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How the Instant Pot cooker developed a cult following (bbc.co.uk)
347 points by scriptstar 196 days ago | hide | past | web | 296 comments | favorite

Have had one since Black Friday.

I feel generally competent in the kitchen to the point where assembling a nice meal (dare I say gourmet?) from scratch without a recipe is relatively easy for me.

That said, I've found the Instant Pot to have a steep learning curve.

For starters, you can't easily check on the food while it cooks, so if you are experimenting with large batch sizes and timing you are kind of gambling and have to wait till it is done (sometimes an hour) to see if you ruined something.

It is hard to find consistent info on how long to cook certain things, and it is easy to overcook things into mush.

And for anyone citing cooking time of a couple minutes... That's just misleading. Most recipes quote how many minutes to set it for. They do not tell you it takes upwards of 15 minutes to come up to pressure in some cases, and depending on the release instructions, some things can take another 20-30 minutes to release pressure if it is a large volume of liquid.

That said, it makes amazing steel cut oatmeal and we've had a couple other successes.

I'd love more recipes that were purely easy quick prep, toss it all in, no extra cooking steps (like finishing in the oven), and good for making easily freezable and quick to reheat one pot meals. Many recipes I've found are overly involved to the point where the IP seems unnecessary.

I desperately want to use it more, but so many recipes fail to meet the above criteria. Hopefully that improves. Maybe my expectations are just too high?

The secret to the Instant Pot, I've found, is using it for things it does well. Beans and bean-based dishes are a home run every time. Chicken broth and beef bone broth are great, too. Slow cooker favorites like pot roast and pulled pork? Not so much, in my opinion. These dishes need more time to break down the collagen slowly without destroying the meat and veggies. I much prefer them in the slow cooker. Oatmeal is great but I can make it faster and better on the stovetop.

I've been working on adapting family favorite recipes to the IP. My favorites so far:

My Cajun mother-in-law's real deal red beans and rice recipe: https://gist.github.com/chrissnell/2ee0a820b7ba7c25a12d1b253...

My grandmother's refried beans from her regionally famous 1960s-era Tex-Mex cookbook: https://gist.github.com/chrissnell/c87a98b7ee3239065737eaf14...

> Oatmeal is great but I can make it faster and better on the stovetop.

Just curious: The OP mentioned steel cut oats rather than traditional oatmeal. Did you mean the same as well?

The reason I ask is because, while I love steel cut oats, cooking a nice sized batch on the stove can be time consuming, and I don't like the 3-5 minute oats (precooked and/or steamed; lacks the same texture IMO, same reason I don't like standard oatmeal). I'm not sure I'd go so far as to use them in an Instant Pot, but it'd be interesting to read a second opinion of how they turn out.

I posted the 3 Minute Oatmeal recipe straight from the recipe book that comes with the IP below if you're interested [1].

I too am wondering if the parent was talking about precooked/steamed. The recipe that comes with the IP is definitely steel cut and has that great springy bite to it--almost al dente in a way (or QQ as my Chinese friends might say).

And my version is 3 minutes of cook time, but there's several minutes of getting up to pressure time, and then 10 minutes of natural release when it finishes. Still largely "set it and forget it" though.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13816579

That sounds perfect, actually. I love steel cut for the simple reason that their texture is fantastic and the earthier flavor versus regular oats has more complexity and depth. But stove top usually requires persistent attentiveness to avoid boiling over (first 5 minutes) or burning (remaining 15-20). Your post makes me want to buy an IP to try it out, because a mostly hands off cooking process for something like that would be great!

Thanks a bunch!

It really is hands off once you start it going such that you can start it, go about your morning routine, and go grab it when you're ready. Takes a couple minutes prep to toss everything in it, and then it can sit for quite some time on the warming mode.

According to seriouseats, the only thing a slow cooker is best at is keeping food warm, carmelized onions and bread pudding. http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/10/why-pressure-cookers-are-...

I certainly getter results doing pot roast & pulled pork in a pressure cooker than a slow cooker.

The main problem with slow cookers are that the liquid is not reduced properly which have to be done as a separate step using an ordinary sauce pan.

If you do a 7-hour lamb in a pot in an oven, you have the opposite problem, as it's a bit warmer, and might have to glue together the lid with dough. I think the taste will be better though, as I think there is more caramelisation going on at higher temperatures.

What temp are you doing the pulled pork at?

I get amazing results with a crock pot and pork shoulder with honey and a nice rub. Start it in the morning and it's ready when I get back from work.

Interested in the pressure cooker though for some more versatility. What's the main difference btw your pulled pork in PC vs SC?

Chicken and ribs are awesome in the pressure cooker. It only takes about 15 minutes to make really good BBQ ribs.

Care to share your ribs recipe? The issue with things like that which I noted in my original comment is that they seem to require steps like finishing under the broiler. At that point I'm not sure the IP adds much to the dish and I'm inclined to just grill or broil them to begin with and save myself some cleanup with the IP.

I'll have to ask my wife. As far as I know it's basically fatty beef ribs covered in BBQ sauce. We don't broil them afterwards. I suppose it just depends on if you want that caramelized flavor or not.

I really find I like it best when I've done stews, pork shoulder, red sauces, and stocks.

It pretty much works the same for all of them. I get all my aromatics roughly chopped, saute for a couple minutes just to brown them up, then I put them in the blender and transfer to the IP for an hour or so. I just submerge the meat and guess at a time that matches a stove top pressure cooker.

So I get what you mean about the hassle of multiple steps. I feel like I save time on the prep and stove managing. I only chop roughly and I'm not obsessing over doneness on the stove.

I mostly do it, because the results are just better. Stews really are better under pressure imo.

Pork shoulder and pulled pork are fantastic in a pressure cooker. I don't really use mine for anything else.

Better than in a slow cooker?

I'd say yes simply because you can achieve similar results in far less time.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/pressure-cooker-recipes.h... is a great resource. The Texas chili is incredible: it's about ~10 mins of prep (saute beef; prep chilis), 30 mins under pressure and ~10 mins to boil off the excess liquid at the end and thicken. When compared to the hours it'd take in a dutch oven or slow cooker, it turns "weekend meals" into weekday ones.

Some of the instructions seem unsafe--how do you "heat oil in a pressure cooker until it's smoking"? You're generally supposed to only heat stuff with the lid closed, and at that point you leave it closed until it's done.

I have a stovetop one and without the lid on it's just a big pot. You can brown meat and cook normally in it. The electric ones may have restrictions on that.

The IP has a saute function that you use with the lid open

There's a sauté button and you just use that.

We have three IPs, because my wife loves them. Pretty much everything she makes is a one pot meal that is easily freezable. She gets most of the recipes from various IP groups on Facebook. Perhaps you'll want to find those to get what you want.

She ends up not having to do a lot of experiments because the other people in the group do it and report back. She's actually started doing some reporting back too.

You do have to experiment, but I love mine. Some of my go-to recipes:

* 4-5 chicken breast, frozen. Add a half can of green enchilada sauce, or a cup of BBQ sauce, or a half cup of taco seasoning, plus 1/4 cup water. Cook on the "poultry" setting for 24 minutes. Quick release, remove chicken, set pot to saute, shred chicken and return to broth, boil off some of the excess liquid. Can serve by itself, or on hamburger buns (for the BBQ variant) or in tortillas/taco shells (for the enchilada and taco variants), or over rice. This has become a go-to because it's so quick and easy and we don't have to defrost anything ahead of time.

* 4-5lb chuck roast. Sear all sides (I do this on the stove for convenience), then coat in a seasoning of brown gravy mix, powdered ranch dressing, and italian seasoning. Add a half cup of water, and pressure cook on high for 38 (4lb) to 45 (5lb) minutes. While it's cooking, dice some carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Once it's done, quick release, add veggies, cook for another 11 minutes. Remove meat and veggies from pot, sautee, boil down the remaining liquid for a few minutes until it reaches a thick gravy-like consistency. Slice the roast, serve with veggies and gravy. Making a roast like this takes 8+ hours in the slow-cooker, and it's done in <90 minutes this way.

* Brown 1lb of beef or ground sausage on "sautee" with half an onion, diced. Throw in several tablespoons of italian seasoning. Once browned, add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 can of chicken broth, 1 can of water, some garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a box of smallish pasta (macaroni and garden rotini are our favorites), pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.

* Throw a cup of dried mixed beans, 1 beef boullion cube, and any other seasonings you'd like (garlic, pepper, the usual suspects) and enough water to cover the beans by a couple of inches to the instant pot on the "warm" setting to soak for ~45 minutes, then pressure cook for 45 minutes. Makes a fantastic mixed bean soup. Probably even better if you have a hambone to throw in there, though I haven't tried this yet.

It works well with dishes dealing with tough cuts of meat, soups and bean based dishes. Yes, you cannot check the progress. But that has been the nature of any pressure based cooking. They key benefit in electric pressure cooking imo is that once the dish is in with spices, you can forget about it till it is done. Most electric pressure cookers have a saute mode, so you can quarter cook the dish, taste for spices and then switch to pressure mode.

