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You've undoubtedly read and heard more about Instant Pots in the past few months than you have over the course of your entire life. Though these miraculous machines have been around forever, their multiple conveniences are making them more popular than ever before. Here's what you need to know about Instant Pots before you go ahead and buy, use, and/or spend your entire life obsessing over one.
1. What is an Instant Pot, exactly?
An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow-cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker all in one package. Want to dump it, set it, and forget it for a slow-cooker dinner? It'll do that. Want to make homemade yogurt? It'll do that, too.
2. Does Instant Pot make any other products?
Well, funny you ask: The brand launched an air fryer (the 10-quart Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven), and just like the company's original product, this one's got multiple functions: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate preset smart programs with an option to rotate for rotisserie-style cooking. All that to say, you can basically cook your food any way you want, using less oil, therefore resulting in a healthier dish.
But for folks who don't want to massive machines taking up their pantry or counter top space, Instant Pot also launched the Instant Pot 8-quart Duo Crisp Combo Pressure Cooker Air Fryer. It's both products—a pressure cooker and an air fryer, as the name alludes to—in one. They're not cheap (about $180), but the reviews are wonderful.
3. Back to the multi cooker...you have a few brand options.
While the Instant Pot is its own brand, Cuisinart, Gourmia, and Breville all offer pressure cookers and slow-cookers that can do similar things as an Instant Pot, so do your research to see which will best suit your needs before purchasing. For example, the Instant Pot has a slow-cooker function, while the Cuisinart does not. The Gourmia has a non-stick, aluminum pot for easy clean-up, and the Instant Pot has a stainless pot. The Breville is the most costly at $248.
4. The cooking time depends on you.
Not all nights are created equal: Sometimes we need a fast, easy dinner to throw together at the last minute, and other days we have to rely on a slow-cooker to have dinner waiting when we get home. An Instant Pot adjusts no matter what kind of day it is or how much time you have to spend on a meal.
5. It self-regulates.
Don't worry about over-cooking—these machines come with sensors and self-regulating features for temperature and the amount of pressure.
6. It'll cook a massive chunk of meat fast.
Think tender, juicy, perfectly cooked meat in 40-90 minutes, so you can take a break from those quick-cooking, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
7. It has a tendency to overcook veggies.
High-heat steam + veggies is a recipe for limp, soggy disaster, so avoid cooking veggies like broccoli, kale, zucchini, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts in there, and make sure if you do, use the Quick Release to release steam.
8. You can cook just about anything in there though.
Yes, proteins and veggies are all good ideas, but how about a giant Instant Pot pancake? How does an Instant Pot cheesecake sound? Mac & cheese is also something you can perfect in there, believe it or not. Even more easy and excellent Instant Pot recipes right this way:
9. It's already bluetooth friendly.
The Instant Pot Smart offers even more convenient innovations, such as being wirelessly connected to your phone.
10. It's not great for small kitchens.
If you have minimal counter or storage space, be warned—this machine is not small-kitchen friendly.
11. It's been known to be dangerous.
There have been some tests conducted on the Instant Pot, revealing trace amounts of lead found in older models. The good news? It wasn't found on anything that directly touches the food.
12. Is the Instant Pot worth it?
Besides the just-mentioned lead bit, people generally do consider their Instant Pots to be game-changers. If it doesn't seem like your kind of thing, though, you've got options: though crock pots and pressure cookers might seem the same, they can yield entirely different results and might be more up your alley. Find some recipes utilizing those here.
13. Fine, you've convinced me. Where can I get one?
On Amazon, of course. Instant Pot's own site lists out all the places you can find them, but that list is overwhelming, so to cherry-pick: Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sur La Table all have them. Plus, if you have an Instant Pot, you'll need some recipes. We humbly suggest adding Party in an Instant Pot to your cart.
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