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Set in My Ways, or So I Thought

February 3, 2017

It’s been a long time since I have seen such fervor surrounding much of anything since the wave of electric pressure cookers has swept across the kitchen landscape.

instantpot
When my slow cooker gave up the ghost last summer, I bought an electric pressure cooker, specifically an Instant Pot.  I have not looked back since.  However in that time I have been chided, and praised equally.  People either love or hate the idea of this small kitchen appliance. I did not “sell out”, rather I have a new outlook on cooking that I’ve haven’t felt in years, decades to be exact.  I am a reluctant cook.  I would rather be outside, doing anything.  Instant Pot, thank you, cooking is kind of fun now. I’ve convinced a few farming friends (men) to get one and they love it too.

A good friend of mine has had an electric pressure cooker for a good many years, and she loves it, and always raved about it.  Dinner would be ready when she got home from work, and if she had to work late which was often, the smart electric pressure cooker would switch to the keep warm setting after the cooking time was completed.  No! I don’t want a hot meal waiting for me when I come home from a long, trying day at work.  Said. No. One. Ever.  Stop that you damn pot!!!

I have to admit I was a little skeptical while she raved, but she kept on raving and posting about her delicious meals.  So over the years an idea was planted, and I did some research.  I too was chiding myself.  You don’t need this said the little voice.  I already have a stove top pressure cooker, I have a slow cooker, I have good stock pots, and a cast iron collection that would boggle your mind.  But, I wanted this new pressure cooker.  So the struggle in my mind went on for a long time.  I am not a gadget person.  How many people do you know that don’t own a Kitchenaid mixer?  Be truthful.  Not many I bet.  Well, I don’t own one.  I bake bread, I bake pies, I bake just about anything, I do not own a stand mixer.  It would just be a waste because I really don’t bake that much, and as much as I want one just to look at the colors, that would be a colossal waste of money for me.  Plus I couldn’t pick which color to go with my Fiestaware anyway, so that’s that. Just not into kitchen stuff. But an Instant Pot isn’t just another gadget that will languish in your kitchen.

Six months in now, I find that I am using the Instant Pot more and more.  I don’t see myself ever making a cheesecake or something like macaroni and cheese in an electric pressure cooker.  There are a few settings I probably will never use, maybe.  But who knows.  Where it excels for me is cooking meats, bone broth, beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Soups and stews are a close second.  The sauté function is nice, you can brown your meat, remove the meat, add your mirepoix, cook that a bit, add the meat back in, a cup or so of liquid, close ‘er up, set the timer, or function button and bye, bye.  You can leave.  (And I don’t know about you but I am that person who has blown the weight off the stovetop pressure cooker when cooking beans while I got distracted :p) When you come back you have a meal, or the makings of one.

The bone broth is a work of art every single time.  BIP (before Instant Pot) my broth making sessions were always hit and miss.  Too cloudy, too smelly for hours on end in the kitchen, (cue vomiting sounds, sorry it just isn’t appetizing to me) mostly due to the fact that I am a reluctant cook.  I’d boil it a little too much, and the results were just not consistent enough for my liking.  I’m into nuances of a field to table meal as much as any bona fide foodie, but wow, Instant Pot you take the guesswork out of it.  Consistent to die for broth every single time, and no kitchen smell.  I’m in heaven.

So if you know of anyone who is busy, likes to make great meals for their loved ones, and is open to try new things I would highly suggest this as a gift.  If that someone is you, don’t wait.  The Instant Pot has truly been a gift to myself.

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. JessB permalink
    February 3, 2017 7:15 am

    You are missing out if you never make a cheesecake in it. So simple and they come out amazingly!!

  2. February 3, 2017 7:40 am

    I have the Wolfgang puck electric pressure cooker. I love it it’s 8 quart capacity . I make broth every week in it. I must try the other things it can make. I bought the instapot and got the only one on the planet that did not work, so I sent it back. That was two years ago . I am so glad you have one, it makes meals a snap.m

  3. Virginia Erion permalink
    February 3, 2017 7:46 am

    this is so timely, I have used my crock pot for years (and years and years…I think it was a wedding gift in orange and lime green) but it is struggling and I wondered if I wanted another… I concluded that I actually use it more as a retired person, full time outdoors person..so off to find one of there!

  4. Cheryl L. permalink
    February 3, 2017 8:11 am

    I’m sold! Thanks for the review.

  5. Karen permalink
    February 3, 2017 10:38 am

    The Amazon ad has been popping up on my screen all week, taunting me. Now this. 🙂 I know there was some talk about what model was better.. 6 qt, 8 qt, etc. Any suggestions? And I don’t own a Kitchenaid mixer either. Too much coin and lack of storage.

