, 15,000 positive reviews on Amazon..
It has not only enhanced the what we eat, it has taken away much of the stress of trying to prepare real food dinners in a timely manner. We have always tried to eat real, paleo / primal style meals- but sometimes that mean either a) eating a 11:00 at night, or b) eating canned tuna and microwaved sweet potatoes.
With my Instant Pot, I can have dinner in an hour- no matter what I’m cooking! So far beef roast is takes the longest to cook- which has been 45 minutes. That’s NOTHING compared to all day in the crockpot, or hours in the oven.
I used to throw meals in the crockpot in the morning before work, put it on low to serve for dinner. Dry, dry, dry, overcooked, dry. Every. Single. Time. My husband (very nicely) asked that I just stop trying to “save time” by making crockpot meals.
So, when one of my favorite paleo bloggers highly recommend the Instant Pot, I put it on my Christmas list, was thrilled to open it Christmas morning, and haven’t used my crockpot since!
There are a few different models of the Instant Pot, but I recommend the Instant Pot IP Duo60.
Click here to purchase the Duo60 on Amazon… and read 15,000 reviews. Seriously… fifteen thousand!
The Best Features about the Instant Pot IP Duo60:
Easy to Clean. I hate doing dishes. Easily, my least favorite chore. The Instant Pot has one metal insert to clean, and I simply wipe down and dry the inside. Easy-Peasy.
All Stainless Steel Interior. We have been working to phase out aluminum in our cookware… and apparently some slow cookers contain lead. So I was thrilled when researching the Instant Pot to see that the cooking component is all stainless!
Huge Time Saver! Most recipes I dump the ingredients, set the timer, and walk away. While you can also do that with a slow cooker… the Instant Pot cooks meals in a fraction of what a slow cooker does.
Easy Sear. Everyone knows that the secret to a great roast or chicken is the sear- which I would never do prior to owning and Instant Pot, because more dishes, duh! With the sear function, I get awesome roasts, and no extra dishes.
Multi-Use. I actually haven’t used all the functions of my Instant Pot. It can also be a rice cooker, yogurt cooker and steamer… all of which I have yet to try! The manufacturer boasts that it can replace almost all your cooking appliances. While I still use the stove and oven occasionally (hello sweet potato fries!), I do think that you could get by quite nicely only cooking with your Instant Pot.
One Pot Dinners. Through the magic of pressure cooking, food doesn’t dry out or taste overdone the way it does in the crockpot or oven.
Specifications of the Instant Pot IP Duo60:
The Duo60 is a 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker, meaning it can be a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, used for Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.
It comes in three sizes, 5 quart (Duo50), 6 quart (Duo60), and 8 quart (Duo80). Personally, I have the Duo60- 6 quart. I can’t imagine having a smaller one, there are times when I’m not sure one of our big old farm chickens or pork roasts will fit! If we had any more family members… I would get the 8 quart. (I plan on purchasing a second one as soon as baby 2 starts eating solid foods!)
- DUO has two cooking pressures- high and low (the LUX only has high), the DUO has programmable keep warm hours (more than 10 hrs if not automatic),
- DUO can make yogurt,
- Duo has a larger LED display, has lid fin holders, condensation collector and cord rack as well as a double shield on float valve and steam release, compared to a single shield.
Basically, the Duo60 has a few upgraded features that are worth paying slightly more for. Sometimes it is even the same price as the the Lux on Amazon… so really a no-brainer!
The IP-Smart Bluetooth, well… it can be controlled via bluetooth! 😀 Seriously though, you can download the app on your phone and completely control the Instant Pot that way. Pretty cool!
Hands down you will find the best price on the Instant Pot IP Duo60 (or one of the other models) on Amazon.
Tips and Tricks for Using the Instant Pot
The first rule of using your Instant Pot is: DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF WITHOUT RELEASING PRESSURE. There is a silver metal pin at the back of your Instant Pot. When it pops up, it means your IP has “come to pressure”… meaning it is squeezing hot steam into your food to power cook it. (Or something like that). The worst thing you can do is yank the lid of at this point.
I know this because we had a nice pork pho going (with lots of delicious broth. lots). When the timer went off, my husband yanked the lid off (without releasing pressure!!!). What happened next was basically a waterfall explosion of hot pork broth. I was particularly sour about the situation, because he has a past history of playing fast and loose with releasing steam. At that moment I definitely got a little grumpy and demanded to know why he couldn’t just respect the Instant Pot. :0
We laugh about it now, but he makes sure the pin drops before opening the lid!
