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

9 Reviews / 4.1 Average
Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
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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!

Check out this Vegetable Stew as well!

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

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  1. The slow cooker and the programmable pressure cookers are at opposite ends of the convenience cooking spectrum. Both are convenient. It’s the difference in the cooking steps that causes someone who is a die-hard fan of one way or another to repeatedly “stub their toe” against ingrained habits with either method. I am better with a slow cooker and have a 6 qt programmable one (as well as two more, 2 qt and 4 qt basic models) with a meat thermometer probe. Great appliance. I also have 2 stove-top pressure cookers that I like very much and use often. A strong consideration for me when cooking is electrical energy consumption. I think the pressure cooker wins on two counts over a slow cooker. First, the amount of time the appliance is on usually is far less. Second, a smaller amount of water is needed in a pressure cooker. Boiling eggs is an example. I can boil 2 eggs or 12 eggs in a pressure cooker using 1 and 1/4 cups of water. Can’t boil eggs in any other kind of pot without covering the eggs with water, sometimes quarts are needed to cover them. The programmable pressure cookers require different advance planning but they are wonderful for certain foods like beans and the steel cut oats. I am using my stove top pressure cookers with the best cooking tool of all– an electric induction burner that is fully programmable from 100 degrees to 475 degrees adjusted in 5 degree increments with a timer that can be set for multiple times and temperatures. Once the PC reaches pressure, I can quickly program the time and temperature of the burner according to the PC recipe. The burner lets me “slow cook” using cast iron or any magnet-holding metal pan. YouTube has a treasure trove of Instant Pot and other programmable and stove top pressure cooker videos. One I like a lot is called Hip Pressure Cooking. Lastly, one machine does not replace the other! For some meals, I use both machines!

  2. 1 star
    Disappointed in your rather un-investigated review. You missed the best features of the IP (IMHO):
    1. homemade yogurt that ANYONE has the time/ability to do. and it quickly pays for the IP, compared to store bought grass fed, organic yogurt.
    2. bone broth
    3. dry –> cooked beans in half hour (goodbye BPA and BPA-like cans…and are so much more “real” food)
    4. stews/dal/curries/one pot meals. yes this takes a little practice to get the hang of. and yes, if you use frozen meat it takes longer to come to temperature, but you don’t have to hover over a microwave to try to defrost but not cook it.
    5. stainless inner pot; no non-stick in order to sauté in the same pot, no having to dirty another pot to brown your one pot meal.

    Bonus: perfect hard boiled eggs and steel cut oatmeal.

    You quickly learn what you can and cannot do. It is like any other form of cooking. Yes you have to account for the time to come to pressure. And sometimes the natural pressure release. That just takes planning like slow cookers & stove top cooking take planning. Most of that planning in the IP is quickly done in your head and you can walk away from it. No, it does not do everything perfectly. However, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Do a truly small amount of homework and it will pay dividends.

  3. I’m a newer Instant Pot user, but I love mine. It doesn’t take 20 minutes to come to pressure and another 20 minutes to release pressure as one comment stated.
    Usually it comes to pressure within 10 minutes. And you can always do a quick instant release of pressure instead of allowing the pressure to naturally release.
    A tip I read but haven’t tried yet, is if you set the instant pot on saute while you are getting your ingredients ready, it will then take less time to come to pressure when you start it.
    My favorite things so far that I make in mine are ribs, a copy cat of the Olive Garden Tuppa Toscana Soup, hard boiled eggs — and yes they do peel much easier then stove top eggs, and I know that my family and friends favorite thing I make in my Instant Pot is the Peanut Butter cup cheesecakes..

  4. Try yogurt! I’m not 100% sold on mine, either, for meals, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it for yogurt. Only two ingredients…milk and a starter (I used a good quality organic store-bought yogurt). It’s a long process, so start in the morning! But this is the only way I eat yogurt now. I’ve made so many batches I’ve lost count, and I only got my Instant Pot at Christmas. I added vanilla last time and I think I’ll do that again. I don’t add any sweetener in the pot, though. I sweeten with honey or maple syprup when I serve it. I think my youngest kiddo would even eat it plain! Seriously, it’s so, so good.

