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Questions for those who own the specific brand "Instant Pot"

December 6, 2018

After reading comments on another current thread on this subject, I wanted to get answers from those who own the actual brand "Instant Pot", not just an electric programmable pressure cooker.

1.) What size do you have? Is it big enough/too big?

2.) How many people are you cooking for?

3.) Do you cook in the stainless steel liner or do you use the ceramic bowl/liner?

4.) If you do freezer meals, do they reheat quickly?

5.) What (if any) appliances/pans/methods has this replaced for you?

6.) If applicable, what do you love/hate most about this appliance?

Comments (27)
  • lizbeth-gardener thanked alex9179
  • Fsal
    This is my Instant Pot. I’m obsessed with it. I have a family of 5, but could easily cook for 10 with this size. I use the steel pot that I comes with, and somehow the pot is magical and nothing sticks and it cleans so easily. I rarely cook on my stovetop anymore after getting this. I can even cook rice in this, and it’s done in 3 minutes. I have the Instant Pot app, and it has great recipes on there.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked Fsal
  • dillbert12
    I have the 6 Quart and have a husband and 2 teenage boys to feed. It's amazing but there is a definite learning curve to it.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked dillbert12
  • Fsal
    Agree with the learning curve part. It took me a year to take it out of its box because I was so intimidated by it lol. But the app helped me so much! There’s a tutorial on it that helps you set it up and gives you a rundown of the different settings etc. And the app also has helped me to figure out the right times for dishes that I make. Of course there’s a plethora of info on YouTube, Facebook, blogs etc on the IP as well.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked Fsal
  • Mrs Pete

    1.) What size do you have? Is it big enough/too big?

    I have a different brand -- sorry -- Rival? Not sure. Regardless, all the brands make their pots in multiple sizes. I have 6 quart, and it's perfect for a family of four. This mid-size can cook a roast, six ears of corn or a large quantity of soup.

    Since we are empty-nesters now, I would like to add the smaller size to my kitchen. This size would also be good for rice.

    .) What (if any) appliances/pans/methods has this replaced for you?

    When my husband gave me this for my birthday last year, he forced me to get rid of one of my crock pots. While this pot CAN function as a crock pot, I feel that the crock pot itself is a better slow cooker.

    6.) If applicable, what do you love/hate most about this appliance?

    Love: Best corn on the cob EVER; we ate it practically every night last summer ... cook chicken breasts from frozen ... beans and rice in one pot. But best of all is SPEED.

    Hate: Eats up so much space in the cabinet; we have to store it with the lid off.

    What you might not know to ask:

    - Like any new cooking method, this pot comes with a learning curve.

    - Keep in mind that it's not quite as fast as it seems; for example, corn on the cob cooks in 2 minutes ... but that's 2 minutes AFTER it's come up to temperature. Coming up to temperature takes 5-10 minutes. Then sometimes you have to wait for it to "naturally cool". Just don't think it's 2 minutes start to finish.

    - You will want more accessories. Check Amazon, but don't hurry into the accessories -- you'll have time. Except that you will want to use nylon (rather than metal) utensils in your new pot.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked Mrs Pete
  • nidnay
    I have the instantpot 6 qt WiFi. Love it. It pretty much works flawlessly. BUT, I really would like something much larger. I like to make large quantities of soups and stews and freeze individual servings, but could actually use something twice its size. Family of two but cook a lot for dinners with more than ourselves.

    I use the stainless steel liner and bought another one so I can cook items in succession without washing one out. Non stick is not necessary. When ready to clean the insert I just heat it up in the machine with a very small amount of water and deglaze.

    I have a bunch of Le Creuset pots that I barely use anymore. I used to use them for braising tough cuts of meat, but I only cook that in the instant pot now. And all my soups and stews I cook in the IP unless I’m making a huge amount....then I use a super sized stockpot on the stove. Only make hard boiled eggs in the IP. They come out perfect with no cracking and peel very easily in comparison to the normal stovetop method. Cheese cake is another amazing thing that can be made in the IP...easy and delish!

