Instant Pot Is the Best Electric Pressure Cooker


Instant PotIn looking at electric pressure cookers last year, I was dismayed to see that virtually all the models on the market have a non-stick lined inner pot. I dislike Teflon and other non-stick coatings on pots, pans and appliances because I mistrust their safety. Moreover, I have a parrot companion, and the fumes from overheated non-stick coatings can kill birds in just moments. (See Teflon Dangers: Deadly to Chickens — and Us.) In an electric appliance, I can’t control how hot that coating gets. 

Then I found The Instant Pot. This stainless-steel pressure cooker has a durable, easy-to-clean, heavy-duty stainless steel inner pot, and I knew I’d found what I sought. Wow! It’s not only an electric pressure cooker, it’s also a rice cooker, slow cooker and steamer. Its stainless steel insert allows me to sauté or brown some foods before fully cooking them, and it has a keep-warm function which automatically kicks in when the food finishes cooking. There’s also a delay cooking timer, so I can set it up in the morning and have hot, cooked dinner ready when I arrive home from work. Although the Instant Pot arrives with ten pre-set cooking modes, it’s fully programmable, so I can easily adapt my favorite pressure-cooking recipes to its use.

At about $120, the price was right for me. I knew I’d give it a good workout, and that I could depreciate its cost in a short time.

One virtue of electric pressure cookers is economy. Like all pressure cookers, they permit quick cooking of inexpensive ingredients. Unsoaked dried beans cook from scratch in 30 minutes. A pot roast can go from fridge to table in about the same time. Budget-priced cuts of meat that typically require long hours in the oven, such as pork shoulder, speed to the table, even if you don’t start cooking until you get home after work.

1/31/2021 4:01:16 PM

I read this review years ago and have been working up to buy an Instant Pot. My primary use was to be as a Slow Cooker, and the pressure cooking function was a great bonus. Well, I bought one, and am sadly disappointed. I tried a simple slow-cooker meal of onions, potatoes, carrots, and some small pieces of venison. After 5 hours on Medium, the liquid was not even simmering, and the vegetables were raw. I had to fire up the pressure cooker to get the meal done in time, and that made the venison a bit tough. Maybe the older ones were better, but right now I'm wishing I hadn't bought this.

2/20/2019 11:08:39 PM

Great review, and I am especially happy that you included the inventor's info. So this will be the one I'm purchasing. Thanks, I was also trying to find one without teflon.

12/4/2014 7:57:32 PM

I too had been interested in getting an electric pressure cooker when I read your review of the Instant Pot and quickly ordered one. After the first use I was hooked! I use a pressure cooker regularly, but I have to admit I'm still a little frightened of them. I remember as a child watching my Grandmother use her big canner and watching the little needle getting closer and closer to the red "DANGER!" zone on the pressure guage. That image stayed burned into my mind (never literally, fortunately) from a very young age. Even though today's cookers are much safer, it still requires a constant monitoring of the flame below the cooker and the pressure guage. Not so with the new electric cookers. You put in a sufficient amount of water with your food, set it to cook for a specific amount of time at either high or low pressure, and walk away. No watching, and no adjusting of the heat. With the ease of use, energy savings, speed of cooking, and nutritional benefits of pressure cooking, I seriously feel that these are going to be the next must have appliances for the home kitchen. Here, however, is my reason for writing: After having my new cooker for a couple of weeks, and loving it, I saw that our local Aldi store was advertising a Kitchen Living electric pressure cooker for $39.00. I had just paid $139.00 for mine! If you're not familiar with Aldi, they are a German chain of supermarkets where you "rent" your shopping cart for 25-cents and get it back when you return it to the corrall (no more carts all over the parking lot), you bring your own bags or have to buy them, and they only stock one size and one brand of food items (not 10 different brands and sizes of pork-and-beans) and their prices reflect those savings. I bought two of the cookers to see how they compaired to the one I already had, intending to keep one, since I had already decided that I wanted another, and one to give as a gift this Christmas, if I thought they were a good product. Bottom line is the lower price cooker seems to be as well made as the $100 more cooker! I'm keeping them both and using them side-by-side to see how they both hold up in the long run. The higher priced cooker does have a stainless steel inner pot with a thicker bottom, which I'm not sure really matters since a pressure cooker has to have a couple of inches of water in it and the heat gets evenly distributed by the water. The cheaper cooker has a non-stick inner pot which I'm not really worried about since I usually cook smaller amounts of foods, and I use smaller stainless steel mixing bowls resting on the canning rack inside of the pot to save having to mess up the big pot. Incidentally, the cheap cooker has handles on the rack to make it easier to lift out when hot, the other one just has a flat rack so you have to reach through the water to remove it. The cheaper cooker has a removable power cord that you can store in the pot when not in use, the other does not, so the cord is always dangling off when you store the appliance. The expensive cooker has 7 more buttons on the control panel pre-programmed for things like beans/chili, porridge, multigrain, soup, stew, poultry, and yogurt. The instructions say you can pasteurize milk. I've never had porridge in my life, I hate yogurt, and I go 40 miles out of my way to a farm to get non-pasteurized raw milk! I tried the poultry setting once on a whole chicken for chicken and dumplings and it way overcooked the chicken. I actually prefer to select my own cooking times and high/low pressures depending on the foods I'm cooking. They both have sear settings for browning meats first, and settings to function as a slow cooker or a rice cooker. Both have a delayed start timer that can be set to not start cooking until hours later, so you can come home to an already cooked meal. Both automatically switch to a keep warm setting after the cooking time has elapsed. I'm not sure I like this on either cooker, especially for canning, because it doesn't let it cool down naturally and tends to keep pressure in the pot until you switch it completely off and wait. Speaking of canning, they both do it beautifully. They can hold 4 standard size pint-sized jars, or even more of the smaller jars. Perfect for saving a few leftovers, or jars of stock that you've made from things you've cooked earlier. Just put in a couple of inches of water, put your foods in sterilized jars on the rack, set the time, and walk away. Be sure to use the proper processing times for canning. (This is why I don't like the keep warm function of either cooker. I'd rather they just turn off and let things cool down naturally but it can't be defeated on either cooker). So, I have to say that after a few months of use, I actually tend to be using the lower priced cooker more than the other. It seems to be less complicated and gives me a more personal control of what I'm cooking. Will it hold up as long as the more expensive one? I don't know yet, but if I think there is a one-hundred dollar difference between the two, I'll have to say NO!

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters