Instant Pot Reviews – Customer Review
There are so many people who say the can’t cook, but I swear I’m on a whole new level of not being able to cook. This little appliance helps expand our menu and I Have learned to do so much with it. I will sum up in a nutshell, I love how easy it is and how I throw everything in it comes out done. No stirring and not many messy dishes. I still don’t love it for meats (which I don’t eat much of anyway), but I think that’s just a matter of needing to experiment more with them. I seriously can’t believe how many foods can be cooked in here!
What got me thinking about the IP was talking to a friend at work who is a firefighter. He works long shifts with mostly men, they can’t really cook, but they just buy meat and throw it in here. He swore by it. Then someone else chimed in and said they pressure cook a lot. About a month later it went on sale for Prime Day and I picked it up. I am all of a sudden a much, much better cook! There are so many cookbooks for this, my favorite being Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful and there’s a wonderful Facebook page where people post their successes and fails, so we can all learn from each other. This whole last month has been wonderful. I’ll highlight some things I’ve tried or heard about:
-Chicken: For the first time every I cooked a whole chicken (see picture of it falling apart). My husband couldn’t believe I cooked a whole chicken since I usually buy them at the store already made. It was excellent. I did 6 minutes per pound + 2 minutes. I also cook chicken thighs for dinner about once a week, which I had never cooked before. I do that for 10 minutes with some chicken broth and whichever seasoning sounds good. Ironically enough, I can’t get my classic boneless, skinless chicken breasts to turn out, but based on my Facebook group a lot of people have success with them.
-Pot roast: I tried this once and it didn’t work great. It was a very lean, thick cut of meat. I heard that the leaner meats are harder to do. Next time I’ll try something different.
-Eggs: I can hard boil 30 eggs at once!!! I work 12 hour shifts and eat 4 with my lunch and 4 with my dinner. Since I work 4 days in a row I have to hard boil 32 eggs. I used to use my egg cooker and do 7 at a time, which was a pain. Now it’s quick and easy!
Instant Pot Reviews
-Soups: I had never made soup before this. I have made chicken noodle soup many times and everyone loves it. I HATE how chicken noodle soup always has mushy noodles. Not mine! I cook the noodles to how I like them. I’ve bene wanting to experiment with more soups, but I’ll do that in winter.
-Yogurt: Another amazing feature. I’ve made yogurt 3 times and love it. My 2 year old only eats my yogurt. I can make a gallon of organic yogurt for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store. It takes some patience, but the hands on work part of it is only about 20 minutes. There’s a lot of waiting for things to heat, cool, incubate, set. I’ve finally learned when to start to have each step finish at the right time. Feel free to ask if you have questions.
-Sides: I found a recipe for a mac and cheese that everyone loves. My daughter and her friends are always begging me for it. The best part? It’s only 5 ingredients (pasta, heavy whip, butter, salt and cheese). It also only requires washing a cheese grater and the pot and it only takes 20 minute from start to finish. No hard to pronounce, artificial, food dyed ingredients. I have also mastered spaghetti with meat sauce. Before this I had never once made spaghetti with meat sauce. Now I do it all the time. Again, I only have ONE thing to clean afterwards. If I tried doing with without the IP I would have a pan for the meat, pot for the pasta, strainer. It only takes about 20 minutes start to finish. It can be real simple (meat, jar of sauce, pasta, water) or get really complicated with making your own sauce (even then it’s still pretty easy).
-Veggies: Many veggies can be cooked in here. Delicate ones, like broccoli are harder to do. Con on the cob in here is amazing though. Much quicker than any other method.
-Deserts: I haven’t made a desert yet, but on my Facebook group a ton of people are making cheesecake. I try to keep deserts out of the house and just have them for special treats when we’re out. So I haven’t tried this. A ton of people in my Facebook group are doing it and they look like they turn out great.
-Chicken broth: I am not the type of woman who makes chicken broth. My step-mom does that kind of stuff and I look at her like “why don’t you just buy it”. Well, now I am the type of person who makes chicken broth. After throwing a whole chicken in here I take the carcass (I hate that word!) and put it back in with some veggies, set it for 2 hours and it’s done! I strain it and then have beautiful, healthy, yummy chicken broth. The first time I did it my husband looked at me like I was cray-cray. Now he helps by saving his bones. There is no better chicken noodle soup that when it’s made with homemade broth! Yummy!!!