    One thing I don’t like cooked in the IP....chicken. Don’t like the texture. Most love their IP chicken meals, but I’m not a fan.

    The WiFi is pretty pointless because it only works when connected to your home WiFi and you have to be fairly close to the pot. Unless they’ve made improvements in the range, anything further than 25 feet and the WiFi doesn’t work.

    I love that whatever I make comes out super flavorful because the pressure is forcing all your herbs, spices and and other ingredients through the entire dish including your meats etc. Also, your dish is not getting diluted with an over abundance of liquids.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked nidnay
  • townlakecakes

    I have the 8 qt. I went back and forth between 6 and 8 and ultimately got the bigger one because it went on sale when I was finally ready to buy because we were remodeling and I only had a single burner induction plate.

    We do often cook for a crowd (21 family members within 15 miles) so it works for us. We are a family of 4, though, and it’s still fine. We like leftovers. It must take longer than the 6 to pressuriz, but I don’t have anything to compare it to.

    I haven’t made the most of it yet. Mostly I use it for stuff that would take 3 hours on the stove or in the oven, like roasts and stews and beans. So it comes out most often in cold weather.

    Our favorite use for it, though, is peely eggs (known to the average person as hard boiled eggs.) So I guess we use it a lot in warm weather, too, for eggs for potato salad.

    I’m with nidnay on the chicken. It’s marginally better than crock pot chicken, but I don’t really like either.

    I strictly use the stainless steel pot.

    I do have dreams of making yogurt at some Point but haven’t gotten there yet.

    It has mostly replaced my enamel Dutch oven.

    We dont do freezer meals

    Hate the smell of the silicon rings. First thing I cooked was a corned beef brisket. Big mistake. Then I ordered extra rings. Have one just for eggs.

    Im awful at getting dinner started on time, so I love being able to put a roast on at 4 and still have it done by dinner.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked townlakecakes
  • pkramer60

    1.) What size do you have? Is it big enough/too big? I have both a 6 and an 8 quart. Both sizes work for me as I use the 8 qt for planned leftovers/freezer meals. Plus the 8 qt. makes a slightly larger cheesecake and can handle a larger beef/pork roast.

    2.) How many people are you cooking for? 2

    3.) Do you cook in the stainless steel liner or do you use the ceramic bowl/liner? Stainless.

    4.) If you do freezer meals, do they reheat quickly? I am not sure what you mean by quickly. They re-heat the same as other meals I have frozen. Are you asking about re-heating in the IP? If so, I either use the stove or the microwave for re-heating.

    5.) What (if any) appliances/pans/methods has this replaced for you? It has replaced both oven and stovetop. Also, my slow cooker is feeling lonely.

    6.) If applicable, what do you love/hate most about this appliance? The ease of use, the faster cooking times (navy bean soup in 20 minutes with un-soaked beans, beef roasts to a perfect rare in 45 minutes.) Easy cleanup. Lower energy cost.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked pkramer60
  • vpierce

    If you get one (I have an 8 and 3 qt), follow This Old Gal on Facebook. She has a lot of great tips and recipes.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked vpierce
  • Janet
    I have both 6 and 8 Qt. Instant Pots. I am either cooking for 2 or 12. If I were only going to have one, I would choose the 8 qt. I use the stainless pot inserts and they clean up beautifully. Love using mine! Why I am having all these expensive appliances installed into my new kitchen, I don’t know!
  • kim k
    I love my 6qt instant pot! You can have dinner ready from frozen meat in under an hour. Really makes life with a family of 6 easier :)

