On April 25, 2017 by Kim
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard a friend, a favorite blogger, or recipe guru brag about their Instant Pot and how it is The Best Kitchen Appliance Ever. You may be thinking, “What is so special about it?” I mean I already have trouble finding a home for all of my kitchen appliances. What can the Instant Pot do that my slow cooker (or rice cooker, or fill in the blank with your favorite appliance) can’t do?
We are here to answer all of your burning Instant Pot questions and, even better, teach you how to freezer cook with an Instant Pot.
In this post we will answer “What is an Instant Pot?” and talk about how to purchase one. Once you decide that you must have one, see the other posts in this series to learn:
- Instant Pot Tips and Tricks 101: Our best tips for Instant Pot recipes!
- Instant Pot Tips and Tricks 201: Helpful hints on converting, adjusting and adapting recipes!
- 4 Ways to Transform Your Freezer Cooking with an Instant Pot
- Crock-Pot VS Instant Pot: Pros, Cons, Recipes, Videos & more!
- Pot-in-Pot Method: Learn what and how this method works!
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals: 50 Meals to cook from frozen!
- 101 Instant Pot Freezer Meals: 101 MORE meals to cook from frozen!
What is an Instant Pot?
“Instant Pot” is actually a brand name for a programmable pressure cooker. Many different manufacturers produce this handy appliance, but Instant Pot is our personal preference, so that is what we will call it throughout this post.
Now you are thinking, “So this really isn’t anything new. My grandma had a pressure cooker.” Or maybe you have heard pressure cooker horror stories, and you’re envisioning a crater where your kitchen used to be. But think again – these appliances come with 21st century technology and safety features that remove all fear of overcooked foods or kitchen explosions.
This pot is no one hit wonder. Depending on the brand and model you purchase, they can perform up to 9 different functions in the kitchen (depending on the type you purchase).
Instant Pot Functions include:
(AKA the meaning of the 6-n-1, 7-n-1, or 9-n-1 functions listed)
- Pressure cooker
- Slow cooker
- Rice cooker
- Yogurt maker
- Egg cooker
- Sterilizer…all in ONE! (it even makes cake too!)
If you’re a minimalist like me, you might be able to replace all of your appliances with just this one. In my case, it also appeals to my laziness. I really hate having to wash the pan for browning meat or veggies, and the slow cooker, and the bowl I used to keep the food warm. With the Instant Pot, you can perform all of these functions in the same pot and only wash once.
But this appliance is particularly appealing for those who live in small spaces and maybe don’t have a stove or oven, for example those in tiny apartments or college students in dorms. You really can do just about all of your cooking in this one little pot!
Here are just two examples of recipes that use multiple functions saving you time and effort in the kitchen. And bonus, these recipes are freezable!
This recipe instructs you to slow cook or you can speed up the process by using the pressure cooking function. Then you can switch to the warm or saute function to finish the last step of thickening the sauce with corn starch.
This recipe instructs you to brown the meat, which can be completed with the saute function. Then you can switch to slow cooker or speed up the cooking process by switching to the pressure cooking function to finish it off.
Instant Pot Buyer’s Guide
We mentioned at the beginning of the post that there are many brands and models available. They have different functions, sizes (anywhere from 4-8 quarts), and price points. Some popular brand names are the Instant Pot (as we have been calling it), Fagor, Cuisinart, Harvest Cookware, Media, Go Wise, Power Pressure Cooker, and Gourmia.
We love Amazon because it is super easy to sort for the specific brand, price, size, features, etc. that you are looking for. And of course, it ships straight to your door – for free if you have a Prime account!
Here are the most common Instant Pots:
- Instant Pot 7-in-1, 3QT
Has 7 functions (including yogurt), holds up to 3 quarts, great for serving 2-4 servings
- Instant Pot 6-in-1, 6QT
Has 6 functions (no yogurt making), holds up to 6 quarts, great for serving 4-6 servings, color is black
- Instant Pot 6-in-1, 6QT, Red
Has 6 functions (no yogurt making), holds up to 6 quarts, great for serving 4-6 servings, color is red
- Instant Pot 6-in-1, 6QT, Blue
Has 6 functions (no yogurt making), holds up to 6 quarts, great for serving 4-6 servings, color is blue
- Instant Pot 7-in-1, 6QT
Has 7 functions (including yogurt), holds up to 6 quarts, great for serving 4-6 servings
- Instant Pot 7-in-1, 6QT with Bluetooth
Is the exact same as Instant Pot 7-in-1, 6QT, BUT it has bluetooth connectivity
- Instant Pot 9-in-1, 6QT
Has 9 functions (the same as 7-in-1 6QT plus cake and eggs), holds up to 6 quarts, great for serving 4-6 servings
- Instant Pot 7-in-1, 8QT
Has 7 functions, holds up to 8 quarts, great for serving 8-12 servings *In 2017, it was $90, down from $130. That was the best price we’ve seen, though we did see a better deal around Black Friday.
- Instant Pot 10-in-1, 8QT, Ultra
Has 10 functions (includes extra settings like cake, eggs, warm and ultra), holds up to 8 quarts, great for 8-12 servings
But there are options for brick and mortar stores as well. You can find them in the big box stores like Target and Walmart at the going rate. But if you are a Kohl’s shopper you can wait for one of their 20-30% off coupons and pick one up for under $100! Same goes for Bed Bath and Beyond as they frequently mail 20% coupons. Amazon has been known to run specials too, so just shop around.
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals
- Dump and Go Instant Pot Mini Menu
- 10 Basic Instant Pot Techniques
- 61 Pressure Cooking Recipes
- Pressure Cooking Ebook by Traditional Cooking School
- Pressure Cooking ECourse by Traditional Cooking School