  5. I’m not perfect at using the IP, so I’ve experienced some of those things (fear of all the buttons and not knowing the techniques enough to just wing it). BUT the option of putting something in and being able to leave it unattended (relatively) while it cooks is super helpful. Boiled eggs are amazing! The sauté function is huge for me because I hate having to sauté things in a separate Pam BEFORE putting them in a slow cooker, when part of the point of using a slow cooker is simplicity, but I’ve already started off by dirtying several kitchen items. But soaking beans, cooking rice, cooking Kailua pig which takes SIXTEEN hours in just three hours…game changers. Also chicken stock!! Oh the chicken stock. And I haven’t done yogurt yet, but I am definitely planning on it. I don’t love every recipe I’ve made yet…but everything I do in a slow cooker comes out tasting the same, whereas the cooking process in the IP brings out better flavor even if it is over or under cooked.

  6. This is just a pressure cooker. I have a Cuisinart pressure cooker. I like it well enough. I saute in it. It does not have menu buttons but an exact timer on it so I do have the freedom to adjust the time. The pressure cooker is not always faster. Supposedly it provides better flavor and more nutrition. It’s been my experience that my slow cooker recipes and pressure cooker recipes taste the same. I use my pressure cooker when I don’t have time to get my slow cooker recipe in the oven.

  7. I’m in a similar boat as Erin. I’ve never been big of slow cookers either but I really like our Instant Pot. I will say I like the slow cooker setting on the IP.

    For baked potatoes, I’ve been cooking them under pressure then putting them in the over for a minutes to dry the skin out. My favorite thing to do is hard cooked eggs. We go through 3-4 dozen a week and a lot of those are hard cooked so the kids can just grab those and a fruit for snacks. I’ve also had a lot of success with chili.

    I think the IP is like anything else, it will work from some but not for all.

  8. I think it’s good to know what you are getting into before you buy, and this is a pressure cooker- so if you have never used one, there are things that are surprising (like the fact that it has to build pressure before the “start” time, making the actual cooking time longer). I think you shouldn’t give up yet! :) If you are getting this for slow cooking you may be a little overwhelmed by all the buttons but once you use it a few times, it won’t seem so bad. There are tons of IP books and FB groups that have better recipes than the included booklet. (Don’t all instruction manuals/ recipe books have random weird stuff? I feel like they do.) Maybe the IP isn’t for you, but maybe play with it on weekends when you aren’t pressed for time and it might grow on you.

  9. I love my INSTANTPOT…I don’t have time in the morning to get things in a slow cooker before I leave. And when I get home I love to put the ingredients in then go change clothes, grab the mail and by the time I return to the kitchen dinner is just about finished. If I was home all day and had extra time I might not like as much, but for our household schedule I couldn’t ask for a better appliance!!!

  10. Thank you for your opinion. I have been thinking about getting one, but only for making yogurt, as a friend told me it works well for that. Has anyone else tried it for yogurt?

  11. I have not used mine much yet but obviously need to try it more as I am not impressed yet. And I did purchase because could also do so many other things such as slow cook but that bombed! And then I read up on the slow cooker portion and many people have had problems using it as a slow cooker so now I have 2 big items to store rather than just one combo product. But will keep trying for a while!

  12. I agree with many of these points but do like and use my IP. Regarding eggs: Steam them is what makes them easy to peel, and you can do that right on your stovetop, either in a steamer basket or in an inch or so of water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the eggs into the pan or basket, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Much easier than pulling out my IP.

  13. Love it! So glad to hear that I’m not the only one that did NOT like it! I bought it and not long after, sold it. I prefer my slow cooker to it, hands down.

  14. Love the lentil stew recipe and want to try it! Do you have any tips for cutting sweet taters into 1″ chunks?? It is so hard to cut that I sometimes avoid using them because I don’t want to do battle with the hard potato.

    Thanks for your honest Instant Pot review. I agree with several of your dislikes!

  15. BLACK BEAN SOUP FROM DRIED BEANS IN 1.5 HOURS! Sealed the deal for me! And I’d never even attempted to make pork shoulder EVER, so I was happy with mine – and so was the hub who was extremely impressed that I even tried it.

    I don’t have hours a day to spend in my kitchen checking on food that is cooking, so I’m happy with the IP and the “fix it and forget it” method of the sealed lid – but you DO have to add in the time for it to get up to pressure before it starts cooking time. INSTANT pot is a misnomer, but I like it nonetheless.

  16. You just need to learn more about it, read more IP blogs online, and play with it more. Mine is amazing and I use it 3-4 times a week. Hard-boiled eggs are a dream to peel, sweet potatoes for a mash are amazing, dried beans are done in a snap with no pre-soaking. And yes, your meat just needed to be cooked longer.