Weird, I found it exactly the opposite. Everything we've made in it has turned out pretty much perfect every time, just by googling for "how long to pressure cook XYZ"

You can't just mention how it makes great oatmeal without providing us the recipe!


Courtesy of my dad. This is good stuff, and makes 4 servings.

    1 cup steel cut oats
    4 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Cook in Instapot, 5 min at 'Manual' pressure
    Let cool in Instapot for 20 minutes or until pressure relief button pops
    (if you don't let it depressurize slowly it will foam up inside and mess the lid)

    Add the following:
    2 Tablespoons of chunky peanut butter (heaping)
    2-3 heaping tablespoons of sugar (brown is better)
    5 shakes of Pensy's Chinese 5-spice powder
    4 shakes of Pensy's Star Anise powder

    1 cup steel cut oats
    4 cups water
That's as far as I get, I then cook it on the hob with a timer (7 minutes when cooking a single portion). I might occasionally add some sugar.

Clearly you and many other people are getting some benefit from the device, I'm really doubtful that I would.

Or place ingredients in bowl, microwave for 3 minutes.

Wow, seriously? I know this sort of thing is the fashion these days on the internet, but dude. I'm standing right here.

Anyway. To take the comment seriously -- if only it were that easy! Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of the Instant Pot, at least around my house, is its ability to cook steel cut oats quickly, efficiently, and without needing to be watched.

On a further note -- what I've written here is what I received from my dad, but I've always just thrown everything in the pot at the start.

3 minutes in the microwave isn't going to cook steel-cut oats...

It's the "3 Minute Oatmeal" recipe straight out of the recipe book that comes with the IP.

  Add the following to the IP:
  - 1 cup almond milk (they warn regular milk with curdle but not sure about that)
  - 2 cups water
  - 1 cup steel cut oats
  - 1 cinnamon stick
  - pinch of salt
  - 1/4 cup of raisins
  - They call for vanilla extract but I use vanilla flavored almond milk
Stir and cook for 3 min. on Manual in the IP. Let it naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release the rest. You might see what looks like a ton of liquid still on the top--just stir it all up.

Then I portion out what I want for myself, add a Tbsp give or take of light brown sugar, and any other toppings. My favorites now are chopped walnuts, chopped dates, banana, berries, diced granny smith apple, etc.

That recipe makes several servings and is great for brunch with an oatmeal bar. You can also refrigerate leftovers for several days and if you let it chill a bit, you can then wrap it in plastic wrap and shape it into bricks which freeze nicely.

I have a WMF stovetop pressure cooker and love it. Haven't tried an IP before, so YMMV. I make oatmeal for the week on Sundays using Apple/Cinnamon or dried fruits:


  1 tablespoon butter
  1 cup steel cut oats
  3 1/2 cups water
  1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
  1/4 teaspoon salt
For Apple/Cinnamon:

  1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For Cranberry/Cherry:

  1/3 cup dried cranberries
  1/8 cup dried cherries
  2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Add butter to pressure cooker and set to sauté. When butter is melted add the oats and toast, stirring constantly, until they start to darken and smell nutty, about 3 minutes.

Add water and rest of ingredients.

Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes (stovetop) or 10 minutes (electric).

Turn off pressure cooker and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.

Stir, cover and let thicken for 5 to 10 minutes.

Top with milk, nuts and additional brown sugar, if desired.

Adapted from: http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-cinnamon...

I'm surprised at your experience, as mine has been the opposite. I use my pressure cooker as for probably 80% of my meals at home (not always for the main dish). I've never had a sub-par experience. I find the pressure cooker is the better bet for soups, anything bean-related, most things with chicken, ribs, hard-boiled eggs, and vegetable medleys.

You are right that the timing involved on many sites is misleading, yet I find that without fail the "active time" when using the pressure cooker is WAY lower while the total time is roughly the same or slightly shorter than a normal recipe (much shorter if making something with beans). That's the big win for me.

You can experiment all you want, but I don't. I just take recipes from others and use them, with some adaptation. There's a lot of resources, and most people have already workshopped anything I'm interesting in making.

It definitely takes some experimentation! The window between undercooked and overcooked is extremely narrow for certain things.

My policy is that I won't try anything new if I'm cooking for others. I only make recipes that I've tried before and iterated on. When I have a winner, I print it out and stick it on the back of the cupboard door where I normally store the pressure cooker.

Japanese curry (beef or pork) comes out fantastic, it's a simple recipe to start and even easier in the Instant Pot.

Freezes and reheats very well.

Do you have a favorite Japanese curry pressure cooker recipe that you'd like to share?

The store-bought semi-dry curry seasoning cubes ("Golden Curry") work great for this if you're ok with less "recipe" and more "combine a couple of ingredients".

A box of these:


Add about 6lbs of de-boned / de-skinned thighs, a few pounds of cubed potatoes, and and some onions chopped coarsely. You might want to add some salt.

Brown the chicken first, or don't - it'll be good.

Saute the onions first, or don't - it'll be good.

~20 minutes of pressure (40 minutes total) later and you'll have an excellent meal of quick and easy curry.

Most of the family-sized instant-pot meals we make are like this - one pre-made sauce or spice pack, chicken thighs, some simple vegetables and 20-30 minutes under pressure then served over rice. Pretty much any bottle of "Asian" sauce or small jar/can of curry paste (Thai, Indian, Japanese) works great.

The main variations are in the sauce, and the preparation of the thighs - the texture / experience difference between adding the chicken in pre-cubed / whole / whole then shredded is pretty significant.

We use the curry cubes too, and usually buy the "beef for curry" packages from the market, so it's doubly easy.

It's pretty fantastic for making stock/bone broth - just chuck everything in and turn it on for 2 hrs.

Same for stews: Just add all the ingredients (meat, veg, stock, herbs) then press the 'Stew' button.

The slow cooking function is also great for this: Pork shoulder/butt, sauerkraut, pepper, maybe peas/carrots - 8 hrs on med.

I've never heard of the instant pot before now. Seems like your complaints are normal issues people have with pressure cookers.

I'd love to know how this fares vs. a normal pressure cooker, as far a learning curves go.

Very likely. This is the first time I've used a Pressure Cooker, and TBH, I never did that much with slow cookers before either besides a few dishes.

I'm sure once I get more experience with it that eyeballing things will become easier.

Presumably you aren't going to use it for ingredients with different cooking times?

This is pretty funny for me to read. As the article mentions many people apparently did, I picked up an Instant Pot on Prime Day last year. I had no idea there was such a following around it until reading this, I just wanted a pressure cooker.

I received it, and stuck it in my closet expecting to pull it out when I needed to pressure cook something. My wife discovered it pretty soon after and began using it for several tasks I didn't even realize it was capable of. She absolutely loves the thing, to the point I was joking with her about it. It's funny to me to see that our experience is far from unique.

How much are they on Prime Day? I just looked and they are $70, $100, or $180. I want the $100 one but if it's significantly cheaper on Prime Day, I'll just wait.

The 7-in-1 six quart cooker (currently $100) was just under $70: https://camelcamelcamel.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Multi-Funct...

Checked my receipt, I paid $69.99 for the 7-in-1 6qt

$57.99. But they were also pretty cheap in December, I think -- see https://camelcamelcamel.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Multi-Funct... .

What's an example of a task you didn't think it was capable of?

Even just focusing on the pressure cooking aspect, it turns out you can pressure cook all sorts of things you might not expect until you own one. For example, I've made incredible cheesecake in my Instant Pot.

Carnitas in 30 minutes. Pulled chicken in 7 minutes (which is actually really good!). Rice in minutes. There's always another way to do any of these things, but the instant pot does all of them.

My wife has 2 of them, we throw together whole dinners in minutes, the primary one never leaves the counter because it's become a daily tool. Our microwave stopped working about 6 months ago, and instead of replacing it, we just gave the microwaves spot on our counter to the instant pot.

Okay I have a question here, because I own an instant pot and I don't know if I'm understanding pressure cooking correctly or if I'm doing something wrong.

When you say you pressure cook a chicken in 7 minutes, it's 10-15 minutes for the heat and pressure to buildup, plus 7 minutes once pressure is at max, then 1-2 minutes to release the vapor (or wait 20-30 minutes until the pressure subsidies by itself).

Am I correct?

Yes, but people tend to exclude that since you're not watching the pot.

If that is how cooking times are my slow cooker can make a mean stew in a few minutes - but you'll need to start it a half day before you want to eat it. If you remove the foil from a lasagna for the last five minutes and set a new timer, did it only take 5 minutes?

I don't get the trend in instant pot directions to say it only takes X minutes when it is really warmup + X + cooldown. It really doesn't help anyone know when to start cooking a meal.

I can make anything from ice cream, cheesecake, pizza, stew, sauces etc. from scratch without a recipe, but I find instant pot recipes to be some of the worst I've ever come across. It has a steep learning curve. That said, I think I'll like it when I figure out how to get what I want out of it. Maybe I'll even write a real recipe for it.

Half a day is a bit of an exaggeration - I've been making the best beef stews of my life in under an hour, including prep, warm up, cook, and steam release.