    • February 3, 2017 10:56 am

      Karen, you know I think I should have gotten the 8 qt, but I have been real happy with the 6. The six quart is plenty big for anything I have been cooking, 3 – 4 lb roasts etc. I only wish I had the 8 qt capacity for broth making, but I have resorted to making broth batches more often so I don’t think I will be springing for a larger size even though they have dropped in price considerably. With a pressure cooker you get about 2/3 of the pot size, so I am not getting 6 quarts of broth. I also don’t have the high/low pressure, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem for me. What I love about it the most is the ability to walk away and have the quality of a pressure cooked roast. And the potatoes for potato salad are to die for, and the sweet potatoes too, oh my gosh. I need to stop now. I really am so glad I made the leap. I have read that some folks like it because they forget to thaw out meat, and you can throw everything in there frozen. I haven’t had to resort to that yet, but it makes sense if that is how you roll. If I forget to thaw out meat, I just change the menu, we are having breakfast for dinner!

      Ditto here on counter space, I would not have any place to put a Kitchenaid, but they sure are pretty!

      • Karen permalink
        February 3, 2017 12:20 pm

        Thanks Matron. Just need to have a chat with hubby. You should ask for a commission!

  6. Robyn permalink
    February 3, 2017 11:24 am

    After reading how much you loved your instant pot and after some research I took the plunge and ordered one. It just arrived so now I have to read instructions and go for it. I’m a bit of a techno-ninny so I’m a little nervous😧But once I get through my first attempt I know I’ll really enjoy it!

  7. Bee permalink
    February 3, 2017 2:12 pm

    OK, I have to put in my bid for a KitchenAid. I had my first crockpot for about 30 years – it was given to me by my mother-in-law and was so old it came in Harvest Orange, so probably a 1970s version. When it finally died a couple of years ago I got one with a removable insert, which was the only thing my old one lacked. But I’m on my second KitchenAid mixer in 38 years and even in my current tiny kitchen, I made room for that appliance. Of course, I use it for bread and cookies and cheesecake (although I admit we eat much less grain-derived food than we once did), and I’ve made butter in it more than once. One of the things I love it the most for is when I make chicken balls: http://www.jeffersonsdaughters.com/2011/09/15/482/, and it’s great for getting the lard or tallow ready for rendering. I could probably live without an Instant Pot, but I don’t want to live without my KitchenAid.

    • February 3, 2017 2:45 pm

      We all have our favorites don’t we? I think your hens are lucky you have a Kitchenaid! I don’t think I could live without my cast iron pans, 4 qt pyrex mixing bowls, and my mom’s big mixing spoon. Definitely an Instant Pot is the furthest thing from being off-grid and self reliant as there is. But I am working on picking my battles. I just took the most glorious long, hot shower with water heated from our wood furnace, since it’s cranking, the gauge is reading 180 degrees. No electricity needed ever, just water power to pump the water, gumption to cut and store the firewood, and the correct plumbing. Like most things hubby and I think we fall to extremes on both sides. Now to chain up and head back out to the barns and tuck everyone in.

      Oh and I have my mom’s orange 70’s Crockpot, it still works fine, my newish one with the removeable liner is the one that went tits up.

      • Bee permalink
        February 3, 2017 3:09 pm

        Gotta go with you on the cast iron pans and Pyrex mixing bowls, Nita; bet they outlast me and possibly my grandkids. I’d love to have that sort of hot water system – only thing better would be solar, which would work in our climate, since we don’t get as much freezing weather as you do. Hubby tends to be the gadget person around here and is susceptible to the blandishments of the latest and greatest, while I’m the crusty old curmudgeon hugging my 30- and 40-year-old stuff saying “Over my dead body!” My sister, on the other hand (who also inherited my share of the shopping genes in the family – I hate to shop) is always out looking for something newer and better.

        • February 3, 2017 3:26 pm

          Oh I love my Pyrex, pizza dough raising in one now, and the Cinderella design, newish to me, is great for washing butter. I wish we could have solar that would be dependable but the wood heat works the best for us, and the system is plumbed with an electric water heater back up for summer when we don’t want to build a fire. I definitely do not want to build a fire to heat water in the summer.

  8. Mitch permalink
    February 3, 2017 2:42 pm

    I’m a newbie Instant pot owner and so far have only used it to cook dried beans…..which it
    does extremely well 🙂 So far so good.

  9. February 3, 2017 8:47 pm

    I had been ignoring all blog posts about instant pots, I’m not into gadgets. I have a slow cooker that I use pretty regularly though. Hmmmm your recommendation has caught my interest. I don’t have a stand mixer either!

