Why I Don’t Like the Instant Pot (+ Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew)

9 Reviews / 4.1 Average
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Okay, so after all the crazy hype, I caved and bought an Instant Pot (one brand of electric pressure cooker). I figured it must be one amazing machine with how much everyone seems to love it. And I have to say, I might be the minority here, but I don’t like the Instant Pot! Anyone want to buy a slightly used Instant Pot? (kidding! sort of, haha). I honestly went into this with an open mind and have used it several times for all different types of recipes to really get a good feel for what it can do.

Why I Don't Like the Instant Pot on 100 Days of Real Food

Recipes I Tried in the Instant Pot

First I made “baked” potatoes. I quickly learned that the way the potatoes turn out is fine if you’re using them in another recipe (similar to if you boiled them), but not exactly fine for eating as a side item. Which is what I was planning to do, LOL. Baking them in the oven would have been MUCH better for this application – lesson learned.

Next, I thought I’d try a more complex recipe, and what better place to start than the Instant Pot recipe booklet that came with my machine, right? Um, I quickly learned there must have been a language barrier or something when developing those recipes because steps and important info seemed to be missing at times. But I winged it anyway and made an okay butternut squash soup. I chose that recipe because normally I would roast the squash in the oven first, so I thought it would be a good test run that would allow me to skip a step. I suppose it was a decent time saver if you really want butternut squash soup when you happen to be short on time (I would normally plan that dish when I do have the time).

Next, I decided to make something I’ve made in my slow cooker dozens of times so I could really get a good idea of how the outcome compares – Pork Carnitas Tacos (with the addition of a cup of broth because you can never use the Instant Pot without liquid!). Normally I would start the pork shoulder in the slow cooker early in the morning. I even thought about starting it (since I’ve gotten into the habit of checking our menu board to see if I need to defrost or start anything for whatever dinner is planned), but then I remembered I was going to wait to do the pork later in the Instant Pot.

Well, as it turns out, it takes about 50+ minutes to make a pork shoulder in the Instant Pot, and I have to say that was not the best timing for me to start dinner on a weeknight. I usually do a quick 30 minute or so meal OR start it early in the morning and be done with it (kind of like I wanted to do!) on busy weeknights. But, I wanted to see how the meat would turn out this way, and while I personally thought the flavor was pretty good, it was apparent right away the meat was not as tender as it usually is from the slow cooker. And the rest of my family honestly didn’t like it as much as usual. They said thumbs up slow cooker, thumbs down Instant Pot on this one.

This also sealed the deal for me that I do not like NOT being able to open the lid at all to check on the food (or even take a little food out early). Maybe I could have cooked it a little longer for more tender meat, but I’d have to start the whole process of building up the pressure again to do that. And my poor daughter was already late to her evening gymnastics class because I was like, “Sorry, I can’t open the Instant Pot for 12 more minutes!” (#momfail – I know.) Normally I would have quickly given her a taco even if I planned to cook it a little longer (in the slow cooker) before the rest of the family ate. But no, not this time.

Lastly, I made the Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew below, which was a very tasty recipe, but I have to say it ended up being slightly overcooked. (I adjusted the timing in the recipe below so that doesn’t happen to you!)  You see, if I would have made this stew in the slow cooker or even on the stove top, I could have opened the lid and checked on it to prevent this from happening.

I will also add that I was a little impressed when I realized I could cook this soup in the Instant Pot in only 5 minutes. Wow, 5 minutes is fast for soup, right?! But, NO. I forgot it takes several minutes for the pressure to build before the 5 minutes even starts and then since you can’t use the “quick release” option for soup (because it would possibly splatter), you have to wait for the “natural release” method, which can take 10 – 15 minutes!!! I could have honestly made the soup faster than that in a darn pot on the stove. Not to mention the 10 minutes I wasted wondering if the regular pressure release had automatically started or if I was supposed to push a button to make it start (see reason #3 below!).

Instant Pot Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew on 100 Days of Real Food

So yes, I have not at all been impressed with the Instant Pot so far and putting all my thoughts together in one place like this is really driving home this conclusion for me!

