What is an Instant Pot? Here’s 8 Reasons to Try It!

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If you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty big fan of my Instant Pot. As my life has gotten busier with kids and work, I prefer to spend as little time in my kitchen as possible, and my electric pressure cooker helps make that happen.

megan gilmore holding Instant PotThis post is sponsored by Instant Pot

That being said, I didn’t fall in love with my Instant Pot right away, partially because I was intimidated to even open the box. Today I want to give you 8 reasons to try it, so that you won’t wait as long as I did to get started!

What is an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot often gets lumped into the “slow cooker” category, but it’s so much more than that. Instant Pot is the most popular brand of electric multi-cookers, and I love that it can pressure cook (my favorite way to use it), steam, slow cook, sauté, and some models can even make yogurt.

vegetables in instant pot

How does the Instant Pot work?

It’s important to know how the Instant Pot works, so that you’ll avoid potential user errors. The main thing to keep in mind is that an electric pressure cooker heats liquid from the bottom of the pot, and that heated liquid will create steam. When you seal the lid to your pot, that steam gets trapped inside and will begin to build up pressure.

how to use instant pot

So, keep in mind that any recipe you attempt in the Instant Pot must have sufficient liquid at the bottom of the pot to build up steam, and you must make sure the lid is securely sealed to trap that steam pressure inside.

8 Reasons Why I Love my Instant Pot

Now that we’ve covered what an Instant Pot is, and how it works, I want to tell you why I love it. Keep in mind that I am not the sort of person who uses a slow cooker very often, but I use my Instant Pot on near-daily basis.

hands holding stainless steel pot

  1. It makes the cooking process hands-off. Despite it’s name, the Instant Pot isn’t always ready in an “instant.” While it’s not always faster than cooking your meal on the stove, the main appeal of the electric pressure cooker is that it can make the process hands-off. Just add your ingredients, press a button, and walk away! You don’t have to wait for water to come to a boil, or watch for burning on the stove, so you can accomplish something else around your house as your meal cooks to perfection– making you FEEL like you have more time on your hands!
  2. It preserves more nutrition in your food. When you think of pressure cooking, you might assume that the temperature inside the pot is extra-high to cook food so quickly, but the opposite is actually true. Because the pressure in the pot alters the boiling point of water, the temperature in the Instant Pot doesn’t go higher than 250ºF, which is lower than the average temperature that you would use for the stove top or oven. Since the Instant Pot also cooks food faster, there is less opportunity for nutrients to be lost. A 1995 study found that pressure cooking preserves ascorbic acid and beta carotene in foods better than other methods of cooking.
  3. It has a non-toxic stainless steel inner pot. I love that the Instant Pot comes with a stainless steel pot, so that I don’t have to worry about my food touching non-stick surfaces or any sort of glaze that could be contaminated with lead.
  4. You can cook two dishes at once. What I love most about my Instant Pot is that I can cook a main course on the bottom of the pot, while also cooking a side dish situated on a trivet in the SAME POT at the SAME TIME. This method is called pot-in-pot cooking, and it makes me ultra-efficient in the kitchen.
  5. It makes perfect baked goods. If you haven’t tried Instant Pot brownies yet, don’t wait another minute. I love baking in the Instant Pot because the steam pressure ensures the final result is moist and tender, and you’ll never run the risk of burning something if you get distracted. The Instant Pot automatically stops the cooking cycle when it’s completed!
  6. You can save time & skip the oil. One of the things I love about pressure cooking is how it can enhance the flavors of your ingredients without the need to always sauté something first. This means that, in many cases, you can skip the oil often used to sauté, and save yourself 10 minutes of time spent standing and stirring a pot. Try my Instant Pot Lentil Soup or Instant Pot Vegan Chili and see for yourself how much flavor these easy “dump meals” have!
  7. It makes meal prep a breeze. If you like to cook things in bulk for meal prep, such as quinoa or beans from scratch, the Instant Pot makes your life easier. Simply add the ingredients and press a button (no need to watch the stove for boiling!), and then your hands are free to chop salad veggies, whip up a salad dressing, or make snacks for the week at the same time. It makes you ultra-efficient in the kitchen!
  8. You’ll dirty only one pot. Since the Instant Pot has a sauté function, so you can start your meal directly in there, instead of having to sear or sauté something on the stove first. This also means you can simmer or reduce sauces in the same pot when a pressure cooking cycle is over. The large stainless steel pot is even perfect for assembling large salads, like my Quinoa & Black Bean Salad, right after it finishes cooking the quinoa. I love having only one pot to clean after our meal is done!hands cleaning the pot

I hope this helps shed some light on why I love my Instant Pot so much, and will inspire you to give yours a try if you’ve been intimidated to use it up until now. I’ve listed some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes below to help you get started.

Instant Pot Recipes

stacked instant pot brownies

Instant Pot Brownies

45 minutes
These flourless INSTANT POT BROWNIES are rich and fudgy, and couldn't be easier to prepare in an electric pressure cooker. You need just one bowl and 10 minutes to stir them together.
Get the Recipe
vegan chipotle burrito bowl

Chipotle Burrito Bowls (in the Instant Pot!)

55 minutes
These Chipotle Burrito Bowls are an easy one-pot meal in the Instant Pot. The black beans & brown rice cook from scratch at the same time! No soaking required.
Get the Recipe
instant pot vegan chili

Instant Pot Vegan Chili

40 minutes
This Instant Pot Vegan Chili is as fast & easy as it gets. Just "dump" the ingredients in the pot, press a button, and walk away! Ready in about 30 minutes.
Get the Recipe
instant pot steel cut oats with blueberries

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (Fool-Proof Method!)

29 minutes
STARCH | Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Vegan
Here's how to make steel cut oats in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker for a quick and easy warm breakfast. They're naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, and are loaded with fiber and plant-based protein. 
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instant pot spaghetti sauce in a jar

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce (with fresh tomatoes!)

38 minutes
This INSTANT POT SPAGHETTI SAUCE is made with fresh tomatoes in just about 30 minutes. With no added oil or sugar, it's a healthy & easy pasta sauce recipe!
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Instant Pot lentil soup in a white bowl

Instant Pot Lentil Soup (Vegan)

40 minutes
This healthy Lentil Soup is as easy as it gets-- simply pour the ingredients into an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, and press a button. With no added oil, and loads of vegetables included, it makes a nutritious vegan or vegetarian meal.
Get the Recipe
vegan mac n cheese on a plate

Instant Pot Vegan Mac n' Cheese

20 minutes
A fast and creamy dairy-free and gluten-free mac n' cheese made in the Instant Pot! Made with cashews, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast, this sauce is thickened when it cooks directly in the same pot as the pasta.
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quinoa vegan burrito burrito bowl with lime overhead view

Instant Pot Quinoa Burrito Bowls (Vegan!)

25 minutes
These Instant Pot Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls are an easy and healthy make-ahead meal loaded with fiber and protein. 
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instant pot spaghetti squash

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash (in 7 minutes!)

20 minutes
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash is faster than cooking this low-carb squash in the oven. This 7-minute method turns out perfectly every time!
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quinoa in instant pot

Instant Pot Quinoa (in just 1 minute!)

24 minutes
This Instant Pot Quinoa cooks in just a 1-minute pressure cooking cycle, for fast and fluffy results every time. I love how it's totally hands-off & fool-proof!
Get the Recipe

Reader Feedback: Have you tried cooking with an Instant Pot yet? Let me know your favorite way to use it, and if you have any recipe requests that you’d like to see!

My Instant Pot Faves:
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I had my instant pot for for a year! Before I tried it because I was too intimidated!! Love this post

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