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. Instant Pot continues to sell this 8 qt. model, but it has moved the technology forward in the Instant Pot Ultra, only in the 6qt model as of this writing, which adds a few extra features and bit better design of the front interface.
If you want 8qt. though, this is still the go-to Instant Pot, and I’m not sure that the new features are enough to warrant you downsizing to get them.
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.
It’s easy and convenient, and the lid works very simply. The seal and steam valve, the two elements most likely have design flaws, are flawless.
My two 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;
- 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. Use the same ratios that they recommend and I’ve found, in several dozen tries, that you get wholly inconsistent results.
Perhaps the biggest thing that Instant Pot has going for it is a large and enthusiastic user community, their “potheads,” so there is lots of 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 older unit comes in different sizes, but I like the 8qt. best because it makes great stocks and large items like pork shoulders for my jerk or bbq pork.
- 7-in-1 programmable multi-cooker
- 8Qt capacity
- 1200W power
- Latest generation technology
- Easy to clean
- Great community online with video and written tips and tutorials.
- Stainless steel inner cooking pot and exterior
- 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.
More competition has come on the market, and the new unit has some improvements, but, due to the Ultra not coming in an 8 qt. size, this unit still gets my Jazz Chef 4 Diamond Choicestuff™ Award. When they can make the rice settings more subtle, and make it a bit easier to clean and operate, it will get a grand-slam out of me.