My own shiny stainless steel CrockPot has been a steadfast companion since it arrived as a wedding gift over a decade ago. As a reluctant cook, she has weathered many winters of chili, stew, and applesauce with me. When my babies were little and I could barely get dinner on the table, she faithfully allowed me time to make something in the morning so that when I was brain-dead by 5:00pm, a hot meal was magically ready.
So you can imagine my sadness when tiny plastic handle finally snapped off the glass lid. Of course, in the name of progress, my lid was no longer being made so I needed to find a replacement.
Should I Buy an Instant Pot?
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen someone raving about their Instant Pot or electronic pressure cooker. There are recipes galore on Pinterest and one Facebook fan group even has more than 750,000 followers, all devoted to their beloved Instant Pots! The almost cult-like following of this cooking miracle-worker made me curious.
Could an Instant Pot really replace my slow cooker?
Serendipitously, just as I needed to make a decision, Amazon Prime Day, wooed me with their deal on an Instant Pot and I plunged into the world of pressure cooking. It’s been about six months since I bought mine and here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Instant Pot vs Crockpot: The Pros and Cons
Less Overcooked Food
Food seems to stay moister. I’ve had less trouble with the meat drying out since everything is sealed in.
Easier to Clean
The stainless steel liner pops out and because it hasn’t baked on, the food easily rinses out. Plus, you can sear meat or saute veggies right in the Instant Pot, which means one less pan to wash.
Quicker cooking times
This is obviously the selling point of the Instant Pot and it really is true. I can cook things much faster so I don’t have to plan ahead as far with defrosting meat or remembering to start things in the morning.
Replaces Several Appliances
I was able to get rid of my rice cooker and Crockpot. If you have a stove top pressure cooker or yogurt machine, you can also replace those as well.
Takes Up More Space
This thing is not small. Compared to my Crockpot, its much bigger, but it does still fit in my cabinet. I ended up with the 8-quart Instant Pot because it was the best deal, but I probably would have been ok with the 6-Quart Instant Pot one instead.
There’s a Learning Curve
You have to spend some time getting used to it since it cooks very differently than a slow cooker. I found this tutorial helpful on getting started and this site has lots of info about how to use your Instant Pot. It only took me a few times to get the hang of it.
You Can’t Leave it All Day
There is a slow cooker feature on the Instant Pot but I haven’t played with it much yet. Most recipes are written so that you begin 30-60 minutes before dinner. If you like coming home to the meal being finished, you might not like how this works.
Timing is a Little Tricky
Most recipes will list crazy short times like hardboiled eggs in 5 minutes or a whole cooked chicken in 20 minutes but those times don’t include letting your Instant Pot come to pressure. Depending on how full it is, that can take anywhere from 5-20 extra minutes so make sure you plan accordingly.
Should I Replace My Slow Cooker with An Instant Pot?
It really depends on how you use it. I have come to love my Instant Pot because it works better for me. I don’t have to plan as far ahead and I think the food is more flavorful, but if you’re in a Crockpot groove, it might be a hard switch to make.
Here’s some of my favorite recipes
Beef Stew (It’s called life-changing and it is!)
So, are you on Team Crockpot or Team Instant Pot? Have a favorite go-to recipe for either one? Leave me a link in the comments!