Just when you think that the company that set the standard in multi-function cookers was happy with their place atop that growing heap, they reinvent the invention and return to the market with something that addressed a lot of consumer requests and needs.
The idea of one kitchen contraption that functions like a variety of bits of equipment that normally clutter up your counters has been the Holy Grail of the culinary gadget gurus.
The Instant Pot isn’t perfect, but, of all the things that I’ve tried to get there, it comes closest as a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, rice steamer, porridge maker, etc.
THE COOK’S TOUR
- Some of the buttons have been replaced by a central dial with a simple turn and press to add function.
- Altitude adjustment allows you to cook better relative to how high up you live.
- Cooking indicator
- Steam release reset button.
- The Ultra button provides custom programming.
- Sterilize program
- Cake program
- Egg Program
- Pressure cooker
- Slow cooker
- Rice/porridge cooker
- Yogurt maker
- An embedded 3rd gen microprocessor monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration.
- UL® certified
- All components in contact with food are food grade 304 (18/8) Stainless Steel.
- Steam rack (with handles),
- Recipe booklet
- Serving Spoon
- Soup Spoon
- Measuring cup
- User manual
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Instant Pot is pretty easy and convenient. The big lid works very simply, and it only closes one way, so no pressure cooker mess-ups. The seal and steam valve, the two elements most likely have design flaws, are flawless. The gasket is easy to clean, although it can be a bit tricky to put back in.
My three big beefs:
- The stainless steel inner pot isn’t non-stick. Cleaning it, particularly after a rice run, requires Barkeepers’ Helper to get the stainless back in shape, so it’s a bit more labor-intensive on the back end;
- The auto rice setting doesn’t work really well. You can set it manually better to get rice that isn’t a glop of starch. Their formula for cooking rice is kind of a joke.
- They made the Instant Pot in a 6 qt and an 8 qt. The ultra just comes in a 6. I like the extra two quarts, particularly when I’m batching refried beans or cooking a large pork shoulder for my Pee Wee’s BBQ Pork
The manual is terrible, and the website is the amateur hour. A large and enthusiastic user community, though, offers lots of good advice for both its hidden strengths, like putting oatmeal in a heavy ceramic bowl and a little water in the reservoir below it and steaming it, and for its weaknesses, like fixing the rice problem.
The sterilization feature is nice, especially if you have a baby or you like to can foods. I’m not so sure about the cake or egg settings, as I just don’t see myself using a multi-cooker for those dishes, but I’ll keep an open mind.
- 10-in-1 programmable multi-cooker
- Better display is less confusing
- 6 Qt capacity
- 1200W power
- Latest generation technology
- Great community online with video and written tips and tutorials.
- Stainless steel inner cooking pot and exterior need a lot of upkeep
- System still not as intuitive as it could be.
- Watch the fill line, as it can overflow if you don’t follow the rules
- Auto rice setting is too generic and makes terrible, gloppy rice even as instructed.
- Documentation in box poor.
The added function doesn’t outweigh some of the gets my Jazz Chef 4 Diamond Choicestuff™ Award. When they can make the rice settings more subtle, it will get a grand-slam out of me.