In the last year, the topic of instant pot cooking comes up all the time in my Confessions of a Meal Plan Addict Community, and there is always the person who is curious about buying one (YES!)
Soon after the question is posted, a camp of die hard instant pot lovers (…raises hand), and a camp of “I want to sell mine” people weigh in on whether the newbie should get an Instant Pot or not.
While I am always in the instant pot lovers category, I can appreciate that there are a few honest things about the Instant Pot that don’t get talked about in the rave, and I want to provide a balanced review of this popular kitchen tool by highlighting the honest truths that I have learned since jumping into this craze.
It is overwhelming to know which one to buy
Instant Pot (not instapot) is a brand of programmable electric pressure cooker (EPC).
While there are many brands of programmable pressure cookers, even within the instant pot brand there are multiple models, and deciphering the differences can be confusing.
I talk about all of the models here.
Recipe cook times are deceiving
The instant pot does stick to it’s “instant " status with the super short pressure cooking times of most recipes. What people don’t realize before they buy one, is that the 4 minute pressure cook time is only part of the processes.
Many people are disappointed when they make their soup with the 4 minute cook time, but the realize it takes 15 minutes to come to pressure and another 15 minutes to naturally depressurize – resulting in an at least 30 minute start to finish for your 4 minute soup.
When looking at recipes, the pressure cook time is only part of the cook time. Think of it like an oven recipe. The recipe says cook for 20 minutes but by the time the oven preheats your whole process was 45 minutes. The recipe isn’t taking into consideration how long to preheat your oven for. Just the same, Instant Pot recipes don't often include how long it takes to come to pressure.
There is a learning curve
Like any new kitchen appliance, there is a bit of a learning curve with this one. You will have an “instant pot fail” at least once.
Have you never burned anything in the oven or the stove? It’s like anything, the more you use it, the more you learn and the easier it gets. But there may be a night where your Instant Pot dinner quickly turns to take out!
I also attribute the steeper learning curve to the fact that it is such a versatile tool, and you need to learn more than one function. With a rice cooker, you just figure out the rice cooking function and be done with it. This machine has so many options, it takes time to learn and practice with them all.
Figuring out how to make the perfect stew might not be helpful for when you make your first Instant Pot cheesecake!
Then.. you need to learn the different pressure release methods and when to use them. This can seem so overwhelming, but once you start playing with your pot, you catch on quick! And at the end of the day... the recipe will just tell you which method to use!
The manual is highly overwhelming.
I am one of those people who buys an appliance and reads the manual.
I skipped this manual. It was not easy to ready and completely overwhelming. If you start with the manual, you may never take it out of the box!
I chose to engage in online forums and Facebook groups with actual users, rather than confuse myself with the not so great manual.
I also now teach hands on workshops to take the fear out of cooking with it..... in Airdrie, Alberta Canada at Social Supper
It is stinky!
The instant pot smells!
The (removable and replaceable) silicone ring on the lid gets stinky.. and then so does where ever you store your instant pot.
It is not economical to replace your ring every time you cook something, so it is a fact you need to deal with. I haven’t found the smell transfers to foods, but I am sure there are a lot of opinions on this.
So, there you have it, my honest truths of my experience with my beloved Instant Pot!
I can appreciate it may not be for everyone, but I will continue to be over here, making my weeknight dinner routine a whole lot easier with my Instant Pot despite all of these!