Likewise pulled pork in just a shade over an hour, perhaps 10 minutes actual prep time.

I think they meant half day for a traditional slow cooker (most recipes say low for 8 hours).

Then it should be more like 30 seconds, 15 to put things in and 15 to take things out, or are you watching it for those 7 minutes? Just trying to point out that you should quote the actual time it takes.

The soul of marketing is getting people to overlook stuff like the laws of physics, the arrow of time, and compound interest. Any time you find yourself resorting to the word "should," it's a good idea to ask:

1) why would the universe naturally favor order? 2) why would the order it favors please my sensibilities?

Questioning the above premises will often yield opportunities that a rigid attention to preconceived notions would not.

So despite all those buttons it's too cheap to have a 7 minute timer?

Or are we excluding one unwatched time but including another unwatched time for some reason?

Most home pressure cooking is sensitive to your local air pressure. You already have to adjust for that. And the kinetics of pressure cooking mean that structural changes that happen while getting up to temp will be a rounding error compared to full temp, for all but the shortest cook times.

Hard or soft boiled eggs -- bonus is that when you pressure cook them, it makes the shell stupid easy to get off (crack a ring around the middle, then pull the shell off).

5mins for hard, 4 mins for softer yolk, 1 min for runny (like for eggs benedict), quick release pressure + put in to an ice bath when done.

I've never tried pressure cooking my eggs, but in minimizing prep my favorite way is to steam them.

Put a little water in a pot (maybe half an inch), cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 7 minutes and you have a perfect hardboiled egg. You should still have a bit of water in the pot when done, but not too much to delay boiling. End to end in about 8 minutes you have a cooked egg!

The boiling is almost instant in a small aluminum pot, unlike bringing my pressure cooker up to temp, and you dont have to depressurize.

Seems cooks illustrated also found these nicer for peeling: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/168-easy-peel-hard...

Unless you're using much smaller eggs than I do, 7 minutes must leave you with almost wet yolks. With standard US "Extra Large" eggs, 13 minutes is a fully-opaque yolk, down to around 9-10 minutes where the center of the yolk is much darker. It's been a while, but I think US "Large" eggs maybe only subtract about a minute from those times.

I have a different rice cooker / multi-function electric cooker which doesn't sell itself as a pressure cooker, though I think it does build up a slight steam pressure when in use.

If you buy a pressure cooker for "when I needed to pressure cook" you might not notice that it's also capable of being a multi-function electric cooker.

My wife has made hard boiled eggs, risotto (kinda) and yogurt in it. Didn't expect any of those. It advertised yogurt, but I didn't expect it to turn out as well as it did.

What's the benefit over boiling some eggs?

Much, much easier to peel.

My wife made pulled pork in 1 hour this weekend. I have made several batches of yogurt 1 gallon at a time.

My girlfriend bought me a sous-vide stick for christmas https://anovaculinary.com/ I'm loving it, and was just trying to figure out how to make yoghurt in it. I was thinking a pot inside a cambro container or a bunch of mason jars in the cambro.

An instant pot is an interesting choice. We have an old-fashioned pressure cooker at home, which doesn't get nearly enough use.

> I'm loving it, and was just trying to figure out how to make yoghurt in it. I was thinking a pot inside a cambro container or a bunch of mason jars in the cambro.

I bought an Anova myself during the last Black Friday sale.

While I haven't made yoghurt in it (and I'm not sure what heating would do to yoghurt cultures), I have aged eggnog in ziploc bags. Polyethylene bags are probably best for anything that doesn't need to set.

I wouldn't recommend mason jars unless you're doing a custard like creme brulee. You can't fully immerse them under water, and if you don't cap them properly, they'll either crack under pressure, or let water in. There's a "fingertip-tight" rule for mason jars, though I haven't tried it [1]:

> Place the lid on the jar. Twist the lid until “fingertip tight,” meaning just barely closed and still possible to open with your fingertips.

> To close the jars fingertip tight, place the lid on top of the jar, then twist the band to tighten using just your fingertips. When you begin to feel resistance, twist once in the opposite direction, then once more in the original direction to tighten.

> Closing the jars until fingertip tight means that air will be able to escape from the jars when you submerge them in water. If you close them too tightly, the trapped air will press against the glass and could crack or break your jars.

[1] https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/foolproof-cracklin-crem...

I've made these as fully-submerged mason jar eggs a few times now: https://anovaculinary.com/easy-homemade-sous-vide-egg-bites/

little 4 oz jarz are perfect for 2 eggs.

The fingertip tight allows air to bubble out but water doesn't seem to get in. (it's extra cool because they actually form a little vacuum seal too)

I suspect yogurt would behave the same way - but who knows?! It's always an experiment the firs time.

ChefSteps has a ton of helpful sous-vide recipes that really help build out a skill-set. They also have a yogurt one! (https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/easy-delicious-sous-vid...)

I bought a sous vide set up a couple of years ago and I've been very underwhelmed with it. Are there any recipes that you think are especially good?

I think my favorite is probably turkey breast just because it doesn't get dry. Everything else I've made in it (mostly different meats) has been okay, but nothing special. My family and I generally prefer things cooked on our grill.

If you're good at the grill, there's no reason to use a sous vide. Honestly, with very few exceptions, you can do everything the sous vide can do faster using traditional methods.

However, I personally like to pre-cook a bunch of food using sous vide then finish on the grill. Now food is ready with a lot less hassle on my part. Finishing on the grill, a pan, or in the oven is crucial to get good browning flavor!

So, to me, it's either for niche things (precise soft boiled eggs, unique cooking temp for meats), or as a time saving thing I can set, forget, and not fret over precise timings. Or do something like 3 racks of ribs over 24 hours in a cooler.

Otherwise, I agree, it's not my first tool I reach for to whip up dinner.

I have to admit that I don't like the texture of poultry breast meat done sous vide. Maybe I should experiment with not vacuum sealing it (just leave it with minimal air). But if you have an instant read thermometer (or a stick-in-and-wires-out continuous monitoring kind), the key is temperature. Just use a low oven (225 say) and pull it out when its ~135-140.

My favourite thing to sous vide is steaks, which I finish on a steal plate on my grill. But I just use the beer-cooler sous-vide trick, so I can't really do e.g. 72 hour short-ribs.

Now that you mention ribs, I cooked some St. Louis style ribs that came out pretty good.

The actual temperature you choose is really dependent on taste, but some, specifically meats, that shine are salmon, short ribs, steak and smokerless smoked meats like brisket and pork shoulder (hey we can't all have a smoker in our apartment). But getting the taste and texture you like takes some trials. If I had to pick one in particular, it would be short ribs at 185F for 24 hours.

Most cooks, outside of seafood, that I enjoy tend to take >12 hours. I barely use it for something like chicken thighs or pork chops.

I've heard of people using it for massive batch jobs and freezing the now-sealed contents. Like gallons of chili. Or 10+lbs of chicken and seafood. Now prepped and portioned and saveable for the freezer.

Personally I use it for more niche goals.

Taking cheap steak cuts and getting a perfect internal temp as well as batch cooking chicken works out really well.

Getting a precisely boiled egg is amazing (see http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/sous-vide-101-all-about-e...).

I also set it up in a cooler and do 3 racks of ribs for BBQ events. Don't worry that the Anova claims it can't control that much water. The insulation of any cooler will let you far exceed it's ratings.

Making cheesecake is one I certainly didn't expect. I still haven't tried it, but I've heard you can get great results because of the moist environment.

My son and I had lots of fun making Yogurt with it. Cooking hard "boiled" egg is another unexpected finding after googling cook time for boiled egg

Squash in a few minutes - pretty much just up-to-pressure then back down and done!

Hard boiled eggs are a lot easier - you barely even have to think about it.

Honestly, for eggs I've found this to work a treat: Take a small pot with a lid, add 1cm (1/2 inch) of water, put eggs in, throw on cooker (up to boiling very quickly). 5 minutes later, soft boiled, 7+ minutes for hard boiled.

Usually find 5 minutes is just enough time to make toast and a coffee. ;)

And the pressure makes them very easy to peel.

Really? Now I'm wishing I hadn't given away our unused pressure cooker in our most recent housing move.

What? How hard is it to boil an egg?

Using the pressure cooker for eggs, aside from making the shells easier to peel, skips the "wait for water to boil" step and gives you several minutes of flexibility at the end of cooking since the heat shuts off when the timer runs out. You can also do large batches of eggs while only heating 1 cup of water.

The newer models have a yogurt setting!

It's great to see the Instant Pot on Hacker News.

A couple of key takeaways:

- There's no marketing magic here, this is just a great product.

- It's ugly, and the interface is weird. Doesn't matter, it gets the job done.

- Pressure cookers have been around for a long time, they're a really great cooking technology marred by some serious safety and inconvenience issues. There are a bunch of companies competing in Sous Vide right now (the hot new cooking trend) but the Instant Pot guys just took old technology and made it slightly better.

edit: formatting

Love the points made here, my first impression of this was I thought this pot was sort of gimmicky/redundant than practical for daily use.

