I know everyone loves Instant Pots. This is not meant to be an attack on their many fans, just my own experience. I agonized over whether to get one for a long time. I borrowed my mom’s, kept it for a month, but ultimately decided against it. Here’s why:
Too many buttons and electronics
I am perfectly capable of understanding electronics, but I’ve always felt that the more functions something has, the more likely it is to break. There is a lot going on with the Instant Pot, and I just don’t trust its longevity, especially when all those buttons are combined with high temperatures and steam.
I already have a slow cooker and rice cooker
I bet most people do! So the argument that it can be a slow cooker and rice cooker does not sway me. From what I have experienced, it actually runs quite hot as a slow cooker. I have one from the 80s that runs nice and low, and I love it.
Its Function as a Yogurt Maker is Limited
You still have to heat the milk up and cool it down on your own. The Instant Pot basically holds it at 90 degrees for you, and that’s it. This can be done with a slow cooker, a heating pad, or a yogurt maker. I got a brand new yogurt maker for twenty dollars that works VERY well.
The Silicone Ring smells Gross
This was the thing that pushed me over the edge. The silicone ring that seals it up retains smells. People have reported their yogurt and other sweet foods smelling like savory roasts and chili. Gross. I tried vinegar and baking soda, and they didn’t work. The recommended solution is to buy a new set of silicone rings for yogurt. They are about ten dollars. For that price, I am halfway to an entire yogurt maker.
Like, enormous. Way bigger than it looks in pictures, which make you think it might be rice cooker size. Nope. It’s the size of a shop-vac. It didn’t fit in any of my cabinets, even if I were to remove the slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker. It’s not that I don’t have room, it’s just too big to fit in any of my shelves.
I would not mind a huge thing if it were a copper stockpot or something beautiful. But this giant robot is not especially attractive and looks very modern in a bad way.
PRessure Cooking is its only real draw
So basically what we have here is an electric pressure cooker. I admit it does that VERY well. Meats come out moist and everything is very flavorful when cooked under pressure. I definitely liked that aspect of it.
But guess what I got instead? A stovetop pressure cooker and canner. I am able to brown on my stovetop, where I have much more heat and get a better sear. Then I switch over to pressure cooking and it is just as fast as the Instant Pot. It was much less expensive and has no gadgets to break.
Also, the pressure goes up to 15 PSI so I am able to pressure can in it, which I am excited about for this year’s garden. You technically can pressure can in the new Instant Pot Max, but it has a very small capacity.
Yes my pressure cooker is large, which I said is a drawback of the IP, but it is basically a pot with a fancy lid. I am able to nest things inside.
i still think they are a useful kitchen gadget for a lot of people
A friend of mine who has an Instant Pot loves hers, and I think she summed it up well: If you like to cook, it’s just another gadget that you may or may not use. If you don’t like to cook, it’s an easy way to get dinner on the table.
And that really nailed the emotional reason I decided not to get an Instant Pot. I like to cook. I don’t want to throw ingredients into a machine, press a button, and hope for the best.
If I did not already have a slow cooker and rice maker, maybe I would think differently. But for now, I am happy I was able to find two items to do the job of the Instant Pot better, and for less money.
I would seriously love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have one? Do you regret it or love it? Are they a passing fad or the future of cooking?