    • February 4, 2017 5:22 am

      Liz, I was pretty convinced not to buy one too for quite a while. Then hubby’s back surgery (which would require me to do his and my work during recovery) and a need for a more consistent bone broth program, and my big slow cooker broke and there I was. I hadn’t read much about them except reviews but a few people I knew had been using them for quite some time and loved them. Gadget-wise it is right there is other things we don’t need but think we do, digital clocks, cell phones, answering machines, computers, digital thermometers, heat mats for the greenhouse etc. I have all those things and they make my day run smoother. The Instant Pot makes my days run smoother. My post should been have titled, Crab Pot buys Instant Pot.

  10. February 4, 2017 6:24 am

    my bf got one and I am afraid to touch it – it looks extremely complicated… and I dont know what to cook in it!

    • February 4, 2017 6:35 am

      Mica, if you’ve used a pressure cooker before, no worries. The manual is mostly to explain how to use a pressure cooker. I found the one sheet “manual” much more useful to explain what each button is for and what to expect. It’s about as easy to use as a digital alarm clock, really. Pick something you like to eat and search out a recipe for it online. Dad Cooks Dinner or Nom Nom Paleo have really good recipes and walk you through the process really well. I did not care for the recipes that came with the IP at all.
      http://dadcooksdinner.com/
      http://nomnompaleo.com/

  11. February 4, 2017 8:13 am

    ok, ok ,OK! So is it just a coincidence that my wonderful old crock pot has bitten the dust just this week? And I have a gift certificate for Amazon? And I have lots of hungry children and a hungry husband begging for more good food? And we still have a lot of meat in the freezer from this year’s harvest? I guess I’m heading over to the Amazon site next 🙂

  12. Ali permalink
    February 5, 2017 11:14 am

    You don’t like the smell of chicken broth cooking? I agree with beef and pork bones. They stink up the house like dead animal until just before they’re done. But chicken stock cooking is one of my favorite smells! I’m throwing and old rooster in my IP today and going to try out making broth in it for the first time. I’m thinking I should get at least 2 batches since I’m using a whole bird thats about 5 pounds. Any thoughts on this? Have you done a whole bird in your IP to make broth?
    I’m throwing in my plug for the kitchen aid as well 😀 If I had to pick 3 electric appliances I wouldn’t want to live with out it would be my kitchen aid, Vitamix, and my crock pots. I would think the kitchen aid would be worth if for you just for the butter making. It’s so quick and you can wash the butter with it too! My short list of uses for mine – whipped cream, whip eggs whites for merengue, grind pig fat for quicker lard rendering, mix natural peanut butter many jars at a time, mix, knead, and rise bread dough all in one bowl, quick breads, cookie dough, cakes, frosting, etc! Its probably like any big investment, once you plunk the money down, you find as many uses as you can for it.

    • February 5, 2017 11:36 am

      Ali, I don’t care for the smell of any broth cooking. I haven’t put in a whole bird yet, since I usually part them out and then just use the carcass for broth. But when I cull my hens this fall I’ll have some to use that way. I think my 6Qt would be more full of chicken than actual broth. Can’t wait to hear how your rooster turns out!

      I totally forgot about my Vitamix! Eek, does that mean I’m a gadget person?

  13. February 5, 2017 5:55 pm

    I love all my crockpots, three of them! I use them all the time. But honestly I really am interested in the Instant Pot. I wasn’t sure if, just being my husband and myself, I would like one. I do use my crockpots at least twice a week as I just don’t enjoy cooking dinner every night and we’re fine with leftovers. What brand and size would you suggest for me? I will be reading up on them, and looking at recipes! (And we’re in Oregon City so with all this crazy winter weather we are doing a lot of stews and soups).

    • February 6, 2017 6:39 am

      Judy E, I am really finding the 6 qt model to be fine for two to three people, even though I “want” the 8 qt. I have the 6 in 1 without the yogurt setting and only high pressure, the 7 in 1 has the yogurt setting and low – high pressure. So it really depends on how you think you will use it and that will determine what features you need. It might be like building a barn, make it bigger than you need because you can always put less in it, but if it’s too small, you’re out of luck 😉

  14. February 6, 2017 5:45 pm

    There were some screaming deals on them around Black Friday, even here in Canada. I was very tempted, and now am kicking myself for not ordering one!

    • February 6, 2017 9:06 pm

      Karen, I know, I missed the summer deal and the Black Friday deal 😦 Oh well, still money well spent.

