On Facebook, the official Instant Pot community page has nearly 800,000 followers. Nell Potter of New Boston, Mich., is among them. Potter loves using the Instant Pot so much that she actually owns four of the them. The 49-year-old medical transcriber has two 6-quart models and two 8-quart models. And she uses them all.
Having four multi cookers means she can do a main dish in one and side dishes in others. For a recent dinner, she made thick cut pork chops in one, a big batch of green beans in another and macaroni and cheese in the third.
“My husband bought me a new stove with five burners when we remodeled the kitchen two years ago,” Potter said. “And I look at it sometimes and I have to apologize to my stove, because it doesn’t get used.”
Potter also holds onto her Crock Pot, but “like the stove it’s feeling lonely.”
With Instant Pot, Potter likes that it cooks food quicker because “the longer you take cooking food, the more it loses its nutrients.” An avid cook and runner who has participated in triathlons, Potter says nutrition is huge in her household.
“It’s great (the Instant Pot) for people who want to eat healthy but feel they don’t have the time,” Potter says.
When Potter found out the Instant Pot was a pressure cooker she thought it was a good idea.
“I’ve been intimidated by pressure cookers, but this sounded so controlled,” she says. After she got her first Instant Pot, Potter thought “where have you been all my life?”
While Potter makes plenty of main dishes, sides, soups and desserts, she was impressed by its yogurt function.
Although she was intimidated at first, she was thrilled to be able to make yogurt.
“The very first batch was amazing,” she says. “It saves me a lot of money, the yogurt is fantastic, has no added sugar and it’s creamy.”
Another Instant Pot Potter favorite is making sous vide egg bites — like the ones at Starbucks. The egg bites are made with cooked bacon placed in a small mason jar and topped with a blended mixture of eggs, cottage cheese, heavy cream, cheese, salt and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Once filled, the jars are placed in the Instant Pot and covered with foil.
“You steam them for 8 minutes and they come out just amazing, beautiful, light, fluffy, cheesy, bacony, they’re so good,” Potter says.
Instant Pot’s whole support system on Facebook for users is Potters favorite. It’s where she finds lots of recipes through all sorts of groups and sub groups.
“And there are recipes where you throw a bunch of crap in there and it’s foolproof if you’re not feeling confident as a cook,” Potter says.
Lori Chapo-Kroger of Traverse City, Mich., is another Instant Pot fan. Like Potter, the 58-year-old retired nurse loves the Instant Pot so much, she has two.
“I can do potatoes or vegetables in one while the meat is cooking in the other,” Chapo-Kroger says. “I can preset it to cook at a certain time so they both end at the same time.
“I like how quick things cook and how I can cook things from frozen if I forget to thaw them out,” Kroger says. Chapo-Kroger says it’s like the commercial “set it and forget it.”
Chapo-Kroger has learned to cook plenty in the Instant Pot: lasagna, whole chicken, stews and soups. Bone broth is one of her favorites to make.
She uses the Instant Pot nearly every day.
“As long as it comes up to pressure, you don’t’ have to stand over a stove and stir and flip food,” she says.
While the Instant Pot helps Chapo-Kroger cook meals quickly, it also helps her in another way. Chapo-Kroger suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), which is commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
“Part of it is that I have problems standing for any length of time,” she says. “Other times because it effects every part of your body, if I didn’t sit down or lay I could pass out.”
And so, cooking over a flame was not safe for her.
Chapo-Kroger said it was a friend who recommended the Instant Pot.
“They thought it would help me make good healthy foods and I wouldn’t have to stand long,” she says.
Blogger and cookbook author Coco Morante’s Instant Pot recipes Facebook page has more than 225,000 followers.
Out with her first cookbook, the Essential Instant Pot cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $19.95) Morante says the Instant Pot got on her radar after a friend couldn’t stop talking about it and praising its usefulness.
“It’s truly different experience from a stove top pressure cooker,” she says. “What was surprising to me, is that it’s really quiet, you don’t have that rocking regulator noise.”
Since buying and Instant Pot she’s donated her slow-cooker because she no longer needs it. Morante first experimented with basics like oatmeal, chicken soup, batches of beans and rice.
What she really liked about the Instant Pot, and was surprised by, is its fail proof safety lock. “While it’s under pressure you can’t open the lid,” she says. “The safety and the quite operation was surprising to me.”
Morante cautions that it’s not an appliance that you can just take out of the box, plug it in and you’re all set.
“It takes a little while to get the hang of the timing with some ingredients,” Morante says. “If you’re used to simmer a chicken soup for an hour and half on the stove. Getting an idea of how the pressure cooker works effects the timing.”
Pork Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots and Potatoes
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 1 hour
2 pounds pork roast or pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
8 ounces large cremini mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup unsalted chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
Turn the instant on and press the sauté button and adjust to Sauté More function. Wait until the indicator says HOT.
Cut the pork roast in half so it will fit in the pot. Generously season the pork shoulder meat with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Add grapeseed oil to the pot making sure it coats over the whole bottom of the pot. Add in the seasoned pork, then let it brown as much as possible on all sides. Remove and set aside to rest for 5 minutes on a chopping board. While the pork is browning, prepare other ingredients.
Add the butter to the pot. Add in the mushrooms, season with a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Stir to evenly coat the mushrooms with butter. Mushrooms will start releasing their moisture. Let the moisture evaporate and stir occasionally until mushrooms are slightly crisp and browned, about 5-7 minutes.
While the mushrooms are sautéing, cut the browned pork into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and bay and saute another 2 minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pot, scrapping up any browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the chicken stock and soy sauce.
Mix in the chicken stock and the soy sauce.
Return the sliced pork shoulder meat with all the meat juice in the pressure cooker. Layer the potato chunks on the top. Close the lid and cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes. When time is up let sit for 10 minutes and then use the Natural Release method. Open the lid carefully.
Remove the pork roast slices, carrots and potatoes on a large serving plate. Taste the sauce and season with more salt if necessary. Stir together the cornstarch and water and stir the mixture into the gravy one third at a time until desired thickness. Pour the pork roast slices, carrots and potatoes back into the gravy and mix gently to coat them with the gravy.
Cook’s note: the High Pressure 5-minute cook time is correct. It’s due to the meat being cut into smaller pieces.
Adapted from https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.