Top positive review
384 people found this helpful
Outstandingly reliable and versatile. A genuine kitchen essential
on 28 June 2014
I have been cooking with pressure cookers for something like 20 years and have always enjoyed both the speed of cooking and the way food tastes from them. I have been aware of electric pressure cookers for a while and would check the reviews every now and again but there would always be some niggle or doubt that would put me off. Often it would be that the best items showed up on US sites with high shipping costs to the UK,
Luckily I stumbled across this device on Amazon and, for once, didn't see anything to put me off so I began the process of convincing my wife that we needed another large gadget to join the competition for cupboard space (along with stove top pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, deep fryer etc.) She was not immediately convinced, particularly as she has always been terrified of pressure cookers - as soon as they start the gentle clicking sounds that accompany them reaching operating pressure she flees the kitchen, genuinely concerned that it could explode at any moment. Eventually I wore her down and placed the order.
When it arrived I had to try it out straight away and it was instantly clear that it was a major step up compared to a regular pressure cooker. Compared to a regular, stove top pressure cooker the following are the main advantages:
Regular: Have to keep adjusting the heat to maintain a constant cooking pressure.
Instant Pot: Completely automatic - absolutely no need to fiddle during cooking. I have even felt confident enough to leave it cooking while going out of the house.
Regular: Periodic venting of steam (and the less you fiddle with the hob heat, the more you will end up with it venting)
Instant Pot: Because the temperature is so carefully controlled you get a brief wisp of steam as it reaches operating pressure but after that there is no venting whatsoever.
Regular: With some foods (particularly those with less liquid) it can be hard to bring the cooker up to pressure without burning the contents sitting on the bottom of the pan.
Instant Pot: Again, because it carefully controls the pot temperature it seems to completely avoid overheating food sitting on the bottom of the pot. It has taken me a few uses to prove to myself that this is true but it has won me over and I trust it completely now.
Regular: No delay timer and no cooking timer.
Instant Pot: I haven't yet used the delay timer on my Instant Pot, but it is there for when I need it. However, the cooking timer is fantastic as it detects when the pot reaches operating pressure and only then begins to count down. At the end of cooking it switches to "keep warm" mode which is sufficiently gentle to let the pot depressurise (you can, of course, open the vent to reduce the pressure quickly).
Most impressive of all, my wife decided to try the Instant Pot while I was at work and at no point 'phoned me to ask questions about it - having never used a pressure cooker before in her life she used it to make soup and is now a convert.
Beyond the advantages it has as a pressure cooker, it has other functions that make it perfectly suited for making complete meals.
The first is the saute setting which has 3 heat levels; on high it is excellent for searing meat, on normal it is good for reducing sauces and on low it is perfect for very slowly caramelising onions - it takes a good 30 minutes to get some colour into onions on this setting. Perfect.
It should also be noted that where it is described as a steamer, it is in fact a pressure steamer and the results of this are, again impressive. It is obviously faster to cook food this way than in a regular steamer but, in addition, the results have a lot more flavour. So far I have only tried pressure steaming vegetables but I am looking forward to trying it with some fish.
As an example of how we are regularly using this brilliant device, this is the meal we made a couple of nights ago:
Set to saute on low heat.
Saute a couple of medium onions thinly sliced and some finely copped garlic until soft and sweet. Remove and put in a bowl.
Set to saute mode on high heat.
Place two seasoned pork chops in the pot and sear well on each side. Take out and set aside.
Deglaze pot with chicken stock with a bit of wholegrain mustard and honey added.
Cancel saute mode.
Add a thinly sliced apple..
Add chopped carrots, beetroot, celery, sliced broccoli stem etc.
Put the onions back in and lay the seared chops on top.
Add a little more chicken stock if necessary, put the lid on, set the vent to sealing and pressure cook for 15 minutes.
Wait for the pressure to drop.
Remove the pork and the vegetables with a slotted spoon.
Set to saute mode on normal heat and reduce the sauce, adding a little arrowroot (or similar) dissolved in cold water.
We were thrilled with this: the pork was falling off the bone, the vegetables were quite soft but still had loads of flavour and the sauce was rich and tasty. One pot, plus a plate for the onions and the chops and probably only about 50 minutes from start to finish (depending on how slowly you like to cook your onions) with around half of that time needing no attention at all. We think that is quite remarkable.
Today, we had roast chicken for lunch and after stripping the meat from the carcass I put the bones in the Instant Pot, covered them with water and pressure cooked for 45 minutes, leaving it to depressurise naturally. I then strained the stock and added it back to the pot along with the left over roast vegetables and chicken meat, brought it up to a simmer with saute mode and then blended it gently to make a rich chicken and roast vegetable soup.
I haven't yet tried it as a rice cooker or slow cooker but I have very high hopes and will report back when I have had time to try test it out a few times.
In summary, I consider it a kitchen essential and over the course of a week it has transformed many of our meals. It is the best pressure cooker I have ever owned by far but it is also so much more than that. Needless to say, the stove top pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker will all be going on eBay very soon.
We love it, love it, love it.