Then I went home for Christmas and my mom was downright evangelical about this thing. My family is deep in the cooking gadget game but I've never seen this much enthusiasm for a new appliance.

Use the Breville version, and you will not complain about the user interface. The whole thing is gorgeous.

I chose my microwave by searching for a nice UI (knobs not keypad).

Breville was it.

Do they work especially hard at making devices usable?

Do you have a model number, or a link?

Thanks very much!

One thing I also notice is that the silicone seal inherits past smells of things you've cooked. Seems to be hard to get rid of the smell too.

Yeah, that's a definite issue I've had in dealing with mine. Fortunately, they're easy to swap in/out and are mostly affordable to buy new ones ($11 for a two pack on amazon right now).

I have one I use for the chilis, bbq, ribs, etc I do. One for soups and such, etc. It's a slight pain I guess, but the ease of use of the Instant Pot in general outweighs swapping out the silicone seal occasionally.

We have multiple rings in the house, one designated "sweet" and the other "savory", so that we can avoid this problem.

I had actually assumed that the article itself was native advertising tbh. Still do.

I am part of the cult. We bought after the recommendation of a friend. What I liked: nice set of presets, comes with a cookbook with quite a few recipes, very easy to operate.

Some time ago, when Apple bailed out of self-driving car business, my friend and I discussed what would be the good category for Apple to try next and I suggested advanced kitchen devices. Seriously though: instant pot with Nespresso machine are close to best damn money I spent. Currently I am investigating Anova devices and dreaming about something that would cut down (hehe) my peeling and chopping time.

I find some basic knife skills to be a huge labor saver. I've had the same decent (ie, not serrated) $25 chef's knife for decades and can plow through basic veg prep in a few minutes. I don't like all the extra gadgets except a peeler. When I factor in setting up and washing some chopping or slicing machine, I'm way faster with just a knife and board. Two things to wash. And the board is also used to hold stuff on its way to the pot, so that cuts down on temp bowls too.

Watch one good video on how to dice an onion an you're 90pct there.

There's a great, free, video series online that teaches you how to cut[1]. Also, misen knives are excellent for the money.[2]

1. http://www.thekitchn.com/brendan-mcdermotts-knife-skills-cla...

2. Misen.co and http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/best-cheap-chefs-knives-m...

Food processors (proper ones, not hand "choppers" and the like - those are nearly pointless) are a terrible replacement for basic knife skills.

What they are mostly great at is a few things that are so labor intensive (ever made hummus by hand?) you otherwise might not bother. Also a good time saver for things like pasta dough.

Good for making mayo and the like by hand and for thin slicing potatoes and carrots. The biggest issue for me is setup + cleanup >> use time for most cases.

Great for hummus; great for purees; great for pastry doughs.

Good for homemade bread.

I mostly agree. I do have a food processor but, unless I'm doing a lot of chopping and don't care if it's pretty uneven, I find that just using a good knife is less total work and gives better results.

New York Times has a really good set of cooking videos: https://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/23-basic-knife-skills

While I did mention the food processor in the sibling post, I have to agree with you here too. A great sharp knife with a modicum of skill goes a long way. And the cleanup is definitely simple!

Agreed! One thing to add:

Learn to keep your knives sharp. A sharp knife is a safe knife and makes the whole prep process go faster.

Any tips on this?

Keeping the angle consistent is the problem with use a simple sharpening stone.

I recommend a jig that keeps the angle for you. I use a spyderco sharpmaker (https://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-Angle-Sharpmaker/dp/B004...), but there are others. I enjoy eating steak with a super sharp knife, so I have it out frequently for sharpening our set of steak-knives, and less frequently for our chef's knives.

A basic electric knife sharpener will produce very sharp knives, certainly sharp enough for most people.

Purist will call them crap, but I use both a traditional whetstone and an electric sharpener and the electric gets 90% of my usage. It takes a few minutes to take a knife from "very dull" to "pretty sharp". The whetstone definitely gets them sharper, but it takes a lot longer and you only notice your knives are dull when you're right in the middle of making dinner.

Which electric sharpener do you use? Thanks!

I've had great results with a Japanese water stone.

https://youtu.be/kSKpz1UqIl4?t=4m13s has overkill levels of detail (and some marketing upsell) but communicates the idea well.

I sharpen woodworking tools so my point of view is slightly different, but I'd recommend diamond plates over water stones.

I've had great results with both but water stones need to be soaked in water before use (instructions say 10 minutes, but my experience is more like 30 minutes), they release a messy slurry when they wear and they don't stay flat for very long (flatness isn't that much of an issue with knifes I suppose, but essential for woodworking tools) and wear down as you use and re-flatten them.

Diamond plates stay dead flat, need very little maintenance, ready to use (just wet them, no soaking) and last 10 years or more in my infrequent use.

I have big 8" plates for my woodworking tools, but I intend to buy a small 1200 grit sharpener for kitchen for about $6 from here: https://www.fine-tools.com/ezelap-diasharpener.html

1200 grit isn't super fine (compared to water stones) but is enough for basic kitchen sharpening (you don't need coarser ones unless you sharpen damaged blades and you don't need a finer one to get decent sharpness). I'd add a leather strop and some honing compound (chromium oxide) if I needed to get them sharp enough to shave (like I do with my tools).

That's about $20 for diamond plate + strop + compound, you can't get a decent water stone for that price.

But the real difference between sharp and kinda-sharp is practicing the skill of honing the blade. Sharpen a little at a time, test frequently and do it often.

    > Nespresso machine
I got one of these as a gift and ended up giving it away after realizing how much garbage I was generating from it with those disposable one-use cups.

I don't mind the 30 seconds of ritual to enjoy a cup of coffee/espresso.

Aluminum cups are recyclable with their own program as sibling comment noted. I have Nespresso boutique with the recycling bin very close to my office, but I understand how it can be a problem in general.

30 seconds? My machine takes 30 minutes just to heat up. I bought my grinder (Baratza Vario) and machine (an E61 based heat exchanger) in 2012 and they are getting to the end of life. I'm seriously thinking about switching to a Nespresso setup because it's way more convenient and the coffee is still pretty good.

We have a k-cup machine at work and it's drinkable, but not great.

There was a nespresso machine at the office where I used to work. The coffee it produced was tolerable and nothing more. I recommend an Aeropress if you want something quick that makes good coffee.

I have an Aeropress and like it a lot, but it's not that quick. You still have to grind beans, heat water, and steep (usually).

I'm not sure I'd group the Nespresso and Keurigs together. I've never had a good k-cup coffee but the Nespresso produces great cappuccinos and cafe au laits in about a minute. There's a dramatic difference in flavor between their different roasts though, I'm partial to the capriccio and voluto blends.

>I'm not sure I'd group the Nespresso and Keurigs together.

We have both in our workplace kitchen; they both produce mediocre coffee, in my opinion (and I'm no coffee snob). I wonder how the Nespresso got such a reputation? Is it widely considered good?

> My machine takes 30 minutes just to heat up.

That seems strange to me. I got the Nespresso Inissia as a Christmas gift a few months ago and it takes maybe 30-60 seconds to heat up. Then, <30 seconds for every shot of espresso after that.

I have an espresso machine and an aeropress. The aeropress was about a tenth of the price and I use it 90 percent of the time.

I hate the pods, but they have a recycling program. Unlike K-cups.

I'm pretty sure K-cups can be recycled now. At least, they are being collected separately from the garbage and somebody comes to pick them up from my office anyways.

We recycle our K-cups -- it's a bit of effort but it's not really that bad.

I've find cups that is bio degraded which is also suitable to use in the Nespresso machine (even says to on the package).

This is in sweden though.

As a fellow lazy kitchen-er, I've got a decent recommendation:

- small food processor to significantly reduce the chopping time. I picked one up cheap on a whim (I think for making hummus) and now most of the time I just coarsely chop veggies and throw it in with a slicer blade or grater, depending on what I'm making. (By coarse, I mean, I'll quarter the onion so that it fits down the chute)

- Quit peeling! I've got a vegetable peeler that is sitting very sad in the drawer because it hasn't been used in a long long time.

I always find that dismantling, washing, and rebuilding the food processor takes more time than just chopping on a board and then washing the board.

Yep, serious eats has a few videos on cutting that are useful. It only takes a couple minutes to dice an onion or shallot. Much less time than cleaning a food processor.

For sure. For small things, I'll definitely just use a good knife. For making things like stews, I'll probably fill the food processor 5 or 6 times with vegetables (it's on the smaller side), and then just spray down the hopper and the lid with the sink sprayer.

Generally learning some basic knife skills made a massive difference to my enjoyment in the kitchen.

With both of these, it seems that improving your skills may significantly reduce your perceived time expenditure. If you are proficient with a vegetable peeler it doesn't take much time at all to use, and depending on what you're doing will improve your results.

I suggested advanced kitchen devices.

OK, so if someone is taking it seriously, let me specify a little, since I've been thinking of it for some time: a rice cooker that uses vapour.

I often cook rice in the pressure pot. It takes something like 5 minutes to warm the pot, 4 minutes of cooking and a few minutes more for releasing vapour until I can open it again.

