Pot roast in about 45 minutes. Kale. Hard-boiled eggs. Ribs. Quiche. Chicken wings. Cheesecake with no cracks in it. Steel-cut oatmeal. With an Instant Pot, these dishes are possible with less time, mess, skill, and fuss. We hear no mention of this seemingly miracle device among many of the mainstream-media chefs, but there's a growing (not-so) underground movement bolstering this special multi-cooker.
Able to slash cooking time by 70 percent, the Instant Pot is the unexpected champion of kitchen appliances that has birthed its own genre of cookbooks, fan groups, and blogs. It does the job of seven kitchen appliances in one countertop device: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pot, steamer, warmer, and yogurt maker. And it's an Amazon best seller, with an average 4.7/5 rating out of almost 12,000 reviews. It's like that old Crock-Pot craze, but multiplied by seven.
A hit for its efficiency and follow-through on all its promises, it's especially won over busy full-time workers who have to come home and throw together meals without a plan. Besides decluttering your countertop and cooking super-fast (which is more than enough as it is!), the Instant Pot can relieve your pressure-cooker phobia with sensors to tell you when the lid is safely locked. The food world's diverse special interest groups like the Paleo community, gluten-free eaters, and vegans are standing together behind the Instant Pot. (Why can't it just be called the Instapot, and be done with it? Off topic…)
So check out the Instapot, ahem, Instant Pot options, and then a few of our hand-picked recipes that use them.
Top-Rated Instant Pot | Buy Now
This is the one that earned almost 12,000 reviews averaging such a high rating. It's officially called the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker. Phew! That's a mouthful. The large control panel has14 programs, including dual pressure (high pressure cooks it fast, low pressure avoids overcooking delicate food), automatic keep-warm, and three temperatures for sautéing and slow cooking. There are 10 proven safety mechanisms. It has a three-ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot, stainless steel steam rack with handle, a manual, and recipes in English, Spanish, Chinese, and French. Buy it here.
Least Expensive | Buy Now
There are 10 programs instead of 14 in this device that costs about $25 less than the most popular one. Called the Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart 1000-Watt 6-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker, it includes a pressure cooker, sauté/browning, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and warmer. It basically just doesn't have the yogurt maker, which in many reviews, people didn't use anyway. Buy it here.
High End | Buy Now
For about $60 more than the popular one, this second-most popular version has bluetooth so you can program it with your phone. Called the Instant Pot IP-Smart Bluetooth-Enabled Multifunctional Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel, you can program and monitor cooking with a free app from an Android, iPhone, or iPad. It has the same 14 built-in smart programs, dual pressure, automatic keep-warm and three temperatures for sauté, slow cook, and keep-warm. Besides the stainless steel steam rack with handle, manual, and recipes, it also comes with silicone mini mitts. Buy it here.
Cookbook| Buy Now
You might want some recipes besides the few that come with the manual and whatever you find online. The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals is an Amazon shopper favorite. You'll explore a variety of healthy, easy-to-make pressure cooker recipes ― from savory breakfasts to hearty stews to decadent desserts. And there are vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo-friendly options so it can be your go-to guide for fuss-free, all-in-one cooking. You'll get 100 low-maintenance recipes that can take 20 to 45 minutes. Buy it here.
Also, check out these recipe ideas:
Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
This weeknight recipe converts a NomnomPaleo blog fave from a slow cooker recipe into an easy 30-minute meal. It's a Thai-inspired chicken stew packed with the cook's favorite flavors, and it pairs perfectly with cauliflower rice and stir-fried bok choy. Get the recipe.
Butternut Squash Risotto
This is a vegan and gluten-free dinner idea that takes a wonderful dish (risotto) that usually takes a lot of time and stirring. This one can be done in 15 minutes and mostly hands-off. There's also greens, red bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, and spices inside this creamy dish. Get the recipe.
Garlic Herb Pot Roast
Pot Roast is a go-to recipe for slow cookers, and so it is with this new tool. But an eight-hour recipe takes about 45 minutes with an Instant Pot. Somehow with the Instant Pot, the flavors intensify and the meat gets more tender, so less seasoning is needed. Get the recipe.
Lentil Spinach Dal
Straightforward, inexpensive, this is a great recipe that you can remember without the recipe in no time and make whenever. Besides being packed with flavor, those spices — turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and garlic — all offer functional health benefits to reduce inflammation in the body. Get the recipe.
Pressure Cooker Meat Lovers Crustless Quiche
OK, in a way, this is more like a frittata. It's a crustless quiche loaded with ham, bacon, sausage, and cheese that “bakes” up light and fluffy in the Instant Pot. Of course, you can easily adjust the recipe to what you have on hand, one of the beauties of quiche (or frittatas). Get the recipe.
Instant Pot Oreo Cheesecake
We promised cheesecake, and we deliver. This one is creamy, dense, and yep, no cracks at the cook's first try. You'll still need a springform pan. And yeah, Oreos. Get the recipe.
— Head photo: Phoenix Helix.
Amy Sowder is a NYC-based food and fitness writer as well as the assistant editor for Chowhound. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her never-ending ice cream pursuits. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.