Reasons I Do Not Like My Instant Pot (so far)

I might try a couple more things in my Instant Pot just to be sure I don’t change my mind (it was not a cheap appliance!), but after my experience so far, these are the things I do not like:

  1. It’s one of the more complicated kitchen appliances I’ve used.
    Maybe because it can do SO much, all the different settings can seem a little confusing. Even after using it four times so far, I would by no means say I “get it.” Maybe I would feel differently if I took one of those online courses to help (see below!).
  2. The recipes I’ve considered – both in the booklet and online – don’t seem to be very clear.
    This is probably because of all those settings and buttons I mentioned. The recipes will say things like “start the meat on high pressure” leaving me wondering if I hit the “meat” button or the “pressure” button. (The answer, I’ve learned, is the meat button!). I had a hard time finding recipes that tell me exactly what buttons to push and when, especially in the recipe booklet that comes with the machine.
  3. No confirmation the appliance is starting.
    Once you figure out the right button to use and push it, there is no start button, which each and every time left me wondering if it was good to go. I realize stovetop pressure cookers and even slow cookers don’t have a start button, but for whatever reason, it felt like something was missing with this machine. It does start a countdown timer after the pressure builds up, but nothing special happens before then. One time I guess my pressure valve wasn’t totally secure so the pressure never started counting down at all, and I was thinking, “This is taking forever to see the countdown timer, and I have no idea why.” As it turns out, it won’t ever start if any air is seeping out of the valve (more time wasted!). Long story short, I did not find the keypad to be very intuitive.
  4. Cannot (easily) open the lid.
    I really should have put this reason right at the top because it is a BIG downfall for me. As I mentioned above, I ended up with overcooked food, undercooked food, and food I couldn’t take out a little early all because I could not easily open the lid. Also, as I was cleaning up from making the soup, I realized there was still a little broth left in the jar. My instinct was to open the lid and add it in, but NO! Not with the instant pot. I guess I just have a hard time making mystery food I can’t check on or taste test as much as my heart desires along the way. And while I could do a “quick release” in the middle of a recipe if I really wanted to check or add something, I’d have to start with building up the pressure again (which adds more time) to start it over. Right or wrong, that’s a little bit of a deterrent for me and simply not as quick and easy as opening the lid of a pot on the stove (or slow cooker).
  5. Takes longer than you think.
    As I mentioned, I got a little excited about being able to cook soup in only 4 or 5 minutes, but that duration is very misleading. Each and every time you use the Instant Pot, it takes a couple minutes for the pressure to build (this is during the time I’m wondering if it’s even working because it doesn’t really indicate it’s started – see item #3 above!) before the countdown timer starts. Then at the end, you have to release the pressure one of two ways – “manual release” doesn’t take all that long, but “natural release” for soups can take 10 to 15 minutes. In the end, I did not find it saved me a whole lot of time once you add all this up together.
  6. I don’t like sautéing food in it.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally convenient to sauté and then slow cook (or pressure cook) right in the same bowl. BUT, from a cooking tool standpoint, I don’t really like cooking in the Instant Pot insert all that much. The insert moves all around when you’re trying to stir the food, and you can’t really hold it to keep it in place because it’s hot! This is a minor downfall in the grand scheme of things, but worth being mentioned.

I am sorry if I am the bearer of bad news here, but I’m just wanting to share my honest opinion about the latest craze – especially before you decide to invest in this pricey appliance! But, as with anything, there are two sides to every story …

Why Others Like the Instant Pot

Now, I had a little chat with Kiran on my team to find out her opinion of the Instant Pot (she’s had one longer than I have), and as it turns out, she was never a huge slow cooker fan and LOVES her Instant Pot so much more. She said since she’s a vegetarian, she feels like most of the really good slow cooker recipes are meat based (which she’ll still make for her family), but since she personally relies more on foods like beans and lentils and homemade vegetarian soups, the Instant Pot has been really great for her.

Based on that feedback, I’m thinking of trying my refried bean recipe in the Instant Pot to see if it makes me like it any better. Dried beans do normally take a long time to cook, so I can see how that would be helpful. But at the same time, I kind of like to start the slow cooker in the morning because it’s such a nice feeling to have it all done for you at the end of the day! (I realize you can slow cook in the Instant Pot too – I know, it does SO much! LOL

But I suppose if you aren’t good at remembering to start your slow cooker, you might just be the biggest Instant Pot fan yet. I’ve also heard the Instant Pot is great if you forget to defrost your meat and want to start a dish with frozen meat. So, I guess this could be a really helpful appliance if planning ahead is not your strong point or you just prefer to be more spontaneous!

If you do own an Instant Pot (or want to get one, despite my opinion!), my friend Erin Chase – the $5 Dinner Mom – has put together some fabulous resources for people at all different stages of Instant Pot use. Check out her programs to help you get started or help you feel less confused! Oh, and I should mention Erin swears by boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. It takes 7 minutes (after the pressure builds, of course) and apparently the outcome is superior to stovetop with shells that are super easy to peel. I’ll think about trying that too – if I can figure out what button to push, LOL.