It would be nice to have a device that:

1. Wash the rice with cold water first. 2. Makes vapour in a few seconds holding the pressure. 3. Automatically stops when the rice is cooked. 4. Finally releases vapour. 5. Bonus point if it cleans itself.

Just that, plain boiled rice in five minutes, instead of 10-15.

I own an Anova and a Joule and enjoy both. One item I enjoy a lot is a generic vegetable cleaver. I find them to be better at making consistent slices. Cheapest piece of cutlery I own but the one I use the most.

When you've got a great product, your users become your extended sales force: I've bought this for my relatives for the holiday season and have recommended it to my friends. I think Amazon recommendation system opens new product avenues like this that didn't exist before.

It is easy to praise this product -- it combines a rice cooker with a pressure cooker and stew simmer (and, I guess, a yogurt maker) all in one device that saves kitchen storage and counter top space. They've thought of lots of stuff: making the seal easily replaceable, and allowing you to buy extra tin cans with lids (from cooking right to refrigerator). The cans are perfect size for the dish washer, etc. It's well designed, solves an urgent need, solidly built and just works.

The Instant Pot came on the market with perfect timing, just as the pressure cooker started to go from "geek" to "mainstream" in its adoption curve. The fawning press articles claim that it was Instant Pot that took pressure cooking from niche to mainstream, but I don't buy that -- I think it would have happened anyways.

It's a good pressure cooker. A good stovetop one will be faster, but it's only significant if you've got a gas or induction range. And of course the stovetop models don't have any automation.

And it's half the price of a good stovetop model.

> just as the pressure cooker started to go from "geek" to "mainstream" in its adoption curve.

It's really really weird to read that, in europe pressure cookers have been mainstays of most every kitchen for decades, especially after SEB's "super cocotte" (released in '53, they'd sold 10 million by '69).


"Most people have some concept of urban legends of exploding pressure cookers in their grandmother's kitchens," says Mr Qin.

Am in Europe, literally everyone has a pressure cooker, never heard about them actually exploding.

Happened to my parents and me, back in the mid-90s. Luckily, nobody was in the kitchen the moment it happened. All I remember is that it left a decent dent in the vent hood above the stove, and Gulasz... Gulasz everywhere.

Then again, I was also right next to an exploding Mokka / Espresso stovetop cooker, so maybe I am simply unlucky :)

I still own a pressure cooker and use it regularly - a cheap one from IKEA at that.

I remember somethin similar with spagetti bolognesa, but it wasn't the pot fault, but a friend that mistakenly thought it was already cold enough. She had some burns and instead of a feast, the guests had to become an emergency cleaning squad.

Fortunately the dessert was saved: a condensed milk can also made in the pot into delicious toffee.

Yikes. I hope your friend did not suffer any permanent damage.

Thanks for telling me about the recipe! I never knew Dulce de Leche could be made in a pressure cooker - that's on my to do list for tomorrow now.

There are some things like pressure cookers exploding that are just "known", despite them not really being true. Ford cars are less made in America than Japanese brands; an electric blanket won't burn your house down; no one is hiding metal pins in Halloween candy to hurt children.

"Urban legend" describes these sort of thing, but how do you even begin to fight them with marketing in some form.

If Mr Qin had wanted to do marketing at the beginning, some segment of the market is going tune out the instant pressure cooker is mentioned.

>There are some things like pressure cookers exploding that are just "known", despite them not really being true.

Umm... It would have just taken you a simple Google search before writing that comment...

Water heaters have many times the risk of exploding, and nobody blinks. Its strange how cookers got that reputation.

Presumably it's because people typically don't stand near water heaters, so there's less risk of injury in the event of an explosion.

Was wondering the same thing. I had an old one and the pressure relief mechanism looked pretty foolproof. Basically just a weight sitting on top of a vent tube -- when the pressure got high enough, the weight was lifted and the pressure released.

I'm an American and I just bought one and I've been kind of wary around it, even going into the other room while it cooks. I know it's irrational, but I find I keep thinking about the Boston bombings.

> I know it's irrational, but I find I keep thinking about the Boston bombings.

It's worse than irrational, unless you've filled your pressure cooker with explosives and plugged the pressure relief valves it's not going to do anything except boil empty.

That seems to fall under the category of irrational?

The first time I ever encountered a pressure cooker was when my science instructor had to take a week off to recover from the injuries she sustained when hers ruptured.

>Am in Europe, literally everyone has a pressure cooker, never heard about them actually exploding.

Happens frequently with cheap ones in 3rd world countries.

Am in Europe, haven't seen a pressure cooker in use since the '70s.

Maybe because the newer ones are different and you don't identify them as such?





Was thinking about writing the very same thing, a pressure coocker has always been a common implement in every kitchen I've seen. I realize that there is much more to the marketing, final implementation and other details of these Instant Pots, but all these comments read to me like everybody just discovered that eggs are awesome and you can use them for so many things.

Pressure cookers used to be a mainstay in the US as well, but fell out of fashion and are now coming back. I'm not sure pressure cookers are that popular in Europe either at the moment.

> I'm not sure pressure cookers are that popular in Europe either at the moment.

They're as popular as ever, they're not trendy but it's something you normally get once you're beyond a pair of pans and pots, the smaller models (4~5L) may even replace/obviate a large pot.

> just as the pressure cooker started to go from "geek" to "mainstream" in its adoption curve.

Pressure cookers have been around for a long time: first manufactured in 1864 according to wikipedia (1). It's just that they have been out of fashion for few decades - possibly supplanted by the microwave oven in the 1970s and 80s.

So maybe the time was right for a better design to come back. The older designs had a reputation for very occasionally exploding, or the lid flying off and getting embedded in the ceiling. Not common, but it did happen and that puts people off.

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_cooking#History

The lids on older models like my mother's were physically capable[1] of being removed while under pressure, which would be entertaining. Still use it, though.

[1] The amount of force required is large, though. I'm not sure I could do it without tools.

I think that it wasn't so much a 'geek' thing as it was that a complete generation or perhaps two forgot that they existed - and now the next generation is [re]discovering them.

I bought an old-school pressure cooker last year when my rooftop garden unexpectedly produced way more tomatoes and hot peppers than I had expected. Started to get into canning and pickling as a result.

Sadly, I no longer live there thanks to a breakup but I'm looking forward to buying my next place with gardening space so I can pick up where I left off. Do these things work for canning or is it mostly just a matter of available volume?

I don't usually post, but please don't use a pressure cooker for canning as it can cause botulism if the food isn't sufficiently acidic. The only safe way to can non-acidic foods is with a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker.

I am aware of this and I follow the official guidelines for adding citric acid if needed. Also I was using a pressure canner and not a pressure cooker so my question was more whether this device was similar in function (as I know nothing about them). Looks like you answered my question and it's not the same thing/comparable, so thanks!

Having now looked up the difference between the two (I've only ever seen pressure canners, with the locking lids and real pressure gauges, but which everyone I know calls a pressure cooker), I'm now curious what in the world you would use a plain pressure cooker for? It seems like a strictly worse piece of equipment.

You'd use a regular pressure cooker for things like cooking a roast or chili in 45 minutes instead of 4 hours.

You can do that in a canner too. A canner can function as a pressure cooker, but a pressure cooker can't function as a canner.

For one thing, I don't see any electric pressure canners, only stovetop models.

To cook things faster.

Takes an hour or two off of a pot roast.

As I understand it, the electronic ones are not recommended for pressure canning because you can't be absolutely, positively sure they reach a certain pressure. Best stick with your old-school model for pressure canning.

Great, thanks for the info. I'd have surely looked into this at some point before attempting such a thing but figured I'd ask since it was on topic.

If you already have a pressure cooker which you are happy to use, and are content with making soups in a soup pot, are there any advantages to buying an Instant Pot?

Compared to stovetop ones:

1. No need to fiddle with getting the heat right to get to pressure, and then lower the heat. Just seal the lid and tell it to get to pressure. It will control the heating.

2. Timer. It will drop the heat once the timer runs out. A lot of people set something to cook for, say, 30 minutes. Then they go out of the house for an errand that takes over an hour. They don't need to worry about overcooking/explosions. It will turn the heat down after 30 minutes and keep the food warm.

That's really about it. I own both a stovetop one and an instant pot. Most of the raves I've seen for the instant pot apply equally well to other pressure cookers. Having said that, the two pros above are really, really nice. If people can afford it, I would tell them to buy this instead of a regular pressure cooker.

Thanks. I guess that's a no for me then. Point 1 is never an issue for me: turn the heat up to medium (or full, if you're in a hurry) until the pressure release "whistle" blows a couple of times, then turn it off. And while I never ever leave the house with the stove or oven left turned on, I guess I could see the convenience factor of point 2.

There's a "smart" version of the Instant Pot that has its own scripting language!


What a great tool to get my non-techie instant-pot-using-relatives to understand what I do at my day job... but on a larger scale.

It appears that Americans have simply re-discovered what the much of the world (Europe+Asia) have known for a long time - pressure cookers are safe and make cooking simpler.

