My obsession with gadgets and gizmos is not relegated to computers, electronics, and video games. I enjoy engineered devices of all types, including all the weird doodads that people dream up to make cooking less of a chore. Toaster ovens, crock-pots, and air fryers, oh-my; the counters and cabinets in our home are full of the things.
Unsurprisingly, only a handful of the stuff ever gets used. Most of it seems to forever be in-front of the item you want at any given moment. You need spelunking gear and will pull a muscle in your shoulder trying to extract that Panini-press in the back. When my spouse received an Instant Pot as a gift I was simultaneously excited to experiment with it and loathed having to find it a home.
I had assumed that an Instant Pot was more or less a crock-pot with some electronics bolted on. Here’s a tip: do not hop on any of the Instant Pot Facebook groups and refer to it as a fancy crock-pot. The so called “Pot Heads” don’t like it and for good reason. This is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances I’ve used. It has managed to replace several other appliances that find themselves in the “Sell on Facebook” pile in my garage.
An Instant Pot combines several seldom used cooking tools into a single contraption that is more than the sum of its parts. You get eleven devices in one, it’s a: pressure cooker, saute pan, crock-pot, steamer, sous-vide, air fryer, roaster, oven, broiler, dehydrator, and a food warmer. The unit has a powerful heating element in the base and two different lids.
The pressure-cooker lid forms an air tight seal over the pot to handle all the water-based and slow-cooking duties. It has an automatic steam release valve built-in. The entire thing is dishwasher safe and the silicone seals are easily replaceable.
The air-fryer lid contains an additional heating element along with a high-powered fan. Pizza rolls take more than twenty minutes to bake in the oven, on top of ten minutes spent preheating. They come out crunchy on one side and mushy on the other, because I’m too lazy to flip them all. The same rolls take eight minutes from start to finish in the Instant Pot and turn out golden-brown-delicious every time.
The previously mentioned Facebook groups are full of recipes and tips. For example, I recently learned that the pot’s handle makes a stand for the lid. There are plenty of first and third party accessories that expand your pot’s capabilities. We ended up purchasing the clear lid.
Man I wish these things would have been around when I was in college! If you’re considering an Instant Pot of your own, do some research. There are several different models available, mine is the eight quart duo-crisp combo.