The Massively Powerful Instant Pot Gets a Less Powerful Sibling

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

It’s not hard to guess why the Instant Pot has become the most beloved new appliance in recent memory. Replacing seven popular kitchen devices in one space-friendly option, the Instant Pot does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot.

The Instant Pot sold more than 300,000 units on Amazon Prime Day last year and will undoubtedly sell even more this year. Even with all that unabashed, exponential success, the company behind Instant Pot has decided to diversify its product line with a semi-new gadget called the Gem.

What Makes the Gem So Special?

A Walmart exclusive, the Gem is basically an extra-special slow cooker. It can sear, and sauté, and bake at 375 degrees, and roast, and oh — it also has a rice cooking function.

“The Gem is a microprocessor-powered slow cooker that can automatically control the timer and temperature of the unit to best suit the food,” explains Cameron Faulkner at Eater. “First introduced last year, it’s a set-and-forget kitchen gadget (and, as such, is better for those trying to save time than those who prefer to be more involved in their meal prep).”

It appears that the Gem is best suited to be more of a robot helper than the Instant Pot is. For instance, the bake function automatically sets the liner inside at 375 degrees, the temperature it deems optimal for cake batter. The Gem also remembers the settings for your most recently used cooking program, so if you made something delicious the night before, you can easily duplicate it the next day.

At 1500 watts, the Gem’s heating element remains one of the highest in the multi-cooker category. Which is good until you learn that last year the product had to be recalled for overheating. Since the recall, this issue has apparently been fixed.

Where Can You Buy the Gem?

The unmelty version of the Instant Pot Gem is currently available for $79 at Walmart. The Instant Pot team is also selling a Walmart-exclusive blender that also cooks, The Instant Pot Ace 60. Vitamix beware.