My family has been using those for 30+ years, and of course I bought one when I moved out. Apart from the occasional failing sealing ring (every 4 years or so), they are low maintenance and consistently produce good meals. You have to watch that you don't burn the bottom though when you are cooking for 2+ hours - just don't turn up the heat too much.

It's not so much a rediscovery. American's just feel that pressure cookers are unsafe, so they are scared to use them. I've been a long-time pressure cooker user and I've had tons of people say something about them blowing up or "making crazy noises".

Indeed, pressure cookers are such a no-brainer in India. Every household have had them over more than a couple of generations. I for sure have not heard of accidents.

A typical Indian reaction to this story would be, "what's all this fuss about, its a pressure cooker for god's sake, you add the ingredients and you cook."

Indian here living in US. We used always get pressure cookers from india since they used to last longer and it's hard to find good ones here. But last prime day I brought one and I feel this is better than one which we use in India . Better - Cleaning this is a easy , ease of use and safety

Indian here. Glad to see your comment. I bought one during prime day (because I was curious about electric pressure cooker and needed a replacement for the desi cooker soon). And it is still in the sealed box :)

Now I want to use it asap! Never realized it had a cult following (article looks like a PR material though)

Ya you should. I think many of us think it is similar to regular electric cooker but forgot to note it is "electric PRESSURE" cooker.

How does it work for different variety of pulses used in Indian cooking? For instance, I use x whistles in a conventional pressure cooker for one kind of daal vs y whistles for another kind. How well does the whistle semantic translate here?

Because here you have two settings/ways

1) Steam is contained inside and not released

2) Steam is released

So rather than x whistles it based on the time.

For example for one cup of Toor dal (Yellow peas / pigeon peas spilt ) we put it for 16minutes with steam valve closed.

so, its a trial and error way to figure out the time equivalent of whistles?

Already many people tried and have a pretty good documented time. So it will work.

Three things Instant Pot does that my older non-electric pressure cookers could not do:

1. Preserve the shape of the food being cooked. The older non-electric cooker would mush all the garbanzo beans or vegetables into a mash. When I cooked with the instant pot for the first time, I thought nothing was cooked fully because every vegetable and bean still were mostly in its original shape.

2. No noise. Non-electric cookers have the steam whistle to vent out excess steam which is noisy and annoying. Instant pot does not have that.

3. It has two pressure settings - lo and high pressure. When I bought it, very few of them offered this option.

Most electric pressure cookers come with a coated aluminum pot. Instant Pot was one of the first ones to offer a stainless steel container. This was the original reason I bought an Instant Pot.

I'm not sure if you are using your regular pressure cooker correctly. Your vegetables should come out similar as if you steamed them. You are probably cooking them too long. The pressure cooker also shouldn't have to vent all the time. At least with my Kuhn Rikkon you have to carefully adjust the temperature to ensure the food is at the right temperature and then very little venting should happen. Of course that also requires constant monitoring and adjusting. But most things only need pressure cooking for 5-10 minutes anyways.

Maybe I was cooking them too long. I used to have a $90 cooker (I think it was T-Fal), but I could never get it to cook correctly. With Instant pot, the cooking time does not seem to matter. Same thing with venting. I could never get it to vent without much noise.

the standard SEB pressure cooker that every household owns in France constantly vents when under pressure - there's a kind of spinning valve on the top that make a choo-choo train noise :) usually you turn the hob to full until it starts spinning, then you reduce to low for the duration of the cooking

>No noise.

Only once it has reached full pressure. Steam escapes noisily through the lid locking mechanism for about a minute first (escaping steam is used to engage the mechanism, which makes it fail-safe because without the mechanism engaged it will never reach full pressure).

>It has two pressure settings

Only on the more expensive model. Cheaper version only has the higher pressure mode. But I have the cheaper version and I have never wanted a low pressure mode. It seems redundant because it already has slow cooking mode.

1 I have seen the steam escape for the lid to lock, but I would not categorize that as a noisy escape. But my perception may have been colored by my previous experiences.

2. True. But the difference when I bought it was around 25 dollars, so it seemed a worthwhile investment. I have used the low pressure to cook rice for some dishes which require the rice to be hard but cooked. I could do it in slow cooker mode, but it would take a long time.

> Steam escapes noisily through the lid locking mechanism for about a minute first

FWIW, I've found that if you push down on the lid firmly once it starts venting steam in any quantity it will lock instantly.

I bought an Instant Pot after reading a recommendation on obesity researcher Stephan Guyenet's blog: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/instant-pot-...

I've been using it regularly since then and I highly recommend it. I had a manual pressure cooker many years ago but I rarely used it because it was too much hassle. The automation and easy cleaning of the Instant Pot makes a big difference. I rate it second only to the microwave oven as most useful cooking technology.

Same here! I'd never considered buying one until I saw Guyenet's endorsement. He's loath to recommend specific products so I knew it was a genuine endorsement.

This is amazing. I am serious.

An electric pressure cooker brand (I've never heard of, but I don't like in Canada/US which seems to be the prime market) took over the electric pressure cooker market by adding buttons instead of a twist-dial timer where you manually set the desired time (my electric pressure cooker, which came free with by fridge years ago, and may be part of the reference to scaring people about exploding... they don't... they have cut-off devices if the wrong time is dialed) and a bunch of links and given some Googling what appears to be discount codes to incentivise bloggers.

Quite an amazing success. Smart targeting of an old-tech.

The Instant Pot does not run for a fixed time. It has a pressure sensor and only starts the timer when it has reached sufficient pressure. This means you can do things like cook frozen vegetables perfectly without weighing them, because they will condense the steam and keep the pressure below the starting threshold until they are defrosted.

I'm not aware of any previous pressure cooker that had Instant Pot level automation.

> The Instant Pot does not run for a fixed time. It has a pressure sensor and only starts the timer when it has reached sufficient pressure.

Yes, this is exactly what my pressure cooker does. There's a dial, which has indicative minutes, and a picture of what's cooked under certain minutes around the dial, for example a small icon of a bunch of beans appears under the 40 minute dial, similar for other items. But total cooking time rarely ends up at 40 minutes (for beans, indicated at 40 minutes for example when starting from cold water and unsoaked beans) because it pre-heats to starting temperature and then kicks-off. The heating plate heats pretty quickly, which also makes sense when seeing recipe examples for browning meat before starting the pressure cooking.

Seems identical, just analogue control. Just a standard modern pressure cooker without a bit of marketing a dial in-place of buttons.

I also have a pressure cooker for the gas stove, significantly larger, and while that takes manual timing it has a release valve if steam pressure gets too high.

I don't even know if they've done that much; I've got an old "Wolfgang Puck" branded electric pressure cooker with digital controls that I got for free, and it appears to be pretty much the same thing, as far as I can tell.

Seems like their real achievement here is successfully marketing a good version of an already-existing product with the "I made this" angle to a market that wasn't aware of it. And more power to them - pressure cooking is a great technique to have in your culinary arsenal. Still, it just seems odd to me when someone "invents" a thing that already exists and manages to generate tons of press for doing so. Reminds me of the Soylent guy.

I've got an ancient steel one that you have to put on the hob, and even that has pressure release valve.

I have been using one for more than a year. It makes cooking so easy and quick and the flavor stays inside and food turns out really delicious. Best part is it doesn't even make slightest of the sound or smoke.One of my best buys.

I'm having dinner tonight from an instant pot but it hasn't lived up to the hype for me.

What do you cook in there that you've really enjoyed?

My go-to recipes are pot roast, chicken soup, phở, and bolognese sauce. Basically, any recipe that requires boiling or simmering for a long time (and/or can be made in a slow cooker) can be made faster and (more importantly to me) tastier by the Instant Pot.

I make indian dishes mostly, Dal comes out perfect. I cook veg, like green beans - only takes 3 min (5 if you add warm-up time) which otherwise will take 20-30 min. I also cook pasta - low pressure for 6 min gives perfect la dante!

> I also cook pasta - low pressure for 6 min gives perfect la dante!

That's... about the same amount of time it takes on the stovetop, no?

I cook the majority of my meals using only a WMF Perfect Plus. (Veggie) risotto, curry, soup ...it's all so quick & easy!

Salmon from frozen to perfectly cooked.

What kind of recipes do you like to use?

(I just bought one after reading this thread hehe)

It's strange. I was in the market for a pressure cooker that could double as a slow cooker, and saw the recommendation for Instant Pot over and over.

I eventually went with a Power brand pressure cooker (it was pretty much the same price at Costco, and I've had much better luck with Costco's warranties than Amazon's), which as best I can figure looks nearly identical, has the exact same functionality sans maybe a yogurt option, and should in theory be able to cook the same stuff in the same time. But whenever I ask for recipes, all I get is, "No man, you've gotta have an Instant Pot for this."

Biggest difference between the two is the cooking vessel (Teflon-coated vs. Stainless).

Also, the fact that the Power Pressure Cooker XL is "As Seen on TV!" turns me off personally, but I that may not be a universal reaction.

I have the same aversion to such products, but sometimes those "As Seen On TV" things aren't so bad. My parents' Ronco Rotisserie Oven is still kicking after well over a decade and makes some boss kabobs and roasts.