Here are the other foods Erin prefers in the Instant Pot:

  • Steel cut oatmeal
  • Steamed salmon
  • Steamed veggies
  • Brown rice
  • Roasts for slicing
  • Whole chicken
  • Dried beans

Maybe I should’ve taken her course before I started using the Instant Pot myself – plenty more options for me to try here!

Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew – Instant Pot or Stove Top

Whether you have an Instant Pot or not, I’ve got a yummy new recipe to share with you today! My 9-year-old was especially excited about this one for some reason and was sure to tell me, “I really like lentils,” multiple times after we ate this stew. I did not know this about her and was glad to be informed because lentils are easy to make, good for you, and inexpensive – yay! She even asked if she could take the leftovers to school the next day – of course! So I hope your family enjoys this quick and easy recipe as much as we did – no matter how you make it!

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew on 100 Days of Real Food

Why I Don't Like the Instant Pot (+ Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew)

Curred Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
9 Reviews / 4.1 Average
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 21 mins
Total Time: 31 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 5 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch dice (with peel still on)
  • 1 cup green lentils rinsed and picked over
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro fresh

Instructions
 

  • In either a pot on the stove over medium heat or in an Instant Pot on the sauté setting, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook while stirring until it softens, 3 - 4 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic, sweet potatoes, lentils, and spices and cook while stirring for another minute or two.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes and broth. Stovetop: Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Instant Pot: Secure the lid, make sure the valve is switched to "sealing," push the "soup" button, and reduce the time to 3 minutes using the "-" button. Once the Instant Pot is finished counting down, push the "cancel" button and wait for the steam to release naturally until the float valve goes all the way back down before opening the lid. 
  • Ladle into bowls, top with a dollop of plain yogurt and some fresh cilantro leaves, and serve warm. 

Notes

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Curred Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew
Amount Per Serving
Calories 268 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 1238mg54%
Potassium 728mg21%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 13465IU269%
Vitamin C 5.7mg7%
Calcium 89mg9%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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172 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like the Instant Pot (+ Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew)”

  1. Lisa, I feel the same way about my instant pot. It’s far more complicated looking, though, than I actually choose to use it. It does a great job for my brown rice, and I no longer need to babysit it on the stovetop to cook it to perfection. I also do like that I can cook dried beans, without soaking in less than an hour. Yogurt is another winner, in my book. Fresh, homemade yogurt in a day and it saves me $, and I know exactly what is in it. So, while it has all those presets, I don’t really use them. I use the pressure cook and the yogurt button. I’ve tried a lot of recipes, but those are the only three I make anymore using my IP.

  2. I bought the 3 qt mini IP, purely to make yogurt using the ‘cold start’ method (takes 2 minutes to set up). It was worth the purchase, just for that, and each batch I share some, and friends and neighbours are thrilled. However, I’ve found I use it a few times a week for a variety of things, and I’m only cooking for one. So far, I’ve done refried beens, chickpeas, black beans, boiled eggs, and beets (oh, so much easier for beets). I’m also now making my own broth – I’ve done vegetable & turkey so far. I continue to explore with it. I’m retired so I have time to learn more about it. Next will be pumpkin cheesecake, my first dessert with it. I hope it’s yummy :) I don’t have a slow cooker, but I do use my French oven (Le Crueset’s Dutch oven) when I want to take a peek at regular intervals and adjust as I go along. Different tools for different tasks, I think.

  3. Hi Lisa, I was wondering what you ended up doing with your instant pot. Did you sell it? I’m having the same issue. I want to sell mine! did you have luck selling yours?

  4. Am late to this, but – yeah, I got an InstantPot as a gift (which sat ~ 5 months before using). For some things it’s fine, but I have had times where things didn’t cook properly. Onions in chili: still semi-raw after several hours. Lentils in soup: after 10 hours slow cooking, cooked but still crunchy. I bought the lentils that day, and decided at home to use the instant pot recipe on the back of the lentil bag. *And* reran the pot another couple of hours (12 altogether) – still crunchy.

    Once I heated them up on the stove, they were fine.

    It was a gift, and it’s handy for having dinner done when I get home from work. But so far, not 100% impressed.

  5. Thank you! Mine has been sitting in the cabinet for 2 years after using it once and I failed. Tried swiss steak and it turned into swiss soup. But you have encouraged me to try it again. But I love my slow cooker!