  15. February 7, 2017 2:45 pm

    OK I DID IT. I have never touched this thing but if you can do it so can i…. I marinaded some pork in fish sauce and mushroom sauce then tossed it in on saute, took out and glazed onions and 2 garlic smashed. Added can of pear slices, tossed back in the meat with veg ontop. I was told to only put it on for 15 min so i set it for 17 lol –
    I am a verrrry slow cooker and i like plain ole english cooking so this is weird. hope it comes out 😛

  16. Robyn permalink
    February 7, 2017 2:54 pm

    As I mentioned above, I just got my instant pot-Feeling a little apprehensive,I watched a bunch of YouTube how to cook pinto beans and then gave it a shot. I decided to cook them a little longer than the recipe book said (after soaking over night) on advice of some of the YouTube people and also not as much water but less than some recommended. They ended up a little too soft for my liking and too much liquid left. Next time I’ll cook according to the recipe book times and only JUST cover the beans with water. I can see this requires some experimentation which I’m happy with. The best part is pressing the button- then Shazam! -walk away til it is done😊
    I can see this is going to be fun!

    • February 7, 2017 7:05 pm

      This old dog is enjoying learning some new tricks!

      I was glad to read this recent article that does mention the reasons for soaking, less anti-nutrients and less indigestible sugars. I am happy to pre-soak my beans. I have had so much better luck with them soaked than just pressure cooking :p It took me a while to get it right, but 3 cups of dry beans is about right for us, I end up freezing about half and having half for a meal. They do swell up quite a bit, so just covered with water works about right.

      I agree, walking away is the best part!!

  17. Robyn permalink
    February 7, 2017 8:29 pm

    I’ve always presoaked my beans so I’m happy with continuing that for all the reasons the article mentioned. I made refritos with my first batch and they were delicious and creamy. I can see that I will experiment to get the best texture that works for my specific purpose. Also I’m excited about other pressure cook options and also the slow cook opportunities- Thanks Nita for turning this cook on to a really great cooking tool!

  18. Susan Jones permalink
    February 10, 2017 3:29 pm

    Thank you for this! I’m still in the thought process about the Instant Pot, but it is closer to becoming a choice now. I love cooking but also love being in the barn and the garden when the weather cooperates. My problem is more that I’m kind of a minimalist. The kids gave me a Kitchen Aid about 15 years ago, and it sits on the counter while I whisk eggs or cream by hand, and knead bread on the counter right next to it. My current affair with sour dough doesn’t even require kneading!

    I don’t want to own gadgets. It’s hitting my mid-60’s and having my Farmer actually here on the farm all day every day that has made this gadget seem worthwhile. Your input, and the input of your readers is the most valuable pro/con discussion I’ve seen to date.

    • February 11, 2017 6:06 am

      Susan, I hear you on all that, I am a hands-on type of gal too. It took me a long time to make the decision mostly because I don’t want one more thing. My kitchen is old (remodeled last almost a 100 years ago) from the days of no appliances, but I have to say the Instant Pot stays out. Not put away like so many other things I have had, like the slow cookers etc, stove top pressure cooker, etc.

      What convinced me finally was a farm mama with little children who needs to feed her family and crew, and work on the farm. There just isn’t time in a day to do all of that well, the Instant Pot offers some liberation from the kitchen, which personally I need. I am not the farm wife who looks out the window to see when the hay truck is pulling in, and then starts getting the meal ready. I am the one driving the truck. Then I have to come in and fix a meal, while everyone else takes a breather. Tiring is an understatement. I have heard all the arguments too about the slow cooker doing the same thing, but I never have liked leaving a slow cooker going for 8 hours while no one is here, so that limited my use of the that gadget very often.

      Bottom line, people need to get back in the kitchen and prepare meals. If a gadget truly makes that happen I think that is a good thing.

  19. Amanda permalink
    February 13, 2017 7:50 am

    My parents gave me an electric pressure cooker for Christmas. They had known I wanted one and were able to get a great deal on one around black friday. I love it! I use it multiple times a week, far more than I ever did my crockpot, and am still discovering all of the things I can make in it. I have a very erratic work schedule, so I usually make all my dinners on my day off every week and then just warm the leftovers. The instant pot allows me to cook several main dishes in an afternoon. It also cooks the vegetables for sides in just a few minutes while my main dish reheats in the oven and I am feeding the critters or doing other chores.

    We have eaten much better and more economically with the instant pot in the house. It keeps us from wasting food we were too tired to cook before it spoils, and I find myself taking advantage of the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat and more fresh vegetables instead of a supply of the premade, overly-processed stuff we would eat before because of time and energy issues.

    I am looking forward to using it this summer to cook without heating up the house as much. I also found a few sets of instructions to use it to make tomato sauce to can…having one less giant pot on my stove in canning season would make me happy, lol.

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