    Nidnay- a tip about cooking chicken. If you cut it into pieces before cooking (i slice into cubes but they don’t have to be even or even totally cut apart) it cooks SO much better. Comes out tender every time even when it’s frozen. I do lots of shredded chicken meals in it. Shredded BBQ chix, chicken tacos, chicken in salsa and black beans, soups etc. you really won’t believe how tender it makes the chicken. I agree with you on cooking whole chicken breasts though. The texture is funny if you cook it them whole.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked kim k
  • Janet
    Follow up tips. On the smelly silicone ring, I finally found what works for me. I remove it and wash it, and then put it in the freezer over night, then hang it on the hook of my kitchen cart. It both comes off and goes back on easily if the ring and lid are wet.
    For shredded anything, use your hand mixer. Shreds it all in seconds.
    If you want to make yogurt, make sure you get one with a yogurt setting.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked Janet
  • nidnay

    kim k....Thanks for the tip. I am actually a dark meat fan and like legs and thighs (on the bone) and no matter what I’ve tried, it either comes out with a strange rubbery texture, or like mush. I gave up on the chicken :). So I either bake it in the oven, or if it’s an ingredient in a casserole of some kind, will use my much loved Le Crueset pots that are collecting a lot of dust :( Anyway, there are soooo many other things that cook beautifully in the IP, so not too disappointing. I love the fact that there is no babysitting when cooking soups or stews. No worry about liquid evaporation or having to make sure to shut the stove off. Just add all the ingredients, turn it on, and when finished, the pressure will release naturally and it goes to keep warm all on its own....love my IP :)

    lizbeth-gardener thanked nidnay
  • Sue Mcgrath

    I have the Breville fast/slow multi cooker, which I think is similar. I have the 6 qt and there is a non stick metal bowl. Cooking for usually 2-4 if I'm using it, it's a great size for me unless I want to make something in large quantity, for example when I make a particular sauce, I make a LOT at a time as it's very time consuming. When doing that, I do a batch in the breville and the other in the oven. I can't say that it normally replaces anything for me, but rather has caused me to more frequently make some things that I rarely made due to cooking time. It took me some time to really get the hang of it, but now that I have it's great!

    lizbeth-gardener thanked Sue Mcgrath
  • lizbeth-gardener

    Thanks to all for responding as I'm trying to decide if I want/need one of these and, if so, which size.

    Alex9179:Thanks for all of the links; should be lots of info.

    Fsal: Good to know about cooking rice so fast and the app sounds like it is a big help. I hear you about not taking it out of the box for a year; I've done that with other items when I didn't want to take the time to read the instructions.

    Mrs. Pete: I wouldn't have thought of using it for cooking roasting ears! I have a manual pressure cooker, so am familiar with the time to get to pressure and the cool down, but do love how it makes things so tender and does so quickly.

    Nidnay: I am also cooking for two, but love to cook in quantity and food save freezer meals. Getting a second liner would probably be a real time saver for me when I get on a cooking spree for freezer meals. I. too, have noticed the flavors of the herbs/spices really permeating the meats and gravies in my manual pressure cooker. Also love that it shuts itself off and goes to warm!

    townlakecakes: I've got to read more about the silicone rings; am guessing they must take on the smell of what your cooking? Putting a roast on at 4 and having ready for dinner is a real selling point!

    pkkramer60: I was thinking you reheated in the Instant Pot when I asked that question, but makes sense you would just reheat in microwave or stove. Navy bean soup with un-soaked beans-really?? And roasts in 45 minutes is too good to be true! The larger cheesecake, larger roastand freezer meals/planned leftovers makes the 8 qt seem like a good choice for me.

    vpierce: I didn't even know they made a 3 qt. and thanks for the "This Old Gal" recommendation.

    Janet: I'm in the throes of planning a kitchen remodel-maybe I should give it up and just get several Instant Pots!! Why do you put the ring in the freezer? and what do you shred with a mixer? Good to know about the yogurt setting.

    Kim K: Dinner from frozen meat in an hour would be enough to sell me one. And thanks for tips on cooking chicken.

    Sue Mcgrath: Your post makes me more inclined to think the 8 qt is the size I need.

  • Janet

    For some reason, putting it in the freezer gets rid of the strong cooking smells that the silicone ring absorbs. Shredded chicken or pork, with salsa or bbq, for instance.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked Janet
  • pkramer60

    I would get the 8 qt if you only get one. You can cook 7 qts in that but not in a 6 or 3 qt. It is not the be-all, end-all for everything. Why make baked potatoes for 20 minutes in the IP when the microwave takes 8 to 10 minutes? Whole "roast" chicken is nasty, but the chicken in soups, stews, etc is great. Steaks, chops can be made in the IP, but I prefer a grill, broiler or cast iron pan for those. But you can do some sides in there. Also, note that cooking times can be misleading. Always add in the pressurization time. The more liquid and the colder it is, the longer it can take.