  6. Glad to find someone else didn’t fall in love with this thing. I didn’t attempt to saute in it (I knew that would be a pain), but I DID expect it to work well on the slow cooker function and frankly it didn’t — and if you’re expecting it to, it could be dangerous.
    After 1 hr and 10 minutes on slow cooker, I wondered why my chili (precooked meat with sauce that was at room temp when I started) was barely warm. After poking at it with a meat thermometer, I saw that it was getting to a good temp deeper in, but at the top (about 2/3 of the way full on an 8qt) it was not even hot enough to cook beef to rare. So I don’t trust the ‘slow cooker’ mode at all.
    I think I’ll be using it mainly for broth and beans. Certainly the time to heat and to depressurize makes it pointless for vegetables (even if there was no risk of overcooking them), quinoa and rice.
    My regular slow cooker takes care of raw meat just fine, even on low.

  7. Hi Lisa, I wanted to let you know that I have made your pork carnitas recipe Many times in the IP and it has turned out amazing! I put the ingredients in just as you instruct for the slow cooker, with NO EXTRA LIQUID. I push the meat/stew button and cook for 35 min, allowing it to natural release for 10-15 min. It turns out perfectly every time.

  8. I absolutely love my Instant Pot. It makes everything taste much better to me. While it may take as long as the stove top, with the heating, etc. I can do other things (pack lunches, help with homework) and don’t need to monitor the kitchen. That in and of itself is gold for me. I also love the delay start setting and is the slow cooker feature on my IP regularly. Being gone for 9-10 hours a day many slow cooker recipes cook too long. This makes them perfect!

    1. I like my IP for the same reasons – once it is set, walk away. and the delay start is essential for any slow cooker recipes for this 8 – 5 worker. None of the newer slow cookers allow a delay. It has taken a few trial and errors when adapting some recipes, but in general I’ve had good success. Plus, I’ve found some great freezer meal plans to use with the IP.

  9. My sister gave me her IP after being underwhelmed by it. I’ve tried baked beans (underdone and watery) and something else I won’t do again, though I forget what it was. But it was worth the $100 (my sister) paid for it for the lesson in hard-boiled eggs. The IP does them beautifully, but it’s not magic; all it does is steam them. So I started steaming eggs on the stove in a steamer basket: 13 minutes steaming, 10 minutes off the heat, ice bath. They come out easy to peel and gorgeous, just like the IP.

    I intended to try a frozen pork roast in the IP, but the meat wouldn’t fit in the pot, and it was hard as a rock, so back to the big, oval crock pot I went.

  10. The only “dish” I like from the instant pot is rice! I have tried several things, but the meat ends up chewy or not as tender as usual. I need to work on cooking rice on the stove top and sell my instant pot!

  11. 5 stars
    Since there’s not much feedback/review on the actual dish for this post I will do just that.
    The stew is absolutely delicious and even better the next day. My picky 5 year old and carnivorous husband even gobbled it up! I found that letting it simmer on the stove for a good 45 minutes to an hour was the perfect amount of time for all the lentils/potatoes to soften and the flavors to blend. Highly recommend this dish. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I feel the same way about the instant pot. My Mother-in-law bought me one and for just about every recipe I have tried, I prefer my slow-cooker.

  13. Thank you for the in depth honest review. I was beginning to wonder if I was missing out.

    I think I will stick with my Fagor 3 in 1. It has a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and a browning feature to sear or saute right in the pot before using the slow or pressure feature. I don’t use the rice cooker selection, I prefer to do that in a pot on the stove and let it set while I make the rest of my meal.

  14. Help! My lentils were STILL crunchy after cooking in the crock pot on low with 64 oz of broth for 8 hours, then put it on high for 2 hours. Moved to stove afterward and brought to boil, then simmered for 15 minutes, and then superboiled for another 15 minutes, and they are STILL crunchy!!!

  15. Did you give up, Lisa? Being an older post, I’m curious of the update (but there are too many comments to look for one). All the things you mentioned were things I disliked my first two weeks as well. But now I love it. Wardee Harmon gives some tips to be success, such as use the sautee button to preheat your liquid and items you throw in as you are chopping, cutting, etc., then turn off the pot and restart with your recipe settings. Also, start it in the morning as you are used to with your slow cooker and take advantage of that 10-hour warm setting that automatically switches on at the end of the cooking time! Yes, hard-boiled eggs are great (“Manual and set time for 6 or 7 minutes) and raw milk yogurt are my two weekly items I love to do. With any slow cooker, I have found the cook time varies among brands and sizes. You’ll need to experiment using the low/med/high slow-cook options to know which one works most similar to your slow cooker. Skip the recipes and use the manual setting for pressure cooking, and I think you’ll get the hang of it!

