What Happened When I Bought an Instant Pot

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instant pot pressure cooker recipesIt was Prime Day, and I couldn’t help myself from venturing on to Amazon to see the latest and greatest deals. A backpack I needed was on sale. Great. A beach tent that we wanted was not. Oh well. And wait, what’s this?  Huge savings on an Instant Pot with over 28,000, close to 5-star reviews and a huge community following on Facebook?  It’s 60% off. I had been thinking about getting a new crockpot. Could all the consumer hype be true? Would it really change how I cooked? Would I cook more? Would the food be restaurant quality? I couldn’t stop myself from buying into the consumer madness. After hours of research to justify an impulse purchase, I bought one.

This is how I came to know about Instant Pot. Instant Pots are a brand of electric pressure cooker—but they’re not really “instant,” as it takes time for them to pressurize and heat before cooking begins.  In order to assuage my consumer guilt, I vowed to cook with my Instant Pot as much as possible. I’ve had it since July, and to my surprise, I’m actually keeping my promise. I use it an average of three times a week. I definitely don’t know all there is to know about it (there’s a learning curve), but I find the more consistent I am with it, the better I get at using it.  


The first thing I tried to cook in my Instant Pot was rice—rice for 24 people. I had received the Instant Pot the day before. It was my son’s first birthday, and I didn’t have time to tool around and play with all the settings. So, I just read the instructions and went with it. The rice came out “meh,” but the good thing was that it made rice for a lot of people, and kept it warm throughout the day. After several unsuccessful tries of trying to get my rice just so, I find I  prefer the way I cook it on the stove. FYI, there are pages and pages on the web dedicated to cooking THE perfect Instant Pot rice if you’re interested.  


The next thing I made was carnitas. I’m not very good at cooking meat with the exception of browning ground beef, turkey, or lamb OR crockpotting something until it’s good and done. Otherwise, I tend to overcook meat until it’s dry. I had never made carnitas before. I tried this recipe for a special family meal with my mom. It was amazing. The meat took 90 minutes to cook. If you have a pressure cooker give carnitas a try.  You and your fellow carnivores will not be disappointed!


Encouraged by my success, I next made lentil soup.  I had read prior to purchasing that the Instant Pot really locks in flavor due to its airtight seal. That’s why foods taste so good. Who knew this would hold true for lentil soup? Simple and mundane turned into simple and WOW.  

Soup is easy and soup is fast.  About once a week I do a throw-together, lazy chicken noodle soup.  The soup is done in about 20-25 minutes (about 5-10 minutes of pressurizing time and 12 minutes of cook time).  I use chicken thighs or breast. What I like about cooking soup this way is that I don’t need to cut the chicken up into pieces before cooking (hence the lazy).  I just through the meat in whole and then it breaks apart really easily once cooked.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

I also do a lot of hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. The reason? Easy peasy peeling. When I boil eggs on the stove, even with adding baking soda to the water, the shells come off sticking to the white. In a pressure cooker they take 5 minutes to cook (maybe 7-10 total cook time while waiting to pressurize). Perfect hard-boiled eggs every time!   I like to do a whole batch and use them for snacks, quick breakfasts, and in soups and salads throughout the week.

Pot Roast

This past weekend I tried pressure cooking a pot roast for the first time. I’m not sure if it beats out my favorite crockpot pot roast recipe (the only way I’ve ever made pot roast before).  I cooked a 2 lb roast for 60 minutes, pausing in the middle to add my veggies.  Total cook time with pressurizing was about 80 minutes. The flavor was superb and the dish, a big family pleaser.

Instant Pot Do-Overs

I haven’t been able to make everything in the Instant Pot.  I love making a broccoli and potato soup every so often, and it turned out horrible. My Instant Pot also has a steam setting, and though I haven’t steamed a variety of vegetables, those I have are sometimes too soggy for my liking. I also tried making chicken pot pie filling in the Instant Pot  (so that I didn’t have to prep uncooked chicken), but realized that it doesn’t make a difference if I do it in the pressure cooker or on the stove as the cook time was pretty much the same.  I also can’t seem to get rice pudding right. But I don’t let it phase me. The benefits far outweigh the few cons.

Some Surprising Benefits!

So for me, the hype is true. Since purchasing the Instant Pot I cook more and I meal plan around it. With pressure cooking, I find I spend less time prepping in the kitchen with fewer dishes to wash. And most importantly, we’re eating healthier and wasting less food. We even have less food waste than we did when we were using a meal planning and delivery service. Another bonus: we’ve cut our food budget back by about $250! If you’re game and there’s a good sale going on I recommend getting a pressure cooker. You can maximize your time and make almost anything!


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Amy is a mom to a beautiful boy who recently graduated into toddlerhood and a teacher in San Francisco Unified School District. She currently works at a middle school where she teaches technology and prepares for future (pre)teen years by getting daily practice on how to navigate pubescence and adolescence. Amy loves spending time with her family, and when she has some scheduled moments to herself, she enjoys meditating, writing, and focusing on her wellness. She is reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that she can’t do it all, and it’s okay!


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