Welcome to Slow Cooker Week! We’re sharing all our favorite Crock Pot recipes, tips, tricks, and advice this week—and including the Instant Pot, of course, since it slow cooks too. Here, find out why to buy an Instant Pot, along with the best model for every price point.
You’re probably familiar with all the things the Instant Pot promises by now. Pot roast in about 45 minutes. Perfect hard-boiled eggs. Tender ribs and pulled pork in a flash. Cheesecake with no cracks in it. Steel-cut oatmeal. With an Instant Pot, these dishes are all possible with less time, mess, skill, and fuss. No wonder people still won’t shut up about it. It truly is the kitchen appliance of our times (though the air fryer is another contender). If you still haven’t joined the cult of pressure cooking, what are you waiting for?
Instant Pot DUO60 6-Quart Multicooker, $79 on Amazon
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. In case you need a refresher, 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 4.6/5 rating out of almost 55,000 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, keto diet devotees, gluten-free eaters, and vegans are all standing together behind the Instant Pot. (Why can’t it just be called the Instapot, and be done with it? Off topic…but still.)
So if you’re ready to buy your own, check out some promising Instant Pot options, and then a few of our hand-picked recipes that use them.
Which Instant Pot Should You Get?
First off, there are other pressure cooker options out there, but the Instant Pot remains the most popular. There are many models to choose from—including a newer Instant Pot with sous vide function—but these are three of the most popular:
Top-Rated Instant Pot
This is the one that’s earned (at publish time) 54,939 reviews on Amazon so far, still 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 has 14 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 Now
Least Expensive (usually)
There are 10 programs instead of 14 in this device that (at least when no sales are in effect) usually costs about $25 less than the most popular model. 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. (If you only have yourself or a small family to feed, you can also opt for the 3-quart Instant Pot LUX Mini, which usually runs around $60.)Buy Now
Instant Pot Smart WiFi 6-Quart Multi-use Electric Pressure Cooker, $117 on Amazon (normally $149.95)
For about $50 more than the most popular model (when it’s at normal price), this slightly more advanced version has bluetooth so you can program it with your phone. Called the Instant Pot Smart WiFi 6 Quart Multi-use Electric Pressure, Slow, Rice Cooker, Yogurt, Cake Maker, Sauté, Steamer and Warmer, 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—and it’s Alexa-enabled, meaning you can use it with your Echo Dot or similar Amazon device if you have one.Buy Now
Related Reading: The 8 Best Pressure Cookers to Buy in 2019
What Can You Make in Your Instant Pot?
So much! There are plenty of resources online, of course, not to mention a proliferation of Instant Pot cookbooks out there, but here’s a best-seller, and some of our favorite recipes too:
“The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals” by Laurel Randolph, $7.79 on Amazon
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 (though there are no end of other options, including Melissa Clark’s “Dinner In an Instant“). In this #1 best-seller, 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 Now
Check out these Instant Pot recipe round-ups for even more ideas:
- Quick & Easy Instant Pot Breakfast Recipes
- 12 Great Instant Pot Recipes for Summer
- 15 Effortless Instant Pot Meals for Busy Weeknights
- Healthy Whole30 Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Recipes Perfect for Packing for Lunch
- How to Throw an Instant Pot Dinner Party
- The Best Instant Pot Cookbooks to Inspire You & Save You Time in the Kitchen
And here are some spotlight recipes to tempt you:
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 like lemongrass, coconut, and five spice powder, and it pairs perfectly with cauliflower rice and stir-fried bok choy. Get the Lemongrass Coconut Chicken recipe.
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. You can find plenty of variations on the theme (like this vegan butternut squash Instant Pot risotto), but this one’s packed with meaty mushrooms. Get the Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto recipe.
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 Garlic Herb Pot Roast recipe.
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 Lentil Spinach Dal recipe.
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 Pressure Cooker Meat Lovers Crustless Quiche recipe.
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 Instant Pot Oreo Cheesecake recipe.
Visit our Slow Cooker Week headquarters for everything else you need to know (and cook).
Header image courtesy of Instant Pot.