  16. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the Instant Pot, in my opinion, is the key to success. Add to that cooking experience (50 years +) and learning what web sites to avoid for recipes.

    When my wife and I got the IP (mini) about 1 month ago, I looked at and discarded the IP cook book. I then looked at the HUGE Facebook users group and quickly did the same. Cute blog names and short cuts in recipes and directions don’t cut it.

    We use the iOS app Paprika. It allows us to do comprehensive web searches for recipes and quickly save and modify them as needed. We take recipes that we have cooked for years and look to see how IP recipes compare. Thus far we have found over 25 recipes that are every bit as good as old favorites and much quicker to prepare.

    Some of our favorites include, baby back ribs, authentic Boston baked beans, caramel custard, roast beef with vegetables, chicken with real drop dumplings, wild rice with clementines and pecans, creamy chicken gnocchi soup and coconut lime quinoa.

    My suggestion is to get the IP, do your homework and enjoy.

  17. I read it and have bought the Instant Pot 6 qt 2o days back. I am also on the fence about it as I have a pressure cooker (stove top, Fagor Elite DUO) but wanted an electric one. A want not a need. I don’t use my slow cooker much, unless there is a dinner then to save time I will do the lentils (or Haleem) in slow cooker and other food on the stove top and oven, and the Fagor for quick pressurizing tough meat and then sauteing again. But this large, intimidating gadget! I know the buttons are there and don’t have to use manual and all that but being a finicky cook and about the right taste, I have like to be able to look in and taste and see if the right amount of color, browning, thickening is taking place all while a curry or stew is being cooked. I see it useful for a lot of things like, beans, daal, yoghurt and tough meats to soften then to place under broil or oven to crisp for roasts etc. And waiting till its done and seeing after the wait of release if it’s done to my taste, and if not add more minutes and build up pressure is something I saw in it too, having used the Fagor stove top for the very same things as above. So, I don’t know if I should return and the books I bought for it and the extra lid (for slow cooking if i chose) and save my 107 for the pot and all the other extras. Apart from returning the pot to Target, the rest will be a bit of trouble.
    I don’t know. Suffering from some serious indecisiveness about it.

  18. Michelle K. Meehan

    Sorry, but you lost me here. My pressure cooker has changed the way I cook for the better. It’s my favorite appliance by a mile. I can put relatively few (and healthy!) ingredients into a pot, walk away, and in a short time come back to a nutritious, inexpensive meal that my whole family will eat. Not having to check on it constantly is one of my favorite things about it. Having to wait 10 minutes for it to come to pressure is nothing compared to having to cook something for 8 hours in a slow cooker. I made stock from our Thanksgiving turkey in under 2 hours as opposed to having to cook it overnight, which is also an energy saver. The learning curve wasn’t very steep and now it’s like second nature.

    I hope your experience changes! I am hoping to see a 100 Days pressure cooker cookbook soon.

  19. I’m new to the InstaPot and actually had my daughter-in-law come over to give me 1:1 instruction. I think the InstaPot is a great method to cook dry beans as it preserves the nutrients and really gets them cooked. You don’t even have to presoak. My DIL uses the InstaPot for much of her cooking, but I still like the slow cooker for fully developing flavors of stews and soups. The InstaPot really cooks those chick peas in a hurry for that marvelous hummus recipe.

  20. I read the dislike article and realized that one of the things we do that was not mentioned is that things that we know take a long time (getting meat tender for instance) we start early in the day (by lunchtime at the latest) and let it do the pressure cooking steps then let it sit on keep warm for several hours before dinner. That way, the pressure is already down well before dinner (if we need to check and adjust anything) and we’re not left waiting and waiting for the pressure release. Basically, use it as a pressure cooker to speed the cooking then a slow cooker to keep things bubbling along for the rest of the day

  21. Thank you for the thorough post! I keep hearing about the Instant Pot and I have been wondering if I’m missing out. My first thought when I heard about it was, “But why? I like my crock pot.” And I like coming home to dinner smelling like it’s almost done! :)” I have a pressure cooker that I use sometimes, but it’s not my go to tool like my slow cooker.

