If you’ve talked with a busy home cook lately, Instant Pots probably came up. Cooks everywhere (including celebrity chefs like Ree Drummond) have jumped on the bandwagon—and they’re staying on board. We can see why Instant Pots get good reviews year after year. These can-do multicookers are now the go-to appliance for cooking fast or slow, and meal prepping for a few or for a crowd. Here’s everything you need to know about this handy kitchen gadget.
New to electric pressure cookers? Here are the Instant Pot recipes you should cook first.
Our Best Instant Pot Recipes
From chicken breast to carnitas, yogurt to hard-boiled eggs, just about any kind of recipe can be made in an Instant Pot, thanks to its myriad cooking functions. Check out our best Instant Pot recipes of the last year and these other pressure-cooker dishes approved by our Test Kitchen.
Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
Find the Best Instant Pot for You
When it comes to buying an electric pressure cooker, you’ll want to go with our Test Kitchen’s recommended brand. But you’ll also want to consider which model is best for your lifestyle and the types of cooking you want to do.
Our Test Kitchen’s Top Instant Pot Tips
Like the name suggests, your Instant Pot can cook main dishes (even turkey!) and side dishes (hello, vegetables) in record time. It’s also an awesome tool for meal prepping. We’ve tested a lot of electric pressure cooker recipes, and have discovered lots of cooking tricks along the way. Here’s how you can get the most out of your Instant Pot.
How to Clean & Care for an Instant Pot
If you take good care of it, an electric pressure cooker should last for years to come. Here’s how to clean an Instant Pot, whether it needs a spot-clean or it’s a bona fide mess.
Test Kitchen tip: No matter what kind of cleaning you’ll be doing, be sure to unplug your Instant Pot first!
Instant Pot FAQ
Our Test Kitchen pros get a lot of Instant Pot questions from readers. These are our top three:
How does an Instant Pot work?
Like other electric pressure cookers, an Instant Pot is an airtight pot that cooks food quickly using steam pressure—we’re talking a whole meal in less than 20 minutes. Since the product’s launch, the term Instant Pot has become synonymous with pressure cooking, and specifically, electric pressure cooking.
What’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a pressure cooker?
Old-school pressure cookers need a stovetop burner to heat the contents inside. They used to be infamous for spewing hot water (and sometimes exploding). But the newer ones are safer, with fail-safe backup vents and overpressure release plugs. Instant Pots and other similar brands are electric, making them countertop appliances. Like new stovetop pressure cookers, they’re designed to be safer and more user-friendly.
Are Instant Pots and Crock-Pots the same thing?
In short, no. The Instant Pot is typically used as an electric pressure cooker to cook food quickly, while the Crock-Pot (and other slow cookers) cook food low and slow. But if you want to get technical, multicookers like Instant Pots include a slow-cooking function. Plus, Crock-Pot has its own multicooker, which we also like.
Have another Instant Pot question for our Test Kitchen? Ask here.