    Google some of your favorite recipes cooking in the IP to get a feel for how it works. That helped me a great deal.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked pkramer60
  • Anne Duke
    Potatoes in the IP and then finished in the oven put microwave potatoes to shame. Better than baking in the oven the whole time, too.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked Anne Duke
  • dan1888

    We use an 8-quart. This size is useful for ribs, pork shoulder, beef stew with potatoes and carrots separately wrapped in foil and all other size meals.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked dan1888
  • alex9179

    Re : cooking times

    YES. Many quoted times don't take into account the time it takes to come up to pressure, and natural release if that's being used. The larger the pot, the smaller the amount of food, the longer it takes.

    I like to use it for recipes that would normally take a few hours. Pork shoulder (carnitas!), beans, pot roast, and cheesecake are my go-tos. I always make hard-boiled eggs in my PC. Steaming potatoes for mash is revelatory. They were light as clouds once done. You don't need a PC to do that but it can be hard to find an open burner while making a holiday feast.

    Hip Pressure Cooking is a very comprehensive site for information. She was doubtful that electric PCs were worth it but has been converted ;)

    lizbeth-gardener thanked alex9179
  • sooz

    I do love my 6 quart 7-in-1 IP! I cook for two to four people.

    I've made a 3 lb boneless beef chuck roast in 55 minutes (note that it took less than 8 to 10 minutes to get up to pressure, and *then* it took 55 minutes to cook). Moist, fork-tender, delicious, and the leftovers were really good 2 days later too, when we finished them off.

    Also made: pork spareribs that were fall-off-the-bone tender (2 racks, 30 minutes cook time once it got up to pressure), meatloaf (35 minutes for 3 lbs of meatloaf after it got up to pressure), whole chicken (a bit less than a 5 lb chicken with 6 C of water, & once it got up to pressure, it cooked for 25 minutes) and I made chicken broth with the water used for this, too, cheesecake (6 inch diameter round pan, took 26 minutes), and my IP performed excellently with frozen chicken breasts (once up to pressure, it took 12 minutes--but don't let the chicken breasts overlap)!

    I usually do the "natural release."

    My next recipe might be Kenji's pressure cooker tomato sauce.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked sooz
  • lalithar

    I have the 6qt and the 3qt. We are a family of 3 and I use the smaller one the most often for my family. Vegetarian cooking.. Steam eggs, egg custards, veggie curries, lots of lentils and beans. The large and the small both get used for parties as they function well as an appliance/ dish to keep things warm. Works great for warm desserts, soups. If I were to get one, I would go for the smaller one.. Most bang for the buck and the counter real estate.. I tried the Cosori brand and returned it for the instant pot brand.

  • chocolatebunny123

    We have the 8 qt IP and we are a family of 4 (with 2 teenagers). My husband uses it most as I'm kind of afraid of it!

    You definitely need to take the cooking times with a grain of salt. That was the hardest thing for us to learn. We thought we would have dinner in say 20 minutes when it was more like 40.

    We have had some problems with things burning in it, particularly foods with tomato sauce. I'm not sure why, but it's happened several times now. It seems to be with thicker recipes like meat sauce.

    We only use the metal bowl that it came with. It's more my husband's toy so I admit I haven't researched much.