    I think I’m sitting in your camp, Lisa. Woohoo to crock pots!! :D

  22. This post was shared with me, and I just wanted to touch on your concerns. This is what I shared with that person.
    While an Instant Pot may not be on your list, don’t throw out the idea of a Pressure cooker completely. I have a stovetop model (Fagor Duo – it’s a pressure canner too).
    Addressing her (your) complaints:
    1. No complication to the stovetop model. There’s no panel, just put it on your stovetop, lock the lid, and start the heat.
    2. I don’t use Instant Pot recipes, just PC ones, and they are clear.
    3. See #1 above.
    4. Quick Release on the stovetop model with soup can be done by running water over the pot in the sink. Nope, not the easiest thing, but an option. This one is still a drawback for the reasoning.
    5. I just plan on the time. No different that planning on oven time, or slow cooking time.
    6. The stovetop model is 1 pot. Sauteeing is the same as in a pan on the stove, except it has higher sides.

  23. Karen Schouest

    This is the first comment or article I’ve seen anywhere expressing a dislike for the Instant Pot, and of course, I had to read it! I am in the camp with many others who said that many of the things you dislike most about the pot are among their favorite features. Above all else, I love being able to “set it and forget it.” If you are using the natural release method (which I do for most things), once you get the lid closed (and it really is easy to open and close it), you choose your settings, and that’s it until it’s done. You’ll hear a loud beep when the pressure cooking is done, and then 15-20 minutes later, the NR process is done, and you’re ready to eat.

    I don’t cook in it as much as most others do, because I don’t have time for all the food prep on most days. But I use it a LOT for the two main things I bought it for: bone broth (2 hours compared to 24 hours via stove or Crock pot!) and the most amazing, delicious, and consistently successful homemade yogurt … EVER (no hassles with all the other methods of trying to keep it at just the right temp for 9 hours).

    It’s worth the price, to me, for those two things alone. So even if I never used it for anything else, I would feel I got my money’s worth and then some. I also love that it not only has a slow-cooking feature, but you can set the start and stop times of the slow-cooking function. And the 99-hour keep-warm function comes in very handy, no matter what you’re cooking.

    So if you’re a fan of bone broth or homemade yogurt, learn to love and appreciate it it for that, and maybe “this marriage can be saved.” :)

    1. I also am not impressed with the instant pot. My rice i cook in a regular pot on the stove comes out much better. All the meat i have cooked in the instant pot comes out like rubber and it always takes twice as long to cook as the book says. J have had to cook and recook several cycles to finally get the meat cooked. When i finally give up and put it in the iven.

  24. You’ve got to keep trying! I feel like you managed to choose the perfect storm of odd things to make that didn’t turn out. Boil some eggs, cook a whole frozen chicken and then make bone broth, make dal (from lentils), cook dried beans and make some chicken breasts into pulled chicken with sauce! I have mostly found recipes on Pinterest and I’ve never looked at the manual.

  25. Hmmm…….thanks for this! I have been back and forth with getting one. I think the one thing I have read that I like the best is cooking beans in it….but I can easily cook them in one of my different size crock pots or on the stove or pressure can some which I have meant to do for a long time! I like the idea of cooking them fast but……for me probably not worth it to buy, store and figure out how to use just to cook beans….which is probably what I would do. I do not like that I could not open it and check on cooking…..I did not realize that! I see recipes for things like instant pot cheesecake……and I think why? I have an awesome recipe. So thanks again! Think I will skip this one!

  26. I agree with a lot of what you said. I’ve sort of got a love/hate relationship with it. I’ve tried to cook your pork tacos in the instant pot (we usually do it in the crockpot) but have had no luck and have to go back and cook it again and rebuild the pressure, and its not ready and everyone is starving. It does often take a very long time to get pressure and I wonder if its working. And I have had the fail where the valve wasn’t sealed and nothing was happening, big waste of time. But we do use it weekly to cook beans, rice and hardboil eggs and sometimes bone broth but guess that makes it not a super great investment for just those things :) When I first purchased it I made some really good lamb shanks in it from Nom Nom Paleo. She has a few really good recipes if you are looking for more do with yours.