  17. I’m with you Lisa…I don’t like it either for all of those reasons. I even joined a group on Facebook and it just seems much more complicated and takes more time than throwing it all in the slow cooker and pushing one button. I also have one for sale! lol

  18. It’s good to begin with beginner tutorials…because not knowing how to navigate the front panel is something that can be easily remedied!

    Also, if you open the pot to check for doneness, or to quick get out a serving for a hungry person, or to add ingredients, the already hot.pot will return to pressure very quickly…because it is already hot. Not much time setback there.

    Hardboiled eggs: Use a strainer basket. Put about an inch of water in the pot. Add as many eggs as you want to cook. Set on manual for 1 minute on high. Wait about 10 or 15 minutes or so after it is “done”, then get out perfectly cooked eggs…that peel like a charm. Even freshly gathered eggs. Wonderful time-saver because you don’t have to babysit the pot.

    Keep hot pads handyfor grasping the hot pot.

    Seriously, mastering the function of the front panel is the first step. Then, relying on the experts for advice is better (more so than what’s in the owner’s manual!)

    It’s a lot to learn, but what a wonderful time saver for the things I have learned to cook in it so far!

  19. Thank you for this report Lisa. I have been considering purchasing one but the one with the stainless insert is more expensive than the non-stick (don’t know if it is teflon) so I haven’t made the leap. I have also been looking at the amount of time required to bring it up to pressure and cool down so I’ve just stuck with my slow cooker. The slow cooker does require being organized and a bit of time before heading off to work so I can also see the value of the Instant Pot on those occasions. It’s great to see how others feel about it also, so you have given me more to consider. Thanks for opening up the pros and cons discussion.

  20. I live in Spain where dried beans are a staple of the diet and pressure-cookers (stove top) are core to every kitchen.

  21. Alix Stayton Hernandez

    5 stars
    Lisa this is a great review, thank you so much. I’ve really been wondering about this appliance, as one of my favorite recipe bloggers (Beth at Budget Bytes) loves hers! I sometimes wonder if it’s a skiing vs snowboarding thing — both get you down the hill, but they’re very different. I’m interested to hear what other commenters have to say on the topic too…at the end of the day, I know I don’t know much about using my pressure cooker. I really only use it for canning Hearing what people love to use them for will help me. Thanks everyone!

  22. That’s funny, We love ours. We only bought it because we were renting a place where we questioned the electricity and we were afraid to leave the crockpot going and the stove and oven, were virtually useless. Horrible rental….

    I honestly love the baked potatos….they remind me of going out to eat and since I can’t do that anymore because of my food allergies, It has become a godsend. Same with sweet potatoes.

    We’d of never survived our last rental without our IP and we still use it for boiled eggs, chili, potatoes and soup. My crockpot is now my hp soap maker.

  23. I HATE mine, too!! On a pretty restricted budget, so I saved for weeks to buy one, and now that I have it, I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of it. Everyone goes on and on about how much tastier the food is, but I haven’t found that to be true. And I find pressure cooker recipes too detailed, too much effort, and often made my kitchen dirtier than using the good old stove. I suppose I just like the long process and yummy smells of something simmering all day long. And the whole “so much easier to peel hard boiled eggs” thing is overrated, in my opinion. Why do I need an expensive gadget to hard boil my eggs? I’ve always steamed my eggs and the shell comes off with minimal effort, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t impressed with using it for that purpose.

  24. I love my instant pot. You should try doing some chicken recipes and see how those do for you. I was never a huge fan of my slow cooker though, mainly because I would forget to get stuff in it in time to have it cook for dinner and i felt like the flavor got sucked out (with the exception of your Best Chicken Ever recipe (which I have failed to translate to the instant pot with good results yet). The only soups I’ve done in the Instant Pot involve beans…..other soups i just do on the stove. I also like that I’m not heating up my kitchen when using it….and the one pot wonder of it.

    One of the best uses is putting in steel cut oats the night before and setting the timer so that we have a fresh pot of oatmeal in the morning for breakfast.

  25. I think you need to try a couple of different things with it and read more about it to fully understand how it cooks. I didn’t use the booklet recipes, I agree those were hard to understand, but there are a ton online, especially if you join an Instant Pot group online. I use mine about 4 times a week. I cook a lot of chicken, last night I maybe thai chicken thighs, the week before bbq chicken thighs. I made a lot of salsa chicken in it. The rib recipe I got online was amazing! I never liked ribs until I tried that and you’re making your own bbq sauce so you can adjust ingredients. It does take time to come to pressure and more if you’re doing a natural release vs. a quick release but I find it’s been easier to cook real food meals and I use a lot less dishes when preparing. I’m looking forward to trying your soup recipe.

