Instant Pot Models – How To Choose The Right Instant Pot Model for Your Family
So you’ve heard about the Instant Pot and are ready to purchase one and give this modern take on pressure cooking a try!
First – we must say that we LOVE our Instant Pot!
You head on over to the store or your favorite online store, and discover that there are quite a few different models of Instant Pot available, in different sizes, with different functionality.
Let us quickly run you through the most popular models and sizes so you can make an informed decision on what to get.
What Size Instant Pot?
Let’s start by talking about size. The size of meals you want to cook, or even the size of your family will determine what Instant Pot is the right size for you.
- Most come in the following sizes:
The 5 quart size works well if you’re mainly cooking for one to three people. It works great for dorm rooms, and is a must have in a small apartment. Unless that description fits you, I highly recommend going with the standard 6 quart size.
The 6 quart model is the most versatile and also the most popular size. Some of the models available will only come in this size. It’s perfect for the average family and will fit all your pressure cooking needs. If in doubt, go with this size.
The 8 quart size is available in a few models and is a good fit for larger families, or if you know you’ll be cooking a lot of large meals for family gatherings, church dinners and such.
With size decisions out of the way, let’s take a quick look at the different models available. There are three different main models with a couple of variations thrown in to keep you on your toes.
Here are the Main Instant Pot Models –
The Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 – 6 quart
Have you ever heard of a pressure cooker having nine different uses all for one appliance? Well this model does! This Instant Pot pressure cooker has some amazing features including being the latest evolution in being the number one selling multi-cooker duo series! This model is flying off the shelves and for good reason! This pressure cooker has a lot of great, custom features, including improved usability, as well having a large LCD blue screen in the front of the cooker.
Learn More –> The Instant Pot DUO Plus 60
What’s So Great About It?
Replacing other appliances: This pressure cooker will actually replace nine amazing, kitchen appliances and those appliances include the following… A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, sterilizer, as well it can make a cake, too.
Quicker Timing: The cooking time of this pressure cooker is seventy percent faster than other cookers, and keep in mind that a wonderful meal is just minutes away with the fifteen microprocessor controlled programs. This will initially take all that guesswork out of your cooking. Remember that you will be able to achieve those perfect results every single time!
A Few Safety Features: This pressure cooker is UL certified, accompanied by ten amazing safety mechanisms that will offer you out a great peace of mind. This pressure cooker is also highly energy efficient, as this cooker will emit absolutely no steam while it’s cooking. It will contain all the cooking smells while it’s working, so you will not have to worry about that. All the components of this pressure cooker are in perfect contract with food and have been stated as being food-grade 304. It comes with stainless steel, which includes the lid, the inner pot with a 3-ply bottom, as well steam rack with the handles. This cooker is very easy to clean, and although we do wash ours by hand, they have been noted as being dishwasher safe!
The Instant Pot Lux ( Featured Mini)
This is the basic Instant Pot model and the one we recommend for most people new to pressure cooking. You may also hear as this one as the 6-in-1 model. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, with sauté and keep warm functions as well for a total of six different ways of cooking.
Learn More –> The Instant Pot Lux ( Featured Mini)
The Instant Pot Duo
This is also called the 7-in-1 and will do everything the Lux can, but is also a yogurt maker. If making your own yogurt at home is on your list of things you want to do regularly, spring for the duo, otherwise, go with the basic lux model and save a few dollars.
Learn More –> The Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth
Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer
The latest main model in the Instant Pot lineup is the Smart Bluetooth 6 Qt 7-in-1.
one. It will do everything the previous two models do and more. The digital interface on the pot itself and the app that connects to your instant pot, allow you to control temperature and cooking durations for your meals as you see fit.
Learn More –> The Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth
If you like gadgets, prefer the ease of being able to save your favorite recipes and instant pot settings on your smart phone, and love full control over your pot, this is the model to get.
If you’re on a budget, go for the Lux model. If you’re a big fan of making yogurt, consider the Duo, and if your budget allows, go for the latest model with full smartphone app integration. To be perfectly honest, it’s hard to go wrong no matter what model of instant pot you choose.
Does The Instant Pot Really Cook That Fast?
One of the big appeals of the Instant pot when you first start to look at it is how quickly it claims to cook food. I know it’s what first attracted me to this new kitchen appliance. Being able to cook an entire Sunday dinner in 15 minutes or less sounded very appealing, but also a little too good to be true Let’s take a closer look at how fast the Instant Pot actually cooks your food.
Let us start by pointing out that it does indeed cook pretty fast. It really shines on dishes like stews or roasts that would otherwise take a long time on the stove or in the oven, and even longer in the slow cooker.
Truth be told, the claims that it can cook chicken breast in 5 minutes, or a roast in 20 minutes, are a little misleading. While that is the time the food needs to cook under pressure, the actual time before you can eat is longer because it has to come up to pressure first. This process can take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. The fuller the pot, the colder (or even frozen) the ingredients, and the bigger the cut of meat, the longer it will take to come up to pressure. Once it does, the countdown timer will start.
After the food has cooked for the allotted time, it takes a little while before you can safely open the pot and serve your meal. There are two options and which one you choose depends on the meal you’re preparing. The first is to release the pressure through the vent in the lid. This causes hot steam to escape and the pressure to go down within a matter of minutes. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to open the lid and serve the food.
The second option is a process called Natural Pressure Release (NPR). Whenever a recipe calls for this, you shouldn’t turn the valve to release the pressure. Instead, you let the pot sit until the pressure releases on its own. This process takes about 25 to 45 minutes and allows the food to continue cooking, until the pressure valve drops down and you are able to open the pot… It’s important to allow for this additional time when preparing a meal in the Instant Pot.