-Spaghetti squash: This is one food I accepted that it’s harder to make than it’s worth, so we hadn’t eaten it in years. Not anymore! I put it in for 20 minutes without cutting it. When I opened the pot the squash is intact, but with the skin peeling off. It’s easy to cut it in half from there, scoop out the seeds and separate it.
-Applesauce: Whenever my apples start getting too soft, I peel them, use my little apple slicer and throw them in here with some cinnamon. There are recipes for if you want to add sugar, lemon, honey, ect. I prefer just apples and cinnamon though since it’s healthy and natural. My kids love it. 8 minutes on manual with a natural release. I just stir it with a fork and don’t even need to blend it. There are small, very soft chunks. I wish I had this when my son was a baby!Those are a few of them things I’ve made. I have learned to experiment more. Since I usually don’t have to do many dishes with the IP I tend to enjoy experimenting. I have a cookbook I write all of my successes in. My family is constant surprised at how much this has changed how we eat. I usually don’t keep appliances out on my counter, but since I use this at least once a day I never put it away. The only downfall is I think there is a learning curve to it. It’s a little intimidating at first and requires some trial and error. I was terrified of almost everything the first time I did it. 90% of everything has come out great. I’m learning what I like to cook and don’t like to cook in it. I love that when we have a last minute neighborhood get together (it happens a few times a week) I can whip up a pasta dish and veggie real quick.Tips (Added Jan 2017):
-Recipes generally don’t include time to come to pressure. Think of this is the same as your oven warming up or water boiling. After your food goes in the pot it has the pressurize, then the timer starts counting down. You can speed this up but turning on “saute” first. It cuts the time more than in half.
-Instructions have lingo related to you the pressure gets released. First there’s natural pressure release (NPR). This is just leaving the pot alone until the pin drops, indicating there’s no pressure in the pot. The lid can then be removed safely. Then there’s a quick release (QR), which is where you turn the pressure release valve at the far side of the pressure cooker. This takes about a minute and releases a bunch of steam, so you probably don’t want this under a cabinet. There is also a chance of some food/fluid coming out, depending on what’s in the pot and how full it is. If that happens you can wait for it to do the NPR or you can do short, slow bursts.
-If you’re having problems with getting anything to work check all the parts first. Is the silicone ring in place? Is the pin in place and able to move up and down? Is the valve set to “sealing”? Is there enough water/fluid in the pot to pressurize?Nov 2016 update: Well, it’s not longer sitting on my counter, but I still use it about 2-3 times a week, which is more than any other appliance. I got over the honeymoon period, where I tried EVERY food in here. Now I know what I like and what I don’t like in here and I stick with that. I recommend you get 2-3 good cookbooks with this and start finding fun recipes on Pinterest. I keep adding pictures and things in my review.
By T. Mackel on Nov 23, 2017
Not being new to pressure cooking first thing I can say is WOW. I have to confess that I had a stove top pressure cooker a long time ago and have not used one in a while. I have been out of the loop on the Instant Pot electric pressure cookers too which is a blessing in that I followed my instincts and bought the Ultra without making the mistake of trying to save a few bucks for the Duo series.
Like going to the car dealer for a new car, think of the Instant Pot line of cookers the same way., The Lux is the base model, the Duo is the model up from the base and the Duo Plus two models up from the base and the Ultra is the fully loaded model. Just like the car dealer, – more features means more money. With a street price of $149.00 for the Ultra, you can be patient and find them on sale from time to time. However, in any case $149.00 is a good price for what this cooker can do for you. If you use this cooker you will make up the cost of in saving on not eating out as much. The food you can cook is that good.
I have been cooking in this Instant Pot every day since I received it; sometimes twice a day. I have also made sure to make things that require me to use more than the manual setting that can be created under Pressure Cook or Ultra. Here are my Pros and Cons.
• LCD display – one of the big things I hear in the discussion groups is “I pushed the button and it says “ON”, but I don’t know what is happening. The Ultra has a cooking graph that displays the progress through the preheat, cooking and warming phases so you know right where you are in the process. The LCD display is miles ahead of any of the control panels on any other model offered by Instant Pot.
• Venting, Quick release and the Pressure Regulator are improved. The vent/regulator now is controlled by a separate button – the Quick Release button, Push the button into the locking position and it pops the Vent up to release the pressure, turn the quick release knob and unlock the Vent so it drops back down and stops the pressure from releasing.