  26. The main reason I love it is to cook frozen meat in a short amount of time to be ready for dinner! I always forget to thaw! LOVE that I have options!

  27. I truly have not used my Instant Pot for many things. The only thing I do like is to cook dry beans that I am going to use in another dish. They were perfect to use in place of canned beans, but not to eat straight from the Instant Pot.

  28. I returned an instant pot I was given for Christmas. I don’t even use my pressure cooker much. I find flavors are just much better for soups esp ones with lots of spice, to be cooked with time rather than pressure.

  29. I agree with the comment above – Great Food Fast is an excellent cookbook. Traditional Cooking School has an ecourse. There are great places to find recipes online. Of course it’s not the same as roasting.

    I highly recommend this soup when you are ready to try again: http://woodhavenpl.com/recipe/instant-pot-squash-soup-paleo/

    Love my IP and feel like you were really stretching for these reasons just to write a post.

  30. I don’t have one and kept trying to figure out what I was missing because I felt I should want ine but I don’t. Color me skeptic but your review makes more sense then the endless raves I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  31. Your evaluation of the InstaPot is exactly how I feel. It subtly changes the taste of the food, and everything I tried came out strings (as in the meats) or mushy (as in the vegetables). And with the come-to-pressure time and the cool down time, it doesn’t save me any real time, either. Thank you for saying what needed to be said. I’ve been “The Lone Ranger” in my group of friends by saying these things. Kudos to you for being so honest!

  32. 1 star
    Wow. It’s a pretty simple machine to use. I don’t understand what you’re not understanding. And there absolutely is a confirmation that the pot is starting: It beeps.

    You have 10 seconds to make any adjustments to time and then IT BEEPS to let you know it’s starting the process. The pressure builds in a few minutes, then IT BEEPS AGAIN to let you know it has started cooking.

  33. Sadly, I think I’m in the same boat… I wanted to love it so badly!

    I am slightly confused why (almost) everyone claims such short cooking times… “Cooks in 3 minutes!!” But they leave out “3 minutes doesn’t start until after a 20 minute pressure up and it will take another 20 to depressurize after”. I suppose, “cooks in 43 minutes!!!” isn’t as exciting. :)

    I have one mac and cheese recipe that I do love in the pot and I have made some soups when I’m using my crock pot for something else. But I think I could make the mac and cheese on the stove just as easily, and a second crock pot would’ve been cheaper. Oh well, live and learn!

  34. I get what you are saying. The instant pot isn’t for everything. My top uses are: hard boiled eggs, beans, and rice. I love that I don’t have to soak beans, just throw them in, add water and cook. Hard boiled eggs are so easy to peel, love that. I have to admit, I found a recipe for refried beans in the instant pot and switched from your slow cooker one. It doesn’t take as long in the instant pot. It is worth the price to me for these uses.

  35. Pressure cooking is not going to give you the same results as baking or roasting. Or even slow-cooking. You can slow-cook in the Instant Pot, but you can’t bake or roast.

    You will have the same problems with any pressure cooker as you experienced with the Instant Pot. It takes time to warm up and cool down, needs to be properly sealed to build pressure, and you can’t peek halfway through. You can peek if you are using a function other than pressure cooking, but there isn’t any pressure cooker on the market you could open half-way through without getting stew on the ceiling or scalding yourself.

    I agree that times are misleading. You really can’t pressure-cook anything in under an hour, figuring warm-up and cool-down times and not using a quick-release method.

    My favourites for the Instant Pot?

    – dry beans – I can throw my beans into the cooker before work, and have perfectly-cooked beans waiting for me when I get home. I make a lot of dry beans and am so glad not to be going through cans like I was before. Because of my altitude, I just can’t slow-cook or boil beans and have them properly cooked. Pressure cooking is the only way, especially for bigger beans like garbanzos.
    – curry – I can use the saute mode to fry my seeds and spices without them jumping out of the frying pan all over my stove, add veggies and beans, and pressure cook to perfection. (The beans are already cooked, as veggies would dissolve if you put them in for as long as dry beans.)
    – rice or quinoa – the rice cooker function works perfectly for a perfect pilaf in 15-20 minutes (actual time.)