  27. I have a stove top stainless steel Fagor Elite 6 qt. pressure cooker that I truly enjoy using (for some items). In my opinion it cannot be beat for baby back ribs and the best chicken wings ever. I have a GE Cafe gas range so there is a nice large burner that I use to quickly bring it to temperature while I am preparing whatever basting concoction I decide to use. I STILL have to broil both of these in the oven for about 20 minutes, basting and turning every five minutes to dry out the meat that has excessive moisture from pressure cooking and add the baste to similate a long slow cooking.
    The baby back ribs come out tasting like I slow roasted them on the barbecue all day, and spicing up the liquid in the pressure cooker for the wings infuses a delicate flavor to the meat, in addition to whatever BBQ sauce I decide to use when broiling.
    I have found, as you have, that not everything is best done in a pressure cooker…baked potatoes being one of them, unless you slice them open and bake them for about 15 minutes to reduce the excess moisture from steaming them in the pressure cooker. I would never cook a duck in a pressure cooker either. The slow cooker is fabulous for making the best duck you have ever had…bar none.
    As far as the pressure release, the Fagor releases steam rather quickly (several minutes) when done ‘naturally’.
    Before I bought the stove top model I did a lot of research and, for me, it was much more versatile than the electric model. For instance, If I am pressure cooking a meat, I can add all sorts of liquids to infuse flavor into it (like sesame oil, teryaki sauce, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or whatever else I think might I would like to try along with fresh herbs. When the cooking process is done and the meat is removed, I skim the fat, turn up the heat and reduce the cooking liquid to pour over plattered meat for an exquisite flavor.
    To me, pressure cooking isnt about saving a lot of time (though it often does), it is about ending up with a much better tasting meal that tastes like you slaved over the stove or BBQ all day to achieve.

  28. Jennifer McLaughlin

    I was very sad to hear your review. I absolutely LOVE my IP (I got rid of 2 crock pots and a rice cooker and am so pleased). There’s a wonderful IP community group on Facebook with tons of tips and very good recipes. Of course it’s not meant to cook everything, but it doubles as a slow cooker which I use constantly and it makes the BEST brown rice – never crunchy and undercooked. Don’t give up on it yet! Try this recipe, I made it last week and the stew meat was fall apart tender. https://www.budgetbytes.com/2017/01/instant-pot-beef-stew/

  29. 5 stars
    I agree with you. I’ve been hesitant to get it, and after reading about some of the things friends have encountered with theirs–especially the long learning curve–I’ve decided against it. Also, I really don’t need yet another appliance to take up space in my limited kitchen.

  30. I agree with you. I’ve been hesitant to get it, and after reading about some of the things friends have encountered with theirs–especially the long learning curve–I’ve decided against it. Also, I really don’t need yet another appliance to take up space in my limited kitchen.

  31. I decided to get me an Instant Pot after my niece had purchased one and loved it. I agree with you on some points you made. The cook book that comes with the pot was almost totally useless! Hate it!! You are right on about the baked potatoes. I haven’t used it as a slow cooker as yet, just not quite comfortable with trying that. I will in the future. I have no problem with the lid to our pot, it is very easy to work with. I also love my Pot for other reasons. Have cooked rice successfully in it many times. We always instant hot water in our kitchen so I start out with hot water in the Pot which speeds things up, of course. Last night I fixed the best chicken noodle soup from scratch I have ever made. Put chicken thigh pieces in with hot chicken broth and seasoning, put the lid on, cooked on manual for 15 min. I then took the lid off, added the veggies and noodles and cooked on saute for 10 minutes and it was delicious!! I also agree with Jill about the boiled eggs. I have had only success with the pot as I said, but I will be looking for a different cook book for sure.

  32. The one thing I love my instant pot for is “hard-boiling” (steaming) eggs. I can fit a dozen on my rack (one in each “hole”, one resting between each leg and the wall of the pot, and if I put three in the center, they hold each other up!) One cup of water, then I set it for manual, 5 minutes, and even it beeps, hit the dial for a quick release. I use the silicone mitts to lift the pot out and drain the hot water in the sink, run cold water in the pot and go to peeling! They practically peel themselves (another gem is cooking a good three pounds of frozen ground beef, just set it and walk away! No more standing at the stove browning it.) The slow cooker function on my pot was a fail when I tried a roast, but I’ll try again someday… Maybe! I ❤ my slow cooker, too!

  33. I find this so interesting because the things that I love most are some of the things you dislike. My favorite part is walking away and not opening the pot until it’s done. I also think that perhaps you didn’t chose great starter recipes. The booklet that comes with it doesn’t have good recipes. You will find much better recipes online. Search for instant pot specific ones, and they will have the buttons and timing laid out more specifically. I think that it creates a texture that is far superior to a slow cooker for meats. I have about 4 things I cook in a slow cooker that I think are worth eating. Everything else I’ve ever cooked in a slow cooker I felt was not good either in terms of texture, or flavor, or too much liquid, or some other issue. If you can use the pressure cooker correctly, the result is so much more predictable and controllable. But, it does take some getting used to. I also think that you will find many more people who are eating paleo, gluten free, or some version of paleo using the instant pot, and so the number of recipes from paleo folks is much greater than non paleo folks. I would try the beans.