I seconded fr0sty comment: Teflon vs Stainless Steel.

Stainless Steel is better for health than Teflon.

I bought an Instant Pot about 5 years ago because I saw some good recipes and a suggestion on a Paleo blog. The price on Amazon seemed reasonable at the time, so I figured "why not." It turned out to be an incredible purchase. I've grown to hate single use devices that take up space in my kitchen (ugh, blenders, crock pots), but the Instant Pot is so versatile that it earns its keep.

I've long since abandoned that whole Paleo thing, but the Instant Pot still makes great meals. I don't need a crock pot in addition to this. It makes amazing pulled pork and carnitas. I can throw a whole chicken in there and have it falling off of the bone in less than an hour. I can brown beef in it before adding other ingredients for a good stew or chili. It makes really good hard-boiled eggs (though I've recently discovered eggs in my sous-vide and will never cook them another way). I don't know how the Instant Pot brand compares to other electric pressure cookers, but I'm 100% satisfied with mine.

I liked it so much that I bought my parents one for Christmas two years ago and upgraded mine from the previous model to the newer model on last year's Prime Day mentioned in the article. The newer model solved my one gripe with the previous model (setting the lid on the counter was awkward when taking it off).

I recommend these things to everybody. Whether you enjoy cooking or not, the Instant Pot makes cooking meals easier.

Ahh blenders are not single use. I make mayo, soups, sauces, ice, hummus

You make ice with a blender? :)

I must be the only person unconvinced by the Instant Pot!

I don't like having to braise/sear meat and caramelise onions directing in the IP on "Saute" mode - it's always either too hot or too cool. This process is much easier on the hob with a frying pan.. Which is fine, but then I have two things to clean.

If I want the benefits of a pressure cooker, I'll just buy one of those.

Oh and the UX on the IP is horrific! I needed the manual every time I used it (about five times).

My tip for the UX is to ignore all the special buttons, and just use high and low pressure for a specific amount of time.

The cheaper pots don't even bother with all the magic setting buttons.

That sounds like you're suggesting I just use a normal pressure cooker :p

Except you don't have to watch the fire.

Pfft you don't have to sit and stare at hobs because there's fire.

Could you just put the pot directly on your stove to sear stuff? I haven't tried this, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Does anyone know what the energy usage of the Instant Pot is overall compared to other methods of cooking?

I've explored various off-grid methods of living and the energy requirements involving food (both storage and preparation) can be surprisingly high. I'm curious to see if the efficiency gained by using a pressure vessel results in substantial energy savings.

What's the difference to the decades old Rice cooker you can find in any Chinese home at least once?

Really weird that this doesn't seem to get mentioned anywhere in the comments or article. It Looks so much more like a Rice cooker than a pressure cooker.

It has multiple power settings, rather than just heat-to-boil until the water has steamed off and the temperature jumps like in a rice cooker (which, admittedly, is a simple enough profile to be useful when cooking a lot more than rice - I lived on my rice cooker through college). These power settings can be controlled electronically by a timer.

And, regardless of what it looks like, it can be set up as a pressure cooker. This makes it an all-in-one rice cooker, pressure cooker, and crock pot/slow cooker.

I just got one of these a week ago and I've used it for brown rice, steel cut oats, rolled oats, and black beans. It did a great job on all these. It is especially nice on making a really quick oatmeal with dates and nuts thrown in. It does brown rice really well without burning it. You throw it in and start if. If you forget to come back to it, it just keeps the food warm without noticeably overcooking it.

I like the fact that the innards in contact with food are stainless steel and silicone instead of some non-stick or aluminum surface. I like the build quality. It is enameled steel inside, with a big heat sink that presumably smooths out the temperature changes as the heater cycles. It feels like it actually cost something to build as opposed to the flimsy feel of other rice cookers.

I have not tried anything too challenging yet... am curious about odder things to cook in a pressure cooker (cheesecake, really?)

My only complaint so far is that the user interface is a little bit opaque. Why does it play a jaunty little tune when you seal it up, but not when it is done cooking? Why does it just say "ON" while pre-heating? I'd like it more if it would more clearly differentiate between the various modes and states. It seems like the UX could be a little better. But I do like the fact that if you do the same thing over and over, it would be extremely quick to do that, just push one button, it recalls the last cooking time, and starts automatically.

I got one for Christmas. I've been cooking more than half of my meals with it. It's great.

Here's a few things I tried:

- Mississippi pot roast

- Carnitas

- Pulled pork

- Cilantro lime basmati rice

- Butter chicken

- Chili

- Chicken breast

- Crack slaw

- Pulled chicken

- Chinese hot pot

- Hard boiled eggs

- Soft boiled eggs

- Steamed broccoli

- Steamed cauliflower

- Kale and bacon

- Mussels

- Cheese cake

- Meatloaf

- Italian sausages

- Beef curry

- Poached salmon

- Pork ribs

- Swedish meatballs

- Taco meat

- Chicken fajitas

- Black beans

My wife has prepared a lot of these dishes in the past, but without a pressure cooker. So, what's different with the pressure cooker is that the cooking time for these dishes is much lower?

I would not even categorize the cooking time to be lower for many dishes (Because you will need the pressure to vent slowly for 20 mins unless you manually vent it). It is more of once things are inside the pot, you do not have to tend to it till it is done. The cooking time certainly helps for dishes like pot roast and it tenderizes tough cuts of meat much better without dehydrating them. Having said that, the above holds true for any well built electric pressure cooker. Instant pot is just a well built electric pressure cooker.

I bought one to replace a rice cooker which had (aging) teflon coating.

The instantpot is a bit slower but it has a stainless steel pot and can do a lot more than just cooking rice and steam vegetables. Moreover, it's actually cheaper and sturdier than the alternatives I considered.

Good product, would recommend. I try to stay away from pressure cooking, coffee brewing and knife sharpening communities though, maybe do I watch those swedish steel axes benchmarks, for some reason ;)

> The instantpot is a bit slower

Are you pressure cooking your rice or using the "rice" setting? I've found rice to cook faster in this vs. my old Aroma rice cooker...

Is this different from any of the other similar cooking devices?

There's so little innovation and so much to improve in home appliances it's ridiculous

Such as?

>"Cooking is a social and emotional practice that creates a lot of meaning in our lives...So a product that takes centre stage in cooking practices also creates a sense of attachment by being an agent in our social and emotional lives."

Note that this is the opposite of Soylent, which treats cooking and eating as a distraction from the central problem of nutrition.

(I suppose you could alternatively say it's a complement to Soylent, which you could characterize as unhitching nutrition from cooking and eating rather than banning them from the process, letting people choose whether they want to pick up all the activities together or separately.)

Cult member here.

When I got mine after black friday, I made an chicken curry (my own spice blend) and it was fantastic. Total time from start to finish was about 30 minutes and only 10 of that was prep time, cutting onions/meat, blending spices, sautéing and roasting the spices. I think I did 8 minutes on high pressure, then natural pressure release. I've also made steel cut oats, jambalaya, rice, chili, and bean soup from dried beans. Clean up is easy which is a big plus in my book.

How open and hackable/interfacable is the Instant Pot? I own a Thermomix which is pretty locked down and closed. I'd love a machine with that functionality (good blade+heating pot in one basically) and the ability to build my own tools to interact with it. The guided cooking of the Thermomix is pretty neat (essentially a touchscreen with instructions and preloaded recipes). I'd love that in open (use my own recipes etc.).

I find meat cooked by pressure cookers and especially slow cookers sort of disgusting.

Mainly it boils down (pun intended) to the texture and the meat is lacking in caramelization (maillard reaction).

But I haven't tried the Instant Pot so maybe it has a solution for that.

If I could grill all the time I would. I almost can as I have a kamado style grill which has its own cult following as well (see Kamado Guru [1]).

There isn't much you can't cook on one of those grills.

[1]: https://www.kamadoguru.com/

I usually try to sear the outside of the meat before I throw it into a slow cooker. I use cheap, tougher meats that wouldn't really be desirable cooked any other way.

Definitely this. Sear your meat, then slow-cook it, then, if you want, broil it to crisp it up. I do this when making carnitas and they turn out amazing.

Reminds me of the ThermoMix: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermomix

From Wikipedia:

'The functions can be accessed simultaneously to provide what the manufacturer calls "12 functions": steaming, emulsifying, blending, precise heating, mixing, milling, whipping, kneading, chopping, weighing, grinding and stirring. Several of these differ only by the speed of the motor.'

I am Instant Pot patient zero in my social circles. I have infected almost everyone I know, and they have infected almost everyone they know. It's just that good.

[perhaps related] The late, great Roger Ebert wrote a book about rice cookers: "The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker". Like pretty much everything Ebert ever wrote, it's excellent:


(And this is the original blog post that inspired the book: http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/the-pot-and-how-to-...)

Instant Pots are AWESOME for meal prep especially for those who are bulking/cutting weight. In under one hour on a Sunday night, I prepared enough chicken, brown rice, and veggies to eat for lunch every day for a week (I don't eat breakfast and generally eat salad for dinner). The food tasted decent, but the amount of time spent on preparation can't be beat.