• Ultra Program You can set the exact Temp, as low as 104 degree and as high as 208 degrees.
• Set your Altitude and the programing on the Ultra will make the adjustments.
• Aesthetics – It is much more attractive with the LCD panel than the other models
• Sealing ring in lid (silicone) picks up all the cooking smells and this ring stinks. The only solution I found to help take the cooking smell out of the silicone is to run the silicone ring through the dishwasher on the top rack laid flat. This seems to be a on going complaint from many Instant Pot owners
• The Manual is not very detailed. The “Water Test” as know by users is in the manual as “Initial Test Run” on page 14. The instructions for the “Initial Test Run” are incomplete. After instructing to rotate the dial to steam and set the time for two minutes, the manual forgets to tell the user to press the start button next. While the explanations under numbers 6,7 and 8 are important for Pressure Cooking, it is not clear to the user that those are not part of the Initial Test. Since users have adopted the lingo “Water Test”; Instant Pot would be better off changing the future manuals to instruct the “Water Test”. A little more information on the preset programing. The manual talks about making Yogurt, a few more pages like that on the other functions would be helpful.
This really is not a con, but just part of pressure cooking. Pressure cookers are moist cookers so any crispy dish you desired has to be done outside the Instant Pot, so for example Lasagna would be finished under the broiler to get that baked finish. Chicken skin does not come out the same as if it was roasted in the oven. For all the other things you can do with your Instant Pot, these things are not a big deal.
Here are some of the items I have prepared with my Instant Pot Ultra and the setting used.
Pressure Cook – Apple Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Slumgullion/ American Goulash
Soup Broth – Split Pea Soup using dry split peas
Meat/Stew – Crack Chicken, Honey Garlic Chicken, Cranberry Brisket, Dr Pepper Ribs, Beef Bourguignon, Bratwurst
Bean/Chili – Black Beans and Smoked Turkey Sausage
Steam – Sweet Potato
Sauté – vegetables and meat for dishes above
Porridge – Steel Cut Oats
Cake – New York Cheese Cake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Giant Pancake
Egg – Hard Boiled Eggs
Yogurt – Greek Yogurt with 2% milk
Ultra – Sous Vide Tuna Steaks, Tempered Chocolate for candy making.
Many people try to figure out which model is the one for them. If you are a cook or like cooking and know how to cook many items, then you are going to want the flexibility of the Ultra. It is worth every penny and not worth trying to save a few bucks going into the Duo model. Even if you don’t not cook a lot or have a wide range of cooking skills, the LCD panel really takes the mystery out of the pressure cooking cycle which is not available on the Duo or Lux models. Maybe the extra settings will entice novice cooks to try new things.
Another thing I see commented in the forums is that people are afraid to start using their Instant Pot. Either they are afraid of pressure cooking in general or running the Instant pot is too complicated, so why try.
This is a computerized pressure cooker, The venting and pressure regulating system the Ultra is excellent. If you follow some basic rules then you will be cooking worry free for a long time.
1. Always have enough liquid in your recipe, The Instant Pot cannot generate pressure if there is not enough liquid.
2. Do not over fill the pot. The bottom of page 14 in your Ultra manual has a great explanation on how much you can put in your Instant Pot Ultra.
3. After each use, make sure to clean the lid and check to see if the venting system has any food that might block the venting system.
This is a computerized pressure cooker and that makes it light years ahead of your mother’s or grandmother’s pressure cooker. The flexibility that the programming creates for the user makes this one of the more versatile cooking gadgets you can have in your kitchen. The computer programing makes it a safer cooking system compared to a manual stove top pressure cooker.
My family is very typical, our kids have many after school activities, we get home late and no one wants to go through the hassle of cooking. We have a slow cooker, but if we forget to set it up in the morning before we leave the house, it still takes time to put together recipes when we get home. The Instant Pot has changed all that. The pressure cooking system cuts cook times dramatically. Additionally I don’t have to sit over the stove monitoring my cooking food. Once I put all the food in the pot, put the lid on and hit start, I can get many other things done around the house.
My family is eating out less (saving money) and eating healthier, making better food choices than when we are eating out. There are so many recipes out on the internet and in cookbooks that my family looks forward to coming home to eat because it is going to be something good and probably new to us.