You have two options for releasing steam: Quick Release (QR) and Natural Release (NR). Quick release means that you flip the sealing valve, and steam will be quickly released through the pin. It does shoot quite a geyser of steam up, which is perfectly safe, but it is hot steam, so be mindful of hands, faces, and be sure to release the steam in an open area- not under a kitchen cabinet. Natural release means you let the pressure come down naturally. There is no shooting steam with this method, but it does take longer, usually about 15 minutes or so.
If you are cooking soups, stews, or anything else with a lot of liquid (like easy no-peel applesauce), you want to use natural release. If you quick release, there is a chance that liquid can escape through the steam valve. This isn’t a huge deal… just a little messy. Most recipes with meat that you would traditionally let rest (like tenderloin or roasts), will recommend natural release, it is thought to make the meat more tender.
Veggies, fruit, or things that you don’t want to continue cooking past the pressured cook time can be quick released.
I have seen some people confused about the cooking time discrepancy. When you see an Instant Pot recipe, it may say, set for 10 minutes. It will take longer than this to cook- as the Instant Pot also needs time to come to pressure. It takes even more time if the recipe is natural release. So, that pork pho we were making? While I set it for 45 minutes (it was a big pork roast), it probably took 7 or 8 minutes to come to pressure, then 45 to cook, then would need another 15 or so to naturally release.
I don’t see this as a con.. after all, I’ve never seen a recipe include the time it takes your oven to pre-heat or your stove to heat up in the cooking time 😀 Just be aware that it will take a few more minutes to complete the full process than what a recipe reads!
A few people have asked, and you cannot can in the Instant Pot. Sorry. It does almost everything. 😀
If you go with the Instant Pot IP Duo60, it comes with everything you need to get started! However, you are going to love cooking with it so much, that you may want to consider adding these accessories to your cart!
Extra Sealing Rings. The sealing rings can retain the smell of particularly pungent meals.. especially things like curry or other strong spices. If you plan to make savory and sweet dishes, it is easy to avoid off-tasting cheesecakes buy purchasing extra rings. There is nothing worse than the perfect yogurt that tastes slightly of pot roast…
An Extra Stainless Liner. Sometimes, you just want to stick the whole pot of leftovers in the fridge. And that is the moment when you get a hankering for some Instant Pot Peach Crisp. Rather than deny yourself the deliciousness because you can’t bring yourself to clean the pot late at night (me, every night…), have a spare liner for times like this. Trust me, you will be happy you did!
Or if you are avoiding all metal: Ceramic Liner for the Instant Pot
Cheesecake Pan. One of the first things you will do as a proud new owner of an Instant Pot is to join the amazing Instant Pot Facebook Group! The people are awesome, and super helpful if you have any questions. But I’m warning you now, about 1/3 of the recipes posted are the most amazing cheesecakes you will ever see. You will want to try this for yourself, but you need the proper cheesecake pan to fit your Instant Pot, which is this one for the IP60, or this one for the IP80. You can also use these adorable personal sized ones. PRO TIP: You can also make lasagna in these pans. Yummmmmmm.
Steam Basket. The IP comes with a trivet, for things like hardboiled eggs and pears that you don’t want to touching the bottom. Get a steam basket as well, it makes things SO MUCH EASIER. Like the time I had a dozen hardboiled eggs carefully arranged on the trivet, only to spill them everywhere as I (poorly) tried to lift them out into an ice bath. Rookie mistake. Plus it makes cookings things like bone broth and veggies a breeze!
Slow-cooker Glass Lid. Your Instant Pot has a slow cooker function. I rarely use it… because I want to cook things fast. 😀 However, it does come in handy for things like soups… or if you are serving a meal to a large group of people. Grab this lid… otherwise you won’t know what is going on in there! (Do not try to pressure cook with this lid!)
Immersion Blender. You may already have this handy gadget in your kitchen. This immersion blender pairs perfectly with the Instant Pot, use it for soups, sauces or mashed potatoes / cauliflower. If you don’t already have one, you will be surprised how often you will use it!
Lastly… on my wish list:
A Sous Vide for the Instant Pot. This handy gadget turns your Instant Pot into a Sous Vide. A Sous Vide allows you to cook your meal to a specific (perfect) temperature. I’ve only researched this a little… but apparently Sous Vide makes the most amazing (rare) steaks, among other things. That is good enough for me to put it on my wish list! If you are a fellow foodie or curious cook, it is worth a look!
Whew! I hope that answers any questions about the Instant Pot… and accurately describes just how great an addition it has been in our kitchen! Like I said, I use it so much… I already have my eye on adding a second one!
Here are just a few of my favorite Instant Pot recipes:
Hard Boiled Eggs (the best ones you’ve ever made!)
Cook your eggs and potatoes together for an awesome potato salad
And one of my very favorites: Peach Crisp
All in the Instant Pot!
What about you? Have you purchased one yet? What are your favorite things to cook in your Instant Pot?