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David Baxter

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I see people talking about various new kinds of cookers. I had a slow cooker years ago and wasn't really crazy about many of the results — I found it homogenized all the flavors together too much for my tastes, which really only works for certain types of meals, plus it takes a long time.

I've never used an instant cooker though (not sure that's even the right name for it) but I've seen people talking about them in various places. What are the advantages over regular stove/oven and microwave? If you were going to recommend a brand or model (for 1-2 persons: I have a small kitchen with limited counter space), what would that be?

What sorts of meals are they good for and not so good for based on your experience?
 

Daniel

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I have the Instant Pot Duo Plus (6 quart size), though now I would get a newer version called Duo Crisp, which includes an air fryer lid, roasting mode, and dehydrate mode. The main advantages of Instant Pot over a slow cooker are speed and versality. It is an electronic pressure cooker (without being scary to me like the old-fashioned pressure cookers). To me, it is the perfect appliance for cooking rice or dry beans. But it has other modes as well, including slow cooker mode, steam, saute, sous vide, etc:


The versatility of the Instant Pot wins out over the other factors if you don’t have the space for both machines...“The Instant Pot is truly a multi-purpose wonder, taking up less valuable space and dirtying fewer dishes.”
Honestly, I still use it mostly for cooking rice, including brown rice. But I am planning on using it more, like for making yogurt and refried beans from scratch. My husband is not a big fan of the Instant Pot for cooking a meal since he likes to check and season his food as he cooks. But he is looking forward to us trying the spaghetti with sauce recipe.

For recipes and ideas:

official curated Instant Pot recipes

Canadian recipes [includes Roast mode recipes, which only work with certain models including the Duo Crisp model]

The 6 quart is the perfect size for me, and I believe it is the most popular size. I can't imagine needing anything larger than that, but the 3 quart size may be too small for making a lot of leftovers.
 
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gooblax

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I find slow cookers annoying because they don't cook slow enough for me to start it on the morning of a workday and come home to the finished meal - by then it's overcooked. So I have to do it on the weekend, when I would've had time to do a casserole dish in the oven anyway. Although the one bonus is that the slow cooker doesn't heat the room up as much as having the oven on for a long time, which is important in summer. I still need to get a decent sized stove-oven casserole dish / Dutch oven though.

I don't have experience with instant pots but Daniel has covered that. :)
 

Daniel

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Instant Pot recipes at AllRecipes.com:





 
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Daniel

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So, is the Instant Pot worth the hype?

You may not want to toss away your old slow-cooker, but if you’re in the market for a new one or a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot does both well (even if you don’t find yourself using the bevy of alternate options that often). We wouldn’t reach for it to replace our sauté pans, though.
 
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David Baxter

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Daniel, do you have a good Instapot "starter" cookbook you would recommend (preferably from Amazon)? I know there are a lot of recipe sites available online but when I cook I like an actual book, softcover or hardcover, that I can look things up quickly and mark up substitutions, etc.
 

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This is the one I have, which I bought a few years ago. I bought the paperback (rather the Kindle version) since it's a cookbook. Amazon sells the paperback in Canada but not in the US (except used copies).

Since the book is from 2017, the used copies are much cheaper:


 
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Daniel

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A related Kindle book is free for Prime members in the US:


Other books in the "Instant Pot miracle" series:



Some Instant Pot cookbooks that are no-cost with Kindle Unlimited:



 
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