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There’s a high probability that you first heard about the Instant Pot phenomena some time around the holiday shopping season last year, after it started bombarding your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds. That’s how I ended up buying one — and joining a semi-intense cult of culinary connoisseurs.
It all started after a friend from the U.K. posted about a crazy Black Friday deal Amazon was having on the Instant Pot, and listed a bunch of reasons why she had fallen in love with hers. I’d heard of it before, but after reading my friend’s post, I decided to check out this gastronomic “miracle” for myself. The majority of the 15,000 Amazon reviews it had already racked up were positive, but what really struck me was how passionately people felt about this slow cooker/pressure cooker hybrid.
I decided to take the plunge. (Though, okay, in the interest of full disclosure here, I might have initially purchased the IP as my mom’s Christmas present — but knowing she would be traveling all of January, I figured I could be a dutiful daughter and break it in for her!)
For those of you still wondering what exactly an Instant Pot is, here’s a quick rundown: It’s a 7-in-1 multi-functional electric cooker that acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer AND warmer. Oh, and it can also sauté. (Got all that?)
In other words, it’s magic.
The thing that really caught my eye, though, was the pressure cooker part. I’ve always wanted to use one ever since I first started experimenting in the kitchen — and heard it could cook meat in only a fraction of the time it takes to cook on the stove — but I was too freaked out by all the warnings my mom gave me about its potential hazards growing up.
For me, all the word-of-mouth praise — and those glowing Amazon reviews — was enough to have me hooked. And according to a recent story by NPR, I was far from alone. In fact, most of Instant Pot’s viral success owes itself to the word-of-mouth campaign launched by its many fans, and not in fact to any major marketing dollars. (If that’s not a major selling point alone, I don’t know what is.)
No commercials, no print marketing … just the authentic praise of amateur cooks everywhere. Needless to say, the IP has become the No. 1 best-selling cooker on Amazon. But the fandom doesn’t just end there. A quick search on Facebook reveals a seemingly endless number of Instant Pot communities, with the largest one having more than 300,000 members. (And please, just check out the comments — they’re an enthused bunch!) Thanks to these groups, there are literally thousands, if not millions, of rabid fans at your fingertips who are willing to invest time and expertise in guiding you towards falling in love with your very own cooker, and sharing their best recipes.
Do I sometimes feel like I joined some kind of underground cooking cult? Yep. But is the hype worth it? Totally.
And I think most moms who’ve given the IP a try would agree. Because if there’s anyone who loves a convenient cooking gadget that makes dinner way less of a headache, it’s us.
Here are 5 of my favorite parts about it …
- It’s safe – If the thought of a pressure-cooker scares the crap out of you (as it does me), rest assured, the IP comes with 10 separate safety mechanisms that make it much safer than its predecessors.
- It’s quick – I can cook frozen meat in 20 minutes flat — and same goes for flavorful stock, lentils, or dry chickpeas. TWENTY MINUTES, PEOPLE!
- It offers you tons of variety – You don’t have to be a culinary genius to get creative with your IP. From eggs to cheesecakes, if you Google it, chances are someone has tried making it in an IP.
- You don’t have to babysit it – I can put all the ingredients in the pot, set the timer, and leave. I don’t have to keep coming back again and again to stir or fuss over the food. And I LOVE that.
- It’s dishwasher-friendly! — Less dishes = happy mom. Need I say more?
The amount of recipes you can find online are pretty unbelievable. I’m always surprised by how creative people are, and though I haven’t tried anything too complicated yet, my absolute two favorite recipes were this delicious red lentil chili and butter chicken curry.
So there you have it — after about a month of using the IP so far, I’ve become unapologetically obsessed … have you?
Looking for the perfect recipe to try out with your Instant Pot? Give these taquitos a try!