The 6 Little Things That Finally Got Me to Try (and Love) the Instant Pot

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When I first heard buzz about the Instant Pot I figured it was not unlike the quesadilla maker; just another unnecessary kitchen gadget invented to get people excited about cooking that would eventually end up in the summer yard sale. It wasn’t for those of us who actually like to cook, those of us who get “ooohs” and “aaahs” as we place a meal on the table. But then my parents bought us one for Christmas and, after giving it the side-eye for about a month, we tried it — and now we’re hooked.

What I realized is you don’t get an Instant Pot because of your skill level in the kitchen — you get one because of convenience. It can be the one thing that stands between ordering takeout and having a hot meal prepared in your kitchen on nights when you barely have the brain space to eke one out. And it’s also the quickest, most efficient way to keep your fridge stocked with prepped staples so you can set yourself up to make healthy choices, and easy throw-together meals throughout the week.

Again, this is a LOT coming from me — someone who let the machine sit in a box for weeks. When my friends who don’t own Instant Pots ask me why I love my DUO, I give them an abridged version of this six-point list.

1. It really is pretty instant!

Duh, it’s called the Instant Pot, but hear me out. The first meal prepared in ours was by the non-cook of the family: my husband. His lack of cooking has nothing to do with his skill level in the kitchen, and more with his schedule. He was able to get home from work and prepare and cook our meal (refrigerator to table) in about 30 minutes flat. As the primary meal-maker in our house, I can’t stress enough how nice it is to get a break every once in a while. Pre-Instant Pot, when I wanted a break I’d order takeout, so it’s a double win. Now I get to swap cooking duty with my husband and we save money.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. I don’t have to defrost meat anymore!

We buy our meat in bulk and freeze most of it, which means we need to plan ahead and make sure it’s thawed out for use by the time we’re ready to cook. I’m so bad at this. I forget to thaw meat ALL THE TIME and, in the past, it would mean having to go a completely different route with dinner. This would upset my meal plan and usually meant I’d have to make another trip back to the grocery store, which dipped into my schedule and also my budget. Here’s the thing with the Instant Pot, though: You can cook meat from frozen. This is because the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker and a pressure cooker can cook frozen chicken fast enough to avoid the “danger zone.” Bulk shoppers, habitual forgetters, and procrastinators, rejoice!

3. It’s a meal prepper’s dream.

The Instant Pot is a dream for people who have all the intentions of meal prepping, but aren’t organized enough to follow through. I might not be able to get all the veggies chopped on Sunday, or portion out salads into beautiful jars for my lunches all week long, but I always try to make sure we have a few pre-cooked foods in the fridge to get us through the week if all else fails. I make a big batch of quinoa; hard-boiled eggs; and refried beans, brown rice, and cooked chicken. Start there, add in veggies and anything else you like, and you’ve got yourself a meal.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. It makes perfect hard-boiled eggs.

If you’re like me and can’t perfectly hard-boil eggs no matter how hard you try, there’s hope. This recipe is magic.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Pasta!

You can cook pasta in your Instant Pot and it’s wonderful. It’s not that cooking pasta on the stovetop is difficult — it’s just nice to be able to toss some in the Instant Pot, close the lid, and focus on whatever else you’ve got going on. No waiting for water to boil before adding the pasta, no crowding pots on your stovetop. It’s the little things.

6. It replaced my old slow cooker.

You heard me — Marie Kondo that thing! The Instant Pot acts as a slow cooker, which means you aren’t really adding another gadget to your kitchen — you’re simply replacing your old slow cooker with a machine that does way more than just that.

What about you? What are the things (features, recipes, tricks) that turned you into a total Instant Pot convert? Or, if you’re still holding out, tell us why!