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What Does The Instant Pot Do and Does It Live Up To The Hype?

In this article, I answer two common questions about this wildly popular appliance: What does the Instant Pot do? Does it live up to the hype? 

My first encounter with the Instant Pot

I was at my cousin’s house last summer enjoying a buffet style spread of all the most delicious summer foods: coleslaw, grilled meats, baked beans, salad, corn on the cob, watermelon…the works! Then I saw it, one of my favorite food items ever pulled pork. It was delicious, tender, juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. Of course, I had to find out who made it and how many hours it simmered in the slow cooker. When my cousin proudly claimed to be the chef, I was surprised to find out that it only took an hour and a half and her secret weapon was the Instant Pot (link to view on Amazon).

This was the first I heard of the Instant Pot but later learned about how amazing this machine is for all types of cooking and how it now has a huge fan base online. There are thousands of blog posts, recipes, and forums dedicated to meals you cook in the Instant Pot. It is becoming a staple in kitchens across the world and is selling like crazy as evidenced by the number of reviews and its high star rating on Amazon.

So what exactly does the Instant Pot do? It makes the experience of creating a delicious meal quick, simple and easy.

This Instant Pot DUO60 serves as 7 kitchen appliances all in one. It is a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sautér, Yogurt Maker and Warmer. Some of the features that make it stand out from other multi-purpose cookers are:

  • One touch panel with simple controls specific to the meal you are cooking (more on this later)
  • A built-in microprocessor which monitors and adjusts heat and timing in order to prepare the food perfectly
  • Dual pressure settings give you the ability to cook on high pressure to reduce cooking time or low for delicate foods that need to cook low and slow
  • Adjustable temperature settings allow you to have great flexibility
  • Stainless steel cooking pot with no chemical coatings that is dishwasher safe

The Instant Pot takes safety very seriously with these features like their safety lid lock, anti-blockage vent, and pressure regulator.

The Instant Pot takes safety seriously as evidenced by is numerous safety features including:

  • Safety Lid Lock, to prevent opening while pressurized
  • Automatic temperature control, to regulate temperature based on the program selected
  • Electrical current and temperature fuse turns off the Instant Pot if internal temperature exceeds safety limits
  • Anti-Blockage Vent prevents vent from getting blocked
  • Pressure Regulator ensures pressure is below the safety limit

To see all safety features, see the “Safety Without Compromise” section within the Instant Pot Amazon listing.

Instant Pot’s one-touch panel makes it so easy to use

Instant Pot DUO60 one touch panel

To me, this is the key feature and what makes the Instant Pot so great and easy to use. It has several defaults for common dishes like soup, meat/stew, rice, poultry etc. For other items and recipes that are not a default setting, Google a recipe and you will quickly find the right pressure setting and cook times to set manually using the Pressure and Timer buttons. All you have to do is adjust these settings, walk away and wait for it to beep to confirm it’s done. Simple and easy.

There are thousands of meals you can cook in the Instant Pot. Some favorites that I’ve tried are beef stew, lentil soup, turkey chili, pulled chicken/pork, meat sauce, chicken wings, and black bean soup. Like I mentioned before, there are thousands of blogs and sites dedicated to Instant Pot meals so Google away and have fun experimenting.

Things to consider before buying the Instant Pot

Now that I’ve hyped up the Instant Pot to be your kitchen savior, I have to fill you in on a few challenges to consider.

Instant Pot cook times can be somewhat deceiving

Remember how I told you the Instant Pot makes meals quickly? Well, that is true, however, in addition to the cooking time, you need to factor in the time it takes to build up the pressure in the beginning and release it in the end. Usually, it takes about 10-15 minutes to build up to high pressure before the cooking time even starts. It also takes between 10-25 minutes to release the pressure at the end if you choose to release naturally.

You can also do a quick pressure release which forces the air out of the machine and only takes a couple minutes. The downside (so I’ve been told) is that for meals with meat the natural release allows the meat to rest and become more tender and juicy, the equivalent to letting a steak rest before cutting into it.

Make sure you have enough counter space or storage

The other downside worth mentioning is the sheer size of the Instant Pot. I got the 6 quart which is 13.4 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches and weighs 11.8 pounds. It’s not massive but certainly not a small appliance that you can easily tuck away on your counter, especially if you don’t have a large spacious kitchen. Because of that, I store it in my largest cabinet and sometimes forget it’s there.

You have the option of the 3 quart which is much smaller but, in my opinion, most meals you make in the Instant Pot are designed to feed a group and/or have leftovers so I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing on size.

Be careful not to put too much liquid in the Instant Pot

Lastly, I generally don’t love to follow recipes and prefer to glance at a recipe and improvise the majority of the way. This usually works but a few times it has come back to bite me with the Instant Pot. Be careful about the amount of liquid you add to the Pot. The high pressure draws a lot of juice out of meats and unless you are looking to make a soup or stew, I would trust the recipe in terms of added liquid. I’ve made a few dishes more soupy/mushy than planned by underestimating the amount of juice the pressure cooking process draws out. Fair warning!

Despite these drawbacks, I would still recommend trying out the Instant Pot DUO60 or any other model for yourself

It will open you up to new recipes, makes cooking for a family or group party much easier and enjoyable, and the best part is that the food comes out delicious like it’s been simmering or slow cooking for hours. If you are interested in trying it out or learning more, there are thousands of reviews on and it is Prime eligible on Amazon.

There are several other multi-purpose cookers on the market that get really good reviews including:

Ninja Foodi

COMFEE’ Multi Cooker

Breville Pro Cooker

I have not personally tried any of these so I can only advise you to do your own research, however, the Instant Pot clearly is #1 in terms of sales and a massive obsessed following. From my experience, people tend to vote with their wallets.

Thank you for reading our review of the Instant Pot DUO60!

We hope you enjoyed reading our review and that you now fully understand the capabilities of the Instant Pot.

Have you had a different experience with the Instant Pot? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Are there any other multi-purpose cookers that you think are better than the Instant Pot? Please let us know in the comments section or contact us directly, we would love to hear your feedback.

In cooking mode? Check out these articles about popular cooking products:

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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