So I finally went a bought myself an Instant Pot. I have been putting this off for a while, since I already had a bunch of kitchen appliances that do the same job (slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker), I couldn’t really justify the cost. But my slow cooker finally gave up, and the rice in the rice cooker has started to stick to the bottom, and don’t get me started on the pressure cooker. Anyways, I finally managed to convince myself to buy an Instant Pot, and boy am I glad I did!
I bought it on Amazon, it arrived the following day. This is the model I got: Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 (affiliate link)
Unboxing the Instant Pot
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Instant Pot is how compact it is. It felt solid, but not huge. It will fit nicely on my countertop without needing to be put away in a cupboard in between uses.
The second thing I noticed was how many parts the Instant Pot has. It ships with: a base unit, a lid, an inner pot, a condensation collector, a power cord, a measuring cup, a trivet, and utensils. Also included is a detailed instruction manual and a recipe book.
I couldn’t wait to get it set up and start cooking.
Setting up the Instant Pot
When I had washed all the cooking parts of the Instant Pot I sat down to read the instruction manual to find out how to get started.
To be honest I started to get a little overwhelmed by all the instructions for different controls and cooking programs, pressure and non-pressure cooking. However, now that I have used it a couple of times it all makes sense.
To get set up:
- Remove all packaging material and warnings and labels (read them while you are at it!)
- Clean the inner pot, lid and accessories with water and detergent
- Install the condensation collector (this is a little cup that catches any water that drains off the lid when you have it resting on the side of the pot)
- Place the steam release handle on the lid (it will fit loosely, not lock tight)
The Instant Pot Water Test
Next I did the “Initial Test Run”, which is also known as the “water test” which I had been reading about online. It is basically is just a way to check that your Instant Pot is not defective, and to get familiar with the controls. While not an essential step, I would recommend that every new Instant Pot owner follow this before you start cooking as it really does help to reduce the scariness of this complicated appliance.
To do the Instant Pot water test:
- Make sure the steam release handle is in the “Sealing” position
- Add approximately 3 cups of water into the inner pot
- Put the lid on and close by turning it clockwise. It will chime when it is closed correctly.
- Set to steam for 2 minutes by pressing the “Steam” button on the control panel and setting the timer to 2 minutes by pressing the -/+ button till the display reads ‘2’. After about 10 seconds it will start to pressurize (no need to press anything else to start it I realized after spending 10 seconds looking for the “start” button!).
- The unit will pressurize, the display will read “On” while this is happening. When the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will be in the up position, and the display will show how much cooking time is left (starting at 2 minutes for this test). This can take 5 or so minutes.
I followed the instructions for the water test in the Instant Pot manual without any issues, even if they sound a little confusing when you first read them.
The first thing I cooked in my Instant Pot
The first thing I cooked in my Instant Pot was brown rice. Now I love brown rice, the nutty flavor, the chewy substantial texture, but do I ever cook it at home? Heck no! It is tricky to cook, and easily ruined if you overcook it. And I just don’t have the time to stand at the stove supervising a pot of brown rice for 40+ minutes. Anyways, brown rice in the Instant Pot is a whole other story. It goes like this:
- Brown rice + water in the instant pot
- Close lid
- Set to pressure cook 22 minutes
- Walk away (though not too far away as it is not advisable to leave a pressure cooker unattended!)
Actually there was a little more to it than that (though not much), this is the recipe I used: Perfect Instant Pot Brown Rice)
The rice it produced was delicious, and the perfect texture, the grains were separate but still tender.
The total cooking time was a bit longer than 22 minutes. Because the Instant Pot takes a while to heat up and pressurize (approximately 6 minutes), and then you have to let it depressurize for 10 minutes at the end. In total it was probably not much quicker than cooking on the stove-top, but with the crucial difference that you don’t have to give it your constant attention during cooking.
What I think so far
I was ready to be underwhelmed by the Instant Pot. I had big expectations after reading so much about them online, and also I really really love my air fryer so the Instant Pot had a lot to live up to.
So, did it deliver? So far, yes! Let’s just say that my beloved air fryer now has some competition for the title of favorite appliance in my kitchen.
I am very impressed with the results I have had from cooking with my Instant Pot so far. I am looking forward to getting stuck in to converting other recipes for the Instant Pot (so watch this space).
I will write a detailed review post when I have had the Instant Pot for a while and really got the hang of what it can do.