Surprised no one has mentioned the HIP Pressure Cooking website or book, both fantastic. Their buyers guide is a must if you're new to the cult:


One thing I'll say — it doesn't just make things faster. It makes things so much tastier. Any stewing or braising dish gets done much quicker, and the meat retains so much more moisture while still getting its connective tissues broken down.

I have never failed to make a tasty meal in mine.

> the official Instant Pot Facebook group

Well, that's a potentially clickbaity-sounding headline justified!

Some enterprising Hacker News-type should source/market a nice sealable silicone lid for the Instant Pot pot. So weird that the company doesn't sell them. I'd buy 3 for my 3 pots. Easy storage in the fridge, all in the same pot, then reheat tomorrow.


this is the exact product you're asking for ("Creates an air-tight and water-tight seal on the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot.")

That one appears to be an old model and is out of stock everywhere. And from the reviews, it does not seem to actually seal the lid of the pot. No better than the cutting board I currently place on top of the pot to "seal" the lid.

- "Lid is too big, not even close to sealing."

- "very loose fit"

- "This cover just rests on top of the Instant Pot liner. I was expecting it to "snap" on, similar to Tupperware, or something. I'm very disappointed."


some reviews complain of fit, but a lot more say it's perfect. YMMV of course.

Good find; I don't think that product existed a couple months ago when I was looking. Purchased and fingers crossed that it snaps on tight!

Sorry, I just don't buy that these things can never explode, since defects in manufacturing and design do happen. The potential for exploding in my cookware is just not worth the risk when I can use conventional pots and pans that don't have this risk.

The thing is terrific and I too have recommended it to anyone who will listen. I just hope they keep their quality control standards high as the popularity increases.

It's a huge money/time saver. I think it's already paid for itself for me as a yogurt maker.

My instant pot was my second pressure cooker. The first was a cuisinart, which was a nightmare to use -- it wouldn't secure the pressure valve without.. encouragement.

I'd love to know what your favorite meal is to cook with the pot. Mine is chicken tagine.

I had the exact same experience. I gave up on pressure cooking after having the Cuisinart fail to seal way too many times.

It defeats the purpose if you have to baby-sit and fiddle with the lid for an hour hoping to get a seal.

I have only had that issue once with the Instant Pot so far and it was solved with a quick re-seating of the sealing ring.

favorite recipe?

The "Perfected Pot Roast" recipe from the "Great Food Fast"[1] book by Bob Warden is absolutely amazing.

[1]: http://a.co/441GESa

I just wish the Instant Pot (and really, all electric pressure cookers) had a fast-response PID controller so that it could keep 15 psi like a stovetop pressure cooker instead of maxing at 15 psi and averaging 10 psi.

How does anything pick up a cult following? By being awesome.

I love that I can take frozen chicken and throw it in the pot, dump in like 2 other things, and presto less than half an hour later I have delicious taco meat.

Neither my wife nor I have ever had the want or need for a pressure cooker, but if we ever do, this particular one might be worth looking into, given all the good things people have said about it.

I think we just don't mind if we have to wait for something to finish cooking; plus she likes "active cooking" - the prep work, the attention to cooking, etc. I understand the desire for "set and forget" - which is why I have my own such appliance (if you will) - a Traeger smoker. I got tired of always having to attend to my gas smoker (checking water levels, wood chips, temperature and gas settings). I just wanted to put the meat in, turn on the temp, and let it run for however many hours needed.

For other things, though, we like to use either a slow cooker, or for smaller amounts of things, our set of "ancient" Sunbeam/Rival Bean Pots (we typically find them at antique stores). Sure, either way takes hours to cook something, but we just set them, go to work, and come back home and they're done. We've never had an issue or reason to think this a problem (our house is worth more in insurance money, tbh), even using the 40-50 year old Bean Pots.

That said, what I wish could be sold/made available would be a modern and "safe" (I put that in quotes because one of these could never be perfectly safe) consumer-model pressure fryer. Think of combining a pressure-cooker with a deep-fat fryer (and realize just how dangerous that sounds). At one time (back in the 1970s, IIRC) a company did market such a product, but it didn't last on the market (not sure why - may have been a safety issue for all I know).

Basically, I want to have fried chicken like I can get at KFC and elsewhere (also known as "broasted" - though that's a trademarked term, I think). It could probably be used for other fried foods as well. But I doubt we'll ever see one, because of the safety reasons and because fried foods aren't on the "high up" list of many people today (health reasons).

I've considered a commercial pressure fryer, but the fact that they require 220v (so I'd need a new outlet run), plus require a ton of oil ($$$) - in addition to all the other potential issues with a pressure fryer - has dissuaded me from that route (not to mention that they are pretty expensive to purchase).

Note: Whatever you do - don't try to pressure-fry in a regular pressure-cooker (I doubt the Instant Pot can handle it either) - the seals and such aren't designed for it, and you'll have burnination and other fun on your hands if you attempt it (at best).

There was an AMA yesterday on Reddit by the founder of Camelcamelcamel. He said that the Instant Pot was tied with the Amazon Echo for having the most people tracking it. Pretty impressive.

Is it basically a pressure cooker? What makes it "instant"?

The brand name.

When I was looking for a pressure cooker, I dropped into the subreddit r/pressurecooking and was surprised to see it was basically devoted to the Instant Pot!

I already have a (great) rice cooker and a (not so great) slow cooker. Does the instant pot _actually_ replace those two appliances? Does it sous vide?

Does not do sous vide, but it certainly can replace your rice cooker and slow cooker. Only trouble is having only one appliance prevents you from cooking parallel (making curry _and_ the rice to serve it over, for instance, would be a problem).

Not purpose built for sous vide but the keep warm setting hovers ~70C which is nice for well cooked but still moist chicken. I believe the smart model has adjustable keep warm settings and is more fit to purpose for sous vide. Instant pot also sell an affordable immersion circulator.

Can I use the Instant Pot as an autoclave? I've been using a pressure cooker with a propane turkey burner for my tissue culture experiments.

Never heard of it before this article came out.

Is this just a US/Canada thing? I remember my parents having an old-school pressure cooker 20 years or so ago.

What is the difference between Instant Pot and similiar, cheaper devices? They look like one company makes them all.

CamelCamelCamel founder said on his AMA that instant pot is the number one or 2 as the most monitoring product

I seriously believed the article was about a pot smoking cook making instant meals.

Aldi sells a clone for around $40. I have had one for some years.

What will happens when american discover Thermomix and Cookeo ?

I see so many articles like these. Honestly they all read like one of those pages that is advertised at the bottom of a CNN article.

After reading 'add HN to cart' I really wonder why this is #1

I was heartened by how poorly "add hn to cart" would actually do on this site. Most of those articles are instantly killed by various filters. Maybe I should go back and have another read through the comments, but that was my takeaway and also something I've noticed when browsing /new.

That said, it doesn't surprise me to see this at the top of HN. It is a geeky cooking tool with a cult following. I'm certainly intrigued.

Coincidentally we joked about the name ("pot") in both my jobs.

It's featured on an endcap and does not sell one bit. This was a surprise.

I thought it was a pressure cooker turned into cannabinoid extracting machine ...

Lots and lots of marketing?

I didn't think the BBC did advertising.

It's a gray area - where do you draw the line between reporting on a cult and advertising a product? Is http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-39158975 an advert for that site? Is http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170303-we-should-thank-bu... an advert for Buffy? Is http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39188826 an advert for the arms industry?

I got a full screen ad that couldn't be closed when trying to visit the link in Firefox for Android.

Do you live outside the UK?

The BBC is publicly funded, visitors to BBC news from outside the UK will get served ads.

Maybe it's sad, but my immediate reaction was all of this is staged. Maybe I've just been on /r/hailcorporate too many times.

Don't be sad, it's just an electronic pressure cooker, not a magical device. You still need skills, accessories and good taste to produce good food :)

Do you think the BBC was paid to post this?

Is [direct] payment a necessary component of advertising?

Generally, yes.

Maybe I'm confused. Are you talking about the Instant Pot story, or the ads around the story? I'm seeing a Car Fax ad, an ad for a movie, a t-shirt company ad, some other google ads and some ads promoting other BBC properties.

I can't speak for grandparent poster, but when I read the article, it seemed like it was more advertisement than journalism. So it passes the duck test. It doesn't really matter to me if anyone actually paid BBC to run the story, because to me, it is at least 51% advertisement and no more than 49% news story.

If this were filed under World News, I would agree. But it's in the business section and they run lots of stories like this. It's one notch more newsy than the entertainment section.

And I usually consider the entertainment section of anything to be more than 80% advertisement. If you usually run an ad-blocker on your browser, make sure you also have an ad-blocker running in your brain. The more passive you are about your information sources, the more likely it is that someone could use one to push one of their ideas on you.

Having worn a foil hat for a while myself, I still find occasion to put it back on every once in a while. Question everything. Never stop asking yourself how you really know what you think you know.

In life, like in software, never trust your inputs.

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