About a year and a half ago, I took the plunge and purchased what has proven to be the most versatile and worthwhile kitchen gadgets for me: the Instant Pot.
After reading numerous praises about the Instant Pot from several of the paleo bloggers I followed at the time, I finally made the decision to purchase my own over Black Friday. It was on sale, and I figured I had nothing to lose. From then on, I have continued to find ways to use it every single week during my weekly meal prep sessions.
The Instant Pot is a multi-faceted pressure cooker that can also be used as a slow cooker, yogurt or rice maker, or as a saute "pan." The words "pressure cooker" intimidated me at first, but it is far from scary. The model I purchased is now discontinued, but this one is similar to the style that I have. The size I own is a 6 quart, which works perfectly for me and my uses, but if you have a larger family, an 8 quart might not be a bad idea (although the 6 quart is plenty big!).
Honestly, I don't even know or utilize half of what the Instant Pot is capable of doing, but I have discovered it's usefulness for the following:
1. Hard Boiled Eggs
This was a game-changer for me. Simply put about a cup of water into the metal insert, add a steamer basket, slide the eggs in, and cook on manual pressure for 6 minutes. By the time it comes up to pressure, cooks, and releases steam, it's complete in under 10 minutes, and I have had very few issues with eggs cracking.
2. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash can take forever to cook in the oven, microwave, or slow cooker, but the Instant Pot takes about 13-17 minutes on manual (depending on how tender you like your squash), and has minimal mess and clean up!
3. Cauliflower Mash
I make cauli mash each week simply by putting two heads of cauliflower into the insert along with a little water and cook on manual for 13 minutes. Then, I drain out a little of the extra water and use my immersion blender to blend the mixture with a little salt and butter. This same principle can also be used with any vegetable you want to make into a mash or puree: potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, etc.
4. Chicken: Whole or Pieces
Depending which organic chicken is on sale, whole or cut-up, I'll throw that into the Instant Pot for the appropriate time to ensure that when the chicken is done, it is still moist and definitely not dried out, which is hard to accomplish with other methods of cooking chicken.
The same principles that apply to chicken also apply to pork and beef roasts. These cook typically 40-60 minutes under pressure, depending on the size, and always turn out moist and flavorful! It is much easier than trying not to overcook in the oven or cooking all day in the slow cooker.
This is only the start of what the Instant Pot is able to accomplish. Plus, there are numerous recipes and books in the real food community that are now dedicated to using the Instant Pot. It saves time and makes life a lot easier. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys cooking or wants to cut down on their meal preparation time!