  34. Your refried bean recipe was one of the first things I did in the IP. Try it – you’ll like how quickly it cooks compared to the slow cooker and it turns out just fine.

  35. Saute in the IP tip: Use an Ove Glove. Other than that, as the author mentioned, the pot moves around.

    As far as recipes and feedback is concerned, there is a Facebook IP group with thousands of members who have been more than helpful with me. As the author stated, recipes in the book are vague.

    LOVE whole chicken and making dried beans from scratch in the IP. No soaking! (I did find because I had older beans that I needed to add more time.) Have yet to try lentils, as I figured that they were easily made on the stove top. Will have to try eggs and the quinoa that Tricia mentioned. Will also try the steel cut oats.

  36. Tasmin McDonald

    I must admit that I have some of the same concerns as you with the Instant Pot. I had high hopes because I’ve never owned a pressure cooker and I thought this would be a nice introduction. I was really disappointed in how it cooked a whole chicken. The first time I made the whole chicken, I took the “cook” time for actual time. I was 15 minutes from dinner and the chicken was way underdone. I had to pull almost cooked pieces from the bone and saute on stove so my husband could have dinner before he left for work. Me and the kiddos had to eat dinner later. So, I learned the time factors but I now only use it for cooking my steel cut oatmeal and other grains. I also use it for the slow cooker function because it is all I own for now. I am disappointed for such an expensive appliance.

  37. An Instant Pot Fav for my family is Bone broth. Not just homemade chicken broth/stock, but actual BONE broth. You cook the bones until the literally crumble away and disintegrate into the broth. Super easy in an IP. Apparently bone marrow is extremely good for you.

  38. Thank you for this review! I’ve been tempted to try the Instant Pot but was not sold on it. I meal plan, prepare and cook food in many similar ways that you do, and your post was VERY helpful. I think for those of us that have figured out the key to thinking ahead in our meals, the Instant Pot doesn’t do much for the kitchen.

  39. Lisa,
    I think you need to try some other recipes. I LOVE my instant pot. I’ve only explored a few recipes but they are dynamic additions for our family. Here are 2 of our favorites
    1. “1-minute” quinoa: 1 c. of quinoa (pre-rinsed) I use a brand from Costco that doesn’t need to be rinsed. & 1 1/2 c. of chicken broth or bone broth. Set to manual for 1 minute. After that minute is up…let it release naturally for 10-15 mins. Then fluff with a fork. *We use this as a side or the base for our taco bowls instead of rice.
    2. Whole chicken: This is the recipe I use. We love it and it’s so incredibly tender http://healinggourmet.com/healthy-recipes/pressure-cooker-chicken/

  40. I have also been underwhelmed with my electric pressure cooker…. for many of the reasons you listed above!! I’ve just started using it as another slow cooker (the most expensive one I’ve ever owned).

    Thanks for you honest review and the delicious stew recipe!

  41. Lisa, have you considered that perhaps you purchases the wrong brand of a pressure cooker ? Quick pressure release button, beep when presssure is done building and cooking begins, option to enter cooking time vs using a meat button, poultry button etc. … all of these options are standard on the Cuisinart pressure cooker. And it takes 3 minutes to build pressure.

  42. I looked at the Insta Pot when the commercials came out but did not want to spend the mucho dollars. So Jan. 12th when I wanted to learn to cook Brown rice without messing it up we went to WalMart and for $45.00 I found the Aroma pot that does what I want and makes brown and white rice, Sautés, steams veggies and is a 16 cup slow cooker. There are only 2 of us. I already had a small electric pot that I make soup in and a large 20 yr old slow cooker. This month I spent my major bucks on the Zojirushi virtuoso Breadmaker and I do love it. My old one gave out. Since my fall last year I have early stages of arthritis in my finger joints and kneading dough is too painful.

  43. Haven’t used my slow cooker since July 2015. Soups have much better depth of flavor in a shorter amount of time. Yes, you could make as quickly on the stove, but the flavors won’t be nearly as good. I think that if you are a “recipe” cooker, the IP is not always for you, but if you truly know how to cook by layering flavors, adjusting seasonings, etc, then the transition is easy. Sorry you are disappointed, but there are times I use it 3-4 times per day. Mostly because I didn’t have to look after it. Steel cut oats, hard boiled eggs (30 at a time!!) , soup, pulled pork or chicken. Whole chicken in an IP is waaaay faster than the slow cooker. And tastier because the seasonings don’t get so watered down if you do the chicken on the rack. Learning curve, definitely. You just don’t get it yet.

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