    It's pretty much replaced our crock pot. There's a couple of things I prefer with the crock pot because I don't think you get the same flavor with the IP, but since our schedules are so busy the IP works better for us.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked chocolatebunny123
  • btaylor10
    I have a 6 qt and so far all I’ve used it for is to make yogurt. It is excellent! I have stopped buying yogurt from the supermarket. The only ingredients are milk and 2Tbsp. of yogurt from the previous batch.
    We like Greek yogurt so once I’ve completed a batch in the IP I put it through a Euro Cuisine stainless steel yogurt strainer.
    Since it’s plain yogurt, we usually add a tsp of jam for sweetness and flavour to a serving of yogurt. It’s delicious ... especially with some fresh fruit.
    I look forward to trying other things in my IP, but for now, really loving my IP yogurt.
    lizbeth-gardener thanked btaylor10
  • moosemac

    1.) What size do you have? Is it big enough/too big? 6 quart perfect size

    2.) How many people are you cooking for? 5 adults and a toddler

    3.) Do you cook in the stainless steel liner or do you use the ceramic bowl/liner?

    Stainless steel

    4.) If you do freezer meals, do they reheat quickly?

    It depends on the food and the mode used to reheat. Usually I will pull ingredients out of the freezer, sauté in the Instant Pot then slow cook for the day or pressure cook until done. I have used the pressure cook feature to thaw and reheat broth based soups which works well.

    5.) What (if any) appliances/pans/methods has this replaced for you?

    Replaced my pressure cooker, slow cooker and sear pan. I also stopped using a cast iron Dutch oven for pot roast though I used the Dutch Oven for other things.

    6.) If applicable, what do you love/hate most about this appliance?

    Love everything about it. I bought the glass cover for when I use it as a slow cooker.

    I make a lot of bone broths/stocks. The pressure cook feature has cut cooking time dramatically. Also I used to roast the bones and vegetables in the oven for stock now I just sauté them in the Instant Pot before pressure cooking.

    I made a pot roast yesterday in it. Browned it on all sides using the sauté function, then set it on medium slow cook for the day. It came out beautifully.

    lizbeth-gardener thanked moosemac
  • lizbeth-gardener

    Janet: good to know about the rings.

    Pkramer60: I think I probably will go with the 8qt. and googling my current favorites cooked in the IP is a good idea.

    Anne Duke: If I ever have time to experiment I might try that. Right now I do the easy way:microwave in the potato bag.

    Dan1888: Sounds like things I cook, but don't understand how you cook potatoes and carrots wrapped in foil in beef stew-am I mis-reading that?

    Alex9179: I have a manual PC, so am familiar with the extra time you have to allow for coming to pressure and cool down. I still love the way it tenderizes certain foods and the speed. Thank you for the link; I will explore.

    Sooz: The chuck roast sounds delicious! I would have never thought of meat loaf in a pressure cooker and chicken broth, too.

    Lalithar: The time saved cooking beans and lentils makes a PC earn its shelf space. I didn't realize they act as warmers. And glad to hear you like the IP brand better.

    Chocolatebunny123: Glad to hear from another pleased user, even if it is hubby who uses it. I remember as a young married, being afraid to use a PC, but my mother bought me one an insisted it was safe. I didn't read the instructions well and eventually tried to cook something in it that I wasn't supposed to and blew the vent out. IIRC it was chicken and dumplings and they were all over my ceiling. By then I knew how valuable the PC was for saving time and started paying more attention to how and what to cook in it.

    Btaylor10: I've never made yogurt, but we do eat lots of it, so that would be a neat feature.

    Moosemac: I like the idea of using it for broth and I like that so many have replaced appliances with the IP.

    Thanks for all your responses. It always helps to make a decision about cooking appliances and tools after reading the opinions and experiences of the people on this forum

    I think I will have to be careful about weight gain if I use it for as many cheesecakes as people on here are enjoying!

  • Cindy Stephenson
    I have the 6 qt Instant Pot. We’re a family of 4 (two teenagers). I have the ceramic insert but only use it when I’m using the slow-cook feature. Otherwise I use the SS insert.

    I use it mostly for hard/soft boiled (steamed) eggs, soups, stews, beans, rice, mashed potatoes, steaming veggies, and to make Cheesecake! It has replaced my rice cooker and my slow cooker. And even my stove top.

    My favorite feature: I will never make hard boiled eggs any other way. The eggs slip easily out of their shell. Deviled eggs look BEAUTIFUL.

    I don’t like to use it for meats. Hubby still uses it for pulled pork and pulled chicken, but I’d rather broil or grill most meats.

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