Instant Pot Models – How To Choose The Right Instant Pot for Your Family
You’ve heard about the Instant Pot and are ready to buy one and give this modern take on pressure cooking a try!
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 LuxThe Instant Pot Lux
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.
The Instant Pot DuoThe 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.
The Instant Pot Smart + appThe Instant Pot Smart + app
The latest main model in the Instant Pot lineup is the Smart 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.
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 me 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!SHARE THIS STUFF!