With Amazon Prime Day kicking off tomorrow I thought an Instant Pot post was in order. This is the first of many that I'll be posting about Instant Pot cooking because I'm a #1 fan - I've taught classes at my local community center, library, in homes, and on Zoom! I've learned all the cool ways to use it and have even invented some of my own tricks. Keep an eye on my page for tons of info, especially for those who follow SCD or any special diet like KETO, FODMAP, GAPS, or PALEO.
INSTANT POT AS A TIME SAVER
If you are following an elimination diet or if you want to rely less on processed foods, you are well aware how cooking and eating becomes a central life focus! I’ve been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for 3 years and even though it is now second nature, much of my day is spent in the kitchen either prepping, cooking, or cleaning up. The other part of my day (or so it feels) is spent at the grocery store and wondering what to cook for dinner!
An amazing tool for the kitchen that can simplify things is the Instant Pot. I love mine - in
fact I love all three of mine, and use at least one of them every single day. I travel with one whenever possible and bring it along with me to potlucks so I can plug it in and keep my meal contribution warm throughout the party (and take home my leftovers in it too!)
INSTANT POT DEFINED
Instant Pot is a brand name - the most popular brand of “multi-cookers”. There are several competitors but Instant Pot (note that it is not Instapot) is the most popular and commonly referenced - much like how Kleenex is synonymous with a tissue. I will reference Instant Pot throughout this post but please know that these tips apply to most multi-cookers.
As the word "multi-cooker" implies, it has multiple functions and can, in theory, take the place of multiple appliances. Most models can slow cook, sauté, steam, sanitize, stew, warm, make yogurt, and can even be adapted into an air fryer. Though its most central and impressive function is as a pressure cooker!
It's great for one pot cooking which means less clean up. It is an alternative to turning on the oven during hot summer months. I can replace multiple appliances which saves space. AND it can cook foods from frozen so it can save you from a hangry family when dinner plans go awry.
HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH INSTANT POT TO BUY
There are SO many types of Instant Pots that vary slightly depending on when and where you buy it. New features are constantly being added; there are base models and deluxe models; and there are a variety of buttons that seem to vary by machine. That said, choosing the right Instant Pot for YOU, comes down to 4 things - size, buttons, display type, and price!
WHAT SIZE TO BUY? The Instant Pot comes in 3 basic sizes – the mini holds up to 3 quarts of liquid, the standard model holds up to 6 quarts, and the large holds 8 quarts.
HOW MANY FUNCTIONS? You’ll notice that Instant Pots are named based on the number of “functions”. They’ll say 7-in-1 or 10-in-1 for example. If it is a 7-in-1, that means that the machine has 7 basic functions in one machine. Functions include some useful settings like Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer. Some functions like cake maker or egg cooker are not as important as you can do those with the pressure cooker setting.
In my opinion, you should get the most functions that you can afford but definitely try to include pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, saute and warmer.
DISPLAY – the other factor to consider is the display. Some Instant Pots have basic buttons with a simple digital screen. Others have a fancier LCD display with lots of features and settings. The fancier the screen, the more expensive. They both work but I prefer simple.
PRICE - how much you pay will be impacted by the number of settings, how basic or high-tech the display is, machine size, and the accessories it comes with (like a second sealing ring or oven mitts). Know the features you must have and what you are comfortable spending before you go shopping - then use those to get the most out of your purchase.
Keep an eye out for more Instant Pot posts in the coming weeks including converting recipes from Breaking the Vicious Cycle; travel tips; favorite accessories; using your Instant Pot to help during the holiday!
About the Gutsy Runner!
Lucie is a runner, hiker, and fitness coach who follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for her ulcerative colitis. She is currently on a year long birthday celebration that includes covering 2021 miles on foot and exploring some of the areas most iconic and beautiful trails. Read more