All in all, you won’t be able to cook your meals in a matter of minutes. You have to figure in the time it will take for the pot to come up to pressure, and for some recipes, additional time to allow the pressure to slowly drop back down. Does this mean the Instant Pot isn’t fast? Of course not. It’s still a much quicker method of cooking roasts, beans and the likes than any other cooking style. In short it’s not super-fast for everything, but great for things that take a long time otherwise.
As an added bonus, once you add everything to the pot, it is hands-free cooking. You don’t have to stir pots or babysit the food. Instead, you can work on something else, or relax for a bit while dinner cooks itself.
Don’t Be Intimated to Try One!
If you’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a pressure cooker, but a little intimated to try one, join the club! To be perfectly honest, it’s always scared us a little too.
So the Instant Pot is the perfect solution for people like us, who like the idea of cooking a tender roast in a fraction of the time that it takes in the oven or slow cooker.
While our mothers and grandmothers were comfortable using a stovetop pressure cooker, most women of this generation have been intimidated by the hissing and the potential of having it blow up. Because of this, pressure cooking has fallen out of favor in the last few decades. All that has changed with the arrival of the Instant Pot – a self-contained, electrical pressure cooker with plenty of built in safety features.
With the promise of being able to cook a meal in 3 to 10 minutes of pressure cooking, it is no surprise that this new electric appliance is quickly gaining a large fan base. Instant Pots are flying off the shelves, and you can find plenty of fans online who share their favorite recipes, tips, and adaptations on blogs and popular Instant Pot Facebook groups.
The instant pot is a self-contained unit that sits on your counter top and plugs into an outlet. It takes up about as much space as a rice cooker or a small slow cooker. The Instant Pot is a smart pressure cooker that’s controlled through a digital interface. You tell it how long you want to cook your meal under pressure, set the timer and you’re good to go. It automatically brings up and holds the pressure at a safe level and will not allow you to open the pot while it’s pressurized. This makes it as easy to operate as a microwave.
It is not surprising then that this new take on an old kitchen tool is quickly gaining popularity. The cooking is very hands-off. You simply set it, and then walk away until you’re food is ready.
It has all the advantages of using the slow cooker, but takes a fraction of the time. Perfect when you want to get a home cooked meal on the table fast!
The Instant Pot Saves Time And Money
We’re all busy and spending less and less time at home. As a result, it’s hard to find the time to cook a nice home cooked meal. We simply can’t spend hours and hours in the kitchen stirring pots. Heck most of us don’t even have the time or energy at the end of the day for a quick 30 minute meal cooked from scratch.
The end result is that we rely on convenience food and takeout. While those options certainly save a good bit of time, we end up paying a lot more for our food. Let’s not even mention the fact that it isn’t always the healthiest food out there and we’re not sure what ingredients and preservatives are in the food.
What if there was a way to save both time and money, and still get wholesome, home cooked meals on those nights when you don’t have a lot of time or energy left. There is and the solution to your problem is the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook your food faster than just about any other method of cooking, it is also very hands-free. You can even cook frozen meat and veggies for those days when you forget to thaw ahead of time.
This means that you can come home, throw some ingredients in the Instant Pot, turn it on, and then focus your attention on something else. This means that you can help your kids with homework, start a load of laundry, catch up on work email, or just sit back and relax for half an hour before dinner is served.
In other words, the Instant Pot saves you time in two different ways. It will take less time overall to cook the food, and most of the cooking time doesn’t require you to be there, stirring pots and playing an active role in the cooking process. That’s a big deal and something you’ll come to appreciate when you start to use your Instant Pot regularly.
Now it’s time to talk hard, cold cash. An Instant Pot is a bit of an investment, even when you can find a great “Black Friday” style deal on it. On average, you can expect to spend about $100 for this electric pressure cooker. The good news is that it won’t take you long to recoup this investment.
An instant pot allows you to cook more at home instead of going out to eat, or ordering takeout. This alone will save you anywhere from $5 to $50 per family meal. But it doesn’t stop there. The Instant Pot really shines with inexpensive cuts of meat like roasts, whole chickens and even more frugal fare like beans and rice. If you get in the habit of making just one frugal meal per week using your pressure cooker, those savings will quickly add up.
You can go even further by cooking double batches and taking leftovers for lunch instead of buying it. Saving time and money with an Instant Pot is quick, easy, and almost automatic. The only trick is that you have to actually get in the habit of using it regularly.
A quick search will bring up an almost endless supply of yummy recipes to try. Pick one and start stirring your pot. Before long you’ll be making one of your favorite indulged desserts in the Instant Pot. This is perfect for when you want to impress your guests or bring something unusual to the office pot luck.
Can Some Jam
Traditional pressure cookers are great for canning all sorts of fruits and vegetables. While the Instant Pot wasn’t designed with canning and food preservation in mind, you can do a little small batch canning in it.
This is perfect if you want to turn some of those ripe fruits from the local farmers market into some artisan jam. Use the Instant Pot to preserve and pressure seal your jars. Since you’re processing in small batches, you can try out various different and fun recipes and end up with some delicious jams and preserves to enjoy throughout the year.
Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
Do you use vanilla extract in your cooking and baking? You can go through quite a bit, particularly during the holiday season. There’s nothing quite like real vanilla extract, but let’s be honest, it’s outrageously pricey. Why not make your own homemade vanilla extract in your Instant Pot?
That’s right… you can make your own homemade version using real vanilla beans and vodka or other high spirit. Not only is it some of the best tasting extract you’ll ever use, it’s also a wonderful gift to give to loved ones.
Happy Instant Potting!